[thelist] Protecting a paid membership website from password sharing

David Kaufman david at gigawatt.com
Thu Aug 22 10:18:15 CDT 2013

Hi Bob,

On 8/19/13 3:31 PM, Christopher Marsh wrote:
> If it's worth people sharing an account, they will share regardless of
> what constraints you put in place. By trying too hard to prevent it you'll
> just alienate legitimate users, and hurt your business. An alternative is
> to add analytics that report on whether accounts are actually being
> shared. If they are, introduce shared accounts to your business model -
> making it easier for people to pay to share than cheat. Treat it as an
> opportunity, not a cost.

Strongly agree.  Again, since you haven't explained the nature of the 
site it's hard to be specific but, as Christopher says, think of it as 
an opportunity to monetize your users tendency to share, rather than 
than "preventing them" from sharing.  The carrot could be a feature that 
lets them add users to their account (maybe for free, maybe for a little 
less than they would pay for their own accounts), and the stick could be 
that if they share their passwords instead, the "friends" they let in 
will also be able to make purchases that would be billed to the "sharer".

What kind of site is it?  Is there data in the users account, that they 
might want to share with friends, family, colleagues, etc?



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