Improved email notifications are on the way!

November 8th Update: Along with the new features detailed below, in this release we’re also upping the character limits on your broadcast messages to 10,000 characters and private messages to 4,000 characters.

November 9th Update: We’ve also snuck in another improvement to the content you can follow on a Ning Network. When you view someone’s blog posts, videos, photos, or discussions, you’ll see a follow link which gives you a way to receive an email whenever that member adds another blog post, video photo or discussion.

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On Tuesday, November 10th (in just over a week), we’ll be launching some improvements to the way email notifications work on your Ning Network. These changes are designed to make email notifications work consistently across features and get your members to the freshest and most active members and activity across your Ning Network conveniently when they might be off doing other things. Included in this release will be:

  • The option for you and your members to receive an email when a new member joins your Ning Network
  • More options to follow a particular video, photo, discussion or comment thread
  • A simplified Email Settings page
  • Updated Group membership and activity notifications

The option for you or your members to receive emails when a new member joins

We’re making it easier to welcome members by offering an email notification to you and your members when new members join your Ning Network. For Network Creators, we’ll have this option turned on by default, but there’s a link right in the email to disable this kind of notification. You can also turn off this notification by unchecking the box for “Anyone joins this social network” on your Email Settings page:

new-member_sm

Members of your Ning Network will also be able to check this box to be notified of new members, but it will be OFF by default.

More follow options

With this release, we’re adding the “Follow” link to more places, making it easier to keep tabs on activity.

Most notably, you’ll now see Follow links for forum categories, photos, videos and pages. Additionally, when you comment on any item — like an epic zombie wedding cake — you’ll automatically receive notifications when other people comment on it. This will drive activity back to the conversations in which you’ve already been participating.

One thing to note is that if you added a photo or a video before the release, you won’t receive notifications about it if you weren’t receiving notifications already.

Simplifying the Email Settings page

With all these updates to email notifications coming up, this was the perfect time to simplify the Email Settings page. As always, you can reach this page by clicking the “Settings” link and then selecting the “Email” tab on the left.

Updated Group membership and activity notifications

With this release, members of a group will now by default receive an email notification when someone joins a group in which they are also a member. This won’t be defaulted on for current group members, but members who join new groups will start receiving these notifications. Members can change this by checking or unchecking the box that says “A new member joins” under “In my groups.” Here’s how that looks:

newmember_groups_sm

Even better, if this isn’t a setting that you want to have on for you members by default, as the Network Creator, you can change the default settings for group notifications. To make this change, just go to the Feature Controls page under the Manage tab and check or uncheck “By default, notify members when someone joins their group.” This gives you and the members of your Ning Network flexibility when it comes to keeping tabs on the groups you create and join.

While these might be the most noticeable change to email notifications, there are some other minor improvements in this release as well:

  • If you feature a member or the member’s content, this member will get an email notification letting them know about it.
  • You’ll also notice that each type of email notification now has a unique URL parameter. This is great if you want to track activity back to your Ning Network with a service like Google Analytics.

And that’s it! If you have any questions about the updates in this release, please let us know.

About the Author:

Nick Barr – who has written posts on Ning's Official Blog on Social Networking Sites.


  • Craig Cameron

    Some good new features. I think they will be useful.
    However (there has to be one), I wish Ning would do something about the difficulty of getting web search engines to work with it. I can put as many tags on articles etc as I like, but it makes zero difference to the search engines. I cannot even include a robots statement on the index page.

    I really like Ning, but the lack of any for SEO makes me continually look for alternatives.
    Also, the lack of decent search ability seriously detracts from the usefulness of the product.

    Comments??

  • karis

    hey i want to add html to the broadcast message

  • http://blog-o.ning.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi Karis,

    Thanks for adding your vote for this feature request — it’s something we’re working on getting added shortly. Stay tuned to the Ning Blog for an update soon!

    -Laura

  • Mario Vidal Fernandez

    That’s great Ning, however I believe you guys should be working on a translator from day 1. There are many social networks that speak different languages. The most important thing is a language selector. I have networks where there’s members, however nobody can talk to each other because it’s a great network, however nobody speaks each other’s language. It’s very difficult. Please make this priority Ning!

  • Heraldo

    Hi
    It would be nice if groups had the same privacy options of Ning networks. Network members want to create groups visible only to invited ones. Is Ning planning this feature?
    thanks

  • Laura Gluhanich

    Hi Craig,

    We do actually allow editing of robots.txt. There is a tutorial at the Ning Help Center here.

    Check out the SEO tips we offer there as well! We have a number of things you can do that we explain here.

    Thanks!
    The other Laura :)

  • d

    It would really be better for you guys to avoid turning features on that aren’t already on. Members will all come at us, acting as if we decided it’s best for them that they get emails from all the Groups they joined, when we had nothing to do with the feature. Our members don’t really even know Ning exists, so we’re always reacting to things like this on short notice and with no real explanation as to why a bunch of emails are going out that weren’t requested.

  • d

    Also, is there a way to enable Latest Activity without having it automatically show up on everyone’s personal page? Members a) don’t want it there, generally and b) hate when you mess with their pages without permission.

    We’d like to add LA because it’s the only way you’ve provided us to list Status Updates, which member’s like but don’t see any benefit because without LA those updates only appear on individual pages. Status Updates are useless unless they are in a main stream, like on Facebook. But if we add LA, we end up with LA on everyone’s individual page.

    So, could we get a “Status Updates” module for the front page, or detach the LA Main vs. the LA personal page thing?

  • kgrucci

    >If you feature a member or the member’s content, this member will get an email >notification letting them know about it.

    Will we be able to disable this feature? I occasionally feature members multiple time over the course of the year to cycle them through the featured members list on the main page. I’d like them not to get emails each time I do this.

    Can this also be an option, please?

    Thanks,

    Kyle

  • http://blog-o.ning.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi Kyle,

    That’s a great question. You can’t turn off the “you’ve been featured” notifications, but if your member finds they are are frequently being featured — and they no longer want to know about it — they can turn off this setting themselves, on their email settings page.

    Thanks!
    Laura

  • http://blog-o.ning.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi Heraldo,

    You can choose to make your group invite only when you create it. Members of the Ning Network its on will know it exists — just like a private Ning Network — but can’t join without an invitation.

    Thanks!

  • Phil Williams

    This souns fantastic!

    My favourite improvement here is the autmatic notifications when you reply to an item. Can you please confirm that this include replying to forum discussions, not just commenting on photos and videos?

    Can’t wait!

    Phil

  • Phil Williams

    Oh – one other question:

    I have some popular discussions with lots of replies – after this release am I right in thinking that all the people that have already commented on one of these discussions will now start receiving notifications when more people reply to these discussions?

    Or are you saying this will only apply to discussions started after the release?

    Thanks,

    Phil

  • Alex (MUL)

    This is great, but I need a way to retroactively enable group notifications for all members who have joined groups in the past. I recall that Facebook reset everyone’s e-mail notifications to default at one point and it sparked A LOT of activity. My groups are not very active, so it would be nice if ALL members (new and old) were notified when someone joins or posts something. Otherwise, they won’t be checking it frequently on their own. Currently this is only happening for new members, but most of my group members have joined prior to this e-mail notification feature being enabled by default.

    I’m missing out on a lot of potential activity here and NO it doesn’t make sense for me to have to tell them to visit the site and click “Follow”.

    Also, will there be any changes made to the unsubscribe links at the bottom of the e-mails?

    Thank you!

  • Rich Page

    Best release in months! The ability to be notified of a new member will make it so that we can now use aweber to handle email sends and auto emails!

    I love the new notification settings too – i love the idea of ‘group member’ joining notification. Great stuff!

    Now if only the notifcations didn’t end up in spam folders a lot of the time – hopefully there are improvements on the way there too!

  • Jeff Pritchard

    Wish you guys would give us the ability to automatically send a new member a welcome email. One that we can edit and include html and links to important pages. That would be hugely helpful in getting the new member informed about how the network works and guidelines etc.

    An automatic comment that we could include a few links would also be nice.

    I have to do this manually and it is very time consuming.

  • Brian Fløe

    So Nick – does this mean that the feature I suggested about being able to follow a person / a persons videos, photos, blog posts, forum posts did not make it this time around?

    If not I hope you will add this “YouTube” kind of “following” in the near future. There is a reason why YouTube made it big. It’s worth thinking about.

  • Robert Paul

    Ces nouvelles fonctionnalités seront-elles disponibles le 10 novembre aussi en français?

  • http://blog-o.ning.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Robert,

    Tous les nouveaux e-mails que vous allez recevoir seront en français, si c’est la langue que vous avez choisi pour votre réseau. Sinon, vous pouvez changer la langue de votre réseau sur la page “Information sur le Réseau” a l’onglet Gestion.

    Merci!

  • Jens Mügge

    Hi Nick

    I can’t read anything about some improvements for a SUBJECT line in group activity notifications which is discussed here http://getsatisfaction.com/ning/topics/subject_line_in_email_notification_about_the_group_activity?utm_content=topic_link&utm_medium=email&utm_source=reply_notification – what about this improvement? And yes, I am waiting also for a HTML broadcast message which is announced for November.

    Best,
    Jens

  • alexander lynch

    someday i wish ning could fine away where i can delete photos n videos with out going tru all photos n videos one by one to delete them …could be very easy if someone post nude on my site i can delete all there photo by checking them all n delete them with one click deleting photo after photo take to long i pray ning someday add this to all ning site where the owner can delete all photos in one easy step

  • Alex (MUL)

    Alexander, The ‘delete’ feature would also be nice for members and group members instead of having to ban. We have been requesting this for years. Ning must have a reason for not giving us this power. Scripts4Ning had it working at some point, but Ning never followed through with it.

  • Brian Fløe

    let’s not forget how the ability to choose categories for the photos you upload, was removed by mistake in an update ! This software has literally changed my life, but I have to click 120 times to put 30 photos in the right category? Or 90 times to delete them?
    We love your work Ning …..buuuut we also have a few things to criticize

    So there won’t be a follow on persons this time around?

  • http://blog-o.ning.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi Brian,

    The ability to follow a specific person is not included in this release.

    Thanks!
    Laura

  • Ronaldo Richieri

    Hi!

    I have asked a feature months ago… new members of a group should receive alerts by default when a topic is created on group forum.

    This is basic. If you join a group, you will probably want to talk with the group. You can make it an opton for group administrator, to choose if he or she wants to make forum notifications standard.

    thanks

  • Phil Sim

    One notification option I would like to see and it has been requested by my user is to email if someone replies to your comment, in the threaded comments. I’m guessing you would consider this a bit granular but this is one notification I don’t think any one would turn off.

  • EFL Classroom 2.0

    Jeff,

    You can send a personal welcome message by using the language editor!

    Craig,
    I agree about the search. Check out my community EFL Classroom 2.0 and if you like the search, pm me for info….

    cheers and slow but sure Ning,

    David
    http:eflclassroom.ning.com

  • letsatanicus

    Awesome

  • Jens Mügge

    I checked it out and it seems that SONGS are not on the list for featured content.

  • JR Herold

    Hi. Can Pages now be followed and can they also appear in latest activity? If not, why? I create a lot of new page content. But unless I use a text box on the Main page to promo it, no one knows. And if I do promo it, when people comment at the bottom of the new pages, no one knows because the comments don’t appear on the Main page Latest Activity box……how come?

  • Debbie

    Great job!!

  • opghost

    Ack! The “Last reply” feature is now gone in group discussions. Any chance this was a mistake and will come back? My group users really liked that. Instead of clicking on the discussion thread and having to scroll to the bottom and change pages, all they had to do was click on “last reply” and they were automatically taken to it.

    I know you can’t please everyone. Just wondering if that feature might end up coming back.

  • http://blog-o.ning.com Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi Opghost,

    We noticed an issue with latest replies after this release, but it should be fixed now.

    If you are still seeing an issue, please let us know your Ning Network’s address, and we’ll take a look!

    -Laura

  • opghost

    Thank you so much, Laura!! My members were very happy to see it back!!

  • isabella devinast

    where the hell are the notifications about new mails in my groups?! i cannot manage my 83 groups without that function. and what did change by itself by comments to approve?!
    this is crazy
    isabella

  • Susan Copening

    Is there a way a moderator can see a members email preferences settings? I send out a separate email newsletter to members, but would like to know if they have turned off email notifications so I can remove them all together. Otherwise, it appears that I’m violating CAN SPAM laws.

    THANKS!

    Sue ;~) Ning is GREAT by the way!

  • http://www.fnfcity.com John

    The e-mail notifications for new members should be ON by default and allow them the option to turn it off if they please.
    Since I have started my own social network, I have realised that only the newest members sign in for a couple days and then they stop, this is because they forget about it and there aren’t being notified by the site when they have new friend requests, comments, broadcasted messages .etc. It is very difficult for a new network to thrive like that, especially when you are dealing with a mostly young crowd. I use my network as a way to keep members notified of new releases, events, or just friendly messages thanking for their support. Other social networks that i am a member of(not ning networks) do have this on by default, this does make a huge difference, trust me, i’m an internet geek lol. Please take this into consideration and please do reply. btw I LOVE NING!!!!

  • http://www.fnfcity.com John

    one more thing……i think their should be sound on the main chat if you have it on your main page….and an option to turn it on or off…..or even that option for each person.

  • Lindy

    Can you tell me if there is a way to get the email notifications to include the message? All my other networks other than Ning include the post so I only go to the web if I want to reply. It saves a ton of time and means I bother reading the posts. The Ning alerts just tell me there is something and don’t include the content. Please add this to the wish list if it isn’t already possible.
    Thanks
    Lindy