There’s always something to howl about

Digital Access Pass: A Membership Site/CRM

I have–as a lot of people know–been searching high and low for a workable CRM for my business. I miss desperately the easy fun that was ACT 6.0, and hated every version after that.

I tried Highrise, but it lacked “activity serieses” at the time, schedule once, do often.   I tried HEAP, and while it has suitable features, a great developer and a good ethos, the interface was not one I could think of.

Infusionsoft was an utter rip-off.  Staffed by the same types that brought Option Arms to all of the west with nonchalance, Infusionsoft was expensive, it has a bad interface, and worst of all, you have to adopt to it.  In 20 months of being self employed, Infusionsoft was the only thing that made me feel like somebody’s bitch.  The sales staff lied about its capacity “out of the box,” and the employees that ran it wanted to teach me something about being an entreprenuer, condescendingly selling me coaching.

Still, I think that the $700 I spent was worth it just to learn some slight of hand.  The marketing was so good, so emotionally connecting that I believed, despite evidence to the contrary that they cared.   So, the lesson learned was hire a copywriter so good that you feel happy to have been ripped off, and hopeful despite evidence to the contrary.

I’ve been playing with a lot of membership site software.  And, on Twitter, a tweet about WP-Wishlist got a clever guy following me, the developer of a piece of software called Digital Access Pass. DAP is not without its flaws.  It’s not yet perfect.   But, the structure and the thought behind it is, and it’s going to power a large bit of my customer service for the foreseeable future.

Dap sees things as “product” oriented.  Each product has a group of files and emails that are sequentially released to the customer at an arbitrary interval.  Day 1, email one, file one.  Day 2, email 2, file two.  Etc.

I emailed Ravi, and suggested one feature: that the “emails” that go out can be sent to an arbitrary address, defined on each one.  He wanted to know why: simple: with filters, you can use that as reminders.  So now, if you get a lead you can demonstrate how well you do with dap.   He made the change the same day I pinged him, and has been nothing but a joy to deal with.  (Full disclosure: he has comped me something or other, at some point, yet that has nothing to do with why DAP rocks.)

Put someone into Dap and whatever 8×8 or 12×2 can be expressed automatically. A combination of emails and reminders for you to call can be sent.  With a little elbow grease, you can generate a TODO list or whatever.

The other part is this: you control it.  100%.  It’s not “pay as you go,” it’s “put a script on your server, and then have a SQL database.”   You can also email Ravi and get him to make changes.  It seems that about every 3 weeks he’s adding features and simplifying things.

If your model includes selling anything on the Web, and if you want a way to educate your people, try DAP.  It says “membership site,” but I’m using it as a CRM.   I’ll let you know how I do.  It’s $167, and Ravi will have your back when stuff blows up.

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    11 Comments so far

    1. Matt October 12th, 2009 5:51 am

      I’ve been playing with DAP for about a year now and launched a membership site/protected products early this year with it protecting pages, documents and videos (now Amazona S3 hosted files/videos too). My affiliate ID is 8, if that says anything to how long I’ve had it.

      I feel compelled to comment because I’ve seen it grow from the basics to where it is now. Ravi’s support is amazing and if you ask questions or ideas he’ll incorporate it quickly or put it on a list for the next major release. I’ve got much more in support time than I paid for the product.

      Anyhow, I am very curious to hear how you’re using it as CRM. Or, are you using it as a content responder for your customers?

    2. Chris Johnson October 12th, 2009 6:01 am


      Matt–I pinged RAVI about the new 3.2 content responder feature–look at the fact that you can now send emails to a SEPERATE address than the user.


      Day 1: User gets email.
      Day 8: I get reminder to call user.

      That gets the core of a CRM. At some point that feature may evolve to a “todo” list, but in the mean time, it’s a smokin’ feature.

      The knock on DAP is it takes something to learn. You can see how the structure works from the get go.

      Ravi’s support is insane, also. I was skyping him at 10:30 est. last night.

    3. Matt October 12th, 2009 6:48 am

      Thanks for the tip. I haven’t looked closely at the new features yet. I like that idea because now I can get a reminder to send a personal ‘thank you’ email a couple days after someone signs up or, as you say, a reminder to call, etc. That’s nice.

      I’ve spent a few weekends going back and forth with Ravi with dozens of support tickets clearing up questions and helping me through my blocks. Yes, I agree his support is insane. I wish more software providers listened as well to their customers as he does.

    4. Robert Worthington October 12th, 2009 7:51 am

      Chris, I have a post about crm’s as well. I like Ravi already seen as his model seems to be simple yet effective.

    5. Brian Brady October 12th, 2009 9:00 am

      “In 20 months of being self employed, Infusionsoft was the only thing that made me feel like somebody’s bitch.”

      I was thoroughly disappointed with this huckster cult. Fortunately, I emancipated myself after two months.

    6. Genuine Chris Johnson October 12th, 2009 9:31 am

      It was the condescension that was the worst about infusion soft.

    7. Greg Swann October 12th, 2009 10:04 am

      I don’t mean to rain on your parade, dudes, but it’s going to be Whatever defects you might cite, it’s the developer universe that’s going to make all the difference. The smart play for a vendor interested in Realtor/Lender CRM is to get busy in the SalesForce after-market now. Ten percent of a million punters is 100,000 x $29 x 12 is $35 million in gross receipts per annum.

    8. Benjamin Ficker October 12th, 2009 11:45 am

      Last time we talked, you were getting ready to sign up with Are you using it now? What has your experience been so far? (Maybe an idea for an upcoming post…)

    9. Greg Swann October 12th, 2009 6:16 pm

      > Last time we talked, you were getting ready to sign up with Are you using it now?

      Not yet. November or December. We’re integrating a lot of new stuff, and we try to iron out all the wrinkles as we go. Salesforce is going to take some time to work out.

    10. Brett Meade October 13th, 2009 3:11 pm

      When you get a chance to get up and running I’d love to see a post on how it’s working for you Greg.

    11. Matt October 13th, 2009 5:28 pm

      Have you checked out SendPepper? As I said, I use DAP for a membership site and to protect pay content. However, I use SendPepper for email and marketing.

      One thing, of many, that’s nice about SendPepper is they have an IGoogle Gadget and an IPhone application that allows you to see who is visiting your site and what pages they’re on. So, if John Smith is on your site you can email him or call him and ask him what he’s searching for, etc. I can click right on my phone and do this if I’m in the mall or sitting at my desk. It’s funny to see people that have been across many of my different sites.

      It’s not necessarily a CRM but a marketing system, similar to Infusion, without the cost, difficulty or attitude. I’ve been running the Habenero package since May and find it more than enough for now. Here’s the price comparison page, SendPepper. (Hopefully this won’t end up as spam from the link) You can see the different package options and try it out for 15 days without entering a credit card to see how everything works.
      It’s not CRM but an online and offline marketing package.