Category Archives: Ning Apps

A spotlight of the various Ning Apps available on your network.

SoundCloud and Ning

We’re excited to announce that we’ve worked with SoundCloud to offer a brand-new integration for our Ning Creators. SoundCloud offers a fantastic platform for sharing and listening to music across the web and mobile devices. Upload your audio to one place, then play it back wherever you’d like. Their Ning App integration offers the following features:

  • A customizable music player that can appear as a dedicated navigation tab, on your network’s main page and on member profile pages
  • Automatic access to previously-uploaded SoundCloud audio files
  • The ability for Ning Creators to review uploaded tracks from members prior to posting

Example #1: Music & Entertainment-Themed Ning Networks
Our friends at ThisIs50.com are using the app to power their new indie music section. Members are encouraged to submit their songs for review by the G-Unit A&R team, with the possibility of being featured on the network’s main page:

Example #2: Artist Websites
Jones Street Station has also made great use of the app as the main “Music” page and player on their site:

We’re excited to have SoundCloud on board as a partner, as is clear from the following photo:

You can install the free Ning App here. Happy listening!

Start Making Money With 3 New Ning Apps

One of the most common questions I hear from Network Creators is, “How can I make money?” Or, “How can I make this a full-time job?” Lately, many of you are also asking, “How can I cover the cost of a Ning Network?”

We’ve come up with a solution… well, actually four solutions. And we’re working on more. Open a storefront, provide pay-to-play games, collect donations, and advertise are all options we’re spotlighting on our Revenue Generation page. Some of you are already using these solutions to make money. However, in the past it has sometimes been difficult for Network Creators to integrate these solutions into their Ning Network and provide a great member experience. To make it easier, we’ve been focusing on cutting favorable deals for you with our partners, making installation as easy as possible through new Ning Apps, and helping you better integrate the new apps into your Ning Network (including on your Main Page).

I’m most excited about the new CafePress App. It’s simple to set up, create branded merchandise, and begin earning 10% on every sale. And it’s a great way for your members to show their support – and wear your swag with pride! Even better, we cut a special deal with CafePress to help you cover your Ning subscription fees. Sell just 4 t-shirts (earn $8 in commissions) and get Ning Mini for a full year. Sell 40 t-shirts, or earn $80 in commissions on any type of CafePress merchandise, and get Ning Plus for a full year. That’s 60% off the annual price for Mini or Plus! Install the CafePress App on your Ning Network or learn more about the special deal.

If you choose to fund your Ning subscription through CafePress, your app will include a personalized appeal to your members and a progress meter to encourage purchases. Here’s an example of the Main Page app for a Network Creator earning his Ning Mini subscription:

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Of course, it’s also dead-simple to set up a storefront to make money and create custom designs. After setting up their CafePress Shop, Duke City Fix sold more than 40 items in a span of less than three weeks! (Read their story on Ning Creators)

Get creative. Or better yet, have your members get creative. Hold a design contest and sell merchandise designed by the winner. Hold a photo contest once a month, ask your members to vote, and feature the winning photo on merchandise in your CafePress store.

We’ll keep on working on more ways for you to help you cover your costs, make money, and maybe even turn your Ning Network into a full-time job. We also would like to learn from you – please comment with your ideas and money-making success stories on Ning Creators!

TuDiabetes launches TuAnalyze with a Custom Ning App

TuAnalyze - TuDiabetes

Thanks to a new custom Ning App, TuAnalyze, members of TuDiabetes can submit a key health metric known as Hemoglobin A1C as part of a massive data donation drive. Network Creator Manny Hernandez partnered with Children’s Hospital Boston in the creation and launch of the new Ning App. TuDiabetes is a Ning Network, more than 14,000 members strong, that connects people touched by diabetes and raises diabetes awareness. EsTuDiabetes is a companion Ning Network for Spanish speakers.

Hemoglobin A1C, or A1c, is a health metric used to measure diabetes control over a prolonged period of time. Physicians recommend that people with diabetes measure their Hemoglobin A1C two to four times a year and the American Diabetes Association recommends a goal A1c value of below 7 percent.

The information submitted by members will be displayed in a map of the United States on TuDiabetes, with states lighting up according to the aggregate A1c data. And when enough members have submitted their A1c range, the state’s color will reflect whether the average A1c submitted is within the range recommended by physicians.

For developers interested in creating a custom Ning App, all the information needed is available on the Developer Ning Network.

Win a Year of Box.net’s Business Service (worth $2,400)

Box screenshot - Three screens

Can content enhance your Ning Network?

Yesterday we interviewed Box.net Platform Manager Jeremy Glassenberg about the Box.net Ning App, and how Ning Networks can use it to help manage and share content. Today, the friendly people at Box.net are giving away one year of Box.net Business service for 20 seats — a $2,400 value!

Entering is super simple. All you need to do is comment on this blog post, and let us know how your Ning Network would benefit from Box.net’s Cloud Content Management capabilities. Please include both your Ning Network’s address (http://) and how you would use Box.net in your comment. One winner will be chosen by overall best use case. Hurry! We’re accepting entries up until Tuesday, April 20 at 5 p.m PST.

Interview: Box.net’s Cloud Content Management System

Bay Area residents who drive down Hwy 101 are used to seeing Box.net’s cheeky billboards. They challenge Sharepoint users to try Box.net’s Cloud Content Management system — and see if they don’t like using it better. One additional benefit of Box.net over Sharepoint? You can install Box.net on your Ning Network, thanks to their Ning App. Platform Manager Jeremy Glassenberg chatted with us about the company, their Ning App and what’s coming up.

jeremyCan you give a little company background on Box.net?
Box.net was founded in 2005 on a simple, powerful idea: it should be easy for people to access, collaborate, and share all their content, wherever they are. We’ve since grown into the leading Cloud Content Management solution for 4 million users and companies ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies.

Who is a typical Box.net customer?
To be honest, there is no ‘typical’ Box.net customer. We’re a horizontal solution that serves individuals, small businesses and large enterprises that need a simple way to share and collaborate on files with people, both inside and outside of their company. In larger organizations, we’re typically adopted by marketing departments first, as they tend to have the most content to share.

How did you decide to create a Box.net Ning App? Had you created OpenSocial applications before?
We have in fact created OpenSocial gadgets before, including one for Ning [member pages]. The new Ning Apps, however, were especially exciting for us by providing a means of deeply and seamlessly connecting a Ning Network to a Box Business deployment. Both Ning Networks and Box Business provide consoles for administrators to manage users and product permissions. So, when a Ning Network Creator adds the Box Ning App, they automatically have full control over their Ning Network’s Cloud Content Management system, even though it’s powered by Box.net.

Did you develop your app with a specific type of Ning Network in mind? (i.e. professional one, education related, etc)
Yes. While our standard profile application is available to anyone, we’re especially proud of our Ning App’s ability to work with professional and business networks.

Why would a Ning Network want to install the Box.net Ning App? What type of functionality does it add?
Box.net provides advanced content management capabilities to a Ning Network, empowering organizations to easily manage, access and share any type or size file directly within the Ning environment. Ning Network Creators can easily make marketing assets, videos, and branding artwork available to their Network members. Even better, users can easily collaborate on projects with their Ning Network connections in a secure online workspace, keeping their content and workflow centralized on Box.

Do you have any plans to add new features or functionality to your Ning App?
We’re always looking for ways to enhance our applications, and are currently corresponding with the Ning team to learn more about the next set of updates we can use.

Stay tuned — tomorrow, we’ll have a second Box.net post on the Ning Blog that you won’t want to miss.

Interview: TokBox’s Easy-To-Use Video Chat Ning App

Instant messaging is easy on a Ning Network, thanks to the Chat feature. Displayed as either a persistant chat bar on the bottom of the page, or as a feature on the Main Page, Chat is an easy way to let your members conenct with each other in real time. But what if you want something a little more… visual?

Enter TokBox, a Ning App that allows members to easily video chat with one another. VP of Marketing and Business Development Micky O’Brien walked us through some of the TokBox need-to-know info.

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What’s the background of TokBox? Can you describe what the product does?
The TokBox team believes in the power of face-to-face communication as a way to build teams, build communities and build relationships. So we wanted to create a really simple way for people to video chat with a group of their friends, customers or colleagues.  You can video chat with up to 20 people at once, or with Broadcast Video Chat you can add an audience of up to 200 people. Because TokBox is web-based, all anyone needs to join is an internet connection and webcam, no need to download or configure anything or have any special equipment.

Since we launched in October 2007 we have seen thousands of groups of people get together to discuss the things that matter most to them, whether that is a book club, a prayer group, a support group or simply a group of friends that share a passion for the movies.

How did you decide to start developing on Ning?
As we increased our understanding of who was using TokBox and what for, we realized that Ning, as a network of groups and communities, was the perfect place to offer TokBox’s group video chat functionality. We already had a video chat API in place and so making the changes that we needed to create the OpenSocial App was easy.

Is there a specific type of Ning Network you had in mind when you built the TokBox Ning App?
Video chat really is applicable to anyone who wants to communicate face-to-face, meaning most Ning Networks. That said, since it has launched, we have seen some Ning Networks find it more relevant than others, particularly those who want to build a deeper rapport and relationship between their members or have a more visual message.

Can you provide an example of a Ning Network that is are using the TokBox Ning App?
My Shimmer is a Ning Network for women to share their beauty secrets. They have lots of tips and tricks to share that are reliant on a more visual form of communication.

What’s next for TokBox? Where do you see it going from here?
We’ve recently launched a number of features on tokbox.com that we think would be really useful for Ning Networks.  Moderation and Scheduling enables the chat organizer to schedule the chat in advance, control who comes in to the video chat as well as the media shared. Broadcast video chat enables the organizer to have up to 12 people in a video chat and then add an audience of 200 people. The audience can participate by submitting video questions, text message or even being moved on-screen to participate directly in the video chat. We would like to launch all these features in to the OpenSocial App in the coming weeks. Following that, we will continue to listen to Network Creators to hear what features they would like to add next.

Muziic Puts a Jukebox in your Ning Network

Muziic Ning App

You know what they say about music — it soothes the savage beast. And now there’s a Ning App available for Network Creators who want to make music available for their members.

The Muziic Ning App allows members of a Ning Network to search songs and videos and stream results in-demand, tune into radio stations and browse featured tracks and albums. It also allows members to easily create and save permanent music and video playlists. Friends or Enemies, the Ning Network for musical acts such as Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco and Katy Perry, has an implementation of the Muziic Ning App you can check out, but the App can be useful for non-music themed Ning Apps as well. A cultural-themed Ning Network could use the Muziic Ning App to give their members the ability to find ethnic music. Because Muziic uses YouTube, there’s a diverse, and never ending selection of music genres.

It’s easy to add the Muziic Ning App to your Ning Network. Click on the Ning Apps tab from the Manage page of your Ning Network and select the Muziic icon. Alternatively, you can install the Ning App directly to your Ning Network from the Ning Apps Directory page.

Only Two Weeks Left in the Ning Developer Challenge

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The Ning Developer Challenge — which kicked off at Campus Party 2010 in São Paulo, Brazil — is a worldwide OpenSocial development competition focused on applications devoted to public management, environment and entrepreneurship. The winner in each of these three categories will receive a $3,000 (US dollars) award.

Entries are due by March 19th, 2010. Read more about the challenge here. Good luck!

Increasing Member Engagement: An Interview with NutshellMail’s Mark Schmulen

Recently named a finalist in the Ning Appathon competition, the NutshellMail Ning App allows your members to receive newsletters highlighting recent activity on your Ning Network. We recently chatted with Mark Schmulen, CEO and co-founder of NutshellMail, about the origin of the company, developing on the Ning Platform and their plans to launch a fully-integrated email newsletter service designed specifically for Ning creators. For more information on Ning Apps, please visit the Developer network.

Mark 02.17.10What is NutshellMail in, well, a nutshell?
NutshellMail is a free Ning App that helps Network Creators increase user engagement and site visits through automated email newsletters. “If you build it, they will come” is a big myth. It’s not enough to just create a Ning Network; to increase readership and engagement, you need to keep your members up to date on all the great content on your site. Email is still one of the best ways to keep members informed and to make sure they continue to visit your Ning Network. NutshellMail enables you to add an email newsletter feature to your Ning Network, and it simplifies the process through automation. NutshellMail automatically consolidates new activity from your network into a single email digest that is sent on a recurring schedule defined by each member who opts-in.

What inspired you to start it?
I have been a member of several Ning networks since 2007, but I found it difficult to keep track of everything going on across my networks. I am also on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn, which only compounded the problem. Our team developed NutshellMail because we all needed a simple way to manage our social networks. I used to rely on email alerts to know when to log into my networks, but my inbox was getting cluttered with too many emails from my social networks. The concept was pretty simple. We thought, wouldn’t it be nice if we could receive all of our social networking alerts in a single email digest?

How did you decide to start developing on Ning? What other platforms do you develop on?
We initially developed NutshellMail for Facebook and Twitter, but our users have been asking us to support Ning since we first launched. We didn’t need much convincing. With more than 2 million networks, Ning is one of the hottest and fastest growing platforms. When Ning announced the 2009 Ning Appathon, we submitted our application and were named a finalist.

Our integration with other platforms is one of the key factors for our success. Ning members who subscribe to their network’s newsletter can also add their Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn accounts so that they can manage their entire online social lives through their email inbox.

Did you develop it with a specific type of user in mind? Or more for a general audience?
We developed NutshellMail for busy social networkers who don’t have time to hang out online all day but need a simple way to stay connected to their online social lives. However, we also developed our Ning App to help Network Creators increase member engagement and site visits. It’s a win-win for everyone. Ning members love how they can keep track of their social networks through a single email, and the Ning Networks benefit from increased member activity.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
We plan to release a more robust version of the NutshellMail Ning App. The new version is designed based on the great feedback we have received from Network Creators. The new application will give Ning creators more control and features, enabling them to send email newsletter campaigns to all of their members on an automated schedule. It will include list management, editing tools and analytics so that you can customize your campaigns and measure their effectiveness. We are trying to make the creation of email newsletters as simple and painless as possible. All you have to do is schedule your campaigns, NutshellMail will automatically populate your email newsletters with content from your network and then send it out to your members.
If you are a Ning creator and would like to learn more about our new service, you can submit your email address to our beta. We are giving our initial customers free access to the service.

Interview: The Brains Behind SocialGiving

The power of Ning Apps comes from their ability to add new features and functionality to your Ning Network. Since we don’t offer a built in fundraising tool, we were extra excited when Pincgiving developed a Ning App specifically to help nonprofit and cause related Ning Networks. Beverley Claire Pomeroy, a Business in Vancouver‘s Top 40 Under Forty award and finalist for the Stevie Award for Top Canadian Entrepreneur, heads up Pincgiving and took time to let us know a little bit more about Pincgiving as a company, and updates for the SocialGiving Ning App.

Beverley_51Can you give me a some background about Pincgiving?
Pincgiving was launched in 2007 originally as a peer to peer pledge page solution. My journey into not for profit occurred when my youngest child was born with a life limiting illness and she suddenly found herself on the receiving end of philanthropy. After seven years, she decided to be a part of the solution and this is when the inception of Pinc began. Pinc is about harnessing purpose and passion.

Through our growing relationships with our clients and nonprofit partners, we have evolved over the last three years into an innovative platform for online fundraising initiatives and grown into being recognized globally.

Tell me a little bit about SocialGiving, your Ning App?
SocialGiving is all of Pinc’s online fundraising functions wrapped up into a little box specifically for Ning. It allows nonprofit, individual or corporate networks to be able to raise awareness and funds for the organizations and initiative they value.  It harnesses the power of giving on Ning.

You recently added some new features to your Ning App, correct?
With any technology platform you learn from those who use it and at Pincgiving we are no different. We launched SocialGiving in September and since then have made a number of changes. Donors no longer need to be Pincgiving users in order to donate, removing a huge barrier to a successful fundraising campaign. As well, those who add the SocialGiving app now get full access to donor reporting, allowing them to really engage with those who support their initiatives. We also built out an additional SocialGiving app that incorporates the needs of Political fundraising campaigns using the Ning network.

How did you decide to develop on the Ning Platform?
We really wanted to expand our reach and give grassroots initiatives the tools to create actionable opportunities within their own community both offline AND online. When we approached Ning about developing an app for giving, Ning embraced our project and really supported our development team with our desire to ‘do good’. With the leadership behind Ning, we were confident that our app would benefit from the Ning relationship.

Can you give some examples of Ning Networks using SocialGiving? Have you heard any success stories?
We have thousands of campaigns active on Ning using SocialGiving, one campaign having a tremendous amount of success is STAND Canada, an advocacy campaign against the genocide in Darfur. Other organizations are using SocialGiving to raise money for animal campaigns, local youth sport teams and recently we saw a huge number of Ning networks using SocialGiving to provide support for the recent devastation in Haiti.  When the natural disaster struck, Ning networks could immediately and easily create their own peer to peer campaign to support the organizations they value.

Do you have fundraising advice for Ning Networks focused on causes and activism?
My advice for Ning Networks focused on causes and activism is to ensure that you integrate your offline communications and activism with your online engagement. It is an important collaboration that often gets overlooked.