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SocialEngine 4.1 BETA Released with Membership Billing Features

Good news everyone. We’ve finished developing the SE 4.1 BETA – a major update that I know many of you have been awaiting eagerly. SE 4.1 introduces an interesting new way to help you monetize your community. We know that monetizing traffic on niche social websites can take some work, especially with advertising-based methods, so we’ve decided to build in some tools that offer alternatives to those of you who would prefer to monetize your community without (or in addition to) advertising.

The key feature addition in this new version is membership billing, which allows you to charge users for access to your social network. We designed the billing system to accommodate most basic pay-for-access billing models, including options to charge users either a one-time fee or recurring monthly/yearly fees for access. Please keep in mind that this release is a BETA version and a full 4.1.1 version will be released in two weeks. To those of you who are eager to add membership billing or are currently dealing with a bug, we suggest that you upgrade to the 4.1 BETA. We highly suggest that you setup and carefully test your membership billing features on a secondary installation of SE before making the changes live to your actual users. If you’re fine with your current installation and don’t see a need to upgrade immediately, we suggest that you wait until the full 4.1.1 release in two weeks.

By default, payments can be processed through either of the two payment gateways we’ve included: 2checkout and PayPal. We know that some of you would prefer to use alternative gateways, and we are considering adding others in the future, but we decided to stick with just these two for the SE 4.1 release to keep development moving quickly. If neither of these gateways are suitable for your community, you’re welcome to modify the source code to add support for an alternative payment gateway. We’ll considering adding support for other gateways in the future, so if you would like to suggest one, please feel free to post a comment with your suggestion. Those of you who are developing third-party addons for SocialEngine might consider building and selling your own modules that add support for alternative gateways.

If you decide to add membership billing to your community, we suggest you enable payments through 2Checkout first. The 2checkout gateway supports payments from more countries and offers excellent personal service to SE clients – they also give users the option to pay via PayPal if they wish. 2checkout charges a $10.99 monthly account fee, but we’ve partnered with them to waive the first month fee for SocialEngine clients. Visit 2checkout’s SocialEngine page to sign up. To ensure that your first free month with 2checkout (a $10.99 value!), visit www.2checkout.com, click SIGN UP NOW, complete the application, and then enter the promo code se2co11 into the promo code field to take advantage of this special offer today! If you would prefer to use PayPal instead of 2checkout and don’t yet have an account, you can create one at PayPal’s website.

To those of you who want to add membership billing to your community but feel a bit daunted about the process of setting it up, don’t worry – we’ll be publishing a tutorial in our knowledgebase next week with some step-by-step instructions.

Aside from membership billing, SE 4.1 also includes a variety of bug fixes and minor layout improvements throughout the platform. SE clients can download the new release from our client area. We sincerely hope you all have a good experience with the SE 4.1 BETA, and we look forward to releasing SE 4.1.1 in two weeks.

42 Comments

  1. Jonathan
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    Do you all have a page that shows all the changes so we can see what all is included exactly? THANKS!!!

  2. Steve
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 2:19 am | Permalink

    Do you have the full changelog for the bug fixes and other changes? (I couldn't see it in the tar/zip files) Those of us who have redeveloped our own themes and modules will need to be able to perform a file-by-file comparison. Thanks

  3. Charlotte
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    Each of the modules have a changelog included. For modules, the changelog file can be found in ./settings/changelog.php, or in ./settings/manifest.php or ./manifest.php for all other packages (widgets, libraries, externals, etc). Unfortunately, we don't have all the changes available in one consolidated place.

  4. Posted January 13, 2011 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    Cool. I like it.

  5. Andrew
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    Unable to move file to packages directory. Please set chmod 0777 on the temporary/package/archives directory. -I have done so, but module-core-4.1 won't install for the life of me

  6. Andrew
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    Got it, just manually uploaded to the archives directory and chmodded it. Weird :)

  7. ShivaN
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    Would love if you include Alertpay as payment processor.

  8. Tair
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Great news. If I dont need billing features, is it possible to upgrade only individual modules or does the Core has to be upgraded?

    Thanks.

  9. Dede
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I can not see 4.10 Core changelog anywhere in the package.

  10. Michael
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    I'd also like to see a list of what exactly is changed in this new Beta version. Also, I'd like to suggest an Authorize.net payment gateway option.

  11. Nick
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Brilliant, well done guys.
    ccBill gateway would be handy. 😎
    Don't know if I can wait 2 weeks, I might just have to install the Beta. 😎

  12. Charlotte
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    @Dede – The changelog for the core can be found in the upgrade tar – it's "changelog.html".

    @Tair – Unfortunately, you'll need to update the core to update all the modules.

  13. Peer
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Great!
    But, does 2checkout, paypal or SE4 generate a country-specific fiscal compliant invoice which will also consider the double tax agreements between the different countries?

  14. Osei
    Posted January 13, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    thats really nice but i'd like to see and plugin for u create a way for us to get and api like facebook and those other sites like twitter and myspace

  15. Posted January 13, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    if you add a billing feature i have also to add the possibility to limit some thing for free users like number of video viewing, number of profile, number of photos and number of private message per day, this should be based on users level so for paying users we can offer full and unlimited features.. if you don't do that this billing feature has no sense

  16. Posted January 14, 2011 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Sweet. Excited to see the subscription addition. I was actually looking for a plugin to do this. Features I am looking for that may or may not be considered.

    Ability to give out discount codes that can make a member sign-up for free, get a 10% , 20% or 50% discount while still collecting payment info to help verify the new member is an adult.

    The ability to turn subscription fee on and off globally for a member type and/or level

    The ability to turn off an individual members monthly, yearly, one time fee, even after they join, for avoiding future payments

    Thanks for creating such an amazing way to start my own niche social network. Much appreciate for the time effort and energy you have all dedicated to such a cool idea. Nice way to create a legacy SE team.

    Tap w/u Soon,
    Anthony LoCascio, CEO & Founder
    Danceregister Inc.

  17. David
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Be nice if you include AlertPay in your payment gateway.

  18. Peer
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    @Charlotte

    Can't find any information whether these must-have features are implemented:
    (1) How to cancel a (current) subscription
    (2) Cancelation period (e.g. payment period: every 3 months; cancellation period: one month to the end of each month)
    (3) Fallback to member level upon cancelation to the end of the the last subscrition period
    (4) Mapping of the selected profile type (e.g. student, teacher) within the signup process to a member level (e.g. student -> free ; teacher -> paid)
    (5) Selecting a profile type within the signup process has to subsequently show different subscription plans within the signup process (e.g. student -> free -> don't show subscription plan; teacher -> paid -> show stringently required(!) subscription plan)

    I am looking forward to your reply.

  19. Amando
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I agree totally with Osei F. an API is a must to create a Social Network with todays standards. I vote for it.

  20. Luis
    Posted January 14, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Nice! Do would love to see a better Ads system sometime in the near future!

  21. Posted January 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Glad to see this coming along! Unfortunately I can't see how Transactions/Plans/Subscriptions work in the demo. Would be nice to have screenprints. Maybe I have missed these?
    A membership subs system is really something you need or you don't, its not a 'maybe it would be nice to have' feature. I have to have it. So I cannot upgrade to SE4 until someone produces a system that I can use. I currently use a third party plug in, but that supplier is not upgrading their plug in to SE4 until it sees if it is worth doing following launch of SE's own. I think another third party subs plugin provider is also hanging back for the same reason. So… If SE's own version fails to have some of the basic functions I need, like the ability for admin to manually enter/edit transactions, and no other third party provider decides to do a more featured version, then I am up the creek with both paddles drifting out to sea!

  22. Alper
    Posted January 15, 2011 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Plz add account deactivation option as in facebook instead of deleting the user. Payment system is good but most of the websites does not use it. At least ad this function while modifying membership functions for payment system for us..

  23. Posted January 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I'd like to see CCbill and Verotel gateways added. Paypall and 2co are not compatible with our site.

  24. Posted January 15, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Permalink

    Please please add authorize.net ARB!!!

  25. Al
    Posted January 15, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Hey guys like authorize.net is the biggest you should have started there!

  26. jm
    Posted January 16, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Please add AlertPay. paypal is dinosaur who has the tendency to act like a dictator at times.

  27. Calin
    Posted January 16, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Good work guys but you must to implement the simply stuff like the groups officer that must to have the commands like the owner. Also the messages limit to the group or in private…is very important! We must to have the function to decide the limit of the messages in private and Send message to members group must to be unlimited!

  28. Lea Hayes
    Posted January 16, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Verotel would be fantastic!

  29. pablo
    Posted January 17, 2011 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    This upgrade is good. I think that is important that SE have a option to received notifications to admin whem new user are registed yes?

  30. Posted January 17, 2011 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    is there anywhere that lists out other changes and bug fixes?

  31. Emanuele
    Posted January 17, 2011 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    It would be nice to have a sort of API to manage transactions and payment process to easy implement a custom gateway (on my SE3 actual installaton I developed a custom inegration for my payment gateway) … Good work!

  32. Andre
    Posted January 17, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Custom page for different levels of users to subscribe. Example: If the user try access one page, that only another level have access, show a "Plan Upgrade" web page, not only the message "you do not have access……"

    Tanks :)

  33. Luis
    Posted January 17, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Hi everyone! I already gave my: Nice! comment to the SE team. Well deserved!!!

    While we got what seems to be the 2 standard payment systems now days by a long shot, and I'm happy with just them 2, the rest just want to keep adding more and more payment systems. Your beef!

    I sure would love to see the SE team concentrating on what we (or at least the ones that can't afford to hire a freelance to do what we want or need) on the Ads System.

    Not to let the SE team down, but most of us can't even understand it and some don't even know how it should really work! This is the only "MAIN" item needed right now! It is for me, I don't know about you!

    So wouldn't it be fair and realistic to ask for the much needed mods and plugins to keep SE the best so far?

    Comparing to others and asking for the same functions is not going to solve our needs. Al least not mine, since the software is already a full platform! (need the ads fixed), really!

  34. Tony
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    Any chance that the facebook integration will be improved to a two-way system instead of one-way?

    Specifically it'd be great if members could attach their Facebook account to their Social Engine account, and then if they update on Facebook (new photos, videos, status update, etc) it could publish into their activity stream on Social Engine.

    I believe right now it only goes one-way (i.e. from Social Engine updates to their facebook wall but not back)

  35. Beckie
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Great release, even in beta (best ever) – as it upgraded no problens for the first time ever :)

    One question on the subscription – I've configured it up – but where do users click to subcribe? I think I might be being 'a bit thick' – any pointer would be good.

  36. Dave
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    It would be nice to be able to have ads on the plugin pages like the forums etc such a huge waste of space at the moment.

  37. Cheryl
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Is there anywhere that lists what bug fixes are in 4.1 so that we can determine if we need to upgrade?

    Thanks!

  38. Posted January 19, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    We HAVE problems. After install SE4.1 is :

    1. Advenced-music dont work
    2. Documents iPaper dont work
    3. Video mod still dont work
    4. Photo mod – looks realy bad

    Look
    http://www.chrzescijanie.pl

  39. Stephanie
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I can't get module-core to install either! will there be a remedy for people having this problem?

    Andrew.T – Have you managed to install module-core yet?

  40. Charlotte
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    @Goldix Systems – Those are third-party mods that you'll need to contact the developers about. I believe that there are some third-party mods that are not yet compatible with v4.1, so please double-check with the developers before upgrading.

    @Stephanie – Please report the issue you're having so that we can make sure that the production version (v4.1.1) doesn't have the same problem.

  41. Daniel
    Posted January 21, 2011 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I quote
    "Custom page for different levels of users to subscribe. Example: If the user try access one page, that only another level have access, show a "Plan Upgrade" web page, not only the message "you do not have access……" Tanks :)

    Also be nice to improve IM just like facebook so people could delete conversations, edit their privacy .

  42. Billing payments
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Nice blog, your blog
    is realy nice.

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