Last month Caribou unveiled their Caribou CMS 1.0, a new web-based content management system, specifically designed for full access to the content to be by subscription only. This will clearly be of interest to membership organizations and to webmasters who want to run membership websites where access to the full content is restricted to the paying punter. Caribou CMS Capabilities Caribou CMS 1.0 offers simple WYSIWYG content editing and easy upload of images, podcasts and other files. It has custom fields that allow you to tailor the system to your needs, in conjunction with professional support staff to get clients up and running with their sites.
Caribou CMS 1.0 also includes a search engine, the facility for RSS feeds and search engine optimization. In terms of forums, Caribou CMS 1.0 is integrated with phpBB and vBulletin. And, apparently, installation can be completed in a mere two minutes using the install wizard.
The CMS integrates with a nice array of payment systems, including Authorize.net, 2checkout, and, of course, the ubiquitous PayPal. It also incorporates the facility to create coupons and promotional codes, which will allow the site to run special offers which potential customers may find attractive.
Caribou CMS 1.0 has been built for LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) Systems and uses the Smarty template engine.
CMSWire asked Lead Developer at Caribou, Brock Ferguson, how he spotted a gap in the market for a CMS aimed specifically at membership websites. CMSWire: Why a Membership-based CMS? Ferguson: As I started taking a looking at the membership website market, I noticed that there some consistent features in these websites that are, in my opinion, hurting the very idea of paid content on the internet.
Many websites use third party tools to protect their members-only content and this is often very clear to the end user. These third party tools created a more stilted user experience that didn't reflect well on the site. This is when I saw the need for a CMS with built-in subscription functionalities, from the start, not as an afterthought. CMSWire: What is Caribou's Competitive Edge? Ferguson: The membership CMS market is full of a lot of older, very expensive products. I see a lot of CMS's that are bloated with "features" that confuse even myself, a web developer. The idea with Caribou was to find a balance between functionality and ease-of-use.
Also, unlike a lot of these older applications, Caribou is built on a framework that allows the website owner to change every aspect of the site. Beginners can start with editing CSS files, novices can modify the .html templates and images, and advanced users can start programming new integrations or modules using the Caribou framework. CMSWire: What Inspired the Name Caribou? Ferguson: Caribou was the result of a lot of brainstorming and frustration in realizing that almost every domain name on the internet has been registered! There are a few reasons that I settled on Caribou: 1) It's short and easy to remember/spell, unlike many of these "Web 2.0" names; 2) Caribou have a special place in every Canadian's heart; 3) Caribou are powerful, beautiful animals.
So there we have it.
At a reasonable US$ 199 per domain for a license with unlimited usage, Caribou CMS 1.0 shapes up well against competitors such as MemberGate which costs US$ 3,995 per domain for a license with a 1,000 member limit, or VisionGate which for US$ 200 per month does not offer as many features.
In the field of membership websites, Caribou CMS 1.0 may well be one to watch.