New Network Creators Network Coming November 9th

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Sparkles

In April, we moved our Ning Network Creators Network to Get Satisfaction in an effort to address what we thought was a desire for people to have an independent place to share best practices around creating successful Ning Networks without our meddling.

While Get Satisfaction is a great service, we miss the Network Creators Network for immediate, candid feedback, the opportunity to talk through releases before they go live and, most importantly, a centralized place for us and Network Creators to help other Network Creators get the most out of Ning.

As we’ve been talking to you all, we’ve been thrilled to find out that you’ve missed it too. As a result of this serendipity, we’re bringing it back.

Especially as we are beginning the design and development of the next generation of Ning Networks – which we’re planning on launching three years to the day of our original launch in 2007 – we couldn’t imagine doing it without a Network Creator Network and your fantastic experience as Network Creators, observations and incredibly high standards of us and your Ning Network.

More importantly, we didn’t want to launch a new Network Creators Network without addressing in parallel what we’ve heard from you as the greatest pain points today in your Ning Network. If we did that, we’d end up spending all of our time talking about those and we have too many other things to do together to get the most out of this partnership.

So, here’s what you can expect from us between now and the end of the year:

  • A new public Network Creators Network launching November 9th with articles, blog posts, screencasts, updates on new releases and a staffed forum designed to help you get the most out of your Ning Network.
  • A redesigned Ning.com focused on new Ning Network discovery, Ning Network management and no default Ning-wide profiles.
  • Prioritizing the work to make existing features easier-to-use and address long-standing idiosyncrasies on Ning Networks rapidly in two-week intervals over entirely new features.
  • At least 24 hours advanced notice for small releases and 5 days advanced notice for large releases on the new Network Creators Network.
  • A detailed change list for both large and small releases on the Network Creators Network.
  • An bi-weekly email with links to the best of the new Network Creators Network and news from Ning.
  • Platform uptime goals of over 99.9% and continued performance optimization of your Ning Network.
  • Solicitation of early feedback and input into our next generation Ning Network on the Network Creator Network.
  • A revamp of our Ning Help Center to drive public, transparent responses and even more effective troubleshooting.
  • A better definition and ongoing conversation about what it means to be a premium Ning Network. Much of the criticism we see from Network Creators is a direct result of the gray area that exists between what we offer and what you want from us when you purchase the premium services on your Ning Network.

There’s no question that when we’re moving as fast as we can to innovate and deliver an ever increasingly awesome product, we are going to do things that, with hindsight, we’d do differently. While we’ll never be perfect, we certainly look to learn from experience, building upon a stronger foundation of what’s working with a new set of things that only makes it better.

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54 thoughts on “New Network Creators Network Coming November 9th

  1. Ole A. Seifert

    Please give us bakc the “last comment/respond” link under discussions. That will help the discussions running better instead of always going through front page. I see several people complains about this today on different ning-sites.

  2. Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi Linda,

    We noticed this too, shortly after we pushed out last night’s email notification release. Your replies should now be appearing as expected.

    If you are still seeing some issues with this, please let us know and we’ll do further investigation!

  3. Linda

    The absence of the “last respons/comment”-link (”Siste svar” in norwegian) under discussions also makes it less easy to go straight to the discussion, as you have to go through the first page. This is not conveniant at all.

  4. Pamylle

    I’m JUST a member of several Ning Networks. Today, I am TOTALLY unhappy to go to my Main Ning page to find my Network activities gone, my “master” friend list, and my invitations ! I used these features as a springboard for my Ning activities. Most of us are not behind the scenes at Ning, so why should these self-serving Ning blogs replace useful features for users ? My theory that “new & improved” is good for management and not for the regular folk holds.

    I don’t know how else to communicate directly to Ning, so I’ll also say this: the gifts are ridiculous, and should be optional on a network. Many of us are turned off. Why would anyone spend any amount of money for little pictures ? Honestly, I can’t think of anything more dumb. Points should be earned by involvement to get points for gifts, period. I very much appreciated my Ning networks, but it is sad to see this platform get tackier & more commercial.

  5. DADDY_SMOOTH

    I am looking forward to the new launch, just a concern and a suggestion. As time goes by, members on my network would only visit the site when I send them an email blast of an event, therefore they would visit to view that event. Apart from discussions on the forums and blogs, members do not come to participate on the network a lot, and I think this is due to limited reasons. I have added to “Games” app which some of my members complain of loading too slow. I am not using any of the third party Apps because they are indeed moving too slow. I have suggested the Leaderboards which was turned down for some reasons or the other.

    1. Will Ning be using their own apps instead of thirdparty? or

    And I again suggest

    A point system for member activity, this will encourage members to be more active on the networks.

    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      Daddy_Smooth,

      1. Point system is in the works and we’re looking at it as a feature to add to current Ning Networks as well as making it the cornerstone of the new Ning Networks coming down the path in the first half of next year.

      2. Some Ning Apps – including games – can be a bit slow because of the way they are designed by our Third Party Application developers. We’re constantly looking for ways to help our partners make these faster and faster.

      Thanks!
      Gina

  6. Sanjiv

    Gina,

    Their has been progress on a number of fronts with NING but a few features which are dearly needed include the following

    1. Facebook connect – everyone else has it why not NING ?
    2. groups and event integration
    3. uploading photos and videos for groups and events
    4. Point system for member activity
    5. Different levels of security for network access
    6. custom layouts for home page
    7. Categories for groups
    8. Categories for Photo Albums

    Most Social network platforms have the features suggested – NING should have them too

    An answer to any of the above especially facebook integration would be appreciated.

  7. Alex (MUL)

    Hi Gina,

    I ask because I see Ning seems to be re-evaluating some of its recent decisions and I guess it was wishful thinking of me to think that maybe you guys are also considering the possibility of offering a truly white-label solution at a premium rate. 🙂

    Regarding Ning.com changes, are you saying that profiles on each social network will be stand-alone instead of being shared across Ning or that there just won’t be user profile pages on Ning.com? I’d like to learn more about these changes, but this sounds like a good move.

    Thank you for your prompt response!

    -Alex

    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      Alex,

      Wishful thinking and there just won’t be user profile pages across Ning.com 🙂

      We’re not changing the structure of how profiles or the Ning ID will work.

      Thanks!
      Gina

  8. Alex (MUL)

    This is great, but it seems like a lot of unnecessary work and grief to take the original one down. It was obviously a mistake, but I’m glad you guys are coming to your senses.

    Please elaborate on these points:

    – A redesigned Ning.com focused on new Ning Network discovery, Ning Network management and *no default Ning-wide profiles*.

    – A revamp of our Ning Help Center to drive *public*, transparent responses and even more effective troubleshooting.

    And last but not least, are you ever going to offer a true white-label solution?

    Thanks!

    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      Hey Alex,

      I know we’ve had this conversation since you started Miami Urban Life and we’ve been consistent the whole time, we are not in the white label business and don’t plan on being in it. You’ve been clear on the fact that you’d like us to be and we’ve been clear on the fact that we won’t. From here, we’ll just have to continue to agree to disagree 🙂

      As for the redesigned Ning.com, we’ll have more updates on it in the next two weeks, but as I said, there will not be Ning-wide profiles. As for the Ning Help Center, we’re going to try and move as much as possible into the new Network Creator Network in terms of troubleshooting and threads that may be as valuable to many Network Creators at a time.

      Thanks,
      Gina

  9. Zohra

    Hi Gina,

    Thanks for answering me about the payment for photouploads.

    On the Getsatisfaction forum there were many people who agreed with my suggestion.

    Ofcourse PAYING for photouploads shouldn’t be mandatory, i think NC’s should need the freedom to choose for an option like this, or not. IF they WANT it, then why not give them the possibillity? Lots of people like this idea 🙂

    Thanks that you are taking the SMS payments in consideration, however, i think paypal is already a good sollution.

    There is a big social network, named NETLOG, NETLOG gives their members a set of free uploads. After they reached their limits, they can choose to purchase ‘points’. With these ‘poin’ts’ members can pay for things inside the social network, for example uploading photo’s, or adding specific blogs, photo’s or links in a spotlight section on the home of the social network, so they will always be noticed, wich sends traffic to their profilepage.

    Each member can pay for a ‘spotlight’ so their content is shown on the frontpage of the social network for some time, until someone else adds something to the spotligt.

    NETLOG has a ‘notifier’ members can download, wich allows them to see updates from their friends as they happen. This ‘notifier’ shows all the updates from friends and when particular content is being added, updates or when someone comes online in to the social network.

    Maybe we could collect ideas on the forum of the new Network Creators for revenue-sharing or have a poll about the idea of having members pay for more uploads.

    Most BIG social networks like myspace and facebook allow people to upload tons and tons of free photos, however, there is still a group of people who are willing to pay to have more photo’s on their profile. FLICKR does the same by offering premium memberships for people who wish to upload more photos or videos. Even though uploading videos to Youtube is FREE, still there is always a big group of people who want to pay to upload more, because they like the ‘small’ social networks because of their charm and hate the unpersonal atmosphere that rules on the ‘big ones’.

    Just keep it in mind 😉

    Cheers,
    Zohra

  10. Thiago Santos de Moraes

    Tim, my network can not change it place like that. We have archives and a history. And, for networks like mine, that have it focus on philosophical and thological debates, the necessity for change is not not so great. What we need for success is stability.

  11. Lynn Fredricks

    Gina,

    These are all positive moves at improving customer relations and restoring damaged confidences.

    I suggest that you carefully consider your premium user policy; consider carefully if you try to reframe what customer expectations are. No matter what your EULA says, there is a sense of ownership of a paid for network, and if you violate that sense of ownership, you will not only lose your customers, but also in a noisy and unpleasant way. Now, let me tell you why I chose NING:

    -Software (was) updated with new features regularly and faster than what you find in self serve solutions
    -Security issues can be dealt with very rapidly
    -Staff feedback through dev oriented venue set my expectations for fixes, upgrades; if they didn’t know, it was clear my questions were still going beyond that first level of discussion
    -I can decide when and what appears on my network(s), because those who come to my network are my customers and noone elses

    You’ve almost always met or exceeded expectations, and that keeps me paying and saying nice things about NING to friends and colleagues of mine in the industry. I want to keep doing that 🙂

  12. Tim

    All good news. It’s encouraging too that you’re not going to force instant migration to the next generation platform: with a premium network that’s working well, there’s a lot to think through and it has to be carefully managed.

    Saying that, there’s every probability I would migrate in due course; refreshing a network is important, and we all need to evolve in a changing online world, as new tools and services – like Google Wave – start to catch the attention and involvement of internet users

    I’ve been privately very critical in the past of the way some things have been handled by Ning, while respecting that tough business decisions sometimes need to be made. After moving my network away, re-building it elsewhere, and then having (some eight months later) brought it back to Ning, I can honestly say that in many ways, I think the platform is better than ever, and it seems my members agree.

    Even at the worst point of my relationship with Ning, Gina’s responses to me have always been prompt, direct, open and honest. If that’s going to be the hallmark of the re-vamped NC network, that’s great, and Ning should regain a lot of the support and business intelligence that it used to have from NCs in the past.

    As Scott said above “you can’t please everyone with the big picture decisions you guys have to make” as they have to be made in a much bigger context than individual networks. But taking the time to talk issues through in advance of implementation – as well as being seen to listen to and take on board legitimate concern – will make changes much easier to manage for all of us.

    This is a great platform in so many ways, and Ning has some very talented and customer-focused staff. If you can build in an appropriate level of real partnership with the NC community, as far as wider business pressures allow, you’ll have an advantage that few (if any) other large-scale web service providers can offer.

    Tim

    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      Tim,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. This is exactly our plan for the new Network Creators Network.

      Looking forward to continuing the conversation across these interesting topics where if we won’t always agree, we can at least discuss in an intelligent manner and see where it takes us.

      Gina

  13. Thiago Santos de Moraes

    I will not move to a new generation network. For a year I´ve been made my community and, now, it is a success. I want do by some premium services in the future (2011), but for the same structure.

  14. Zohra

    As i stated on the GS forum, i better idea ffor revenue-sharing would be photouploads.

    Right now i set a limit to my members and allow them to upload 18 pictures per member.

    No one on my social network is interested in the virtual gifts, only two or three used it so far.

    I think a better idea ffor revenue-sharring would be photo uploads.

    For example, each network crator sets a limit (if they want this) for a certain amount of photo’s they can upload for free. When they reach this limit, they should get a message that says: ‘You have reached your limit of maximum free photouploads. You can purchase on or more sets of photouplods, a set of (let’s say 5) photo’s will cost you € $ 1,50 … etc,. etc., etc.

    This way we would make a huge income because members love to upload photos.

    Can’t ning figure out a way for this?

    And let NC’s decide how many photo uploads they allow for free and after a member reaches this limit, they can buy extra sets of uploads?

    PAYPAL is not really a popular payment system in Holland where i live, here SMS payment is very popular and very much accepted as a payment period. Could it be possible when members send an sms message to our network and purchase a set of photos (if this would be an option ning would give to us)

    Or offer three payment options:

    Creditcard
    PAYPAL
    SMS payment (suitable for international payment)

    I am asking this because PAYPAL is not really a popular payment method in Holland and people are just too lazy to create a paypal account, therefor something easy like sms payments should be possible as an extra option.

    So, if we’re talking about revenue sharing here, i think this would generate much more income for the NC then Virtual Gifts.

    My members don’t like them.. but i think photo upload payments would be a great revenue maker

    Thanks!
    Zohra

    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      Zohra,

      PayPal is the first of what we hope will be multiple payment options beyond credit cards, so SMS payments – while not around the corner – are definitely on our radar.

      As for paying for photo uploads, I’m not sure that will fly given the expectation that the majority of the Internet has with the behavior of photo services being free. Even if they aren’t right for your Ning Network, with virtual gifts there is the expectation of payment. Starting with fundamental market dynamics and expectations seemed like the right starting point for us and we’re looking forward to offering more options for virtual gifts to make them right for your Ning Network here shortly.

      Gina

  15. Deborah Walker

    Dear Gina and Ning Team,

    First of all, thanks for responding directly to NC’s…it’s pretty neat. Second, the NC’s were having a pretty good discussion about the way the virtual gift feature was released on Get Satisfaction You can find it here . I don’t want some of those points to get lost in the shift of venues from Get Satisfaction back to the NCN.

    I think you’ll find if you look back through that NC’s experienced lots of problems…clients mad at them, community members thinking that the gifts feature was the NC’s idea, embarrassment of having the gifts feature appear when it was inappropriate for their community, being unprepared to answer the technical questions of community members about how the feature worked, rushing to turn off the Gifts Feature, finding that community members had already given gifts and having to delete those gifts when turning off the feature. All these problems could have been avoided by making the feature opt-in rather than opt-out.

    Network Creators need time to think about how new features will change the look and feel of their communities and the way their communities work. Adding the idea of virtual gifting is a pretty big dynamic to introduce into any virtual community. I think that anyone who understands the time, effort, and care it takes to build, grow, and tend a virtual community would realize the upheaval that can be caused by introducing a new element like the virtual gift feature across every community, premium and free, as a surprise.

    If I’m interpreting the above statement as addressing some of the issues that were raised when the Gifting Feature debuted, then we’ll get at least “5 days advanced notice for large releases on the new Network Creators Network.” I think that if you’re not planning to make features opt-in rather than opt-out, then, at the very least, NC’s will need email notifications in advance (7-10 days would be good) as well as after launch. Please don’t expect us to monitor the forum…most of us are too busy.

    Here’s another suggestion…when I think about it from a business point of view, maybe you were in a tough predicament. Maybe you were afraid that if you made the gifts feature an opt-in, a huge number of people would, through ineptitude or inertia, simply never try it. I think I understand why you launched it the way you did. I still can’t justify the decision. Maybe there should be a check box in the management section that NC’s check it if they wish to review major features like Gifts before they are launched on our networks? That way, those of us who feel responsible for carefully tending our virtual communities could find the option and opt-in to reviewing the launch of major features, while the NC’s who didn’t care or weren’t technical enough could just get dragged along for the ride.

    There’s no doubt that Ning offers a lot for a relatively low cost. The “low cost” is still a significant cost for my little organization, but do I feel like we get a lot out of it.

    -Deb

    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      Deborah,

      I appreciate your comment and suggestions for clear communication going forward on new big releases. We’ll look to email Network Creators at least 5 days – but hopefully more like 7-10 days – ahead of a significant new release with great documentation for how the feature will work. We’re also exploring ways to enable premium Network Creators to opt out of features like this ahead of launch vs. setting up the dynamic of either having to opt-in or opting out after the release.

      I think a focus on both advanced communication plus a pre-launch opt-out option addresses what you are looking for from us while ensuring that we can continue to offer new features that will work across the Ning Platform.

      Thanks for the insights and I look forward to continuing the conversation on the new Network Creators Network.

      Gina

  16. Derek

    Gina,

    Thanks for the response. I think that you have touched upon what is at the heart of many (myself included) mis perceptions about Ning that some of us might be holding. With an annual cost of up to $660 (Using the $55.00 per month figure that you quoted) that is a very competitive price to what is being offered by (other) software vendors that provide DIY social networks even when you add ISP hosting fees. Please understand that this mis perception of what your company is, and is offering, is completely on our (the small sub set of NC’s) end. I believe that many of us thought that “Create Your Own Social Network” meant just that and we viewed Ning as one of the MANY tools/options available. Before I created my first Ning network one of the few good articles out there about Ning back then was a Tech Crunch article that gave a side by side comparison of Ning and several other “whitelabel” social network vendors ( In 2007 I think). However this lead to my having a few false assumptions that Ning in the Social Network creation sphere was analogous to WordPress in the Blog creation sphere.

    I think that there is definitely a need to define, and delineate what Ning is (and what Ning aspires to become) relative to the options any current NC, or new NC has available to them. That way all parties have correct and proper expectations of each other. Thanks again for the response and for such a great product. Good luck to you and your team in the future.

    Derek

  17. Fabricio

    Even though I have a lot of suggestion, one thing I’m concerned it’s the lack of possibility to be able to be a premium member without a credit card. Ning will gain tons of premium members if allows PayPal payments, just to name service.

    As a NC and Moderator of others huge communities (using another ID) I also BEG to improve forum’s feature. There is no point of similitude between the simplest forum scripts out there to the Ning’s forum. Ning really needs to work on the forum as many communities depend almost 100% of it.

    Yes, easy to critics, but I’m here for that, just to say the bad things…

    As I’m using Ning everyday to enjoy the tons of excellent things! Thumbs up!

    I’ll be waiting for a reply!

    Thanks!

    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      Fabricio – PayPal support is coming, hopefully we’ll have it completed by the end of November. As soon as we have a more firm date, we’ll start talking about it in more detail!

  18. Derek

    While even I can appreciate that Ning is changing course on a few of it’s more controversial ideas. The 60 Million Dollar question that continues to go unanswered is how white lablel (or close to white label) does the Ning platform intend on becoming in the future? I believe the reason why there is so much controversy from people who pay for premium services is that “premium” has not been truly, “premium”. Currently there is virtually no difference in a free Ning site and a premium Ning site.

    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      Derek,

      This is my point in the post with respect to doing a better job defining the gray area that currently exists in what it means to be a “premium” Ning Network.

      Here’s the thing: we’re not a private label social networking service and purchasing our premium services a la carte with options that total no more than $55.00 per month was never meant to entail a complete – or even close to complete – private label offering.

      While we’re clear in what our premium services entail when you purchase them – specifically that they only remove the three promotional links that prompt your members to create their own social networks – we can appreciate that a small sub-set of Network Creators who want something more from us in terms of removing the Ning branding view purchasing this extremely low cost option as much more than it was ever intended to be.

      To this end, if we are going to explore the option to offer something more than a premium service to remove the prompt for your members to create their own social network, we’ll price it appropriately and offer it as an entirely new premium service feature.

      Looking forward to continuing the conversation here on this topic.

      Thanks!
      Gina

  19. The PL Team

    Its fantastic to hear it officially announced Gina! Anything you need don’t hesitate to ask and we’re happy to help dream up requests and provide constructive feedback.

    I read a peep about RSS, one thing I’d absolutely love to see is RSS for FEATURED photos, we currently have it for photos altogether, but it would be fantastic to feed out the features to screensavers around the world!

  20. JOOQ

    Well, well, well.

    I am really happy that Gina and the team have taken this decision. I counted myself amongst Ning’s greatest fans up until the loss of NNC. For me it ripped the heart out of the Ning community and experience and I said as much at the time.
    Redeveloping my Ning network was an overwhelming but thoroughly rewarding experience, as such, I was also sad to see the PHP access removed although I vaguely understood the reasoning behind it.
    The key to the old NNC I feel was the ability for all of us to add ask questions and help other NNCs in an uncensored way. Some topics were very serious, others were light hearted; either way and importantly, this was always conducted in a respectful manner.
    I think a lot of us got annoyed because we felt as though the Ning we had taken to our bosom had abandoned us but I think now we should collectively put the past behind us and welcome the advent of the NNC2 and hope it lives up to the accolades and expectations bestowed upon it’s first incarnation.
    Ning has listened! All hail Gina!

    The guy with a phone

  21. Roland Taylor

    @Zohra, while we would all like a downloadable content management system, I will humbly defend Ning’s position (keep in mind I DO NOT REPRESENT NING, THIS IS PERSONAL OPINION), in that Ning is not open source, and it would be rather complicated to make Ning a service that we could download and manage ourselves. Then there are problems with branding, and how Ning would make revenue from a service like this if we are allowed to download and tweak it as we like.

    What I personally think Ning needs is to simply (re)open development on top of the platform in a tier-based method. However a content management system that we host ourselves is a bit beyond this platform in my opinion, and it would be better to use another system in collaboration with Ning, and for Ning to allow us to create plugins to the platform for this purpose.

    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      Hey Roland,

      While it won’t be for a bit, one of our reasons for launching the next generation of Ning Networks is to evolve how developers can access the Ning Platform in a deeper way. We’re not going back to what we had – and are happy to share why in future blog posts and forum discussions – but we too think that there should be ways to fundamentally customize your Ning Network.

      Looking forward to working on it together with you and other Network Creators.

  22. Charles

    If i’m not wrong, “Ning” started in 2005 already (the name changed to Ning in 2007). After 4 years development, what’s up? Nothing very impressive (or innovative). Much more could or should have been done. No excuse. Ning raised millions while on the other side, many very innovative start-ups are struggling to raise funds.

    Sharing feedbacks is great as long as there’s a quick follow-up. Just take a look at what Seesmic is doing. They got tons of feedbacks and right away, launch updates and improvements. They listen and are pro-active. And from what I read recently on ning forum re the Gifting feature, we were very close to a class action. I just hope that this new initiative will help Ning boost-up their development process and make it the right way and not half way.

    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      Charles,

      The first step to being rapidly responsive is getting feedback quickly. That’s exactly why we’re relaunching the Network Creators Network after less than a year’s absence.

      As for what is or isn’t impressive or innovative about Ning, we must be doing something right to have you here on the Ning Blog commenting, but we won’t rest on our laurels 🙂 Rather, we’ll take that as a starting point and look forward to turning you around by doing things the right way, not half way.

      Thanks!
      Gina

  23. Roland Taylor

    Not to sound like some annoying fan boy, but: WOW. Impressive. I never thought it would return. Good stuff Ning.

  24. eBranchOffice.com

    Thank you!

    I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my fellow NC’s. I really enjoyed sharing ideas about building and growing online communities. The loss of the NC community was a real blow to my efforts so I’m glad it is coming back.

  25. Zohra

    This is great news and i love this… but i have a suggestion.

    Why doesn’t NING make a downloadable version of NING so all the networkcreators who wish for total freedom and be able to do whatever they want with their ning networks, have it in their own hand?

    I was thinking of a website like joola, where we can download plugins or widgets when we WANT them instead of standard ‘upgrades’ that come with new releases?

    I believe this would be a great model, offering two sollutions:

    – A hosted version where we all agree with nings rules and terms
    – A downloadable version of NING, where we have freeedom to download new updates WHEN we want them.

    Like for example for Windows, when we want particular updates for windows, we can select wich updates we would like to download. Wouldn’t this be great for NING too?

    This would really give NING a boost and make everyone happy who loves to use the NING software and be totally free with what they want with their networks?

    Since there are so many different people, there are so many different needs. We do not ALL wish to be the next facebook but use NING for diffferent purposes then just being just a social network!

    Anyway, i love the fact networkcreators is coming back!

    Cheers,
    Zohra

  26. Laura Oppenheimer

    Hi JP,

    Thanks for taking the time to outline your concerns and ideas – you’ve packed a lot of feedback in! I don’t have exact answers to each of your questions, but I do think they are important and starting a discussion about some of these is certainly important. This ties back to why re-launching a network for Ning Network Creators is so important — we want, as Gina wrote, “immediate, candid feedback, the opportunity to talk through releases before they go live and, most importantly, a centralized place for us and Network Creators to help other Network Creators get the most out of Ning.”

    I’m looking forward to the launch on the 9th and I hope we can start discussing some of these issues in that space.

    Best,
    Laura

  27. NingMaster

    ***Yes this is all very exciting.***

    I have a few questions after reading negative comments about Ning and hearing first hand negative input from hundreds of network creators.

    What will Ning do, to bring back the sense of separation from the Ning platform and the old saying “build a Social Network about anything”?

    Will Ning bring back network individuality?

    For the last 1 1/2 years, I have watched Ning slowly whittle Ning Networks down to Nothing. The last thing left to take away is the analytics box. After that, Ning will slowly fade away.

    Facebook numbers climbing, Twitter US numbers have failed to increase. HuLu going to premium version. So much happening in the World Wide Web.

    What will Ning do to keep it fresh with 2 major competitors working to overtake them.

    Will Ning give Network creators more freedom and access to areas that will help them create a unique and interesting Ning network?

    How will they help NC’s monetize their Ning networks, so they as Network Creators can earn a study income from their Ning networks?

    Will they ever offer premium features, like classifieds, directories, subscriptions and so on??

    Have they noticed that Open Social is a lost cause and they should offer some of the Apps as a premium feature that is built right into the Ning platform. Have they noticed how bad these iframes look on Ning networks?

    Have they come to the conclusion yet, that the more an NC can monetize their Ning Network, the better the chance they can increase revenue generated for Ning?

    Sell or go public will be here in a flash. What will Ning do when their investors start knocking on the door asking for their due?

    I have been using Ning for close to 3 years now. What it was and what it has become, concerns me.

    I have supported Ning for 3 years now, through everything I have told many NC’s to stop whining, why? There was always a way to make things work, no matter how closed the platform was becoming.

    Now, I can no longer support Ning 100%. I have moved networks from the Ning platform and only propose a Ning network to my clients about 50% of the time.

    Traffic on my site has declined, this negative impact to my Ning network I blame directly on the decisions Ning has made in the past. Network Creators no longer create networks like they use to. Back in the day I had up 20 Ning networks. I have 2 active ones now.

    Bottom Line:

    Network creators want their networks to work for them not against them.

    Bring back the old Ning with source code access for a premium fee.

    Stop third party add-ons! New features need to be integrated into the Ning platform, not iframed in with a 7 second loading window.

    over 100 million in funding and Ning can’t even incorporate their own robust forums, instant messenger, who’s online, rewards and so on…….

    Who is in charge of monetization over at Ning, Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street?

    Network Creators are starving for functionality! You have yet to even integrate a proper HTML editor for blog post’s, notes or even text boxes.

    So much wrong, so much missing, what are “YOU” (Ning) going to do to make Ning better?

    I could add another 10 paragraphs to this reply and still not cover all the concerns I myself and hundreds of other NC’s have.

    “Cheers”
    JP

  28. Scott

    thanks Gina-

    I assume details on this will unfold in due time. I’m curious about what parts of the next generation ning network will be mandatory, op-out, etc, or something along those lines. I’m hoping with the re-launch of the NC forum we will get a detailed preview of these kinds of things.

    I know you can’t please everyone with the big picture decisions you guys have to make, so helping us be aware of exactly what the changes will be and when they get turned on will be important. The email blasts you talked about will be a big help there.

    thanks for taking the time,
    Scott

    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      Scott – that’s exactly the plan. The current thinking is that we would have an optional migration path for the new Ning Network at launch, so that nothing would be mandatory.

      That doesn’t mean that we won’t continue to make changes to Ning Networks that will be rolled out across all Ning Networks, but we’re not planning at this point to force upgrades to a new product. Rather, our goal is to make it so enticing of a product that you want to migrate 🙂

      Glad to hear that you’re a fan of email blasts. That’s helpful feedback!

      Gina

  29. Rich

    Extremely happy you are refocusing on the network creators and helping us thrive on this platform you’ve built that we all cherish very much. This alleviates a lot of concerns I had about the future plans for Ning, especially the Ning-wide profiles.

  30. Scott

    Can we please get more insight as to what this one means?

    “Solicitation of early feedback and input into our next generation Ning Network on the Network Creator Network.”

    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      Scott,

      We’ll be providing insight into what all of this means in the coming weeks, but in this particular case, it means that we want to get early input into where we’re taking Ning Networks in 2010 and beyond. What it does NOT mean is that we are in any way abandoning the current product 🙂

      Thanks!
      Gina

  31. Shy Matsi

    Good move! 🙂 I still am not sure why you took away the old one, but it’s great that it’s coming back! 🙂

  32. Luzifa Hell

    YEAH! All joy now, here.

    After all that done, NING will, again, be the place I went for when I decided to create a network. With lots of opts for the time to come. Thank you!

    Darn… it’s wonderful.

    Regards
    Luzi

  33. The Groovy Rat

    Gina

    Thats great news. You should never have removed the old one, it would have saved you a load of stress. It’s nice to see you once again moving in the right direction.

    Regards

    Julian

  34. Robert

    This is great but wouldn’t it of saved time and energy to just leave the old NC up and running.. ? Any-who thanks for bringing it back …

    Will we ever be able to set our profile info back to the top of the page …?? and the comments walls back down …?
    PLEASE
    Robert

    1. Gina Bianchini Post author

      Robert,

      We’re planning on making both of those changes here shortly in terms of the profile information and comment wall placement. We are also looking at a few other changes that we’ll talk about here later today.

      As for keeping up the old NC, we looked at it and are planning on kickstarting it with the best of from the original but there is a fair amount that has changed since we first had it up, we want to at least launch it with the freshest information possible.

      Thanks!

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