Membership tiers?

First off, thanks everybody for all the work put into the latest release. From the platform and its new functionality to the website and its excellent design, everything is seriously amazing. Cheers!

As I’m now in the final stages of migrating the blog of a colleague over to Ghost from Medium and Patreon (partially thanks to the 3.0 release), I’m wondering if the Ghost members system will be integrating some kind of tiers functionality in the future.

For example, looking at my colleague’s Patreon page I see that he has different tiers:

  1. $5/month for access to member’s posts
  2. $10/month for the above plus access to drafts of upcoming books
  3. $50/month for the above plus a personal thank you call
  4. $100/month for the above plus a day’s worth of consultancy per month

etc.

I see on the Member / Price data docs page that it says that “Because of the possibility that a single member could have multiple subscriptions the data is provided as an array.” Does that mean that something like tier functionality might be integrated in the future?

Thanks again!

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Hi there. Subscription data comes from Stripe, so any Stripe subscription attached to a members email would accessible from {{#foreach @member.subsciptions}}. So in theory you could customise a theme to check subscriptions for certain tiers, that is if they are managing payments with Stripe. More information on member subscription data can be found here:

Okay, I’ve yet to try setting up a Stripe account, so I have no idea how things look like on that end. That being so, I’m still a bit confused about how things might work on Ghost’s end.

First off, there was a rather pertinent article in Publisher Weekly #71 called How are paywalled news outlets preparing to serve residents in California’s mega-power shutoffs?, in which it was stated that “If we’re going to have news that is paid for by audiences, we have to talk about the news that should never be behind paywalls.”

So say you’ve got an investigative journalism site in which the core posts themselves should not be placed behind a paywall. Nonetheless, you do need to fund the investigative journalism itself. To do this you may decide to offer some “non-important” and/or preview material in order to attract funding, possibly from even various levels (tiers) of funding.

For example:

Tier 1 would be a token gesture kind of tier where “general” members posts were made available, these just being basic updates to what’s going on.

Tier 2, in order to attract a higher level of funding, would offer something like “special” members posts which would be previews of chapters of upcoming, as-yet-to-be-published books. (This methodology would fit in with the ethos of not having material behind a paywall that shouldn’t be behind a paywall, acting instead as a kind of sneak peak.)

Tier 3 could be not connected to any kind of members posts but nonetheless provide extra goodies (like a personal phone call or what have you).

Tier 4, consultancy

etc.

With that said, I don’t see how any of that could work from Ghost’s end. I mean, wouldn’t there need to be more input boxes in the Subscription Pricing section so that you could do something like this:

And wouldn’t there need to be some kind of extra helpers/objects/attributes (?) so you could hook it all up and do something like this:

I don’t mean this as a hypothetical but rather as a real-case example of what a colleague of mine does via Patreon, which I can give you a link to (if you’d like to take a look), and which we’re getting ready to launch on Ghost. (Actually, I could give you links to multiple Patreon pages of multiple colleagues who work like this, with the same ethos.)

Please don’t get me wrong though, I’m not trying to say/scream “How come you haven’t implemented something like this! Everybody else has!”, but rather I’m just wondering if this is possible right now and/or if there may be plans to do something like this in the future. Because having personally migrated the content of this first colleague’s blog from Medium over to Ghost, we’re now getting ready to launch it with memberships functionality once its theme has been updated. But although I’d ideally like to completely migrate my colleagues’ members over from Patreon to Ghost and have it all in one system, I imagine that for funding purposes that may not be viable if the idea is to maintain his level(s) of funding that he currently gets through Patreon. Likewise, I know that Ghost is able to hook up with Patreon (but with Patreon’s tier structure?), but I imagine it would be so much easier and less cumbersome if everything could be under the Ghost umbrella.

As one last observation, I imagine this extra tier-functionality might make it possible (and be enticing) for podcasters/videocasters (possibly hooking up to something like Podbean) to have one tier for access to podcasts of shows, another higher tier for access to vidcasts of shows, etc.

Cheers

3 Likes

I have to say the use case you’re describing is incredibly elaborate and specific use case for Ghost Members. The complexity of this leads me to believe that it wouldn’t be a good idea to house the project all under one platform, regardless whether the platform is Ghost or not.

From what I’m getting in your post is that they are doing a great job of managing pricing tiers in Patreon, and Ghost can be used as a tool for providing content to those Patreon subscribers.

If you take a look at the link I sent it shows how the handlebars templating within Ghost can pull out key subscription information from a Stripe account. If they are managing their Patreon subscribers through Stripe then the Ghost site could read that subscription information and lock content depending on the Patreon subscription type. Signups would still continue to happen on Patreon, but people wanting to see Ghost content that they paid for could use their same email to sign into the Member site.

I hope that makes sense :slightly_smiling_face:

Hmm, okay.

[rummaging through my pockets to try and find enough change so I can pay somebody to put through a PR]

:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

p.s. Patreon sucks

p.p.s. Perhaps I should have added earlier on that all the posts within the “investigative journalism site in which the core posts themselves should not be placed behind a paywall” are actually open-sourced themselves, or rather, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0), hence the interest in something like Ghost and its possible possibilities, as well as the need to find a refined method to extend/expand funding methods :slightly_smiling_face:

It apparently looks like tiers will in fact be a thing:

:partying_face:

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Sorry about the confusion. It’s not currently available in the beta, thanks for the feedback :slightly_smiling_face:

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Any updates on this? Release date?

Im also wondering if we could get an update on this

+1

The ability to manage many tiers is so powerful. We could completely stop relying on patreon and other membership solutions.

Maybe the “Subscription pricing” could be a config just like the routes.yaml where we could define all the tier we need.

9 Likes

+1 Multiple membership tiers is needed for my use too where I can provide more goodies to people who are willing to pay more to support my art/creations.

While it’s not possible for members to sign up to alternate tiers than the main paid membership in Ghost, it is still possible to get Stripe subscription information within a Ghost theme.

Having this information available means that your members could sign up for subscriptions through alternative platforms that link with Stripe and see all their premium content on your Ghost site. Our theme documentation under the section “Member subscriptions” here:

Thought people might be interested in this as it does open up some more possibilities :blush:

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Thanks for info David :smiley:
Is the membership tiers feature still being considered for Ghost? It’d be great to have everything under the same system/platform and less confusing for the supporters/patrons.

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Is there a sense of when Tiers might exist on the roadmap? :slight_smile:

Tiers and a directory of members are the 2 things I am most looking forward to. They will let me provide and charge far more value.

I understand that I could currently onboard users outside of the system but given how everything else is all wonderful, 100% natural ghost… I would much prefer for this to be the case with tiers as well.

Even if for now you just gave us 3 tiers that we can turn on and off as needed rather than fully being able to add/remove etc.

I fully appreciate membership stuff is complex and has lots of user stories and use cases.

I only ask because it was said to be on the way, so I am curious how far out that may be. :slight_smile:
Thanks!

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While we wait for this feature, are there any alternate platforms that connect to Stripe and allow multiple tiers (which can then be linked to Ghost)?

Might be useful if we have a list like this, so those who don’t want to use Patreon know where to go.

I’m interested in this as well. In particular:

  1. IIRC Stripe has its own form capabilities. If Ghost automatically ingests subscription data for a member’s email address from Stripe, can we bypass Ghost’s easier Stripe helpers in favor of Stripe-native forms?
  2. I understand we can get back an array of subscriptions, but I don’t know enough about Handlebars to know if this is enough to let us gate content. Say for instance we have three plans–tier1, tier2, and tier3. I’d want to do something like (pseudocode):
{{#if @member.subscriptionPlans.contains("tier1") }}

I don’t know if Handlebars lets us use even that much logic, but as of now we’d have to iterate through the subscriptions, collect the plan names, and check inclusion against that list. Unless I’m missing something, that’s a lot of logic to pack into themes, and we’d need that even if we did find a platform that managed memberships through Stripe.

I’ll be looking into this in the coming weeks and will update here if I make any progress, but if anyone has insight into the above questions, I’d appreciate it. Hopefully we’ll have native tiers at some point, but it’d be nice to rig up something in the meantime.

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Another +1 for Tiers. I have 2 programs, an initial one (Tier 1) which you can think of as an intro course, then a recurring Tier 2 which is a higher level course. I can set up Tier 2 on Ghost no problem but that means I need another solution + logins for Tier 1 which is an overlapping audience but different levels of content.

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Ghost’s themes don’t natively support that much logic, but the underlying Handlebars engine does. According to this blog post, one can write a custom helper (in this case, to check the @member.subscriptionPlans.contains('tier1') you mentioned). However, you’d have to go right into the Ghost source-code, and manually replace it every time Ghost is updated.

You can probably write a script to insert it automatically each time, but either way this option will only be available to self-hosted users.

Those caveats aside, this setup seems quite promising. We could even replace the subscriptions page with custom code, ignoring the tier settings and hard-coding Stripe values directly, which would make for a more seamless experience (at least as far as the user is concerned—little will they know what’s going on behind the scenes! :wink:)