Tag Archives | Ning

Ning Shares (Some) Details on Its Future

This morning, I received a cheery e-mail from Ning CEO Jason Rosenthal with more information on the build-your-own-social-network’ service’s decision to end free networks in favor of focusing on ones whose organizers pay a fee to Ning.

(Maybe a tad too cheery–he refers to “new and exciting changes.” The prices look reasonable if you were already paying Ning or were inclined to start doing so, and the company says it’s going to add a bunch of new features, such as HD support. But an acknowledgment that most of the people currently operating free networks won’t be instantly thrilled with the idea of losing them might have been in order.)

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No More Free Ning Networks

Ning, the service that lets anybody create a social network on any topic, is undergoing some big changes. The company, which hosts 2.3 million social networks, says that it will shut down its free version and require network creators to either switch to a paid plan or leave Ning. It’s also laying off forty percent of its staff.

Back in 2007, Ning cofounder and chairman Marc Andreessen visited PCWorld (where I worked at the time) and explained how Ning would be able to cover the costs of free networks through advertising. I liked the idea, and hey, he’s Marc Andreeseen, so I bought the idea. Here’s cofounder Gina Bianchini making the same case in a 2008 Cnet video. But it looks like the strategy didn’t pan out.

When we chatted with Andreesseen, he was also passionate about the fact that Ning let network owners tinker with their network’s source code–but Ning eventually shut off that feature in favor of letting users install apps on their networks.

It’s yet the latest evidence that it’s dangerous to assume that free services will be around forever, at least as free services. I wonder how many Ning networks will convert to paid services, how many will move elsewhere, and how many will just go away?

Technologizer has a Ning network–but not one that’s very active or inspiring. That’s at least partially our fault, for not promoting it more aggressively. Mostly, though, we discovered that the social side of Technologizer was going on in article comments as well as on Twitter and Facebook. Even though we’re already paying Ning customers, we may quietly close down our presence  there at some point–let us know if you think that’s a lousy idea. But I’m still a fan of the idea, as expressed both at Ning and its competitor SocialGo (which already focused on paid services).


Hello Again!

During the past few weeks since I announced this Web site, I’ve been delighted by the response. But whenever anybody’s asked me when it was launching–and boy, have a lot of folks done so–I’ve been vague and shifty. “Soon,” I’ve said. “Soon.” And then I’ve tried to change the subject.

Let the evasiveness end. I’m ready to begin posting on Technologizer, and will be doing so just about every day. And I hope you’ll hang out here with me.

I’m happy to report that I’m publishing Technologizer on the wonderful WordPress blogging platform. And like a bunch of bloggers I admire, from Om Malik to Curt Schilling, I’ve asked Automattic, the company behind WordPress, to host my site. (Automattic also hosts blogs for The New York Times, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and others.) Special thanks to Automattic’s Lloyd Budd, who did much heavy lifting to ready Technologizer for prime time from a technical standpoint.

I want this site to be as much a conversation as a soapbox, and much of the conversation will go on in the Technologizer Community I’ve set up on Ning. Thanks to Ning, a service I not only use but enthusiastically admire and endorse on multiple levels, Technologizer will let members participate in forum discussions and groups, publish profiles, connect with friends with shared tech interests, post photos and videos, and a lot more. Signing up is painless, and I hope you’ll do so if you don’t have a Ning ID already–more than sixty people are in the community as I write this.

That’s it for now. See you shortly, and thanks for being here.