Monthly Archives: September 2009

Brazilian pets pick Orkupet

Meupet & Orkupet - Meupet & Orkupet - O orkut dos bichos de estimação

A fondness for four-legged friends isn’t something unique to the U.S.; people love their pets all over the world. Orkupet is a Ning Network for Portuguese-speaking pets and the people who love them.

More than 600 feline and canine members propagate the ranks of Orkupet. Using the feature option for the Members module, Orkupet has chosen only to display members who’ve uploaded adorable photos. Anyone in need of a pick-me-up should check out the Adoro Meus Amigos group, where members join with the express purpose of discussing how awesome their friends are.

Tonight’s release is live!

10/2 update: We’ve made an update to how email verification works for people who are already members of a Ning Network. When you sign in to a Ning Network that you’re already a member of, you won’t need to verify your email address. But if you’re already a member of one Ning Network and you join a new one, you’ll be prompted to verify your email when you sign up. Email verification will continue to be a one-time-only step.

9/30

1:30pm PDT update: We’ve pushed out a patch release and email verification should now be working. Please drop us a note in the Ning Help Center if you see any issues or need assistance.

9:50am PDT update: Our engineers have isolated what’s causing the verification issues many Ning Network Creators and members have been seeing. We’ll be releasing a fix shortly across the Ning Platform.

8:30am PDT update: We appreciate the reports that the email link is not working for some members and Network Creators. It’s an issue of some email clients truncating the URL for verification and we’re working on a fix right now. In the meantime, we are looking to turn off email verification for your existing members so that they can sign in. We’ll have another update in 1 hour. Thanks for your patience and we’ll have another update soon.

We’re pleased to announce that tonight’s release, which we talk about in detail here, is now live. This release consists of two projects built to prevent spam on your Ning Network:

  • New members on a Ning Network will now verify their email addresses when they sign up. Additionally, all members will need to verify their email address once if they join a new Ning Network.
  • New members will see a better CAPTCHA system when they sign up. The CAPTCHA is the code of numbers and letters that people fill in to confirm that they’re real people on the sign up page.

Check out our post here for more details on this release, and let us know in the Ning Help Center if you have any questions. Thanks!

It’s not just any chair; it’s an ON

Where is my ON. - A social network for fans of Wilkhahn chairs and the new ON

Those who work at a desk for eight plus hours a day know: the right chair makes all the difference. While each cubicle dweller has their favorite, fans of the Wilkhan ON have a Ning Network where they can talk about their favorite chair in Where is my ON.

The release of the Wilkhan ON chair is no ordinary chair launch; a series of events around the globe are being held to introduce the ON. Over the next two months, members can attend events in Chicago, Melbourne and Hong Kong. If you aren’t familiar with the ON chair, it’s easy to find out more information, since detailed brochures have been added to the On Features page.

Creativity rules in the American Craft Guide Community

American Craft Guide Community

From knitting to knotting and everything in between, the American Craft Guide Community serves those in the crafting community. In the forum, many members are seeking advice on how to take their craft business to the next level. One member is wondering how to make more money in the craft fairs she participates in. Another is looking for new ideas for displaying her products at her booth in an upcoming juried art fair.

The American Craft Guide Community is also using the NewsShare Ning App, has been cleverly named “Hot Topic” using the Tab Manager. With this Ning App, members can post links to different news articles, and then vote them either up or down in popularity.

Introducing the Bay Area’s Distortion 2 Static to the world

Distortion 2 Static

Distortion 2 Static is a hip-hop show based in San Francisco. With its Ning Network, D2S streams exclusive highlights from the week right on the Main Page.

D2S has a big presence throughout the Bay Area, and members use the Events feature to find out where the next big show will be. This Saturday DJ Mr. E will be headlining Word Up! at Azul. And with photo albums, D2S spotlights recent events like Idle Warship performing at Yoshi’s.

Neighbors for Neighbors: Stepping up to fight crime

Neighbors for Neighbors JP - Jamaica Plain_s soundboard for voices and springboard for action

Ning Network Creator Joseph Porcelli is on a mission to make Boston a more neighborly, connected city. His weapon of choice? Ning Networks for Boston neighborhoods, each under the umbrella of Neighbors for Neighbors. The organization’s website — from which each of the neighborhood Ning Network is linked to — states “Neighbors for Neighbors connects people who live, work and serve in a particular neighborhood to others who they don’t already know. Neighbors discover common interests by sharing information via blogs and discussions and organize by joining or starting groups and posting events.”

The Jamaica Plain branch of Neighbors for Neighbors has recently been in the news, after a spate of robberies occurred around a subway station. Porcelli stood outside of the Stony Brook T stop handing out fliers about the robberies to warn residents to be alert. His work — and success with the Neighbors for Neighbors project — landed him in the Boston Globe and on WBZ, the local CBS affiliate.

“We use the Ning Platform as a soundboard for voices and springboard for action — it’s our neighborhood organizing platform,” he explains. “In the case of the recent robberies at gun point, in partnership with the Boston Police Department we used the network to inform our members (neighbors) about the what had happened by posting blogs and sending broadcast messages and mobilized to educate our neighbors. We created a group for our SafeWalk program where we organized to pass out over 4,000 flyers to our neighbors on our street and Metro Stations in two days.”

For other Ning Network Creators who think they might want to start similar networks in their own neighborhoods, Porcelli has some advice: to think of your Ning Network as a platform not a solution. “If you think of the network as a solution, the network is limited by your vision (how ever amazing it may be),” he says. “Partner with your elected officials, police department, public health department, community groups, churches, and everyone you can think of.  Reach as far deep into your community as possible.”

The 4-Second Rule matters more than ever

In July, we introduced the 4-Second Rule as an important secret to success on Ning Networks. According to the 4-Second Rule, if your Main Page is still struggling to load after 4 seconds, you’ve probably lost your chance to win over a new member.

One of the major studies that informed the 4-Second Rule was this one by Akamai in 2006. As ZDNet reports, Akamai just completed a 2009 follow-up to their original study. The results? These days people will only wait about 2 seconds for a page to load before giving up on it. In other words, the 4-Second Rule has been cut in half. As a Network Creator, what does this mean for your Ning Network?

For one thing, it’s clear that people have higher expectations than ever when it comes to speedy load times. In part, that’s due to people having better Internet connections, and you can actually use Google Analytics to break down the connection speeds of all visitors to your Ning Network. But no matter what your visitor’s internet connection is, you can make some basic improvements to your Main Page that will make it speedier and more focused.

Limiting the number of embedded widgets and choosing the right display options will speed up your Ning Network’s load time, which will help encourage growth. Check out our article here in the Ning Help Center for more best practices, and good luck beating the clock!

Eliminating Spam on Ning

No one likes spam, especially us. It makes for a less-than-awesome Ning Network experience for members and makes a Network Creator’s life harder than it needs to be. While we’ve been building spam prevention into more and more elements of the Ning Platform, we’re constantly looking to drive more spam prevention projects that make Ning even better. Some of these projects are obvious and others are behind-the-scenes. Our ultimate goal is to eliminate spam on your Ning Network before it ever gets there.

In the obvious category of projects, we’ll be rolling out email verification and a new and improved CAPTCHA across Ning Networks next week.

New members on a Ning Network will now verify their email addresses when they sign up. After entering their email address, password, birthday and the CAPTCHA, they’ll be sent a verification email. By clicking a link in the email they receive, they can finish signing up for the Ning Network. Additionally, all current members will need to verify their email address once if they join a new Ning Network.

Here’s what members will see when they are asked to verify:

Verify Your Email Address-1

Just like the sign-up page, this new email verification page will be themed for the Ning Network. And, once an email address is confirmed on one Ning Network, it’s confirmed for all, which means this is a simple, one-time process. By ensuring that new members are signing up with email addresses they actually own, you can also be sure that your broadcast messages and other email notifications are reaching members.

We’re also improving our CAPTCHA system. The CAPTCHA is the code of numbers and letters that new members fill in to confirm that they’re real people on the sign up page.

Together, email verification and an improved CAPTCHA will go a long way in ensuring that members are real people who are going to contribute to the Ning Network in positive ways. If you have any questions about either of these improvements, please let us know in the comments or the Ning Help Center!

Mapping members and Tweets on Lost Zombies

Lost Zombies

Are you a member of the un-dead? Lost Zombies is a Ning Network focused on creating “the world’s first community generated zombie documentary.” Content uploaded to the network — videos, photos and written anecdotes — form the bulk of the member-generated submissions to the documentary. Lost Zombies is also using two Ning Apps to help track both the location of their members, and what people are reporting about zombies and the un-dead on Twitter. Learn more about how Lost Zombies is integrating Ning Apps, after the jump. Continue reading

Moms spread their wings at My Work Butterfly

My Work Butterfly

My Work Butterfly is a Ning Network for working moms and returning-to-work moms. With a host of exclusive resources — like webisodes with Kathie Lee and Colbie Caillat — My Work Butterfly is a key destination for professional moms who want to spread their wings.

Right now, My Work Butterfly is featuring a “dream dinner date” with Nick Lachey, thanks to a custom eBay widget embedded in a Main Page Text Box. The current bid is more than $3,000, and there are still 7 days to go.