GigaOM Pro launches on WordPress and BuddyPress

2009 is the year of BuddyPress. It’s also the year where online content providers have to figure out how to make money outside of the flailing “get a lot of views, sell ads” model. For the past couple of months, I’ve been working on a project that tackles both of those things, and I’m really proud to present it to the world:

GigaOM Pro is a WordPress/BuddyPress-powered premium research membership site, focused on four initial verticals: Mobile, Green IT, Infrastructure, and the Connected Consumer. A network of independent analysts provide in-depth research papers and research notes, which subscribers can view on the site or download as PDF documents. GigaOM Network contributors provide “long view” posts — topic-focused long form posts. And each of the topic verticals has a curator who provides weekly updates on the topic, as well as a constant stream of curated links to relevant external stories. Subscribers can access all the content, comment on the content, have a profile on the site, and send messages to Analysts, Contributors, Curators, or other subscribers using the BuddyPress messaging system.

Here’s what it looks like:

GigaOM Pro home page

GigaOM Pro home page

The content is incredibly compelling. I’ve been especially impressed with the quality of the Long View posts. More than once when developing the site I would get distracted by one of these pieces and have to read the whole thing. The GigaOM writing staff and the analyst network are very talented people, and I think that $79 a year is a steal for this calibre of hyper-focused content and this sort of access to industry analysts.

From a technical perspective, it was interesting to create a site with such distinct content types. The Write screen for Curated Links looks nothing like the Write screen for Weekly Updates, or Research Briefs. The system makes heavy use of the category system, and custom WP_Query objects and loops. category__not_in, category__and and post__not_in are very powerful tools for getting the correct entries from the system.

Naturally, there are no core WordPress hacks — everything is implemented through plugins and the custom theme!

Let me know what you think. And don’t subscribe — I put in a lowball prediction in the internal betting pool for how many subscribers there are in the first week, and I think I’m going to lose. :-)

192 thoughts on “GigaOM Pro launches on WordPress and BuddyPress

  1. Ray says:

    Nice site!
    What plugins are you using?

    Off the top of my head, looks like you changed the category slug to “topic”.

  2. A lot of it is custom, Ray. Changing the category slug is a core WordPress feature, but I’m using custom code to “collapse” the topics, so that it is /topic/mobile/ instead of /topic/topics/mobile/ (as the topics are in an “organizing” parent category). Also, custom URLs for the archives.

    Pretty URLs for archive “intersections” (e.g. Weekly Reviews that are in the Mobile topic) are also custom.

  3. SamSeaborn says:

    Hi. Are you using Flutter or some other plugin or custom code for the different write screens. And do you use additional post_types or simply customized additional input screens? Good stuff, that’s not easy to do in WP, I suppose.

  4. Great work. A lot of people have had their eye on BuddyPress for as long as it has been in development and it is great to see a site like this out there!

  5. alwaysabounding says:

    This is a very interesting business model. I will be watching with interest to see how this goes. I hope you’ll update us soon.

  6. Awesome! Thanks for sharing the news and I hope this gets more and more popular. What interests me the most is the way the topics have been classified and the variety of coverage. Good work!

  7. iamcracks says:

    Hey Mark. Care to share how exactly you do this …. “I’m using custom code to “collapse” the topics”.

    I have seen a few different options to do just this, but am curious as to what you think the best method is..?

  8. Buddypress is certainly a wave to follow while the surf’s up. I’ve been thinking about trying an installation and this might have just convinced me.

  9. Are you using Flutter or some other plugin or custom code for the different write screens.

    Using Flutter, but with huge parts of it disabled or modified.

    Hey Mark. Care to share how exactly you do this …. “I’m using custom code to “collapse” the topics”.

    We’re just using custom functions to generate the links, because we’re also doing things like topic/type intersections. A little known fact is that WordPress pretty much ignores the “parent” categories. So if you have /categories/food/sandwiches/monte-cristo/, you could just point to /categories/monte-cristo/

    But on my personal site, I’m using this to collapse categories and still use the WP category link functions.

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  11. Great Site, Good to see more and more professionally developed WordPress/Buddypress websites coming into existence.

    Thank You very muck.

  12. Hi Mark,

    great work on GigaOM.

    There’s been a bit of a challenge thrown down to you on the BuddyPress forums:

    How have you managed to make sign up / login work for an email address rather insisting on a username?

    Would love to be able to do that for a site we are developing: http://www.helloecoliving.com

    Any pointers you can provide?

    Thanks in advance, Roger

  13. What did you use for the subscription process / payment process? Is that a customization of an existing module or a whole new one?

    Do any of your custom modules integrate with wpmudev plugins (if so which)?

    • I’m also desperate to know how you made the subscription process work with buddypress.

      This is a huge missing puzzle piece for many of us wanting to use buddypress for a pro subscription membership site.

  14. Peter says:

    Yeah! I would be interested to know as well how you changed the login to the email rather a username.

    I would also like to know how you implemented your payment process? As far as I know amember does not work with buddypress… or does it now?

  15. I’m definitely interested to know how the payment processing works. I have been desperately trying to figure out some sort of payment system with Buddy Press. I am trying to set up a Buddy Press site that has a free membership level and then a paid level that gives access to premium content. Great job with the site!

  16. Great work. A lot of people have had their eye on BuddyPress for as long as it has been in development and it is great to see a site like this out there!

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