I think the lower cost, "virtual" membership is a great idea. It will definitely make signing up more palatable to some, though I personally don't mind the current cost. I've gotten a lot of return on my investment (no, not money. I've met a TON of really great people, learned some things, and I've been able to participate in some good stuff to help out people who have been dealt a bad hand in life).
If the opportunity ever comes up for chapters to take on the responsibility of processing memberships internally, we in ZSC:015 would be more than happy to jump on that. In the meantime, while it's occasionally slow (remember, volunteers!), the system does work and, as whisk.e.rebellion has shared, a new process is in the works to make things faster/more streamlined and even CHEAPER! ZS is just getting more popular and, as with any other organization, there are growing pains
On a side-note, (and none of what follows is directed at any one person. Just at haters in general) ever since I've been part of ZS, either as a lurker or a paid up member, I've had no issues with the admins. If you are respectful and intelligent in your interactions on here, you are highly unlikely to receive a verbal spanking from an admin, and if you do get in trouble, suck it up and move along. I've had to put on the "admin hat" a couple times over in the ZSC:015 sub-forum, and even if it's harsh sometimes, they know it's just my responsibility to keep things in order and following the rules, and the members there respect me for it.
I've contacted admins on here, people from ZS HQ, and I've even met whisk.e.rebellion himself in person, and they're all great people. Before any of you go shooting your mouths off calling them names or accusing them of anything, remember, everyone running the ZS machine, from those at the top all the way down to individual chapter leadership, is a volunteer, donating their personal time between work and family to provide all of you with an organization that is not only fun, but is also primarily designed to help people that CAN'T worry about getting a little plastic card in the mail because they're more concerned about where their next meal is coming from, or if they're gonna get that blood transfusion they need, or if they'll be able to provide their children with the school supplies they need for their education, etc. If this seems heavy handed, sorry, but it's the truth. Go back and take a look at what ZS is about. Yeah, we go to gun ranges, talk about zombies, and play mall ninja, but our real mission as an organization is to get into the communities and do some GOOD.
If you think I'm wrong, don't like my face, or whatever, take it to PMs with me. Don't throw poop around in someone else's thread because of what I say, thanks.