Would You Like To Have A Private, Paid Forum on DBT?

By Daniel Scocco

So here is a small announcement: next week my first ebook is getting released. I was planning to do a really massive book covering all the blogging and making money online aspects, but instead of that I decided to break each chapter into a single, smaller ebook.

That will enable people interested only on a few topics to purchase them individually. Once all the ebooks are out, you will also be able to purchase the whole package for a discount.

The first ebook is titled “Killer Domains: Tools and Techniques to Find the Perfect Domain Name.”

Anyway I always wanted to create a private forum here on DBT, so I thought that perhaps this would be a good opportunity to get started. It would be a two-way deal: people purchasing the ebook would get access to the private forum (for one or two months), and members of the forum would also receive free copies of the ebooks (1 every month or so).

I am not sure how much the monthly fee would cost, but I am guessing it would be around $19 monthly. So now you ask: right, but what kind of value would I get back to compensate for my monthly fee? Here is where I think the value would come from:

  1. free access to my ebooks
  2. questions and answers section
  3. networking with fellow members
  4. joint ventures and favor exchanges with members
  5. blog reviews
  6. proprietary tools

I am online pretty much all day long, so I would stick around on the forum to make sure that members would always have prompt feedback. Over the time, as the community grows, other members should also be able to help with advice and guidance.

Do you think this could work, and would you be interested in joining? Or do you think it would not be a good idea, and that I should just focus on selling the ebooks independently? Please let me know with the poll below (RSS readers might need to visit the site to see it) or in the comments section.



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28 Responses to “Would You Like To Have A Private, Paid Forum on DBT?”

  • medyum

    It depends on how much you will be selling the eBooks for. But I still think $19 is too high. I buy eBooks off the net quite a bit and they usually sell for anything from $5-$19 (depending on how many pages they are).I think it will depend also on what else you are offering. Maybe if you can give us a little more detail as well. Like how many pages are the PDFs? What tools are going to be included in the price? For $19 a month you should be offering quite a lot!

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    Anyway to block people’s signatures?

    You guys have no restrictions on signature size, so some of them are ridiculously big and annysing as fuck.

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  • Katy Castro

    While I voted that it’s a great idea and I’d love to join, I’d have to admit that I wouldn’t and/or couldn’t join at the rate of $19. While the forum may be invaluable, it needs to be budget friendly and that could be overkill. However, after starting the forum and starting at a smaller rate, perhaps you would give people the opportunity to see how valuable the forum is and increase the price later.

  • Daniel Scocco

    Nesa, it won’t be a forum for discussing things, but more like to get advice, help from the members, mentoring from me, and get involved in the community projects.

  • Nesa

    Why would anyone want to pay $19 a month when they can discuss these things in free forums all over the net? A forum should be free for all as far as I am concerned.

  • Yaro

    Hey Daniel,

    I’m glad you are thinking about releasing a paid product but I think you need to take a step back and consider your strategy for a moment.

    Answer these two questions to get started –

    1. What do you want your paid product to do for people – what are the benefits they receive?

    2. Who is your perfect target customer for this product?

    Start with those and you can continue to plan out a launch strategy. If you don’t do this your offer might not match the market need.

    Pricing, structure and the rest are by-products of choosing a market and determining how much perceived value you deliver. Coming from a position of some preeminence as you are, you should charge accordingly, but you have to decide what you want to be for people.

    If you go the path of a $9 or $19 a month forum, you need to explain the reason why someone would join. This will justify price AND determine what business model you are working. At those two pricing points you are following a volume model, which I personally do not think is the right way to go for a guy in your position and in the market you are catering too.

    I could be wrong of course, and you know your audience best. Perhaps you should consider a more extensive survey approach first to really nut on the realities of the situation and then do a launch.

    Good luck!

    Yaro

  • Mani Karthik

    I think it’s a cool idea and the prices are reasonable with the value passed on. I think I’m game for it.

  • Madhur Kapoor

    I think you should first start with a free forum. $19 is a bit too high for a monthly price. Or you could try setting a yearly fees for forums and sell ebook separately .

  • Jo

    I’d be interested in the forums, but I think I’d only be interested in some of the e-books. Maybe you could have different price structures? I think $19 sounds fair if you want both, but what if I want just the forums one month?

    I’d like to keep a monthly pricing option that would let me pick and choose which ebooks I want as they’re released.

    Also, maybe open the forums up for free for your first month or so to try them out and prove their value. I also like the idea of having the forums for free for a while to attract people.

  • Daniel Scocco

    fc, yeah I think I will detach the forum from the book. That way you can decide what you need and what material you are interested on.

  • fc

    Just thinking out loud here Daniel.. why not start with a fixed yearly fee and offer heavy discounts on your ebook when you launch them..

    Like you mention at the very beginning not everyone would be interested in all the topics that you bring out.. so one can selectively buy the those that suit our interest.. you ll know which one’s are working and sell more.. also you can use them as a bait to bring in more people to the forum

    on the other hand the forum itself will be of people who have a genuine sense of community than those who are there just for the freebies..

    Of course you can do all this with a monthly fee as well, but I feel for something new like this it adds pressure on the forum as a whole to perform.. I personally feel that discussion boards take a little time to come into their own .. the smaller risk (money) proposition will make sure people don’t get judgmental too fast..

  • Daniel Scocco

    Thanks for the feedback everyone!

    I might give it a shot a $9 monthly then to get started.

  • Patrick Altoft

    The value in a private forum is in the members and the information. You should try to price the people who hang around places like DP out of the market and that will make it a better forum. SEObook forum is fantastic.

  • Mehmet

    I do agree with the most of people above. 19$ is to high.

    9$ would be a reasonable price, but still I would like to see an option where you offer some discount for 1 year memberships. Maybe something special only for forum users just like SP did on WP-designer under the name of theme club. Some graphics for bloggers, contests, new themes, you name it…

  • Jason L.

    I’m agreeing with the previous posts about the $19 price tag. But hey, it’s worth a try!

  • Nathaniel

    I happen to think it’s a good solid idea. Also, it seems everyone is overlooking the other benefits they’re suggesting. Blog reviews and Joint Ventures are VERY helpful.

    I like the idea of selling ebooks that are associated with a blog. This would lend VERY well to producing massive amounts of traffic to the products. You’ve already built up your reputation, you’re well trusted.

    I think that affiliate commissions might also be a good idea. You could run it all through clickbank. The idea of doing a JV with someone with the pulling power of this blog is quite enticing. That alone is worth $19 a month.

    You’re on the right track. You may have to fiddle with the pricing until you find the right balance. Keep in mind, those that pay are more likely to participate.

    You’ll also want to over deliver to your paid subscribers. What happens when the ebooks stop coming? Surely you won’t be writing a new one every month from now until Ragnarok.

  • Matt

    IMO $19 is too high. What if you did something lower, like $9/month and instead of giving out the eBooks to members you give them a half off coupon. This way members can access it for a lower price and still get a good price on the eBooks.

    Personally, I may not want to read all of your eBooks. However I am interested in your forum. I don’t want to pay the higher price to compensate for eBook downloads I’m not interested in. However, for the certain eBooks I am interested in I can still get a good price…

    Anyways, your choice, good luck!

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  • Bill Stevens

    Like Yaro says, “Throw it at the wall and see if it sticks.”

    Everyone has a different audience and everyone is coming from a different level and price consideration.

    Whether it’s Darren, Teaching Sells, Yaro, etc. I would imagine people drop off over time as the course meets their needs or comes to a defined end date.

    Since you worked with Yaro for BMM, I wonder if Yaro would be willing to share that type of information with you. Over x months, x members dropped/grew, etc.

  • Pearce Aurigemma

    I might pay $19 a year for a private forum, but instead $19 a month is going to get me a forum with few people because it is a private forum. maybe you can do something like an open forum with a private section for $19 a year, and if you pay for 3 years you will access to all the ebooks.

  • Rajab Bader

    I think it would be better to just release a comprehensive e-book. That way you would market it effectively and have better ROI.

    As for the forum thing, I would keep it free for everyone for a few months as to get the ball rolling then just make it private.

    This just what a SEO gung-ho thinks.

  • Keith

    How about a lower monthly fee without access to the ebooks. Maybe a one time payment for lifetime access. I would be very interested, but $19 per month is a bit steep.

  • Bilingual Blogger

    Coming on the heels of Darren Rowse’s (expensive) “Six Figure Blogging” course, which he announced this week, your timing isn’t good. Yeah, I know that it’s a different product but it’s still in the same arena. Based on the description you offered, I don’t think you’re providing enough value for a monthly $19 fee or at least you haven’t made a strong enough case. The networking and joint venture aspects could be invaluable but will depend on who is actively participating.

  • Russ

    It depends on how much you will be selling the eBooks for. But I still think $19 is too high. I buy eBooks off the net quite a bit and they usually sell for anything from $5-$19 (depending on how many pages they are).

    I think it will depend also on what else you are offering. Maybe if you can give us a little more detail as well. Like how many pages are the PDFs? What tools are going to be included in the price? For $19 a month you should be offering quite a lot!

    I have always liked the idea of a private “club” on a website but I think people online are so used to getting information for free that it might not work.

    Just a few thoughts. Keep up the good work!

  • Daniel Scocco

    Jeremy, true. Our forum would not be competing with those forums though, it would be more of a community, where members try to help each other to succeed online.

    Plus you get 1 free ebook every month or so, which the value should be at least equal to the membership fee.

    But you could be right.

  • Jeremy Steele

    $19 is a bit too high IMO. There’s already quite a few free blogger-targeted forums.

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