5 (100%) 2 votes

Ok, maybe I am easily impressed, but right now I am impressed. This morning I came in and our developers were, uh, enjoying Girl on Girl running on the Ning Playground. Now, I know how that sounds, but it’s not what you think.

Sheryl Crow

Girl on Girl is a head-to-head competition between female movie stars and celebrities – strictly PG-13. What’s impressive about Girl on Girl is the way Ivanbueno has added “More Info” which provides not only a summary of past battles, but links to Amazon for CDs and DVDs related to that artist.

He’s used his Amazon Associate key so that everytime someone clicks through to Amazon and buys a DVD, he takes a cut. For example, from Sheryl Crow’s page, you can join the other five people who bought The Minus Man.

We want to encourage this type of healthy capitalism on the Ning Playground. As a Beta Developer, you can do a number of things today to start lining your pockets with revenue from your app:

  • Integrate Amazon Associate links into your app (see Bookshelf or Girl on Girl for a couple of good examples)
  • Add transactions and transactions fees on, say, a marketplace (such as your own cloned version of Anytown Listings) via PayPal or other transaction services
  • Add premium services to any of your own or cloned Example Apps via PayPal or other transaction services

The only thing that is off-limits at the moment is running ads on your app. There’s a reason for this. We want to make sure that the Ning Playground is financially self-sufficient so we can keep it up and running with free developer accounts. To do this, we want to support the Ning Playground with a combination of revenue sources, including advertising and premium services.

3rd party ad networks don’t look warmly upon more than one person running ads on any single app, so we don’t let you run your own ads from networks like Google AdSense. To keep it simple, we also group ads from your own servers in this off-limits bucket. This is hopefully the only potential “catch” to building apps on our free Playground.

If you have the time or interest to throw your own ideas on other revenue opportunities for either developers or us into the mix, drop us a note at We’d love to hear from you.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention one thing. We are looking at paths to offer a free Playground and still give developers the option to run ads in the future. This could be done in a few different ways and a lot of what we ultimately do will depend on how the Ning Playground gets used. We should have some thoughts/plans along these lines in the next few months.