Getting started: Business Models

Defining your business model

Before doing anything in the Piano dashboard, first determine and define the business model that you wish to create. Answer these key questions to get started:

1. Are you building a metered, hard or other type of paywall? Keep in mind that you can also implement a hybrid model that combines a metered paywall with specific “sections” or keyed content that is always locked.

Metered paywall

  • Gates content based on the volume of content consumed per user
  • JavaScript code can be placed in the header of all pages
  • Metered models can be “leaky” and don’t track users across devices

Hard paywall

  • Gates specific pieces of content that are deemed to be more valuable to engaged users
  • The CMS must have a small amount of code added to flag content, either locked for premium content or always free
  • If you implement a server-side integration, users will (or will not) have access to the same pieces of content regardless of device


  • Gates content based on audience segmentation for data-driven and custom user experiences
  • JavaScript code can be placed in the header of all pages
  • Hybrid: You can gate content through a metered or a non-metered model

2. Will you be using publisher-managed accounts or Piano VX accounts for your user registration and payment systems?

Publisher-managed accounts

  • Users will register/login with the publisher’s own registration system
  • The publisher will create his own payment processor account and revenue will flow to it directly
  • Users can access a white-labeled “My Account” component on the publisher’s site to manage Piano payment information. The My Account component is an included Piano widget that can be customized through the dashboard

Piano Accounts

  • Users will register/login by creating Piano accounts
  • Publisher will leverage the Piano payment processor accounts and will receive net-revenue payouts from Piano
  • Users must login via the dashboard to manage their payment information

To learn more about Piano Accounts go to User Accounts.

3. For content security purposes, do you require a client-side or a server-side implementation?


  • Easier implementation
  • Could potentially be thwarted by savvy readers who manipulate the JavaScript on the page or use plugins to expose locked content


  • More complex implementation
  • Is extremely secure and does not load any premium content until after the access check has been completed

For more information on how to implement server-side access checking, go to Checking Access.

4. Given your CMS, should you implement your paywall using a plugin or JavaScript code? Even if Piano does not have an existing plugin available, it is quite easy for us to integrate with any CMS so that a business user can mark content as locked or free within their CMS dashboard.


  • Plugins are currently available for Wordpress and Wordpress VIP
  • Enables publishers to control some paywall settings through their CMS


  • Can be implemented with any CMS
  • Relies on Piano Dashboard for all paywall settings

For more information on a JavaScript implementation, go to JavaScript.

Business settings

In the Edit Business section of the dashboard, you can control overarching settings for your monetization strategy.

Make sure to complete the following steps:

  • Include your business logo
  • Set default language
  • Designate support email (where notifications will be sent from and users can respond to), For example:
  • Set the refund periods for which users can cancel and refund their purchases from within the My Account Component
  • Paste your Google Analytics tracking ID. More on connecting Google Analytics here

Setup checklist

Items to do within the VX Dashboard:

  • Create Resources
  • Create Terms
  • Create Offers
  • Create test promotional codes, if applicable
  • Design and develop all customized templates including offer and system templates
  • Design and develop all customized notifications in the email manager and determine whether optional notifications are toggled on or off
  • Set Edit Business configurations including refund window

Items to do on the your website:

  • Connect your identity management system to VX or alternatively use built-in VX identity management system
  • Place JavaScript for My Account Component on dedicated page on website

For client-side integration:

  • Place JavaScript on website using the VX RESTful API (documentation:
  • Include correct Application ID and (optional) Paywall ID to restrict content

For server-side integration:

  • Develop code for server-side integration using the VX RESTful API (documentation:
  • Include correct Application ID, API Token and Private Key, and (optional) Paywall ID to restrict content

Items to do with your VX account manager:

  • Ask VX representative to connect your payment processor sandbox account
  • When ready to move to production, ask VX representative to connect your payment processor production account