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malhyp
11-06-2006, 05:19 AM
Hi there I have created a site and cant make up my mind on how offer the information stored in the site.

The basic concept is that the site sells membership fees. If you are a general person like me your self, you can search the site for free and it gives you contact details of RETAIL suppliers that have your products.

If a RETAIL supplier wants to log on to the site to search for WHOLESALE suppliers, the retail supplier is required to pay a membership fee.

My dilemma is that I am not sure on whether the free users should be allowed access by just going to the URL and then they search, or should I make the retail user register first and send them a username and password... The site makes no money from the RETAIL user at all. They are only there to increase the sites traffic.

I have listed below some advantages and disadvantages that I can think of for both scenarios.

Advantages of letting customers search Retail Suppliers FREE without registering.
- Customers can search immediately, saving them time. This is all part of making things easier for the customer. (LESS TRAFFIC)
- Not having to log in will make it easier for customers to search. Haste free. (LESS TRAFFIC)
- Easier access to customers will encourage them to come back and search which might increase site traffic. (LESS TRAFFIC)
-
Advantages of letting customers search Retail Suppliers FREE with registering.
- Registration will make the site more personal. (MORE SPECIFIC CUSTOMERS)
- Registration usually encourages registration of eNews articles which will help to keep us in contact with customer. (MORE MARKETING FOR US)
- Registration also gives us the opportunity to promote the paid WHOLESALE subscription package. (INCREASED POSSIBILITY FOR UPGRADE)
- Registration will decrease the chances of SQL injection (hacking). (LESS HACKING PROBLEMS)
- Registration will decrease the chases of spamming. (LESS SPAMING PROBLEMS)
-
Disadvantages of letting customers search Retail Suppliers FREE without registering.
- We wonít know who is searching the site. (LESS OPPORTUNITY TO PROMOTE BUSINESS)
- Increased security risk. We wonít know who is looking. They might try to hack the site. SQL injection. (MORE HACKING)
- Because we donít know who they are we canít send marketing details to them. (LESS OPPORTUNITY TO PROMOTE BUSINESS)
- Because we donít know who they are we canít keep control of spammers. (MORE SPAMING)
-
Disadvantages of letting customers search Retail Suppliers with registration.
- Less people likely to search the site meaning less traffic. (MORE TIME TO BUILD BUSINESS)
-
If they donít register dose this mean that they are not interested or too lazy?
Probably also means that they are not worth dealing with anyway...

Can anyone help with this problem that I have been tossing over for two months now?

domedia
11-06-2006, 12:40 PM
Many startups face this same dilemma. Did you consider not requiring a registration for a while, and then when trafiic has built up,explain to your users, that due to high popularity, you now only offer this to free registrered users, and that they now also can tap into your free newsletter and personlized help?

malhyp
11-06-2006, 09:35 PM
Thats true, could offer it without registration for say the next 3-6 months then change it so that they need to register...

I suppose the main goal to start of with is to get the word out there and increase site traffic.

Id prefer to have it so they register, but... ? Yeh.

I will play with your suggestion for a few days...