Jump to content

Member areas: manual account creation / require approval

Recommended Posts

12 hours ago, jai.cheswick said:

Yes I discovered that anyone can sign in the hard way, creating a members area for survivors of assault to find that an abuser had become a member. 

It didn't seem appropriate to 'like' your post, but I do sympathise. It's a stark reminder, if one were needed. I hope that others realise this before they use any membership products. 

Edited by paul2009

Improve your online store with our extensions.
About: Squarespace Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, appreciation and great design ♥.
Work: Squarespace Developer and founder of SF Digital, building the features Squarespace didn't include™.
Content: Links in my posts may refer to SF Digital products or may be affiliate links.

Buy me a coffee

Link to comment
12 hours ago, jai.cheswick said:

Yes I discovered that anyone can sign in the hard way, creating a members area for survivors of assault to find that an abuser had become a member. 
So that was very quickly the end of that members area. 
In other words there is a safety issue fir other members if someone ‘off the street’ can simply join up. 

Holy crap that's worrying. Really sorry to hear that!

If my answers have helped you, please drop a like and mark my answer as best to help other users find solutions quickly. Some links may be affiliate/referral links.

You can also thank me by buying me a coffee .

Squarespace Tips & Tricks: @squareskills (Youtube 📺 Tutorials - Resource site coming soon)

Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...
2 minutes ago, RuralGoneUrban said:

To clarify - there is no way to cap, or limit - the number of members in any area, correct?

Correct.

Improve your online store with our extensions.
About: Squarespace Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, appreciation and great design ♥.
Work: Squarespace Developer and founder of SF Digital, building the features Squarespace didn't include™.
Content: Links in my posts may refer to SF Digital products or may be affiliate links.

Buy me a coffee

Link to comment
  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I need this feature as well. I just paid for and published a private member area that I later learned anyone can become a member of.

For squarespace: While I'm grateful for the release, being clear about these constraints would have been helpful, warranted even. A "member area" implies privacy or exclusivity, if it's not it's just another space. So I'd recommend prioritizing the product roadmap to address this immediately or rename the feature to "Subscription area".

Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...

I can't believe I just paid $108.00 for this useless feature. I could have simply kept some pages unlinked. The amount of basic features this lacks is ridiculous. 

I have even tried everything and the landing page doesn't even show up. What a waste of money. 

Link to comment
1 hour ago, Camila said:

I can't believe I just paid $108.00 for this useless [Member Areas] feature.

Squarespace will issue you with a full refund automatically on annual subscriptions that are canceled within 14 days of the initial subscription. Take a look in Settings > Billing > Subscriptions > Member Areas.

 

Improve your online store with our extensions.
About: Squarespace Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, appreciation and great design ♥.
Work: Squarespace Developer and founder of SF Digital, building the features Squarespace didn't include™.
Content: Links in my posts may refer to SF Digital products or may be affiliate links.

Buy me a coffee

Link to comment

I currently have to clients interested in member areas and both want the ability to self manage members.

I have contacted Squarespace support and they have said: Our development team hasn't indicated whether they'll be making any changes to this, but we do receive requests like this pretty often, and I definitely understand that it'd be helpful and logical to have this option available on our platform. With this being the case, I've already submitted your feedback directly to our development team on your behalf. While we can't guarantee implementation of all requested features, your feedback will genuinely be reviewed by our product managers.

I'm not sure what that means, doesn't sound like it is on the roadmap in any form.

The Support team recommended setting up a password protected page that contains the Member area signup form. My client can then pass this page and password on to new clients for them to signup themselves.

Sounds like it will work but is not ideal. I will have to tell this to both clients and let them know this will probably not be changing. I will also have to suggest we look at Member space as an option.

I hate doing this to clients when I try so hard to sell Squarespace as Everything to sell anything and then have to explain this is not the case.

 

 

 

Link to comment

I have been on SS for several years, and tried the member area last year with a group. While it satisfied my need for a "protected content area"  to connect my members to my new weekly content, it is far from secure. I solved that issue with BookFunnel and share chapters of books securely with members of my group. My question: I was tired of SS Member area's limitations and I tested another platform last month with a new group and members have already paid for the year. I want to move them back into SS member area now that I have a solution for content security. How do I get them into a new SS member area now? There has to be a way to bring them in with a clickable invitation link without requiring payment, right? I love the aesthetic of Squarespace, but this member feature requires me to add several things to make it work. 

Link to comment
5 minutes ago, kathy.donchak said:

There has to be a way to bring [my members] in with a clickable invitation link.

You can send them the 'join' link that will allow them to create their own account and join the member area. If some members have already paid (via another method) you may want to provide them with a discount code so that they can join without paying again.

8 minutes ago, kathy.donchak said:

it is far from secure

I assume your comments about security refer to the known issue about files that have been uploaded (like PDFs), is that right?

Improve your online store with our extensions.
About: Squarespace Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, appreciation and great design ♥.
Work: Squarespace Developer and founder of SF Digital, building the features Squarespace didn't include™.
Content: Links in my posts may refer to SF Digital products or may be affiliate links.

Buy me a coffee

Link to comment

Thank you, Paul. That makes sense about the discount and join link. Yes, the known issue of pdf's being able to be shared and downloaded. I am a former publisher, who now runs small writing and publishing groups. The challenge has always been this way with content. Last year I had issues with members joining and downloading content and leaving right away, so I decided to release the content each week and update the eBook as we move through the season or year. Book Funnel allows me to share the files with only those I designate. I don't do this with all of my content, but for workbooks, guides and nonfiction eBooks it is necessary.

Thanks for answering me - I really do appreciate it!

Kathy

Link to comment

In case you are curious - the reason I find it necessary to control access to excerpts and manuscripts is the ability of users to download and translate my content into other languages and sell it elsewhere. This is a big problem in publishing. Digital rights management for indie publishers is challenging, but this extra step makes it more difficult for others to take the content - especially when you label it as an excerpt or galley proof and assign an ISBN.

Link to comment
18 minutes ago, kathy.donchak said:

The reason I find it necessary to control access to excerpts and manuscripts is the ability of users to download and translate my content into other languages and sell it elsewhere. This is a big problem in publishing.

Thanks for the additional information. I completely understand because copyright theft is a huge problem in software development too. 🥲

Improve your online store with our extensions.
About: Squarespace Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, appreciation and great design ♥.
Work: Squarespace Developer and founder of SF Digital, building the features Squarespace didn't include™.
Content: Links in my posts may refer to SF Digital products or may be affiliate links.

Buy me a coffee

Link to comment

I wonder if you could use a similar process to protect your intellectual property? Downloading code in a book verses online, with an ISBN and DRM attached? I have helped friends in other fields use publishing as a way to prove their work. For example, a song writer who published her songs as poetry with an ISBN. A designer published his side hustle drawings before taking a new assignment to be clear about work product and ownership. I don't know your field but would be happy to share anything I know if it's helpful. Publishing is about ownership, but delivery (distribution and sales) is not necessary to catalog intellectual property.😊

Link to comment
  • 1 month later...

Hi all, joining this conversation as a client has asked to be able to vet Members for approval before they have access to her content; she is trying to protect artwork from pirates. I'm just wondering if custom code works on Member areas lock screens/sign up screens since I've never tried this before. For example, could you use JS to replace the "Join" buttons/links so that they redirect to a contact form? Then, once you approve a member, they can actually join only if you send them a direct link (because you've redirected all other instances of that link showing up on the site)?

I've done this for clients on Circle.so, which is why I wondered if it would work here... but not clear from what's been said whether you can use custom code in member areas, and I've never tried!

Link to comment
7 minutes ago, Inscape said:

they can actually join only if you send them a direct link

Ugh, responding to my own question... just realized that (assuming everything else I mentioned could be accomplished) once you've shared the sign up link with approved members, they could "illegally" share it with unapproved parties, so this is not a complete solution either. Thwarted. Really just need an option to require member approval before granting access.

Link to comment

There are so many important requests in this thread regarding the members area, I have a few to add of my own. I would not have signed up for this service had I known of the many limitations to this feature before becoming mired in its problems.

As many have pointed out, not only is there no way to "approve" members as they sign up, but the various Profile types SquareSpace currently creates for the different ways a visitor interacts with your site cannot be manually managed or merged— though a visitor accessing these different site functions runs into ample opportunity to put themselves on the wrong path. 

For example:

I have a Members Area that is gated with a subscription price. If you click Join through this Members Area portal you will create a Member Account (along with a member profile and subscriber profile.) However, if a visitor clicks Sign In, below the Join button that following credentials window includes a footer that invites someone to "Create an Account". Despite the fact this visitor arrived here through the Members Portal, they will not create a Member or Subscriber account/profile, if they click this"Create an Account" link . They will instead create a Customer account. Which does not give them any access to the member/subscriber content, and site operators cannot edit on their behalf.

These paths are further complicated by putting a LogIn button in your primary Nav. One would want to do this to give already subscribed members a way to log in without going through the Sign Up page. (saving a click.) One would also want to do this if you have selected the option for Members Only Navigation Links to appear in the Members Panel— why? Because "Account" is what the Log In button changes to upon login and the members panel only appears when someone clicks "Account" from the main nav. While you can remove this login option from the main nav, that means having to opt for members area navigation options that either replace the public nav, or do not appear at all. Obviously this is an issue for anyone who needs their public nav to be permanently available to visitors whether or not they are logged in members.

Some simple solves for this that should be implemented ASAP:

1) Just allow site operators to edit user profiles. If we can set customer accounts to member/subscriber accounts as well, problem solved. We can correct user errors made because of complicated UXD on the back end.

2) Divorce the option to create a Customer Account from the path to creating a Member/Subscriber account. The user does not know or care the difference. Keeping these separate removes the opportunity for user error.

3) Create another Member Area Navigation display option that is not dependant on having turned on the Account Login in navigation option such as appending the current Public Navigation with additional Member Navigation links rather than replacing it so that users do not have to rely on the Login/ Account link in nav to access Members Area content through the Members Panel— this option would eliminate theLoginIn link from the nav to avoid further user errors with account creation.

4) Ensure the Members Area Sign In page is far more editable / customizable than it currently is would also provide users with some options for working around these constraints.

Further to these issues, current documentation leaves it very unclear as to how Subscriber/Member profiles differ. 

Until at least one of these is implemented the Members Area features are costing me an excess of time. In the mean time I can only hope user: tuanphan finds this post and offers to take a look at some of my currently clumsy CSS workarounds.

Edited by newing
Link to comment

Member areas is a great idea, but still has a few annoying shortcomings, many already raised in the above comments. One of the issues is vetting who can join as a member. I thought I'd share how we worked around this for one client who had a free member area, but wanted to only have invited people join. It's a little clunky, but it works on a small scale for free memberships.

First up, we grabbed the 'join' button html (using the browser inspect tool), then hide the 'join' button in the settings for 'Access Denied Screen' to stop folks signing up at all. Your 'Access Denied' page will now just have a sign in button.

Next create a password protected page, and using the code block add your html 'join' button. This is the page you will use to add new members yourself, since they can't add themselves.

<button class="sqs-editable-button sqs-button-element--primary join-button " onclick="UserAccountApi.joinMemberArea('621abd3953ae2d1f97886268', null, window.location.pathname, false, 'MEMBER_AREA_ACCESS_PAGE')">
            Add new Member
          </button>

As you can't add a new member if you are already logged in as a member, you must sign out first. I added a link to the account to sign out:

/account/member-areas

 I also made that sign out link open in a new tab so I could easily hop back to my sign up page. Attempting to speed up the clunky process 🙂

Create a form on a public page of your site inviting people to apply for membership (or you could just do this with a personal email invite as we did). Anyway, you want to get their full name and email address, and any other details that help you decide to extend a free membership to them. With that info you can simply use your private sign up page (only you have access to), and create a password for them. 

To manage this process, I have spreadsheet with the invitees details, and I make up the password here before I use the sign up form. And moments before I sign them up, I email them their password. The email might look like this:

Hi Jane

You have been given free access to https://www.somewebsite.com/secretmemberarea. 
Use your email address jane@gmailish.com and this password: ABC27619*h

Regards
Simon

Squarespace will automatically send the new member an email as soon as you add them on your sign up page, so send your personal email (above) just before you create their new account. You should also edit the Squarespace email so it makes sense too. That email only has a button link to sign in and no password (that's why you have to personally email them the password). Of course they can reset their password in the sign in box.

While site guests cannot join, they will need a sign in. So we enabled a sign in link in the main site menu (which is just a link to the 'member area home page' you'd already have created).

That's the hack. I do hope Squarespace improve on the current membership system. As a developer, it's just not that hard to do, so I don't know why they haven't done it yet. Hmmm.

P.S. One last shared experience. We tried one of the 'plug in' memberships systems someone was promoting here as a solution. It's easy to setup and use, but it's dead easy to bypass if you want to look at any of your 'hidden' page content using your browser code inspection tool, which reveals all the html and links 😞

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

What a mess... I just discovered what all of you have been discussing... anyone can sign-up. There is no distinction between members & non-members. Worse, if I'd like to collect additional info on my newly "signed-up" anyone, I cannot do so with a custom form attached to this sign-up form. And there's more (it gets worse from here)... but I'll leave the rest of my rant for another post!

 

Link to comment
On 3/11/2022 at 10:48 AM, simon said:

Member areas is a great idea, but still has a few annoying shortcomings, many already raised in the above comments. One of the issues is vetting who can join as a member. I thought I'd share how we worked around this for one client who had a free member area, but wanted to only have invited people join. It's a little clunky, but it works on a small scale for free memberships.

First up, we grabbed the 'join' button html (using the browser inspect tool), then hide the 'join' button in the settings for 'Access Denied Screen' to stop folks signing up at all. Your 'Access Denied' page will now just have a sign in button.

Next create a password protected page, and using the code block add your html 'join' button. This is the page you will use to add new members yourself, since they can't add themselves.

<button class="sqs-editable-button sqs-button-element--primary join-button " onclick="UserAccountApi.joinMemberArea('621abd3953ae2d1f97886268', null, window.location.pathname, false, 'MEMBER_AREA_ACCESS_PAGE')">
            Add new Member
          </button>

As you can't add a new member if you are already logged in as a member, you must sign out first. I added a link to the account to sign out:

/account/member-areas

 I also made that sign out link open in a new tab so I could easily hop back to my sign up page. Attempting to speed up the clunky process 🙂

Create a form on a public page of your site inviting people to apply for membership (or you could just do this with a personal email invite as we did). Anyway, you want to get their full name and email address, and any other details that help you decide to extend a free membership to them. With that info you can simply use your private sign up page (only you have access to), and create a password for them. 

To manage this process, I have spreadsheet with the invitees details, and I make up the password here before I use the sign up form. And moments before I sign them up, I email them their password. The email might look like this:

Hi Jane

You have been given free access to https://www.somewebsite.com/secretmemberarea. 
Use your email address jane@gmailish.com and this password: ABC27619*h

Regards
Simon

Squarespace will automatically send the new member an email as soon as you add them on your sign up page, so send your personal email (above) just before you create their new account. You should also edit the Squarespace email so it makes sense too. That email only has a button link to sign in and no password (that's why you have to personally email them the password). Of course they can reset their password in the sign in box.

While site guests cannot join, they will need a sign in. So we enabled a sign in link in the main site menu (which is just a link to the 'member area home page' you'd already have created).

That's the hack. I do hope Squarespace improve on the current membership system. As a developer, it's just not that hard to do, so I don't know why they haven't done it yet. Hmmm.

P.S. One last shared experience. We tried one of the 'plug in' memberships systems someone was promoting here as a solution. It's easy to setup and use, but it's dead easy to bypass if you want to look at any of your 'hidden' page content using your browser code inspection tool, which reveals all the html and links 😞

Great work around! Thank you for that, super useful 🙂

I am hoping the Squarespace dev team see this and implement some updates based on your workflow and advice. It's also good to hear your thoughts point from a developers point of view.


 

Edited by Brent_Dickens
Link to comment

This inability to moderate or approve members is an endlessly frustrating aspect of Member Areas, and really defeats the entire purpose. At this point, I've tried multiple solutions for various clients:

  • The MemberSpace workaround (avoiding Member Areas entirely and protecting content via MemberSpace, along with the separate subscription): this is okay as far as it goes, but it requires a fair amount of additional setup and adds an additional cost (minimum is $29/month). I'd say it's worth it for membership management absent a fully-fledged CRM or something like that, but the bite they take out credit card transactions is also substantial.
  • The password protected "join" option (user fills out form > human admin sends email with URL and password to password-protected Join page > they join a free Member Area): this is super clunky and inherently not that secure. It's also expensive ($108/year minimum) and is inherently geared toward a transactional, commerce-based relationship which is almost never what my clients want to use this for.
  • The good old-fashioned password protected page (does what it says on the tin): fine as far as it goes, but there's no way to maintain security or keep folks from sharing the password; if you change the password you have to update all your "users" and invariably this adds either a lot of administrative headache (people lose the password, can't access things, etc) or detracts substantially from any ability to secure data or access.

My verdict is that these are all pretty bad solutions, especially if - as is often the case - you're trying to add something like a private directory via Community Box or other user-modifiable information. I really hope Squarespace gets it together on this front and realizes that a "Member Area" is inherently about community, and as such, requires the ability to set, maintain, and enforce community guidelines, standards, and access.

Link to comment
7 minutes ago, Katie.e.clark said:

This inability to moderate or approve members is an endlessly frustrating aspect of Member Areas, and really defeats the entire purpose. My verdict is that [workarounds] are all pretty bad solutions.

I really hope Squarespace gets it together on this front

I couldn't agree more Katie.

Users need to realise that the "hide the join button" workaround is not secure.

Improve your online store with our extensions.
About: Squarespace Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, appreciation and great design ♥.
Work: Squarespace Developer and founder of SF Digital, building the features Squarespace didn't include™.
Content: Links in my posts may refer to SF Digital products or may be affiliate links.

Buy me a coffee

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

×
×
  • Create New...

Squarespace Webinars

Free online sessions where you’ll learn the basics and refine your Squarespace skills.

Hire a Designer

Stand out online with the help of an experienced designer or developer.