My Honest Assessment of Ning - the Brand, the Technology, the Team, the Future.

Dear Fellow Ning Network Creators,

First let me say, I don't mean to assume that my opinion or assessment holds any weight. However, after multiple private email messages asking what I thought about Ning and the future, I feel it's appropriate to write about this and report my thoughts and findings.

It was mentioned in Thunder X's excellent write-up, here, that I was part of the most recent Ning Summit, and hence why I'm receiving more emails about this. Now after attending the Summit, I can really give an evaluation. ;-)

hmmm, where do I start? Wow, been in this Ning Land thing for a long time now - - seen a little of everything in regards to the platform, the Team, the Branding, you name it. I've experienced a lot of ups and downs with my own branding and company during Ning's growth, changes, and full circle storyline. But, no reason to bore you with that story. It's a good story all-in-all. ;-) And the end result, I like what I see - - a lot!

I've probably been one of the most verbal Network Creators since the beginning of Ning. I've played hard, worked hard, blasted, praised, helped out, and more. I've even made it my primary online business - - all about Ning. I try to maintain some semblance of sanity, but sometimes I can go right over that proverbial edge with the best of them. For the most part, I've maintained my faith in Ning from day one. Overall, it’s always been good in my mind - - frustrating at times, but good. However, with the most recent changes, so many business model changes - - it certainly makes anyone with an interest in all of this, wonder...

I speak specifically about the most recent happenings: a huge percentage of Team Ning going away, changing of the Guards has taken place, the base business model plan has changed (the biggies being: no more freemium and removal of Ning ID), etc... The platform has gone from one end of the spectrum to the other. Now, what do I think about all this? I can't say enough about how good I feel about the "other", and the "now".

Let's talk about "you" and Ning.

After attending the Summit, I can't possibly articulate well enough in writing, the passion, the brilliance, and the planning that appears to go into each and every feature of the Ning platform.

Team Ning?

I've been working in Technology for many years, and I know when a Team cares, and when they just collect a paycheck. Trust me when I say to you - - every single member of Team Ning I had the privilege of meeting, observing, and listening-to, are not just collecting. They are contributing to the max. These folks truly care. They care passionately about the brand and the technology behind it.

And oh, guess what? Jason Rosenthal, the relatively new CEO of Ning, is the polar-opposite of what a lot of you would think - - especially since the changing of the Guards seem to come out of left field. Don’t get me wrong. I still have tremendous respect for, and miss Gina’s presence. None of us like change. But, I have definitely gained huge respect for Mr. Jason Rosenthal. He his humble, brilliant, appropriately confident, and completely optimistic when he discusses anything to do with Ning and the future. Jason is “The Man with the big plan“. There is no question, he knows what he’s doing.

I make these next statements hoping that they are the most important things you hear.

Without a doubt, throughout the Summit, the most emphasis (whether the topic was introduced by Ning or a Network Creator) was placed on:

  • What do Ning Network Creators (NCs) need to be more successful?
  • How does the platform help NCs monetize their Networks?
  • What do NCs want?
  • What are the most important features to release first?
  • What do Members want?
  • What would make Ning Networks even better than they are now?

Never did I hear one statement or discussion that didn't completely submerge it's concerns all about Network Creators and the platform.

The Summit opened my eyes in a way that I had only hoped to learn and see. I could go on and on, but I'll stop here. If you ever have one doubt that this Team cares about you and your real needs, don't worry one more second.

  • Do I think the platform is here to stay? Absolutely.
  • Will it be easy with so much money invested, and expenditures? Probably not.
  • Can Ning maintain their growth and sustainability? I wholeheartedly believe that they can, and they will.
  • Yes, I know. The Support Desk is struggling to keep up. But you can bet your bottom dollar, it's not for the lack of trying, and half killing themselves to respond.
  • Yes I agree. Ning needs a live Support Line.

Oh and btw, I have not only researched the investors side of this thing, I've researched every team member's credentials that I could find online, the Ning platform technology, and more. ;-)

So, for what it's worth, this is my honest assessment of the Ning brand, the Ning technology, the Ning Team, and the future of Ning - - A++

I also want to mention, I loved meeting fellow NCs. It was great!


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Comment by JenSocial on November 4, 2010 at 9:26pm
Thank you for your input!

Nice to have you on JenSocial.

Happy to hear I have a fellow "verbalizing" Buddy. LOL!

Comment by JenSocial on October 25, 2010 at 11:23pm
I really don't know what direction they're going in long term. I agree that they are completely dedicated to the marketing and development of the iPhone version, first. But, I think that's just to get started, and gain exposure in the overall mobile market. I definitely think they will develop a Droid version. In fact, I have no doubt in my mind about this.

To be honest Tom, and I own the best Google phone available, yet the mobile market isn't one of my favorite topics to study, research and utilize. I'm getting better about it, but slow to jump on the bandwagon. As far as how much these apps costs or should cost, if anything, eludes me just yet.

Don't think I've helped much, but the best I know for now.

Best Regards,
Comment by Carny Town on October 25, 2010 at 5:58pm
Jen. I am interested in hearing your take on where Ning is going with Ning Everywhere "campaign". In the last few days Cricket released a $150 Android with $55 a month "everything" account. Obviously the mobile market and specifically smartphones are heading in the same direction and going to do the same thing to Apple as Windows OS did to Macintosh. Stripped down and cheaper. I see a lot of attitude from Ning posts that seem to be stressing and pushing the IPhone market and capabilities, even though IMHO, more creators will have a droid because of the costs and frankly my members could not afford the IPhone. I am a bit worried that they are not seeing the writing on the wall, so to say. I am sure they did not miss the fact that droids out sold iphones in the last quarter and now with Cricket/Sprint covering the USA pretty effectively, they must see the same thing I do, that Android OS will be dominant after a short time. Is it possible that they are so far into development of the IPhone Ap's and code that they will not concentrate on Google Android (with those built in aps)
My members are slowly going away from computers to smart phones. Windows is there along with AT&T and of course Blackberry in the business community is in the lead. I am quite concerned that Ning should already be there with aps and also concerned about additional costs. Pro users are already "tapped out" with the $50 pro acct and most likely, the majority will not be able to afford additional fees. I believe Ning must create a generalized app that we can brand, that is free. At 600 a year, they should pay the 99 dollar fee to IPhone or whatever directory to list an app. I know this is long. It is a complex subject for those of us new to smart phones (but am learning more everyday). But, I believe our future and the future of social networking hangs in the balance. Facebook is there and will be there stronger and way ahead of us. Yes. You can see worry sweat on my brow. This is going to be a chaotic year, coming up.
Comment by JenSocial on October 21, 2010 at 11:49am
Hi Mark,
Thank you for your thoughts. That's a nice observation on your part, about Evan. I know the Support Desk has been seriously lacking. Hopefully this will get better soon. I don't think it's due to a lack of caring or trying. Honestly, I don't think they have enough Staff members. And with the recent layoff, not like they feel they can justify hiring more just yet.
Let's hope for a great future for Ning - - for US.


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