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Author: Manuel Lemos

Posted on:

Categories: New site features

The PHP Classes site is launching premium services for PHP developers that use the site.

If you noticed some changes in the site design, that is related with the premium subscriptions.

This article tells all about what are these premium services, what they provide, how you can obtain access to the services and even how you can get free premium subscriptions.




Contents

- Launched premium services for PHP developers

- What are the premium subscriptions?

- Why are paid subscriptions necessary?

- Which premium services are available?

* No advertising
* Own site search
* Recorded searches
* Notable packages
* PHP Specialist forums

- More services to come
- How much does it cost?
- Revenue sharing with the best contributors
- Free subscriptions


- Launched premium services for PHP developers


It is with great pleasure that I announce that the PHP Classes site finally launched the premium services for PHP developers that use the site.

This is something that is being planned since 2001 and it seemed that it would never happen, until 14 months ago I finally started working on it.

In 2002 I decided that I wanted to invest on the PHP Classes site in such way that it could keep developing it and provide all the features that the users were asking.

In practice that means that I needed to turn the PHP Classes into my full time job. That could only happen if I could generate enough revenue to work on the site features without having to share my time with some other job.

Advertising turned to be the main revenue source that kept the site up for all these years. However, putting up with advertising is not what the users want, neither what I want. I am one of you, a PHP developer, but something had to pay the bills. That was the advertising, no matter how much I hate it like everybody else.

The premium subscriptions are the alternative that I found to make this site provide a pleasant user experience and hopefully provide useful features that can help making the life of PHP developers better.

But allow me to give you a closer look of all what this is about.

If you do not have much time or patience to read this article in full, please proceed to the premium subscriptions page to quickly learn all you want to know about this. There are screenshots and even a video that talks about most of what write here.

Only the part about free subscriptions at the end of this article is not mentioned in the premium subscriptions page. So, if you have some time, I think you may appreciate reading the whole article.

http://www.phpclasses.org/premium/


- What are the premium subscriptions?

Basically, users that adhere to premium subscriptions will have access to an additional set of services provided by the PHP Classes site.

These services are made available exclusively to premium subscribers. Premium subscriptions cost a small monthly to the users.


- Why are paid subscriptions necessary?

Well, as I mentioned, the premium subscriptions were planned in 2001, right after the bust of the dot-com bubble. The idea was to implement a means to guarantee the financial viability of the PHP Classes site.

In 2001, the advertising market dried. It was difficult for content sites to survive. It was necessary to find another way to generate revenue.

Then, the PHP Classes site users were asked if they would be willing to pay a small subscription fee for having access to additional site services. They also were asked about what services they would be willing to pay. Several services were suggested, but they would take some time to develop.

Meanwhile, the Internet advertising business started recovering in the end of 2002. Since then the site is sustained only with advertising revenue. The original premium services plan was suspended then.

Advertising has been very important because it guaranteed the site financial viability for all these years.

As I said above, the truth is that most users do not like any advertising all. Many expressed that they would rather pay to not have to deal with advertising when they access the site.

However, many other users would not pay just for the benefit of not seeing advertising. Therefore, it is time to get back to plan A: the premium subscriptions.

All the services require either more infrastructure, I mean more server resources or more bandwidth, as well more time to develop, and more time spent providing support to the users.

Therefore it is not viable to provide the planned services for free to everybody. Since one of the ideas is to remove the ads, the site needs to compensate with another source of revenue.

Charging a small subscription fee is a fair way to provide premium services to the users that want to benefit from them.


- Which premium services are available?

All the services that are made available to premium subscribers are based on suggestions from the users that expressed interest to pay for the services. So, nothing was taken out of the blue.

Users that are really not interested in paying for the premium services, may rest assured that the current site services that are already available for free, will continue to be free.

Actually, more free services will be added later for all users. More premium services will also be developed. Below I will talk more about what is coming next.


* No advertising

As mentioned before, one of the advantages of the premium subscriptions is to not be exposed to advertising.

Nobody likes to put up with advertising. If you do not like advertising, I do not like it better. Unfortunately, advertising is necessary. But sometimes it can be really annoying.

One of the problems of advertising is that it slows down the load and the navigation of the site pages.

Another problem is the fact that advertising distracts the users, making them loose time and the concentration on what they are looking for.

Therefore, the premium subscribers will not see any advertising in the site pages and newsletters.


* Own site search

Currently, the PHP Classes uses a co-branded version of Google search engine to let the users search the site. When the users search for something, they are redirected to a special version of the Google pages. Those pages show the PHP Classes site logo and also some advertising.

We all love Google because it is simply the best for searching the World Wide Web. But when it comes to site specific searches, things could be better.

One of the problems is that Google does not have the notion of what site section each result page belongs. All results appear chunked in a single list, as if all pages are from the same section.

In the PHP Classes premium search pages, the results appear split in tabs according to the site sections that each result page belongs. There may be tabs for packages, blogs, reviews, forums, etc..

Another interesting feature is that the premium search attempts to automatically complete the search keywords as the user types them. It provides sensible suggestions well related to the site context.

It works like this: regularly, the site compiles a list of the top searched keywords in the site. That list is used to make keyword suggestions, as they represent what the users are most likely looking for.

All this is provided with fast user interface based on AJAX. This way, the users do not have to wait for the pages to load while the browser retrieves keyword suggestions from the server, nor when the users clicks on a tab to switch to another page of results.

Additionally, the PHP Classes search engine updates the search index database very frequently.

It knows very well which pages have been updated and when they are changed. So, it also knows which pages have content that needs to be indexed again. This allows the site to provide search results that are more up to date.


* Recorded searches

Sometimes you are very interested on specific topics, for instance, about the iPhone. Usually you want to know everything that is published about those topics.

You could repeat searches for keywords relevant to those topics every day. But that is a tedious task that you would have to repeat for an undetermined period of time until you find something.

The PHP Classes premium subscribers now have a better alternative: the recorded searches.

It works like this: every time you search for something, in the search results page there is a link to record that search. You can choose the keywords and sections of the site to fine tune your search.

The site automatically replays your search periodically. You may choose to repeat your searches every day, or just once a week. If you choose weekly search replays, you can even choose the day of the week that you want your searches to be repeated.

If any new pages are found in the search results that were not found in the previous search replay, the site will send you an e-mail with a list of the new pages.

This way you will not miss a bit about new pages of your interest. At the same time, you will not have to waste your time looking for stuff that matters to you.


* Notable packages

Being notified about new content about only the topics of your interest is great.

However, if you are interested in new packages that do something special, you may not be able to tell the site to notify you when those special packages are published. You simply cannot guess the topics about what they do that makes them special.

The site publishes many packages every week. It takes time to analyze all are the new packages and find which are the ones that do something special.

Premium subscribers no longer have to do that. The moderator that approves new packages already has to analyze them.

If a moderator finds a package that does something special and is worth taking a closer look, he flags that package and adds a comment explaining why he thinks the package is special.

Premium subscribers may receive e-mail alerts when a notable package is published. The list of the latest notable packages is also displayed in the site home page for premium subscribers.


* PHP Specialist forums

The PHP Classes site is great because it provides solutions for many problems in the form of ready to use classes of objects.

However, sometimes you have a difficult problem for which you do not have the necessary knowledge to solve.

Maybe you can solve your problem using an existing class. But you need advice from somebody that is experienced and can provide greater insight.

Maybe you need the help of somebody that can work for you, even if you pay consulting fees .

The PHP Specialist forums are meant to help you getting the assistance you need. These forums are restricted premium subscribers.

Just post a message explaining your problem and wait for somebody to help you. Rest assured that in the beginning at least I will be there to provide help on your difficult problems.

If you are qualified developer you can help replying to questions posted by users seeking help.

If you are willing to provide paid consulting services, the PHP Classes site allows you to announce that you are available.

The announcement appears on the side of every forum message that you post. Users seeking help may click on a link that lets them contact you off the site. This may be a great opportunity for you to get more consulting clients.

To make this more interesting, as explained in the end of this article, the PHP Classes site is giving away free premium subscriptions to all winners and nominees of the PHP innovation award. Usually those are very capable developers that may provide qualified assistance to users that need help.


- More services to come

Well, this is all for now in terms of premium services that are already implemented. More is being planned for the future.

There are some ideas listed here that are being planned.

* Customizable site design themes

* Personalized bookmarks

* New class wish lists

* Other services suggested by the users


- How much does it cost?

Now that you learned about all the services for premium subscribers, you may want to know how much does it cost.

As it was mentioned, it is all being made available for a small fee of USD $5 a month.

The charges of the Internet payment gateways are too high for small payments. Therefore, the site is selling subscriptions of at least 3 months for USD $15.

If you would like to go for a full year subscription, you save 20% of the original fee. It will cost USD $4 a month in average.

The subscriptions are automatically renewed after the end of the subscription period. You can also cancel your subscription if you do not want to renew.

The subscriptions can be paid using a Paypal account. If you do not have a Paypal account or do not want to create one, you can just pay with your credit card.


- Revenue sharing with the best contributors

Finally, I also would like to let you know that if all goes well and premium subscriptions pick up as expected, the PHP Classes site will be sharing its advertising revenue.

The details about revenue sharing plan are not yet decided at this time. However, it is almost certain at least the winners and nominees of the PHP Programming Innovation Award will be the first that will be able to earn money from the upcoming PHP Classes revenue sharing initiative. Other great site contributor users may also take part of the revenue sharing.

So, please do not hesitate in becoming a PHP Classes premium subscriber and help us sharing revenue with many authors that help making this site a wonderful resource to all PHP developers.


- Free subscriptions

Everybody is talking about Web 2.0 as if it is a new thing, but at least the PHP Classes site has been publishing user contributed content since 1999 when it was launched.

This site would not be what it is today if it was not for the users that share their work. I would like to give away free subscriptions to all authors that submitted their work.

Unfortunately that is not viable nor desirable. I am afraid it would attract too many users that would publish packages of doubtful interest just to get free subscriptions.

But I want to be fair and compensate the best contributors for their work and will to share. Therefore, soon I will be contacting at least the winners and nominees of the PHP Programming innovation award to offer them free subscriptions. It is the least I think I should do.

I also will give free subscriptions to other contributors that were never nominated but have made significant contributions. Please be patient while I setup something based on a fair criteria.

Another way to earn a sort of free subscriptions is to become a beta-tester. Beta-testers have practically all the privileges of real premium subscribers.

Hundreds of users applied to become beta-testers. Unfortunately it was not possible to approve all the requests. But the beta-testing will continue for the upcoming features.

If you want to apply, please go to this page and follow the instructions:

http://www.phpclasses.org/beta

I just cannot promise that I will approve most of the sites. But there is a shortcut.

I am sure that some people will not find the current premium services interesting enough to be convinced that they are worth buying.

If you know of any other services that you would the PHP Classes to offer to premium subscribers that would convince you and other reluctant users to pay for, it would be useful to all of us if you could submit a suggestion.

If you have any interesting ideas, you can submit them in several ways: posting a comment to this article in the forums, sending a message going to site contact link mentioned at the bottom of the pages, or go to the beta application page mentioned above and tell about your ideas.


Well, this is all for now. Thank you for the support and for reading this article. If you have further comments, feel free to post a message in this article comments forum.

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Comments:

3. Option/facility to personlize some important pages - Rupom Razzaque (2008-04-17 18:41)
Option/facility to personlize some important pages... - 3 replies
Read the whole comment and replies

4. php classes premium service - Zaya Louis (2008-01-19 07:30)
great service... - 1 reply
Read the whole comment and replies

2. Suggestion - Ken Gregg (2007-07-05 20:02)
RSS Feeds for saved searches... - 1 reply
Read the whole comment and replies

1. Suggestion for Premium service - Steve Diamond (2007-07-05 19:56)
Ability to subscribe to specific classes and/or contributors... - 1 reply
Read the whole comment and replies


Trackbacks:

1. PHPClasses.org: Premium Services Offering (2007-07-05 11:13)
According to this new post on the PHPClasses.org blog today, they’re launching some premium services for the users of the site:...


<< Previous: PHP security exploit ...>> Next: 13 rules to optimize ...

  Blog PHP Classes blog   RSS 1.0 feed RSS 2.0 feed   Blog Launched premium serv...   Post a comment Post a comment   See comments See comments (10)   Trackbacks (1)