paying subscribers and earning money from a Forum?


Well-known member
I am wondering why users would pay for being a Forum member ? Don´t tell me about unique content.....

Considering users can contact each other by exchanging their e-mail-address either in the forums or on their profile-pages, so they are not going to pay money to get in touch with other members via private conversation. they just exchange their Yahoo-messenger-ID or any other ID to get in touch with each other, so making money to "connect" users is not working.

Asking users to pay for "moods" or "special icons" for their profile-page, not sure whether this is really a generator of income, let alone Google-adsense where you need quite huge traffic in order to make a few dollars.

Am wondering what are the biggest or best ways to monetize a forum? Seems rather difficult from my perspective....


Well-known member
Every community is different so one answer can't address all forums. Things like more PM space and sigs are a start. Many people want to donate to your forum and offering upgrades is a way for you to give the people who donate something extra for their sponsorship.
I ask, do "Paid Subscriptions" really work these days. Will people really actually pay to use certain areas of a forum board? Very questionable I think that one, and you would have to be offering something rather special on those paid subscription forums to make people part with any money.


Well-known member
You would be surprised, a lot of great people will sign up for a subscription just to help support a site without even wanting anything in return. It all depends on what type of community you have created. If it is a community that is all about helping others with information and resources that is even better.

We offer our site supporters quite a bit including larger pm boxes, badges, discounts on logo apparel, unlimited downloads and the fact they know they are supporting a great site :D

Digital Doctor

Well-known member
It really is community-dependent.
I've contributed via Paypal to many sites just because I like their work.
jdownloader, PBXinaflash, gbatemp, xda-developers.

steven s

Well-known member
I have site supporters because it gives them a warm and fuzzy feeling that they are supporting something they enjoy and find useful.
Some members even shame others into donating. :)
It is in addition to adsense, viglinks and vibrant media.


Depending on the forum, but in general .. when you don't want to pay, or can't pay .. DON'T - regardless what other members say, it's a despicable behavior to use guilt to convince someone else.

steven s

Well-known member
I cringe when they do that. I would just like members to purchase a subscription if they feel that they got value from the forum and not be shamed into buying one.
Well, I do like that our site supporters have a strong commitment to the community and want others to support it financially.
Other than providing more PMs to site supporters, nothing on the site is locked out.


Well-known member
We used to give access to a private section of the forum to those who donated, and had about 20 or so donate, but that ended pretty quickly.

We're tossing around the idea of 'services'. Change your username for $x. Change someone's avatar for $x. (<-- that's going to be a fun one) There's others but I can't remember right now.


Well-known member
I have used email addresses as a lure. You need to have an attractive domain name. Some people will pay a reasonable fee ($50/yr) say, for "". Give them a discount the first year and they're hooked. Most that I have just forward to their regular account.
as you say, you need to have a great domain-name for that.
May I ask which software you are using for that kind of service ? Thanks!


Well-known member
There used to be a script called Hive Mail that integrated with that other software. Not sure if it is still around though.

grant sarver

Well-known member
The reason I recommend a discount (or even free!) the first year is that you'll probably see a 80-90% renewal rate, so you really want to get them hooked first.