aMember has been around longer than most membership software programs. At first glance, you would assume that it would also be the best. While it does get high marks in many categories, there are still some defects that keep it from dominating the marketplace. With the release of aMember 4.0 a number of changes were made and many of the past issues were addressed. Overall, it is a much better product than the previous version. Here is a closer look at some of the most notable benefits and drawbacks to using aMember as your WordPress membership software.
Benefits of aMember for WordPress Membership Sites
Quality Content Protection
When it comes to overall content protection, aMember is definitely towards the top of the list. One of the biggest issues that many WordPress membership plugins have is that the content is protected exclusively through the WordPress framework. This means that if a member copied a link to a PDF file and shared it with others, then it would be readily accessible to everyone. By entering the direct URL to the PDF, the protections setup within WordPress has been bypassed. aMember allows you to protect files at the folder level. This ensures that entering the direct link will not leak access to protected documents or posts.
One area where aMember excels is in its customer support. They have a very active community forum. Not only will other aMember users help you solve your problem, but the aMember staff always seems to be helping out as well. On top of the forum, they have also become well known for fast response times. In fact, they will even do your initial aMember install for you at no cost.
Easy to Expand and Customize Your Website Through Plugins
An issue that many membership site scripts have is that they don’t always play nice with other WordPress plugins. This is especially true if they aren’t designed specifically for WordPress. As a result, a number of membership site plugins designed specifically for WordPress have become very popular, such as the Magic Members plugin. For stand-alone membership software, aMember might be the most WordPress compatible in terms of working well with other plugins. This is largely because the entire program is scripted almost entirely in PHP.
Potential Drawbacks of aMember to Keep in Mind
aMember Have a Very High Learning Curve
The most common complaint surrounding aMember is that it is definitely not easy to use straight out of the box. As one of the more mature membership software’s, it has added a large number of features over the years. The end result is a fairly complex program. Once you get used to it, aMember is fairly easy use. At the same time, if you don’t have the extra time to really learn how the software works, then you can run into trouble.
Extra Integration Plugins Can Get Expensive
There are a growing number of plugins that have been developed by aMember that allows it to be integrated with a number of other 3rd party tools. These include: eFront, Invision Board, MyBB, SMF, phpBB3, and vBulletin among others. The problem is that each of these plugins has a price tag of $40.00. This can get expensive really quick, especially when you add in the license fee of $179.95.
Low Quality Affiliate Program
While aMember does offer a built –in affiliate management solution, there is still a lot to be desired. In fact, they even sell a plugin that integrates PostAffiliatePro to use instead of their own affiliate solution. While it can get the job done, it definitely doesn’t look good doing it. If you are serious about recruiting affiliates, then you will likely need to add a 3rd party solution.
Overall, aMember is everything you expect from membership software that has been around for more than a decade. It has a lot of features, is extremely stable, and overall is a quality solution. At the same time, some of the deficiencies are becoming even more glaring as newer WordPress management site plugins are quickly gaining traction and proving to be on-par with aMember in most aspects – especially if you are looking for a solution specifically for a WordPress website.