What will we be rolling out in July? We’ll start with many of the things Network Creators have been asking for and extend the service from there. The end of Ning promotional links, leading to a more customized, branded experience for you and your members. An ad free experience and the option to run your own ads — if you like. Easy content export and back-up. The end of Ning ID and ability to add Facebook and Twitter sign-in. API access for a more integrated experience. The ability to charge for membership and accept donations. We’ve listened to your more frequent and pressing requests and combined them with our current premium services into three new product offerings — Ning Pro, Ning Plus and Ning Mini. (Official Ning Blog)
Ning is offering premium paying customers 3 options ranging from a paltry $2.95 USD a month (or $19.95 a year) to $49.95 USD a month (or about $499.95 USD year), although in order to blog upon your own domain you will need to subscribe to the plan in the middle (which is about $20 USD a month).
Ning’s premium launch will put them in direct competition with Squarespace and Typepad who both also offer premium services to bloggers, although their prices start at $8 USD and $9 USD, respectively.
While Ning may attract users looking to save a few bucks, mobile users may loathe the service as it currently lacks an iPhone app (unlike Squarespace and Typepad, the latter which is also has a Blackberry app).
Although Ning is shutting down its the free account option, they are allowing schools (kindergarten through 12th grade) to stay on for free, as they found a sponsor to cover the cost for them.
Unfortunately non-educational charities using the free service are out of luck, as they have to either upgrade their service or choose a cheaper alternative (as Ning’s prices are hard to beat).