Ning Phasing out Free Sites - What Are Your Thoughts?

Today, Ning announced a monumental change in it's business plan. This is good news and bad news. For premium networks, it's probably good news; in that, it's what most premium networks thought they were investing in, in the first place. It will make the premium Ning Networks closer to white label, and likely more valuable assets. It is bad news and extremely sad for some free Ning Networks. Here's an excerpt from the announcement by Ning's CEO - Jason Rosenthal:


When I became CEO 30 days ago, I told you I would take a hard look at our business. This process has brought real clarity to what's working, what's not, and what we need to do now
to make Ning a big success.


My main conclusion is that we need to double down on our premium services
business. Our Premium Ning Networks like Friends or Enemies, Linkin
Park, Shred or Die, Pickens Plan, and tens of thousands of others both
drive 75% of our monthly US traffic, and those Network Creators need and
will pay for many more services and features from us.


So, we are going to change our strategy to
devote 100% of our resources to building the winning product to capture
this big opportunity. We will phase out our free service. Existing
free networks will have the opportunity to either convert to paying for
premium services, or transition off of Ning. We will judge ourselves by
our ability to enable and power Premium Ning Networks at huge scale.
And all of our product development capability will be devoted to making
paying Network Creators extremely happy.

Full Story


New Group: Alternative Solutions to Ning


Please offer and discuss possible solutions, for owners of free Ning Networks. And most of all, let's all offer encouragement to our fellow Ning Network Creators.


UPDATE FROM NING CEO: JASON ROSENTHAL:

ORIGINAL STORY HERE - - Ning Update: Rolling Out Full Details May 4th

Hi Everyone,


As many of you know, we made a decision yesterday to focus 100% of the company on enhancing the features and services we offer to paying Ning Creators. The tens of thousands of you who already use our paid
service represent over 75% of our traffic, and we’ve heard repeatedly
from you ways that we can deliver a killer service to help make your
Ning Network more effective. Some examples of things we are working on
that you’ve asked for include new APIs, a new mobile experience and new
advertising and revenue opportunities.


As part of this change, we’ll be phasing out our free service. On May 4, 2010, we will share with you all of the details of our new offering, including features and price points, through a series of blog
posts, emails, and conference calls. We recognize that there are many
active Ning Networks for teachers, small non-profits, and individuals
and it's our goal to have a set of product and pricing options that will
make sense for all of them. For Ning Creators using our free service who
choose to move to another service, we will off a migration path and
time to make that change. We will still continue to allow free trials
and test networks on the Ning Platform.


We look forward to talking to you further on May 4th.


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Comment by être pour de vrai on April 17, 2010 at 11:04am
Grouply Welcomes Ning Networks: Migrate Ning Network to a Free Grouply Social Group
With Ning terminating its free service, Grouply is offering a comprehensive, free alternative. A “social group” on Grouply provides much of the same functionality as a Ning network, including a customizable community website, discussion forums, and more. Custom branding and full-service set-up and design are also available.


http://www.grouply.com/
Comment by DarkMoonCircle on April 17, 2010 at 8:34am
Sorry m,y typing just when I get going hard to stop LOL
Comment by DarkMoonCircle on April 17, 2010 at 8:33am
Please my friends here think very hard about upgrading
I will tell you this it si 10.oo now but I will bet my word on thsi it will rise maybe not right after but it will the thing is it is not revealed abotu the cost when after they poof the freebies by theway I got niotice from one of the groups I am on is May 4th

I am habinga council meeting and have advised all my loving sisters whom I do I do love greatkly to move to Yahoo if not on our site there
I do plan on having something else but my focus is we stay together/
I have other groups I am on thata re asking donations which is fine but honestly If I cant pay for my own I can dish out I am between work this si very unfortante,
Then again we all ahve to remeber this si pure and simple a business Ning owes no one period it may be cold u not right what CEO is doing and how may places of employment do but it sbusiness which comes down to money more money
Karma is a bitch I belive with all my heart karma will coem back bite him in the ass
However mty suggestion focus on we know whats coming we arent gona change his mind now what will you and I do
Yes I ahve had my cow fit over this but I need my energy ok we must adapt, the wheel turns cyclec moves it is time for a new beginming for many here

Please againb think hard abotu buying I do havea feeling there is shdiness we are not given everything rigt now/
He said in two week we would know well May 4th is before two weeks. ahem

I hate to see people here get burned again.
I wiah all the best here

I could go on a saop box again but no
I have said my piece and again with earnest beware and mark my words not everything is ebing told and the price will go up and many more will not like it but you will be locked in
read the fine fine print to
MorrighanRavenMoon
Comment by Arianas Attic on April 17, 2010 at 8:14am
At the end of the day, the CEO will be regretting this when he ups the pricing, and find that his main generator of premium services was the people upgrading from their free account.

before MSN closed, I had never heard of Ning before... and neither had a lot of other people.. it was the free option, and people choosing to use the free service, that has got NING to where it is today.. it is the word of mouth of the network managers who has helped generate more customers, many of whom have gone on to pay for premium services.

Once they start upping prices and removing the free option, they will slowly lose customers... which will see a huge dent in their profilts, and if they then choose to re instate free accounts, it will be too late, the damage will be done, and people will have no trust in the network.
Comment by Magic Happens on April 17, 2010 at 12:48am
It would have been nicer to give more time. Most people are going to go to other free networks to fast and they need time to really check them out and move their things over to the new site. We are getting this all in one lump so suppenly. It is a shocker.
Comment by Millie Toups on April 16, 2010 at 10:30pm
This is so sad...so very very sad. Not so much for me , as I will pay the price for my site, but for all of my dear friends that have worked so hard to build up their sites & can't afford to pay the fees. My heat truly breaks for them.
Comment by Kat's Kitchen on April 16, 2010 at 7:56pm
THIS IS WHAT I TOLD MY MEMBERS:
Comment by Kat's Kitchen on April 16, 2010 at 7:56pm
Some of you may already be aware, or not, but Ning has gotten a new CEO who has decided to put the focus on upgrading all premium service websites, and canceling all free Ning websites. Creators have the option to pay a monthly fee or cancel our Ning accounts. We are unaware if the monthly fee amount will go up or not. No one is willing to tell us yet. This leads me to believe the price will raise considerably. If the amount were to stay the same as it is now, why not just say so? It seems highly suspicious to me for the CEO to make these changes, and then refuse to answer such a valid question.

I personally feel that this is simply a greedy attempt of the CEO to make even more money off of people already struggling in todays economy. All of the free network websites already generate an income for Ning. Ning makes money through Google adds automatically put on our main page, something that creators do not have the option of removing, I have personally spread the word on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter about how great Ning is, in an attempt to spread some good publicity for Ning about their free services, as I am sure many other creators have. I chose to do so in hopes that it would help the Ning company generate income through the Google adds so that we would be able to keep our websites free. I feel as though those efforts have now been wasted. Now, I understand that they have their reasons, but as a general practice, I don't give away money if I don't have to, especially if it's for a service that I had the option to join for free.

I will systematically be removing the content from my site to another free service, and invite all my members and friends to join me there.
Comment by Arianas Attic on April 16, 2010 at 6:28pm
I think what has disheartened a lot of people is the amount of time and effort they have put into their communities, in promoting it, in getting members and such like.... only to have some new CEO come in and see a way of screwing a lot of people out of money, or at least trying to.

Why pay to set up a *group* when there are so many free ways to do it on the internet??? All the business that ning has pulled in from people creating the free sites and then upgrading will be gone..... if people are going to pay to set up a *group*, they will go off and find a decent webhosting package and stick a decent forum on it....

And how many people in the percentage quoted upgraded to premium from a free site???? I think the statistics there would be quite high, therefore Ning are taking away their biggest pull for the premium services...

It makes no business sense what so ever....
Comment by Blog Nut on April 16, 2010 at 5:38pm
Hi everyone,

We at BlogNut wanted to express our thoughts and plan. Ning has always been loyal to BlogNut therefor, we will remain loyal to them. We understand that this is a big impact for those using the free services and we are sadden by all the posts of hardships and would hate to see our Ning creator friends go. YOU ALL WILL ALWAYS BE WELCOME IN OUR NUT HOUSE! Please feel free to make groups if your thinking of leaving, we will welcome you all with open arms.

We are looking forward to the new premium offers that are sure to come in time and we see it as taking BlogNut to another level.

Blessings and hugs from your friends at BlogNut!

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