Digital Access Pass Review – Lesson Learnt

by Britt Malka on October 7, 2011

In this Digital Access Pass review, I’ll go through my experiences with this script and the founders, co-founders and the company’s service

Digital Access Pass (DAP) is a PHP and MySQL based membership script. You can use it to handle payments; subscribing and unsubscribe members; drip feed content; and if you have PayPal Pro (costly) you can also use it as a shopping cart. You can use it as a plugin to WordPress or as a stand-alone product.

That’s the features of DAP. Now, let’s take a look at the benefits and especially the drawbacks of Digital Access Pass. I want you to keep reading so you can be prepared, should you decide to purchase DAP.

Ravi Jayagopal – A Long Time Acquaintance

Several years ago, I bought a webmaster script package from Ravi Jayagopal. It was way before you could just buy a standard script to handle automatic delivery of electronic goods.

I used this script together with another script that would encrypt my PayPal buttons to avoid theft. It worked, but I had to do a lot of manual work. However, like I said: Back then you didn’t have much choice, so I was quite happy with the product.

I recommended it to two other persons that I saw asking questions on a PayPal developer forum. I had joined the affiliate program, so I earned a 50% royalty. Several months later, I remembered this and asked Ravi to pay out. He did so very quickly afterwards. I didn’t think much of the situation back then, since affiliate programs were in their youth as well.

Then Ravi wrote a book and asked if anybody would review it. It turned out that you had to buy the book (in print) to review it, so I wasn’t interested.

After that, I did a review of a WordPress plugin for him (a contact form), and then he came out with his first version of Digital Access Pass. He offered beta testing copies with no updates. I said that I would like to review it, but since it would demand a lot of work to do so (installing, testing, installing updates, etc.) I thought he should offer free life-time updates.

He said ‘okay’. So I got access in October 2008.

Do I have this conversation in writing? I think so, yes, but probably on a harddisk somewhere in the basement, so I’m not going to spend time looking it up. I trust my memory on this point as well as others, you’ll learn about shortly.

My First Experience With Digital Access Pass – Good And Bad

Like I wrote in an earlier post, I had some trouble making DAP work the way it should. And since I was in no direct need to use it, I just stopped. A couple of years later, they offered an iPad as a reward for promoting DAP.

Well, I didn’t have access to any downloads anymore. So I wrote, and the staff told me that since I’ve only sold one lousy copy of their product, they had stopped my access. Well, not in those words, but you can see for yourself here: http://getmoneymakingideas.com/pics/Ravi-Mail.png

Please note, how they twist my words from “It would seem fake to promote something I don’t use” to “But if you won’t promote DAP unless we give you a free copy, then unfortunately, we’re going to have to pass on your offer.

I wasn’t asking for a free copy. I already got a “free” copy, when I did the beta testing, and I was promised life-time updates.

And oh yes, I’ve been promoting the script actively, and a lot of users downloaded it, but what can I say? Members of my list are not rich guys, who can just throw in $200 – $300 in a script. I thought to begin with that the script was too expensive, but my opinion was ignored.

Nevermind. I chose not to pursue and didn’t promote DAP.

Why Did I Choose To Purchase DAP In August 2011?

After all these negative experiences, after getting the impression that Ravi is somewhat stingy, and after noticing that the affiliate royalty is only 30% (RAP and other scripts offer 50%), why did I choose to buy Digital Access Pass in August 2011?

My husband wanted a membership site, and we’ve set it up with the Profits Theme. Unfortunately, there was a problem with this theme, and all our subscribers were unsubscribed by the script. Voupti! Out you go!

This bug had been repaired, but we were on our way to Israel, so I didn’t have time to take care of it. Months later, I found out that I couldn’t just set up an extra product and offer our clients to get back, where they left. So I decided to look for a membership script.

My first choice was WP Sales Automator. I got this script for free (with life time updates), but it sells for only $10, and the founder provides excellent service! Really! Even to those who got the script for free. He’s even created some special features just for me at a time I needed them.

However, this script couldn’t handle drip feeding, and I would have to purchase an affiliate addon to make that part work.

I also considered the addon to Rapid Action Profits, but I was lazy. Using that would mean that I had to install RAP on this new site as well. So the third alternative was DAP.

Buying and Installing DAP

Purchasing and installing DAP went smoothly.

Even though I hate watching videos and prefer to read a product manual, I watched the videos to learn how to install the script correctly, and how to set up the membership products and customer area.

I thought I had it all right, but somewhere along the line, I must have missed a detail.

I wasn’t about to know anything about that before the end of the 30 day’s refund guarantee period.

Oh, Oh… It’s Friday Afternoon and A Client Lost Access To His Content in Our Digital Access Pass Membership Site

Friday afternoon, a client paid for his second month, only to discover that he still didn’t have access to the content. Not even the content he paid for the last month.

I checked, but I had no idea why his data hadn’t been updated by the script. Yes, he paid. Yes, the script had registered that he paid. However, his access period wasn’t updated, so he only got a blank screen. No products at all.

I contacted support right away. They only work from Monday – Friday according to their home page, but I hoped that my urgent problem could catch somebody’s attention anyway.

As you will see shortly on the attached photo, my ticket actually arrived a couple of hours before the end of their business week, but I only got a reply the following day.

I got several possible reasons for why their script didn’t work for some of our clients: that I should use 31 days as a period instead of 30; if I’d followed their guidelines closely etc.

I replied ‘yes’.

Then I was asked to make a test purchase (again – I already did, before I relaunched the site). I said ‘no’.

Doing a test purchase would mean that I had to delete the test user (which I didn’t know how to do); transfer money to my secondairy PayPal account (which would cost fees); do another test purchase and send the log file to Digital Access Pass.

I simply didn’t have the time to do all this, and besides, I was convinced (and it turned out that I was right) that this was unnecessary work.

Which I told them.

Then no further replies from them.

Two days passed, and I wrote again. I said that I wasn’t impressed by their service (answering only about once every 24 hours; giving me unnecessary tasks; asking the same questions that were already answered), and I was told that I was “nasty and rude”.

Well, so be it. I’m a bitch. I expect to get a minimum of service, when I purchase a script to $297. And if telling a company that offers lousy service that I’m not impressed is being “nasty and rude”, then again … So be it!

The problem might be solved. I was told that I should have put “30″ in the “Second trial” field. I’d written “0″, since I had no second trial period.

This, of course, still doesn’t answer the question: Why did it work for some of our clients?

I’m not going to ask. Neither about another problem I have with formatting the results in the script. I’m not going to expend myself to that kind of service again.

I should have bought Rapid Action Press or have given a damn about drip feeding content (which I could have done with AWeber).

Lesson learnt – again! I should have listened to my intuition that told me that if somebody is stingy (in my opinion), and doesn’t keep his word (in my memory), then I shouldn’t do business with them.

Oh, by the way, you can see the whole ticket thread here – I put it online so you can see for yourself how “nasty and rude” I am ;-)

http://GetMoneyMakingIdeas.com/pics/dap-support-ticket.jpg

Digital Access Pass Review – My Final Words

I realize that I have no proof at the moment about the promise about the life time updates, when I beta tested Digital Access Pass.

I realize that you might think I am a bitch, and that I should just have done the costly, time-consuming and unnecessary tests, they asked from me.

In that case, please go ahead, try your luck with Digital Access Pass.

But if you believe me and want to save yourself from wasting time and having a bad experience, take one of the two other products, I recommend, either WP Sales Automator (really sympatic programmer behind this one) or Rapid Action Press (I haven’t tried it, but I love Rapid Action Profits, and Sid is the personification of good customer service).

But I care about you – the readers of my blog; my list members… I’ve recommended DAP earlier, and I wanted to correct this mistake. I wouldn’t want anybody to get back to me and tell me that he/she bought it, because I recommended it, and that now they’ve had bad experiences with it.

Hopefully the script will work without problems, expecially after August next year, because I’m only getting updates so far. But if it doesn’t, I don’t want to feel guilty that others bought because of my recommendation.

UPDATE: I got a refund, although the 30 days had passed. Obviously, after I received the message, I no longer have access to Digital Access Pass, although I have to wait several days, before I can see the money back on my bank account and, technically, can buy a new script ;-)

Yeah, well, I kind of expected that after the service they deliver ;-)

dap-end

Even more surprising… When I checked our MySQL database to export the users (easier than just using the screen dump I took, because I suspected that DAP would cut my access), I discovered that all our users passwords were in clear text!

Woah!

Good to know, if you should ever join a membership site that is powered by Digital Access Pass – you’re leaving your password open for the administrators to read.

Therefore this honest Digital Access Pass review.

Britt Malka helping you find money making ideasI quit my day-job in 1995, and since 2000 I've been living entirely from money made online.

Learn from my experience, and get plenty of money-making ideas plus a report about how I went from zero to $1,000 per month.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy January 11, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Thanks for going in depth with this article.

I had set up a site using profits theme before and used their in built system and it worked really well but I needed to modify core files to use my own affiliate system which isnt great when updating profitsthteme so on my next site I have dap installed because I wanted to use their affiliate system.

I am finding DAP to be quite hard to work with and support is very slow to respond, I was disappointed that access to a product was still granted even after a refund was issued so I posted to the forum over a week ago and still no response!

Like you I was shocked that DAP stores users passwords as plain text in the database!

I do like that it can protect folders and zip files and can be run as a standalone system but I’m still feeling that there must be a much better system out there that does digital downloads, drip fed content and integrated affiliate system.

I guess I’ll have to keep trying new things and banging my head against the wall while I wait for support…

Good luck with your site!

Reply

Britt Malka January 12, 2012 at 11:23 am

Hi Andy, thank you for your comment and good wishes.

I ended up using the Thesis Theme (http://getmoneymakingideas.com/go/thesis ) and a smart little plugin – actually two – called eStore and eAffiliate. Later we also bought eMember. Their service is BETTER than EXCELLENT! http://getmoneymakingideas.com/go/tt

Drip feeding isn’t perfect, since you have to cheat a bit and make different membership levels and then upgrade members after a certain period. We use it to drip feed content on a monthly membership site, and it works perfectly. If you plan on dripping new content out more frequently, this plugin is probably not for you – unless they integrate it, soon.

Another alternative is Rapid Action Press ($197 last time I checked). You can read more about it here: http://getmoneymakingideas.com/169/wordpress-membership-software-should-you-pay-10-or-200/

Good luck with your site, and don’t do too much head banging :) The only advantage to that is that it feels good, when you stop.

Reply

Theo January 30, 2012 at 8:13 am

Hi Britt
Great article thanks.
I am also looking for a membership/shopping cart solution. DAP is always getting such rave reviews first time i see a bad one.

I am also looking at RAP and Sitemanpro, its difficult to decide on one script.

Thanks

Reply

Britt Malka January 30, 2012 at 11:10 am

Thanks, Theo :)

Well, there could be at least two reasons why you only see “rave reviews” about DAP.

1: Only a few, like Andy (commenter here) from CommentLuv and me have had problems, or

2: Many of the “rave reviews” are written by affiliates, who unlike me only write about products they like.

Reply

Andrew Bailey January 30, 2012 at 11:34 am

I have found some more glaring omissions..

* affiliates aren’t emailed when they make a sale.
-That has to be a major boo boo! I can’t believe that is missing from the code.

* you cannot remove a commission from an affiliate.

-I found an affiliate that referred themselves and couldn’t find a way to remove that commission so I submitted a support ticket. Do you know what they said?
“when it comes time to pay affiliates just don’t pay that one”
OMG

* Affiliates are only associated with members if that member buys something or you pay for leads.

This means you can’t get JV partners to refer affiliates and then pay the JV a 2nd tier for sales made by those affiliates.

- I know a number of affiliates with large teams of people. I’d like to offer them 10% of the sales made by their affiliates. Normally, you’d get the JV to use their affiliate link to refer their team to join as affiliates and then you’d be able to track sales made by them.

You can’t do that with DAP, it wont associate the new member to the referring affiliate.

***

I am a coder so I like to look at the code of things I buy and I am a bit put off by just how many “to-do”‘s there are and the large amount of commented out code there is.
I also don’t like encrypted code, I understand that they do want to protect their code but there are a lot of files that are encrypted that needn’t be.

I will have to use it for now for my tools to make money site because it’s already integrated but for sure I wont be using it on any more projects. I certainly don’t think it is worth nearly $300 .

I am looking at Amember again now, they have a new version and it looks pretty sweet. I am not sure it can do buy now buttons though, it is more aimed at membership sites but the protection and affiliate system is really well done. It also has a good wordpress plugin integration. (it’s also open source so no encrypted files!)

If I find a good solution for digital products, drip feeding and integrated affiliate system then I’ll let you know! :-)

Reply

Britt Malka January 30, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Yes, please let me know, Andrew, so I can write about it here :)

Those findings you’ve made are shocking.

Reply

Britt Malka March 8, 2012 at 3:21 am

On my blog I have already reviewed several membership scripts, and
although I’m quite satisfied with the one I finally ended up with,
it lacked the drip feeding feature.

Then today, I read about a product from Copyblogger that could
create landing pages as well as being a membership script with
several awesome features:

From my memory it can:

- Drip feed content

- Accept payments

- Protect content

- Protect forum (anybody who has tried to run a forum and seen how
much spam it attracts, will love this feature)

- Create landing pages (squeeze pages etc.)

You can also learn some copywriting. I didn’t read about this in
details.

So I decided to buy the product, since the price is low right now.
They wrote on their site that it would go up, and for once I
believed such a statement.

Then right now, I was playing World of Warcraft (the old Lich
King), but lost connection, so I thought I would just get my mail,
and then I saw a message that was important.

The price of Premise 2.0 is going up tomorrow – that is later today
- at 5PM Pacific.

I’m going to buy it in a few hours (it’s – cough – 4AM here), and I
will not have time to do a profound review just now. It takes time
to see if there are serious bugs in a script, or to find out how
their customer service is etc.

But if you’re considering getting a membership script that looks
promising, get Premise. You have 30 days to ask for your money
back, if you don’t like it.

Here’s the link – you arrive on a blog post on Copyblogger, and it
will tell you more about this script:

http://getmoneymakingideas.com/go/Premise2/

I will write a review of the script later this month, but at that
time the price will be $165.

So get it now:

http://getmoneymakingideas.com/go/Premise2/

Reply

Theo January 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Thanks Britt/Andy
Can’t beleive it’s so difficult to find a good platform to use.
What would you recommend for a first time easy to use
solution for membership site with decent features?
Thanks

Reply

Britt Malka January 30, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I use WP eMember from http://getmoneymakingideas.com/go/tt [aff]. It’s very easy to use. I also have WP eStore from them and WP eAffiliate. You don’t need those, but eStore makes it easier to produce the PayPal buttons, and I had the script anyway from our PLR Store.

It doesn’t have conventional drip feeding, but you can get around it by making different membership levels and use automatic upgrade. I do that on my husband’s two sites: ClubHypnose.com (French) and Assertion.In3Weeks.com (English, and I haven’t wrote the sales letter yet).

They have EXCELLENT service! Really! I’ve rarely seen anything like it.

The products are reasonable priced (actually, they are cheap for what you get). It’s $49.95 for the WP eMember plugin, and you save a lot of money, when you purchase one of their bundled solutions.

Reply

Greg Bishop July 25, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Thanks for the review. I’ve been using DAP and other than some things that are a bit clunky with the system, I’ve found it to work in every way I’ve wanted. While there are places for more expensive systems, of the 5 companies I’ve had a membership site, DAP has been rock solid on the ones I’ve used.

Sorry you had a bad experience.

Reply

Britt Malka July 25, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Hi Greg,

Thanks for leaving a comment. I’m glad you had more luck with DAP than I had.

Can you tell me if the members’ passwords still are shown in clear text, or are they encoded now? That was something I only discovered after I deleted the script.

Reply

JM October 6, 2013 at 3:05 am

They’re encrypted now. Here’s a user’s password copied straight out of phpMyAdmin:
KLJpt7LzoM1qW0/HhlRohHncGvB90HmTylCAqebxvA4=

Reply

Britt Malka October 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Thanks, JM. I’m glad that they’ve improved it.

Reply

Ron July 27, 2012 at 2:55 am

Premise looks pretty interesting.

Been struggling trying to set up DAP. I’ll probably keep working at it but nice to see alternatives. I might try it if it hadn’t jumped in price.

Any limitations you see? No affiate program that I can see. Good it works with authorize.net which is a must for me.

Do you know know anything about the programmers? I want someone who will be around for long term.

Ron

Reply

Britt Malka July 27, 2012 at 3:36 am

Thanks for your comment, Ron.

Premise is made by the team behind Copyblogger, so I guess they will stick around for a while: http://getmoneymakingideas.com/go/Premise2/

Reply

Zee Chen September 9, 2013 at 5:35 pm

I have owned Dap for 4 years and I still have not figured it out. I have it installed 3 times and I keep giving up on it. And I found them just like you did. A little rude when I asked for help and I am not happy I have to keep buying it again as the updates each year. That is upsetting to me. I own Premise, paid for it once and I get the newest version for life.
I think I will just give up on dap on learn how to use Premise. Also I want it to be connected to a forum and they do not have that feature , where Premise you can connect to vbulletin.
I am a website designer and I have over 200 clients and it should not be this hard to use a product and I resent the constant having to pay each year for support or the latest version.

Reply

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