Category Archives: Ning Apps

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

Interview: Box.net’s Cloud Content Management System

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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.

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

Profile pictureInstant 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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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.