The perks of decentralized membership software [Updated: May 2023]

Desk and laptop representing creator working online

In an Outline article, titled “Can small businesses survive on the internet?”, Jason Kottke was quoted as saying that building lightweight membership capabilities for even small sites was, “the original promise of the web, right? Small pieces loosely joined...not these monolithic sites like YouTube or Facebook which extract huge value from creators and give just a fraction of it back.”

That flexibility, freedom, and promise of ‘small pieces loosely joined’ can’t be overlooked when scaling an audience-backed business on the web. Why? Advertisers aren't providing the same solace for creators that they used to with many online publications shutting down and some creators feeling the nudge to write 'click-worthy' content instead of providing value for their readers. The audience funded model does work, but is it better to go for an all-in-one solution or to focus on ‘small pieces loosely joined’? Here are a few reasons that decentralized membership software may be a better fit for your business than an all-in-one solution.

Your own website and brand

Having your audience supported content on a third party platform ultimately gives the platform control. You may be a renter, but they own the property. So, if the membership platform decides to change the fee structure, plans, or any other aspect of their offering, such as branding or visual identity, your business is at the mercy of their ecosystem.

branding balazs-ketyi Using decentralized software gives you better control over your branding and visual identity

But, with decentralized membership tools, your audience never leaves your site, giving you control over how you interact with your audience, how they view your brand, and how you deliver your content.

Integrate with your own tools

The word integrations may sound intimidating at first, but setting up memberships on your website with a tool like Memberful is not only easy, it also gives you power and flexibility you just won't have with an all-in-one solution. It enables you to use best-in-class tools like WordPress for content, Mailchimp for email, and Stripe for payments.

integrations Memberful integrates with numerous platfroms, via Zapier or an API / Image ©

Teachers and online educators can even build beautiful courses with tools like LearnDash. And publishers and writers can have direct conversations with their readers using Discourse.

Finance: Control over fees

We know that every member of your audience is meaningful and that their donations - big and small, are what drive you to successfully create and share what you love.

With decentralized membership and Stripe payments, when your audience submits fixed, monthly, or annual payments they’ll pay the exact amount that they want to donate - nothing less, nothing more, and with no fees attached.

memberful stripe partner Memberful is a Stripe partner / Image ©

Plus, many all-in-one offerings charge higher or varying transaction fees that can be up to 240% higher than what you would pay while using a custom solution.

Resilience, continuity, transparency

The distributed nature of decentralized membership systems provides a high degree of resilience. If one plugin or tool fails, the system continues to operate because all other tools will still be running. This ensures uninterrupted service to members and reduces the risk of data loss.

data security dan-nelson Decentralized membership systems provide resilience and security

Transparency is another hallmark of decentralized systems as there are numerous platforms storing data and so the program is not dictated by one 'source of truth'. Increased transparency can improve trust in a membership program, especially when used with well-known and trusted third-party integrations. It allows members to see how their data is being handled, which can enhance their sense of control and ownership, leading to increased loyalty and engagement with the program.

Customization over convenience

One of the biggest arguments for moving towards all-in-one membership tools is the convenience of being able to focus on your craft without having to worry about features - but at what cost does that convenience come?

Customization offers a personalized experience, tailored to individual needs and preferences, increasing satisfaction and engagement. While convenience provides ease and speed, it often delivers a one-size-fits-all solution. Customization, by contrast, reflects an understanding of unique customer identities, fostering a deeper connection and loyalty.

customization chris-montgomery Customization reflects a better understanding of customers, fostering a deeper connection

As your business grows so does your audience; your best bet is to choose a solution that will grow with them, and most often that solution is one that you can grow yourself.

Conclusion: The perks of decentralized membership software

Decentralized software has emerged as a powerful solution for membership programs. This technology brings numerous benefits, from enhanced security and privacy, to increased transparency and user control, to better branding.

How will you take advantage of decentralized software to monetize your membership?

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