s2Member's future

Thanks @Seth78, but @Sonja is right: code stay both in SVN and GitHub (but I miss links to my plugins at GitHub as well, not sure why), thus my confusion, sorry…

I am not tested Gutenberg myself, but having “bad memories” with various other pagebuilders let’s me think that it is not a good idea. I ask tests above, please (if you can) do and tell me results.

I am pretty disappointment that Websharks abandoned the product without every saying so.

According to the linkedin, the CEO Jason Caldwell of Websharks left in June 2017:

And what’s worst is Websharks seemed to be now linked with a few russian employees:

Does anyone has any suggestion on what membership plugin to move to?

There is a topic about this: Click here!

Just for info, I start ThriveCart integration. Hope the very first release will have it.

Please explain how you understand “reliability” in the poll’s answers? I mean in both answers…

Hi, thanks for your job!
In my opinion, the reliability of an online payment process requires intuitive and bug-free payment forms.
The communication between s2Member and payment gateways is really important and must be ultra-secure and bug-free too!

Well right now s2member is often just dropping IPN calls. I’ve activated logging in my s2member account - and it clearly showed that Paypal and Stripe IPN calls arrived, but s2member wrongly decided to just drop them!

This applies - to about 0.05% of all Paypal Transactions. (that is a big annoyance - at the end of the quarter I have to go trough the Paypal Transaction report - and compare it to my report from Quaderno in Excel with Vlookup - to see which Transactions are missing. Then I need to solve it in s2member (e.g. prolong account or create account plus send customer an email I’m sorry his account never arrived - well mostly they will have contacted me before already, but not always) - plus manually add an invoice for the customer in Quaderno.

This applies in 60% of all cases to s2member not demoting users if their Stripe subscription did not go through - s2member decides to drop the IPN instead of demote user. This applies to 2-3% of canceled Stripe subscriptions.
Very tedious to check that by going through all canceled/not going through Stripe subscriptions on the Stripe interface - checking the email address vs email logs (as I have 2 websites using both s2member and same stripe account) - then going into wordpress user interface to manually demote user. I therefore stopped selling Stripe subscriptions. I’m not alone with this problem - but does not seem to affect everyone?

this applies very rarely to - s2member not demoting users when Paypal subscription failed (can be found out by analysing the exported user list using s2member export function - by filtering for users without payment last term, and not EOT). Maybe 0.01%.

See also: Stripe Developer - Error Log "404 ERR"
Bug: Stripe Subscription payment failing - users not demoted

Also well - did not happen anymore but clearly was a case of s2member not having paypal IPN correctly integrated:

or this: https://github.com/websharks/s2member/issues/1116

I think most s2member users simply do not check their logs and compare transaction lists to userbase to see if each payment got handled 100% correct. Reliability of s2member steadily got worse over the years. On the other hand Quaderno.io so far got everything correct of Paypal IPN forwarded from s2member.

e.g. s2member not handling paypal chargebacks/complaints correctly. Right now - s2member takes action when complaint/chargeback is opened. Correct - s2member should wait how the chargeback/claim is decided. If in interest of buyer - demote/delete user. If in interest of website owner - do nothing (quaderno.io gets this right - and correctly sends/issues refund notices - s2member has it wrong).

So overall Reliability has been a major PITA for me - requiring 10-15 hours of work every month to find/correct s2member being unreliable (~1000 transactions each month)

Or this bug: https://github.com/websharks/s2member/issues/1130
(I actually reported this several times over the last 5 years. Strangely never happened anymore for me since 18 months, before 2-3 times a year).

Just watch out - so far ThriveCart has integrated EOT into their visual interface on selection OptimizeMember - but is not yet setting EOT. Also it cannot cope with membership extension so far. I’m in contact with ThriveCart to get this solved.
Also EOT can so far in the interface only be set to predefined list with max 1Year. So it’s not finished yet.

Plus I asked for more than 4 pricing options per product. For s2member/Optimizemember this would really be useful.

Thank you very much for this description of the main problems encountered via s2Member, it is very interesting and disturbing at the same time.
These problems must be solved before others because the reliability of payments, subscriptions and communications between s2Member and the payment gateways is crucial for the plugin’s survival!

I really think that repairing and improving the APIs of existing payment gateways is more important than integrating ThriveCart, because we need to save companies already using s2Member before thinking about future uses.
PayPal and Stripe gateways are the most use in s2Member yet.

Oh - and if ThriveCart is properly supported - plus some of the IPN issues fixed - I guess then s2member/OPM does not need much code maintenance - or at least I would hope so. If you work with ThriveCart for some time - it’s amazing how much thought has gone into it - it just works so well (besides the problems mentioned - which are specific to the integration, or are missing functions related to VAT/tax which they did not include at start but has been extended over the last 7-8 months). However of course - if ThriveCart is mandatory - this would exclude everyone who cannot pay 599 USD for it. I guess then e.g. a GravityForms based pro form checkout would be best (I’m sure that’s easier than writing something from scratch - and the current is really not usable - even KTS195 who so far seemed to be defending s2member over everything - admitted to not use those Pro forms “I myself have just written my own forms to work with Stripe. Any decent developer should be able to do the same.”).
But with ThriveCart you get invoices, very good A/B testing, loads of integrations if needed (e.g any kind of mailinglist/email provides or Zapier), Overview about dropouts in the payment process, soon hopefully a good VAT solution (so far you should still integrate with Quaderno.io), and so much more which could easily help you boost sales by 10-20% over old s2member without doing much work at all. Also they are constantly introducing new features/making things better while keeping the interface super tidy and easy to use. (both backend and frontend). Plus great support.
The biggest missing feature of ThriveCart for me is that I don’t see them adding more Stripe sources besides Apple and Google soon - In Europe some gateways like Giropay, Sofort or iDeal would be great, for China Alipay and so on.
And well it would be nice if users could directly set a password on checkout - so no need to send email for account creation. but I don’t want to ask for that too - I feel I ask them already too much to be fair for the cost of it.
Paykickstart actually states that they support s2member - I’ve never tried though and it’s much more expensive than ThriveCart while I cannot see much added value but also lacking features (I guess if you have more than 5 different prices - it will mean you need their 99USD a month plan, and for me 99$ a month just for a cart is too much)

I do not know yet ThriveCart but to read you it seems very interesting … I will inquire today!

well they have a 30 day money back guarantee - but not sure if they would apply that too s2member… You can see some youtube videos showcasing the interface however. I think it’s clearly better than SamCart - and much better suited for selling memberships than using WooCommerce as a Cart (because it does not try to do everything).
So until Krumch has his s2member successor with ThriveCart out - you could just change to OPM and ThriveCart (and bug them too for fixing integration/features). I cannot test OPM in production yet - because I have to wait for full ThriveCart integration (I don’t want to rewrite/adapt my current checkout for OPM (which is an advanced paypal standard button checkout but adds a 3rd location proof).

What I do not understand is that according to their official website ThriveCart is not yet marketed…
The only selling site of the ThriveCart offer is a site with a different domain name, which does not really give me confidence …
I will continue to investigate because I will not like to be ripped off of $595!

yes - that’s a bit strange their marketing - but wherever you buy it - you should be forwarded here - which is clearly their own domain:

They seem to work heavily on affiliate marketing - and their limited time , 595USD while in beta is since the start.
They do have one official (not indexed by google I think in order to keep affiliates happy) checkout page though:

In their blog you can see a bit their major updates - so it’s pretty clear they are constantly improving: https://blog.thrivecart.com/

Thanks for suggestions! Integration of ThriveCart will need lots of time, so I think it’s better to fix existing problems with IPN first. I would start with Paypal, as it is “the backbone” of the payment system in s2M. We also have an option to start with Stripe. What you prefer?

well you have to build up Stripe from scratch anyhow - or not? Stripe should not be difficult I guess - it’s well documented and it’s just s2member not knowing how to interpret certain IPN messages - but it’s the same for paypal.

Will the $595 ThriveCart offer be converted into a monthly subscription and/or become more expensive in a while?
I admit to being quite dubitative on their very strange marketing system, although their offer is very interesting!

Regarding my opinion on the priority between PayPal and Stripe APIs update, I think it’s the same urgency.
It seems however that there are more bugs with Stripe subscriptions, so Stripe maybe should be first.
Thank you very much for your involvement and help, s2Member deserves to be saved.
Best regards.

I wrote to Jason via linkedin, a former developer of WPSharks plugins, to ask him if he kept in touch with the current developers …
We’ll see if he answers me.

When I inquired about ThriveCart, I found one of their competitors that works with s2Member.
Look and tell me what you think about this: Click Here!
J’ai aussi trouvé This site but my English level does not allow me to understand the subject.
If one of you have the time to try This Plugin for a comparison with s2Member, otherwise I will try it myself when I finish my current project.


I noted Paykickstart already above. It’s way more expensive than ThriveCart - and I have not found any actual report it fully supports s2member. Likely it will be just like the old implementation of OPM by Thrivecart. Meaning they don’t understand that s2member/OPM sells levels and not products (nearly all other modern membership platforms work very differently here).
If you want to try out - well go ahead and hope that they stick to their money back guarantee. Also read reviews however - ThriveCart fares much better than Paykickstart in general. And not to talk even about SamCart - With their Reference Subscriptions at Paypal you have a lock in you cannot get out without cancelling subscriptions. have not found out how Paykickstart works in that regard.

No one can tell you if ThriveCart will not start charging money at some point. I’m not a fan of one time payments either (see s2member disaster - had s2member pro been more expensive with yearly fees, they could have hired more devs and improve it instead of basically just somehow maintaining it since it started. I use s2member since 2011, and I would have been well willing to pay much more. I’ve incurred nearly 10.000€ on external dev cost already - mostly because of s2member not handling VAT at all decently, and spend countless hours on working around bugs. Actually running my own rented root server without prior knowledge except of linux desktop before - has taken way less time) - Thrivecart does have a big number of sales however - plus they still honor/keep up their first product - Easy Video Suite that exists since 2011. They do have a team of minimum 5 or 6 people - so if one day they cannot sell enough new users anymore - I’m sure they will start charging a yearly fee. maybe the will introduce new features only against yearly fee. A proper VAT service would be a good candidate. Most websites likely pay 500-1000€ yearly for a reliable solution already (only reliable solutions IMHO are Quaderno.io, Octobat.com and Taxamo.com - especially if your worldwide turnover is over 100.000€)