Monthly Archives: April 2012

Introducing New Sign-up Options Including LinkedIn and Windows Live

Our Product Roadmap this year is rolling along smoothly. Today, we’re happy to be releasing another project that we think will be very useful: a whole bunch of new sign-up and sign-in options. Let’s get right to it.

Let Members Join with LinkedIn and Windows Live

We’ve heard a lot of requests from Network Creators who want additional sign-up/sign-in options. You’ll be happy to hear that Social Sign In now includes both LinkedIn and Windows Live, which will be great news for business-focused networks and many international networks (e.g., Windows Live is huge in Brazil). The set-up for these will be very similar to Facebook and Twitter options; as the Network Creator, you’ll need to create an app for this purpose by entering your own LinkedIn or WindowsLive credentials.

Ready to create yours? Here are the Help Center articles for LinkedIn and for Windows Live.

Sign-up redirection

Want to send new members somewhere besides the Main Page — where they currently land after signing up? This is another request we’ve heard over time — to be able to redirect members to their own profile page or to a very specific page that a Network Creator has created to serve as a welcome landing page. Now, Ning Plus and Pro Network Creators have the option to send new members to either the Main Page, their own profile page (MyPage), or a custom URL.

This custom URL can be an external URL if you need to integrate your network with another web property. For example, Pro networks may want to send new members to an external web application that makes use of the Ning API to retrieve that new member’s information and register them before sending them back to the network.

We hope this will give you a few added options for customization of your new-member experience. Check out this Help Center article about these new redirection options for all the details.

Mix, match or remove sign-up / sign-in

You will now see that your options for sign up and sign in are split, and that “native” network sign in and sign up are included as options. This will allow you to turn off specific services for new members while allowing existing members to continue to sign in to the network, or to do things like limit all new members to Facebook or LinkedIn if it better matches your network’s theme and aims, or if you’d like your members to be a little less anonymous than they otherwise could be.

There’s an additional option here, one that won’t appeal to most Network Creators but that can be powerful for sites that are, for example, less about socializing and more about publishing. That option is to completely remove all sign-ups. If you make this choice, all invite options will be removed and no new members will be able to sign up. This might be an attractive choice if your network is focused on publishing, for example, and not social networking.

Want the full skinny on this new sign-up/sign-in split? Read all about it in this Help Center article.

Baseball is happening, on Ning

As Major League Baseball kicks into high gear for its 2012 season, Ning communities are showing their excitement for America’s favorite pastime.

Baseball.net made its debut as this season got started. Though the site is a rookie in terms of tenure on Ning, they’ve scored an A-list custom domain name. According to Arbel Arif, owner of Baseball.net, they built their site to support a “vast community of baseball enthusiasts who gather to ‘talk baseball’.” We’re looking forward to following their growth as the season progresses.

Opposite Baseball.net, The World Baseball Network and CheckSwing have been using Ning for 3+ years, amassing nearly 9,000 members and aspiring baseball players.

On Netflix Movie Fans, the community answers the question “What are some of your favorite baseball movies” (A League of Their Own or The Sandlot, anyone?):

 

For sports memorabilia collectors, the Sports Collectors Social Network provides a taste of retail therapy. The Ning community connects like-minded collectors, and provides useful tools to help in their search for elusive and rare baseball cards and other must-have goodies.

On MyTown Colorado, community member Alyson Miller recently publicized an event inviting children from all around Boulder County to gather to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and be recorded for the soundtrack of Labragirl Pictures’ film 6-4-3. The title refers to how a double play happens between players on the field: six is the shortstop, 4 is the second baseman and 3 is the first baseman.

The Hawai’i Chamber of Commerce of Northern California is using their Ning site to bring together members and non-members of the organization to a real-world meet-up for an upcoming San Francisco Giants game against the Milwaukee Brewers on May 4. They’ll be rooting for Tim Lincecum and Brian Wilson, for sure!

Meanwhile, as anyone who’s played on a club sports team knows, having a great looking uniform adds to team morale and pride. San Francisco-based Fog City Athletics & Apparel is a company specializing in athletic team uniforms and casual wear, ensuring teams are looking sharp. Their site lives on Ning, where they show their portfolio of custom print graphics and designs available for creation. From their site, they recently Tweeted a shot of custom designed baseball caps made by the company. Lookin’ good, guys!

In the same vein, members of the Kreg Jig Owners Community are learning how to build a baseball storage center with their Kreg tools to organize the likes of little league gear:

From spectating and playing, collecting memorabilia, and making apparel and equipment accessories, bringing a community together to highlight the love of baseball is a home run on Ning.

Security Updates on the Ning Platform

On April 12th, we received confidential details of a security vulnerability that could allow someone to sign in as an arbitrary Ning user. The intent was not malicious, and to our knowledge and reasonable belief, there has been no unauthorized access to user accounts. The Ning engineering team immediately took several steps: We changed the encryption information to generate a sign-in cookie, and we changed where the information was stored. In addition, we proactively strengthened the encryption algorithm. The changes were then immediately rolled out across the Ning platform starting late last week. Ning Creators and their members may have noticed the protective measures when we forced all users to sign-in again. At this time, we are confident that we have addressed the vulnerability.

We would like to thank the team that identified the vulnerability and collaborated with us to fix it. We take privacy and security very seriously at Ning. We would again like to emphasize that due to the confidential way we were approached, no user accounts have been maliciously compromised.

How a Ning community is telling the world’s story

Everyday, there’s billions of happenings around the world, spanning momentous occasions like the birth of a child or the start of a new job, or seemingly insignificant chores like walking the dog and taking out the trash. But how do you tell the world’s stories, through the world’s eyes?

It’s a challenge that Kyle Ruddick and Brandon Litman are tackling and showing through their film project, One Day on Earth. The film is making its worldwide premier on Earth Day, this Sunday, April 22, 2012.

One Day on Earth - Video archive

The 2 filmmakers have amassed 3,000 hours of video footage captured and added by members and supporters of their site and Ning community, aptly called One Day on Earth. And the footage was, fittingly, captured during 1 day on earth: October 10, 2010 (10.10.10).

On Sunday, the film’s premier will recognize the worldwide collaboration and shared vision of thousands of people, from every country in the world, and we couldn’t be more excited to see One Day on Earth, and Ning’s impact in telling the world’s story through this film. Many of us from Ning will be attending the San Francisco screening of One Day on Earth. We’d love to see you there, or hope you can make it to a screening location worldwide.

Using Ning + Kickstarter to build a community around a project

Simon Cantlon is on a mission to document the power and allure of the American open road. And he’s using Ning as the community hub for the project. He’s producing an interactive documentary film and book called The Motels of Route 66. The project will explore the stories of the motel owners, the architecture, the travelers and the road itself, which runs between Los Angeles and Chicago.

For funding and publicity, he’s built a Ning community centered around the project and ties it closely together with his Kickstarter project, a funding platform for creative projects. By June 9, he’s looking for $30,000 in backing for the project. The funding will cover the month-long journey down Route 66 with a full four-man film crew (director, cameraman, photographer, lighting & sound), vehicle rental, equipment, gas, food, lodging and supplies.

It’s an ambitious goal, for sure, and we’re excited to follow Simon and his crew on their documentary-road trip across one of America’s most historic thoroughfares.

“We’ll be out on the road meeting travelers, the people who live in the towns, mom and pop businesses and the owners of the motels along the way, all the way down Route 66. We’ll be bringing them into the story, and letting them be a part of it. As the story unfolds step by step, it will be documented on our Ning community,” said Cantlon. “That’s awesome.”

You can back his project on his Kickstarter page and follow the endeavor through his Ning community, The Motels of Route 66.

The sun never sets on the Ning Nation

As a company based in the heart of the tech industry in California, it can be easy to lose sight of how Ning as a product is used worldwide. We recently announced Ning’s official launch in Germany, and with 100,000 Ning communities, and a new community created every 10 minutes, we wanted to take a step back and do a round-up of Ning communities from around the world we think are stellar:

We also highlight some amazing communities on the Ning homepage for our various markets:

Germany (Deutsch)
United Kingdom (English)
Canada (English)
France (Français)
Brazil (Português)

Have a Ning community that should be on our list? Let us know about it!