One of the best things about having interesting or valuable information to share these days is the number of web and app-based delivery platforms available for creators. At the same time, the sheer number of options can make choosing the right one a daunting task. And if you’re not careful you could wind up paying a lot for a platform that’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Passion.io is an app creation platform that has been getting a lot of press recently. But is Passion the right platform for creators or is it just riding the crest of a hype wave that’s destined to fizzle out? And are there alternatives to Passion.io that might be a better choice for content and course creators? The answer to the first question is, “Only time will tell”. The answer to the second question is “Yes”, and it’s those Passion alternatives we’re going to look at here.
What is Passion.io?
Passion is a white-label mobile app development platform used by course creators seeking an effective way to offer their knowledge or services to potential clients. By leveraging the power of the Passion app instead of a more constricting web-based platform creators have more control over things like branding, monetization and content distribution. This enhanced flexibility enables them to offer a more complete, more satisfying user experience which in turn enhances customer loyalty.
That’s the theory anyway. In reality, while Passion.io apps certainly have their upside there are also some significant downsides that are causing a lot of people to consider alternatives. Those downsides include:
- A high platform development fee.
- There is a steep learning curve on many Passion.io features.
- The various plans on offer are pretty expensive.
- Drip content is only available for those who opt for the most expensive plan.
Developing your own app as a creator
Now that we have a better idea of what Passion.io is and why creators are typically better served using an app than a web-based delivery solution, the question becomes “Should I build a mobile app myself, or use a white label service?”
Developing a custom app for your business is a tried and true way to ensure you get everything you need and want out of your app. Every aspect of the app will reflect the look and feel you want to project and provide access to your content in precisely the manner you think most effective.
Because they are designed to your exact specifications a bespoke app is typically more flexible and scalable than a white-label app which, by definition needs to be a bit more nebulous when it comes to its structure in order to accommodate a wide variety of potential users.
The downside of custom app creation is cost. You may spend a boatload of money only to discover that you could have gotten everything you need from a white label app at a fraction of the price. There’s also the possibility that the App Store or the Google Play Store will reject a custom app if they are not comfortable with it for any reason (it happens more than you think).
Using a platform to create an app for you
The alternative to custom app creation is a white label app creation platform, and that’s what Passion (and the other companies we’re about to look at) offer. White label app creation has several advantages over bespoke app creation beginning with price and including speed of development and technical support from the development team.
Whereas developing a custom app may take anywhere from 6 – 12 months, a white label app can often be ready in days. When you have information or skills you’re anxious to offer, not having to wait months to get underway is a huge advantage. And let’s take a second to consider costs.
Creating your own app entirely from scratch can cost more than $100,000. Often considerably more. On the other hand, while white label apps are not exactly cheap, they’ll set you back only a fraction of that amount. So, the conventional wisdom is that you should choose a white label app if:
- You are working with a limited budget.
- You need the app NOW.
- You don’t need any custom functionality.
What features are important for a community app?
The best community app platform for your business and your members will include most or all of the following features:
- Highly customizable
- Rock-solid security
- Intuitive navigation
- Cross-platform compatibility
- Private messaging, chat and more
- Monetization options like subscriptions and in-app purchases
- Push notifications
- Robust moderation tools
What platforms should you be considering?
Now let’s take a look at some of the best Passion.io alternatives for creating your white label community app.
Disciple is clearly the best alternative to Passion.io for numerous reasons. Disciple provide a highly customizable user interface that accommodates your own branding cues. It includes all of the vital features listed above that you want to see in a community app, its monetization options are second to none and experts agree it is the most flexible cross platform app available.
Push notifications, powerful moderation tools, unlimited livestreams, chat, polls and other engagement tools mean Disciple checks all the necessary boxes when it comes to helping you build your brand. Disciple provides an unrivaled member experience and has been around for significantly longer than Passion, so you get a more established, smooth running platform for your money.
2. Facebook Groups
Facebook is not a whitelabel app but we’ll discuss it anyway as it’s been the launching pad of many a great online community for 2 reasons: 1) it’s free and 2) there are more than 2 billion Facebook users worldwide. Who else gives you potential access to that many people? You can have as big a community as you can cobble together and it still won’t cost you a penny. That’s hard to beat. However, there are some considerable downsides to relying on Facebook as your permanent Passion alternative.
For one, the company tends to monopolize all the best monetization options. Second, they may swoop in at any time and decide one of your best members doesn’t live up to their expectations and ban them. And, as recent scandals have demonstrated, your user data is not necessarily secure with Facebook and your members may be wishing to leave the platform.
Circle is a community platform that’s versatile enough to work for sole proprietors or large companies looking to bolster brand awareness. It gets high marks for its versatility and because it’s easy to customize, it offers single sign-on authentication which makes registration and login a lot simpler for your users, and it’s easy to integrate with existing tools.
With Circle, your users can partake in live streams, participate in group chats and send and receive DMs and push notifications. But as it was founded by former Teachable employees looking for a better way to augment online courses with larger online communities, the emphasis is squarely on enabling more effective and engaging forums and subgroups with easy-to-search member directories and the like. What’s more, Circle is not white label so it will be more difficult to build your brand, and they do not provide a mobile app option for Android users.
4. Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks has been around for some time and earned a solid reputation as a Passion.io alternative. It offers native live streaming and a built-in events feature you won’t find in Passion. Mighty Networks can be useful in building a teaching/coaching business enabling you to sell access to one-of-a-kind events, and to take advantage of 1-click Zoom scheduling.
Where Mighty Networks really shines, however, is in its ability to help users build a thriving community. While it might not be the best community app, it’s certainly in the conversation, and that needs to be considered when weighing which Passion alternative might be right for you. You’ll need very deep pockets if you require a whitelabel app though, as Mighty’s Pro option starts at $30,000 per year.
5. Bettermode (formerly Tribe.so)
Until recently Bettermode was known as Tribe and was primarily marketed to brands that wanted to build an online community around a product line. Now that it’s known as Bettermode you might think that mission has changed. But you’d be mistaken. It’s still primarily aimed at augmenting your brand by providing a platform with which to engage customers in a more immersive way. And it does a decent job of that.
With built-in gamification, multi-language support, and powerful moderation tools Bettermode has a lot going for it. The problem is that it does not offer a native mobile app, so interacting from a mobile device can be challenging. And since everyone uses mobile devices today, that’s a significant disadvantage.
Although Kajabi is not a true white label app you can add some of your own branding cues to it. If you can get past the fact that your Kajabi app is going to look and feel just like everyone else’s Kajabi app, you’ll find that it’s a decent marketing platform for your courses and that it offers some useful features and a number of monetization options.
On the downside, plans are surprisingly expensive, when you consider the limited native functionality. And if you want to integrate other features such as WebinarJam for hosting webinars you’ll need to pay extra.
Making your choice
Passion.io is a fine product that has helped lots of people launch their own business app. But we believe it to be just a bit overhyped. The fact is there are alternatives that offer a wider array of important features, more robust security and moderation tools, and better, more wide-ranging monetization options, with Disciple taking the cake in all those categories.
Creating a bespoke web app can be prohibitively expensive, which is why people gravitate to white label products like Passion.io. But Passion has its own issues that can’t be ignored. If you are looking for a more affordable, more flexible alternative to Passion with which to create an Android app or an iOS app, Disciple is the clear choice.