Category Archives: Company

“How to Grow an Online Community” — Recorded for Those Who Missed It

This week, we held the second webinar in our series with Richard Millington, one of the most respected voices in the field of community management. The first one was about increasing activity, and it was definitely the most successful webinar Ning has ever held. If you missed it, you can find it on YouTube or Vimeo. I absolutely recommend sitting down with a cup of something and watching it if you want to hear about increasing engagement in your community. It was a good one.

This one was a good one, too! And, like the last one, Richard gave away a PDF version of half of his new book, Buzzing Communities: How to Build Bigger, Better, and More Active Online Communities. I’ve been reading the book (and online reviews of the book) and it’s getting a great reception, as it should. It’s got a lot of advice that no one tells you when you start out managing a community, but even better than that it points to a lot of social science studies that put data behind ideas and hunches. Richard has a knack for pointing out things that question conventional wisdom and make you realize that conventional wisdom can be completely bogus. Simply put: His book is an excellent resource, and we’re thrilled to have Richard sharing his expertise with Ning Creators.

Or anyone else! Richard’s talks aren’t specific to Ning. Whether you’re a Ning customer, someone who runs a community on some other platform, or just someone who’s curious about how community works — or should work — we hope you’ll get something good out of this talk. Give it a watch!

How to Grow an Online Community from Ning on Vimeo.

A few things covered in this talk:

  • Should you grow your online community? You might be surprised to hear a contrary view from Richard when it comes to some kinds of communities.
  • Assuming you can answer that last one in the affirmative, Richard gives you 5 reasons you should grow and 4 channels you should use.
  • Word of mouth, promotion — and how to make sure all that effort isn’t wasted.
  • Very few people are able to effectively convert visitors into members. Richard shows you how to ensure more registered members participate.


Sign Up for Our Second Community Management Webinar: “How to Grow an Online Community”

You know you’ve had a successful webinar when you get this kind of feedback:

An excellent talk, extremely useful. Packed with concrete stuff and techno-babble-free. Great Q&A at the end.

We strive to be techno-babble-free, so it’s nice to hear we succeeded last week during Richard Millington’s first webinar with Ning, How to Increase Activity in Your Community.

The event was our most well-attended talk ever, and it’s already getting tons of replay on YouTube and Vimeo. We expect it will be a valuable resource that will reach a lot of people over time who are looking for straightforward advice about managing their community.

It’s even better to hear feedback like this:

Your wish is our command, James! Response to this first webinar was so positive that we’re going to do another one next week….

Community Management Webinar #2: How to Grow an Online Community

When: Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 1 p.m. Pacific time

Richard Millington is back to coach Ning customers — and anyone else who needs advice — on how to genuinely make your online community a big success. In his first webinar for Ning, Richard talked about strategies for generating activity. This time around, he’s going to talk about growth. There are lots of things to think about when you think about growth:

  • Key steps to build your base.
  • You can grow too fast. Didn’t think that was possible, did you?
  • What is the total feasible audience size (TFAS) of your community?
  • If you only have limited administrative power to support the community, too much growth can actually hurt you.
  • If you already have a mature, happy, and highly engaged community, is an influx of strangers actually a good idea?

Whether you want to be the biggest community of sports fans in the world or just a private community of committed scrapbooking hobbyists, you want to find your ideal size — and getting there isn’t about papering email inboxes with a million invites. Smart community managers follow tried-and-true strategies. Richard will share some of the best.

Growth is just one way toward realizing a more valuable community, but it’s an important one — and one that nearly every Ning customer will be interested in. So, join us next Wednesday for another get-together with one of the experts in community management. We’ll start on time and pack as much into an hour as we can. We’ll stick around and answer some questions, too. Plus, Richard is giving away an excerpt of the e-book version of his new book “Buzzing Communities” to all attendees. It’s 50% of his book in handy PDF format. Free!

Help us reach every continent

Disappointingly, not a single person in Antarctica appears to have attended or watched the first webinar. So, we’re making it our personal goal with this second one to get the word out to at least one person in Antarctica. If you, um, happen to know anyone in Antarctica, we’d appreciate a little help. Or, if you just happen to know someone next door or a few cubicles down who manages an online community, let them know that this free session can help them do it better.

You can help us spread the word by pointing people to our Smore page for this webinar.

Buy the book!

Richard’s book is one of the best we’ve ever read about community management. He’ll be giving away half of the book at this webinar, but we think it’s definitely worth buying, either in physical or Kindle format. Buzzing Communities cuts through the fluff to offer a clear process for creating thriving online communities. This book combines a century of proven science, dozens of real-life examples, practical tips, and trusted community-building methods. This step-by-step guide includes a lifecycle for tracking your progress and a framework for managing your organization’s community efforts.

How to Increase Activity in Your Community

Guest post by Richard Millington

Over the past 12 years, Richard has helped over a hundred organizations develop successful online communities. His clients have included: The United Nations, Novartis, Oracle, EMC, The British Medical Journal, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, OECD, AMD, BAE Systems, Greenpeace, Autodesk and many other brands. 

The majority of communities struggle to sustain high levels of activity in their communities. We typically only hear about the rampant success stories. It’s fun to believe that a community will just attract members and explode to life.

Unfortunately, that’s probably not going to happen. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, an understanding of why people participate in communities, some principles of activity, and a clear plan of action.

 Why do people participate in communities?

People participate in communities to satisfy their informational and social needs. The mistake most organizations make is they focus on the former and ignore the latter. The problem with the former is once someone has gained the information they need, they leave. Your challenge is to focus on their social needs.

To increase activity, you need to apply proven community building techniques. These techniques include content, moderation, relationship development, and events/activities. The best communities are able to use all four to sustain extremely high levels of activity.

Principles for high levels of activity

Before we get tactical, let’s cover some basic principles of successful activity:

  • Activity should be planned. Don’t wait for activity to happen by chance. Proactively drive the level of activity in your community. This means have a clear idea of what activity will take place when. Everything else is a bonus.
  • Good activity –vs– weak activity. Good activity is when members interact via discussions, blogs posts, or another medium where they can meaningfully share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with one another. Weak activity are poll votes, likes, clicks, and anything that doesn’t allow other members to know each other better. Focus on driving good activity.
  • Group identity. Communities with a strong group identity and sense of community also have sustained high levels of activity. If you can build a strong group identity, you will have high levels of activity.

Develop a community management plan

Put together a template community management plan that highlights what content, activities, and discussions will take place in your community over the next few months. Try to have some sort of sustained narrative or broad themes to cover. If you run the 50 Cent community and there is a new 50 cent tour/record coming out, then you might be planning 3 big discussions a week:

  • Monday: On a scale of 1 – 10, how would you rate 50 Cent’s New Album?
  • Wednesday: What’s your favourite song on the new album?
  • Friday: So who has tickets to see 50 Cent in {city?}

Then you might plan 2 online events that week. For example:

  • Tuesday: Live chat with tour manager (it’s not as hard to arrange these as you imagine).
  • Thursday: Community discussion of the week: Theme – best places to buy 50 Cent tour tickets

Then you might schedule regular content for example:

  • Monday: Interview with a community member
  • Tuesday: Community predictions for next 50 Cent album
  • Wednesday: Poll:What was the best 50 Cent song ever?
  • Thursday: 50 Cent crazy fan of the week…
  • Friday: Roundup of the week’s 50 Cent news
  • Saturday: Welcome the newcomers.

Note that the best content for a community is content about the community. You want content that involves you proactively going out there and interacting with members. Imagine yourself as a local reporter and the community being your local beat. Go out there and find stories about what your members are doing.

Now you have fresh activity taking place every day in the community. You’ve given members a reason to continually return and visit your community every day. You might need to individually nudge a few members in the beginning, but over time you will see it taking off.

Practical tips

In addition to having a great plan, there are also a number of practical tips you can implement to increase activity.

  • Remove the dead areas. The appearance of success is crucial. If you have posts with no replies, areas of the community that aren’t used, features that don’t get much activity then remove them. You want your community to appear as highly active as possible. This leads to…
  • Concentrate activity. Just because you can have blogs, pictures, chat boxes, groups (especially groups!), doesn’t mean you should. This dissipates activity throughout your community. This does a lot of harm. Initially you want to concentrate activity in as few areas as possible. For most communities, just a forum is enough.
  • Prioritize interactions over content. Too many communities prioritize content over interactions and then wonder why people come to read instead of participating. This is a mistake. Make sure the latest discussions between members occupies the key position in your community. The Rock And Roll Tribe does this well.
  • Highlight what’s popular. Social proof is a powerful thing. Members want to see what other members are doing. Make sure you highlight what’s popular in your community. If you have a popular discussion, turn it into a sticky thread for other members to see and participate in. Then send an e-mail out to members asking for their opinions/thoughts on the issue as well.
  • Highlight the contributions of members. Remember that members want recognition and the feeling they have influence over the community (or could have). If you regularly recognize the contributions of members (by name!) in content, blog posts, newsletters, e-mails, and discussions, you will encourage more discussions.

Richard Millington is the founder of FeverBee Community Consultancy, The Pillar Summit Professional Community Management training course, and the author of The Community Management Manifesto, The Proven Path, and his newest book, Buzzing Communities: How To Build Bigger, Better, And More Active Online Communities.

We’re giving some books!

Want to hear more from Richard? Ning is hosting a free webinar next Tuesday, November 27th, 1-2pm PST. Show up and you’ll receive half of Richard Millington’s new book “Buzzing Communities” as a PDF download. Submit a great question and you could win a hard copy of the book! Please join us. RSVP today!

Richard Millington + Ning Webinar: How to Increase Activity in Your Community

Why you should attend Tuesday, November 27th

  • Richard approaches community management from the point of view of social science. He focuses on data that shows what actually works — not anecdotes and hunches.
  • Richard is giving away an excerpt of the e-book version of Buzzing Communities to all attendees. It’s 50% of his book in handy PDF format.
  • Ning is giving away 5-10 free copies of the hardcover version of the book. If you ask a question that gets picked by the chat moderator in the Q&A, we’ll send you a book.

Ning is home to tens of thousands of communities that serve many millions of people every day. Every one of Ning’s customers has one question in common: How can I get people more involved and active in my community? Great question!

To help answer that question, we got the guy who has a lot of smart answers: Richard Millington. The author of the new book Buzzing Communities, Richard tackles some of the most-asked questions about growing and running online communities. He’s an expert that hundreds of companies and thousands of readers rely on, either in direct consultation or as readers of his influential blog about community management, FeverBee.

Whether you’re a brand-new Ning customer, an old hand who needs some fresh tips, or a community manager who’s never even heard of Ning before but wouldn’t mind hearing from one of the top experts in the field — this webinar is for you.

The webinar will explain how to increase activity in your community:

  • Why many communities struggle for activity.
  • Why members participate in community.
  • The principles behind sustaining highly active communities.
  • Practical tips you can *immediately* implement to increase activity in your community.

You’re busy, so we’ll start on time and pack as much helpful information as we can into an hour. We’ll even stick around after that to answer as many questions as possible to help you get the most out of your time.

Sign up here.

Title: “How to Increase Activity in Your Community”
Cost: Free
Date: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Time: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Pacific time
Hosted by: Richard Millington + Ning
Capacity: 500 people
Sign up now

Richard Millington is the founder of FeverBee Community Consultancy, The Pillar Summit Professional Community Management training course, and the author of The Community Management Manifesto, The Proven Path, and Buzzing Communities: How To Build Bigger, Better, And More Active Online Communities.

Over the past 12 years, Richard has helped over a hundred organizations develop successful online communities. His clients have included: The United Nations, Novartis, Oracle, EMC, The British Medical Journal, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, OECD, AMD, BAE Systems, Greenpeace, Autodesk and many other brands.

Book Communities: a Powerful Tool for Author Discovery and Promotion

The rapid growth of the Internet has painfully disrupted the music and newspaper industries, but there’s ample evidence book publishing is going to come out a winner in their digital transformation. Why? We think it’s because they’ve got community on their side. We’ve seen successful book-focused communities on Ning since we opened up shop, and we’re seeing them grow like no other category. It seems to mirror the wider trends in book publishing.

More books by more people, less from corporations and trees

According to Publishers Weekly, starting in 2008 more books were self-published than those published traditionally. The following year, the number rose to 76% of books being produced by self-publishers or micro-niche publishers. The trends are easy to spot: Online retailers such as Amazon give authors global distribution. The Kindle and iPad are radically changing the way people read. Social platforms offer powerful new ways for authors to efficiently reach a huge audience and for readers to discover new authors. The trends become even more radical when you consider the rise of ebooks. An estimated 3 million books were published in the US in 2011 – up from only 300,000 in 2003!

More people turning to communities to read and be read

These seismic shifts in publishing and reading options have forced emerging authors and their publishers to dream up innovative ways to reach new readers and cultivate the loyalty of existing readers. Increasingly they’re using community platforms like Ning to introduce themselves to new readers, celebrate their biggest fans, and in some cases, extend the philosophy or mission espoused in their books. For readers, these communities are a fantastic way to discover emerging authors, meet favorite authors up close and personal, and in some networks, role play their favorite characters.


Places to discover your next good read

Many of the first online book communities created on Ning were a place for authors to collaborate with each other and introduce themselves to readers. These have frequently focused on a single genre of books. A great example is, “a place for readers and writers of crime fiction to meet”. Daniel Hatadi has grown this community to almost 4,000 highly engaged members since launching it in 2007. Another highly successful community is Book Blogs with an astounding 19,000 author and reader members. Razorbill Books, a young-adult fiction division of Penguin Canada, launched in 2011. It’s a space where readers can find out about anticipated titles before they launch and get up close and personal with acclaimed authors. It’s a unique venue for Razorbill’s authors to promote their books.

A space to cultivate a fan base

Book communities on Ning have also naturally evolved to be places where individual authors can reach their readers. Gena Showalter, a leading romance novel writer, launched community as her main website in 2010.  Since then, over 16,000 of her most loyal fans have joined the community to interact with Gena and each other on a daily basis. They find out the latest news about upcoming novels, watch video interviews of Gena and join groups of other readers with similar interests.

Some authors take an if-you-build-it-they-will-come approach to community. Kit Berry, the successful young-adult author of the Stonewylde Series, began by building a loyal following of over 1,000 readers with her “home-grown social network site” — which then led to a book deal with the Orion Publishing Group. (Read about her smart community approach on Futurebook.) Kit is an active participant in her community – blogging, responding to discussion posts, and posting photos and videos.

It won’t be surprising to hear that a number of publishers have built online communities for individual authors to attract and cultivate fans.  Little, Brown Books has grown the community to almost 5,000 fans of the series of novels written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Penguin Young Readers launched the community in 2010 and used it to build a loyal following for Richelle Mead of over 6,000 members.

Hachette Book Group has leveraged online communities to activate fans for several of their authors.  One of the most prominent is James Patterson. is an active community where over 51,000 fans of this mystery and thriller author can bond with each other and rave about the author. is an even bigger community of over 68,000 fans focusing on his science fiction Maximum Ride, Daniel X and Witch & Wizard series and novels.


Fans who show up to play

One of the most interesting (and powerful) trends with online author communities encompasses role-playing and fan fiction. Stephenie Meyer’s (managed by the Hachette Book Group) is a touchstone community that has spawned hundreds more communities. Many of the 500,000 members of join a team and act out the lives of their favorite characters from the Twilight series of books. Twilight Saga readers can join the independent or communities to act out their favorite characters. Too young for Twilight? Harry Potter fans can join one of the four Hogwarts houses and have fun with 42,000 other fans on Based on the massive success of these communities, it’s clear that a younger generation of readers sees books and reading as more than just reading books.


A broader mission

Online communities can be an even more powerful solution for authors when they use their writing as a springboard to a larger purpose.  Gabrielle Bernstein launched the Women’s Entrepreneurial Network just one year out of college and has been a motivational speaker since 2004. She self-published her first book, Add More ~ing to Your Life: A Hip Guide to Happiness, in 2010.  Her second book, Spirit Junkie: A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles, was published by Random House in 2011. At the same time her motivational books were achieving wide distribution, she built into a vibrant community over 21,000 strong where Gabrielle shares her philosophy and works with other women to mentor, inspire and connect with each other.

After successfully battling a rare and incurable form of cancer through nutrition, Kris Carr made a documentary about her journey and published a companion book, Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips. Her Crazy Sexy attitude expanded with more books, including Crazy Sexy Diet, targeted at anyone looking for a healthier lifestyle. She launched as a companion to her books. Over 37,000 readers and adherents interact with this “wellness warrior” — and each other — on a daily basis.

One of the latest examples of using writing as a springboard is,  a community launched by author Kristen Lamb. Kristen is the author of two best-selling books providing insights for authors to use social media to build a loyal fan base of readers. brings together creative professionals who are dedicated to supporting one another. Since launching only 2 months ago, this community has quickly grown to over 1,300 members — proof that “We Are Not Alone” is a powerful idea!

All told, that’s 16 popular communities on Ning that are serving more than 650,000 members — and that’s not nearly all of the book communities on Ning! We expect this trend of book lovers and bookmakers using Ning for community will continue to mirror ongoing trends. Book publishing isn’t just being disrupted but being remade into something that genuinely incorporates the enthusiasm we all have for our favorite books — by giving us a place to share it.

Ning Relaunch: Social, Mobile, VIP

Today, Glam is re-launching Ning as the next generation social platform for creators, businesses, and brands and announcing new ad options, a new mobile web version, and a VIP subscription service.

If you’re already a Ning customer, you may not have noticed any drastic changes since Ning and Glam joined forces to become one entity last December. We’ve been working diligently behind the scenes to make sure the transition has been a smooth one. What did we know when we started? We knew the combination of our two companies was going to be all about social. Ning + Glam = Social Publishing. This short-hand equation sums it up pretty well. Now what, specifically, have we done so far? And what comes next?

Social Aggregator

A big focus this year has been on engineering the heart and driver of engagement on Ning Networks — the Activity Feed. We’ve integrated a range of social aggregation options directly into the Activity Feed. Things like Twitter search, hashtag results, and custom RSS options have helped make Ning the true hub of social activity for Ning Creators. Even better, we’ve been able to drive this development directly in tandem with the launch and growth of, a Glam social network powered by Ning technology that’s been eating up market share in the online food world. Look for even more social networks in that vein, like the new social network for parents. Social hubs like these can take advantage of Glam’s advertising reach and Ning’s technology, providing even more momentum to Ning’s already impressive 50 million unique monthly active users.

Social Mobile

ning mobile Perhaps the biggest project this year has been a complete rewrite of the Ning mobile experience. We’ve been working on it with our beta group of testers for the past few months, and we’re happy to report that all Network Creators can turn on the beta right now if they wish — look for it in the Ning Labs section of your dashboard! It’s a major revamp that eliminates the need for Network Creators to create customized apps for every platform (and every app store). This new version works for mobile devices, iPads and tablets right out of the box. It’s been designed in future-friendly HTML5, and it’s a giant leap forward in usability and on-the-go convenience. Best of all, it’s a great starting point for ongoing advancements. What’s next with this new mobile platform? More money-making opportunities with Glam mobile ads. Ning Creators will soon be able to earn some additional revenue on that all-important and ever-growing mobile traffic.

Glam Social Ads on Ning

Just as Ning has already made Glam more social, Glam is helping Ning become more advertising friendly. We started by rolling out a program for larger Ning Networks to run premium, high-quality Glam brand advertising on the Ning Platform. It’s been a great success, and we’re happy today to be able to hint at more revenue generating opportunities in the future — for Ning Networks large and small. We’ll soon be introducing optional, easy-to-turn-on ads that can appear directly on Ning Networks and will allow even more Ning Creators to join in the revenue generating opportunities.

Ning VIP & Design Services

We’ve always had requests for more. For example, some business and professional customers have asked us for a higher level of service or a premium SLA (service level agreement). Others want our internal design folks to take our collected years of experience and make them a unique, stand-out design for their social network. We’ve been adding some of those services quietly in the past few months, and with the re-launch of Ning we’re now ready to officially roll out the new Ning VIP plan, complete with tons of storage and bandwidth, a dedicated account manager, training, consultation, and custom design and development. Don’t need the full VIP treatment? You’ll be happy to know that we also offer a range of Design Services for both new and existing customers.

The Ning Product Roadmap

We’ve always been different than most tech companies in that we publish a public Product Roadmap. It’s our way of showing our customers that we’re committed to continual development that is based on specific features they’ve requested us to build. If you’ve been following along this year on the Creators Network, you’ll know that we’ve already:

  • Added a slew of social options like expanded sign-up and sign-in using LinkedIn and Windows Live. Up next: an improved invitation system with additional third-party integrations.
  • Introduced Member Categories + Badges which provide all kinds of new ways to expand member reputation, as well as provide an enhanced sense of belonging to the community. Plus, avatar badges can be a whole lot of fun.
  • Rewrote the Ning Chat application completely from the ground up in HTML5.
  • Transformed our limited customer knowledgebase into a beautiful new butterfly of a Help Center. We’ve consolidated all of the content that our customers need to be successful in one handy location.

Those are just a few of the things we’ve created in the first half of the first year of Ning and Glam, and we look forward to adding more and building more. For example, be on the lookout for a massive redesign of to the administrative Dashboard that Network Creators use nearly every single day. It’s all part of the Glam + Ning equation that’s already adding up to some winning numbers.

What to get Mom for Mothers Day?

If you’re like me, you might be at a loss what to get your mom for Mother’s Day. This year, skip the flowers and cheesy greeting cards and instead find a great Ning community for her to join. Does she have a love for knitting or is she a compulsive runner? Addicted to coffee or a travel buff? There’s likely a Ning community out there just for her! With over 100 million people part of Ning communities today, she might already be a part of a Ning community and not even know it!

To find a Ning site for your mom, head to Google and type in the hobby or interest you’d like to find, and add “” to the end of the search. This will search content and topics from Ning communities. For instance, here’s a Google search result for skiing — each result is a Ning community. We also highlight a lot of great Ning sites through our blog, the Ning Resource Center, Customer Spotlight and Inspiration pages.

Better yet, if the Ning site she joins has social sign-in enabled, she’ll be able to use her social identity from services like Facebook, Yahoo!, Google and Windows Live to sign up and sign-in, meaning 1 less screen name or password for her to remember or write down.

Here are a few Ning communities Mom might like:

The arts
My Modern Metropolis
MyGraficO Arts & Crafts Community
The Crafter’s Cafe – A place for women to come together, support one another, and build friendships
Knitting Community
The Peachy Keen Connection
The Cookery Network – The place for passionate cooks

The Hive


Navy For Moms
Women on the Road to Rio20

Working moms & mompreneurs
Professional Leaders of Women and Girls – Providing Quality Products, Services, and Support
Role Mommy
Pregnant Bloggers Club – Where pregnant bloggers converge
Executive Moms
Women Advisors Forum

Local communities
Chippewa Valley Moms – A Local Resource For Moms
ParentingNH – Events, features and things to do for families in NH
santarosamom – Conversation, ideas and events for parents in Santa Rosa and Sonoma County
Spartanburg Moms – A gathering place for moms in Upstate South Carolina
Des Moines Families – The 411 on 515.

Health & family
Babble Playground
National Movement for America’s Children – The Time to Awaken is Now.

Why else would you want to find a community for your mom? Hint, it benefits you…

It wasn’t so long ago that Facebook was only available to college students. But how times have changed. If you’ve tempted online fate by accepting a Facebook friend request from your parents, you know the online run-ins that can inevitably happen. Choice examples include awkward comments made by your dad for a party photo posted by your friends, or that check-in you didn’t get the chance to de-tag before your mom wondered what you were doing out at 4 AM. Find your mom a Ning site that’ll excite and get her engaged, and you might find a bit of refuge for your Facebook account.

Does your mom want a place to share family photos or does she have friends that share the same hobbies as her but aren’t sharing with each other online? Take her Mother’s Day gift 1 step further and create a Ning community for her! This is a great way to connect your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and family friends. All in a safe and private place, too.

Better yet, make her an admin of the community so she can take ownership and pride in keeping family and friends together through her Ning site.

Happy Mothers Day, Mom!

Moms of the Glam Media family.

Introducing the Ning VIP Plan

like buttons Today, we’re rolling out a new Ning plan for customers who need extra special treatment: the Ning VIP plan.

Ning has become known as a flexible, powerful social platform. Within minutes, anyone can create an online community that’s completely custom. A wide range of individuals, organizations and companies depend on Ning to bring people together – right down to the smallest groups that may only have a few dozen members.

Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen Ning Creators take the platform to a whole new level. Many successful communities with big audiences are generating significant revenue. Others use Ning as a co-publishing platform to fuel social conversations for their brand and products. These customers are demanding more from Ning. They need to be confident that their network won’t go down. And, if something serious does happen, they need to know Ning will respond quickly, even at 3 a.m. on a Sunday morning. They need an account manager who understands their objectives, the progress they’ve made with their network and the challenges they face – someone who can provide a high level of service and advice. They also need deeper metrics to understand how members are interacting on their network and sharing content on the social web.  And, they need professional design services so they can launch a community that communicates their brand and values.

We frequently receive inquiries for this higher level of service and premium SLA (service level agreement) from prospective customers as well. Up until now, we haven’t offered a subscription plan or a dedicated team who can address these needs. In several cases, we’ve negotiated a special deal and tasked a number of internal support and engineering resources to deliver this special treatment. With others, the customer either purchased a Ning Pro subscription or we lost out on their business.

Today, I’m excited to announce the launch of the Ning VIP Plan:

  • Guaranteed uptime
  • Point-in-time recovery back-ups
  • 24/7 IT support for urgent issues
  • A dedicated account manager
  • Monthly social engagement reporting
  • Launch consultation and training
  • Professional design and development
  • 1 Terabyte of storage and 10 Terabytes per month of bandwidth

Due to the location and time zone of our VIP account managers, we can initially only deliver the VIP Plan to customers in the U.S., Canada and Germany. If you’re interested in the new Ning VIP plan, please give us a call at 1-866-992-0971 (U.S. and Canada) or 0800-101-4903 (Germany).

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.

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)

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