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February 2, 2011

Ning Gives Bloggers 70 Reasons To Create A Social Network

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For those of you seeking out a way to easily create your own social network (without relying upon Facebook), it looks like Ning’s latest announcement may be music to your ears.

The Ning Design Studio gives you an incredibly intuitive way to customize and transform your social experience. [...]

In the Themes panel, you can choose from 70+ themes (at launch). Click the “My Themes” section to enable any theme you’ve published in the past.

The Layouts panel lets you pick a 2-column or 3-column layout, and customize the placement of your site’s sidebar and navigation. The increased layout flexibility also means it is easier than ever to plug in ad units in a variety of sizes. Expect even more layout options down the road. (Official Ning Blog)

While the new DIY layout will help make Ning more appealing to the masses, Ning is also allowing users skilled in CSS to create brand new themes from scratch, allowing bloggers and businesses to stand out from the crowd with a unique template.

Although they do offer users the ability to blog from the Ning platform, the company has previously made moves to court WordPress lovers (as long as you self host your blog that is).

Ning’s is planning on launching Design Studio soon (February 9th to be specific), and it will be interesting to see if their DIY social networking service becomes a hit for users seeking to build their own “mini-Facebooks” online.

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October 20, 2010

Ning Launches iPhone App!

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With social networks like Twitter and Facebook dominating the iVerse, it looks like Ning has finally decided to launch an iPhone app in order to help its premium customers manage their social networks while on the go.

It’s now even easier for Network Creators to manage and monitor their Ning Networks on the go. We’re excited to announce that a Ning iPhone app for Network Creators is now available in the Apple iTunes Store.

This app makes it possible for Network Creators with iPhones, iPads or iPod Touches to access their Plus and Pro Ning Networks. [...]

The Ning iPhone app is part of our Ning Everywhere effort, which allows Network Creators to customize, integrate and make their social Web sites accessible on any device or service. While this new iPhone app is for Network Creators to manage their Ning Networks, thanks to the new Ning API, Ning Pro networks can bring a better mobile experience to their members. (Official Ning Blog) read more

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October 14, 2010

Ning Courts WordPress

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Ning (a premium DIY social networking service) is reaching out to WordPress fans by eliminating the need to repost blog entries upon ones social Ning network.

Built on the Ning API, Ning Publisher for WordPress allows WordPress blog posts to be automatically published into your Ning Pro Network’s blog section. This allows you to mirror content from your public WordPress blog inside your Ning Network, so your members can add comments without needing to visit a separate website. You can see this in action on the Brooklyn Art Project network.

You can also create a private WordPress blog that publishes directly to your Ning Network. This gives you the same seamless integration you’d get from using Ning’s built-in blogging tools, while allowing you to take advantage of advanced WordPress features and workflows. (Official Ning Blog)

Despite the fact that Ning already allows you to blog utilizing its services, the company probably realized that convincing users to ditch WordPress for Ning was a lost cause.

By allowing users to mirror posts over, Ning gives WordPress fans another reasons to utilize its platform while at the same time focusing on its strengths (which is social networking).

This service is available for self hosted WordPress fans via plugin, although the company has opened up its API for other platforms as well (provided you can do the coding).

Ironically Ning currently faces competition in the DIY social networking space from BuddyPress by Automattic (aka the creators of WordPress), and it will be interesting to see if this new feature will convince WP fans to embrace Ning.

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July 21, 2010

Ning’s New Plans Go Live

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Ning dumps free social networksAfter nixing their free plans and embracing a pure premium model, Ning users are now able to choose the plan that is right for them, although Ning is giving users until the end of August to choose a plan or find a new home.

The three new plans – Ning Mini, Ning Plus and Ning Pro – are now live!

I encourage you to take a look at your choices and decide which plan makes the most sense for you and your members. You’ll have until August 20th to purchase a plan, which should give you ample time to make a decision.  (Official Ning Blog) read more

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May 7, 2010

Ning Declares War On Spammers (Launches Twilight Quiz?)

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With human flavored spam on the rise, Ning is launching 3 weapons to help members fight the good fight and keep those “enhancement” products off of their respective forums and blogs.

While Ning is sadly adopting the use of CAPTCHA’s (a tool that no longer works thanks to nefarious spam bots and human spammers), as well as email verification (which can land in the spam folder), their “Twilight quizzes” may help thwart spammers (whether virtual or in the flesh). read more

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May 4, 2010

Will Ning’s Premium Launch Threaten Squarespace And Typepad?

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After kicking out all of the free members and ditching the fremium model, it looks as if Ning is preparing to roll out their premium service to the masses.

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). read more

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May 3, 2010

Too Good To Check: Ning To Launch Its Own AdSense Network? UPDATE: Survey Says No

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Ning, a social network who became famous (or infamous) for shutting down its free service in favor of a pure premium model could be launching its own ad platform soon instead of relying upon the Google Borg (aka AdSense). Update: false alarm. See below for details.

Tomorrow, Ning intends to announce its plans for the future, including new features and pricing plans. And we think we may have just stumbled across one of them: a new advertising product that resembles AdSense. Maybe they will call it NingSense (via TechCrunch)

Ning is apparently experimenting by promoting sites already on its own network, although that will probably change in the future once the company rolls out the platform.

It will be interesting to see the revenue split between Ning and creators, as well as whether the advertising model will be enough to entice bloggers to ditch free alternativeness like BuddyPress.

Ning has not released a comment yet denying or validating the rumors, although we will hopefully hear more about “NingSense” tomorrow (at least according to the rumors).

Update: Apparently the Ning ads that were being seen are apart of a public service campaign which promotes charities using Ning’s services. Ning thus far has no desire to take on Google in its own backyard.

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April 16, 2010

No more free ride. Ning says Pay Up or GTFO

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Ning dumps free social networks

Ning just dropped a deuce on the people who built free social networks on their service: If you want to stay, you have to pay.

After Ning Co-founder and CEO Gina Bianchini was ousted in March, new helmsman Jason Rosenthal has apparently been brought on board to cut the dead weight and steer the company in a more profitable direction. In an internal memo to employees, Rosenthal wrote:

“So, we are going to change our strategy to devote 100% of our resources to building the winning product to capture this big opportunity. We will phase out our free service. Existing free networks will have the opportunity to either convert to paying for premium services, or transition off of Ning. We will judge ourselves by our ability to enable and power Premium Ning Networks at huge scale. And all of our product development capability will be devoted to making paying Network Creators extremely happy.”

Not only have they decided to shut down the free aspect of their service, the company will also be dumping about 70 employees. read more

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March 24, 2009

Rocawear gets into social networking with Roc4Life.com

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roc4lifeStyle trendsetter Rocawear has launched Roc4Life.com, a social destination that offers exclusive lifestyle news, fashion, and cultural connections. The new social network is powered by Ning.com and has partnered with several digital websites including NecoleBitchie.com, AllThatsFabulous.com, FlyGuyChronicles.com, Blogxilla.com, Str8NYC.com, DefSounds.com, LolosCube.com, and FlyStyleLife.com.

“For the past ten years, the people at Rocawear have been tapping into a vibrant and thriving culture in the real world,” said Ning’s CEO and co-founder, Gina Bianchini. “Roc4Life.com gives them the opportunity to translate this conversation in their unique and authentic way online.”

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February 27, 2007

Andreessen’s Ning launches social network tool

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Ning, the free service that gives you the power to create your own social network for anything, today unveiled Ning Version 2, which brings together powerful new features and levels of customization not before offered by any social networking service.

On Ning, you mix and match your choice of features (for example, videos, photos, music, forums, profiles, and blogs) from an ever-growing list of options, customize every aspect of how your social network looks, add a logo if you have one, make it public or private, and offer your members the ability to make their profile pages uniquely their own.

“Today’s social networking services are fantastic, but they are very similar in approach to AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy in the early nineties. They have a fixed and rigid view of what people can do,” says Marc Andreessen, co-founder and CTO of Ning. “The web is filled with people who want the freedom to create, to express themselves, and to connect with other people in new and interesting ways. Hopefully, Ning contributes in a small way to this growing freedom for everyone.”

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