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The Business of Community (26)

Hi everyone!

Since there's an active discussion on critiquing each others Ning Networks, here is a web page on hints for critiquing a site -- http://www.digital-web.com/articles/web_design_critique/ -- okay, it's on slightly different subject (actual HTML design rather than Ning Networks) but it's still pretty useful. I'll highlight the major points here:[NOTE THAT THE FOLLOWING TEXT IS FROM THE ABOVE LINK, PARAPHRASED IN THE CONTEXT FOR PEOPLE CRITIQUING NING NETWORKS. THAT SAID, I PRETTY MUCH AGREE. :) ]

Asking for an opinion

The more experienced a designer is, the less s/he's likely to ask people for opinions on her designs. After all, everyone else that hangs out on a list or message board is less experienced than you are, right?

When you are offering up your wares for the world to rip into, it can help to be as specific as possible about what you want them to look at. Here are some suggestions:

- Clearly state what the objective of the site or page is.

- Be specific about what you want comments on - and hope that people will read that before they start offering opinions.Taking it

It can be hard to take criticism, but as I've already said, sometimes it can be tremendously useful. While the tendency may be to listen only to people whom you know and perhaps whose work you admire, this can often shut you off from those out-of-nowhere responses that really make you think.

First of all though, I do tend to listen far more carefully to the opinions of people whose work I admire--that's just natural.

Also, I do tend to discount the type of opinion which says something along the lines of "I don't like your design at all, it's just not my style." (Even worse is that very helpful "your design sucks".) That's not really the point--everyone has his or her preferred styles, or colors, but a decently educated eye can tell the difference between good and bad design.

On the flip side, not all positive feedback is useful either. "I just love everything you do!" is not too in-depth or constructive... it's flattering for sure, but is it useful?

The best type of criticism tends to be very specific, in my opinion. Comments such as "the use of the navigation can be more user-friendly if arranged such a way" or "the color contrast would be better if." etc. are specific and critical without being negative.

When asked for an opinionTaking criticism can be tough, but often dishing it out can be harder. I don't think that anyone wants to hurt someone's feelings; but then again, what can one do when confronted with a design you can't stand? Do you lie? Well...it depends.

Beware of newbies

First of all, consider the source. Is it someone who is seriously considering becoming a professional web designer [or a hardcore Ning user -Ern] --or perhaps someone who already calls himself a pro? If so, then I think that you should be as tough on them as any of their clients might be. On the other hand, if it were someone who is doing this as a hobby, or just starting out, you would probably want to be much gentler.

If you see something positive, it might be good to emphasize this first--especially if you see some kind of potential. Perhaps their designs are way too busy and cluttered (a common problem for beginner-type pages) but perhaps their use of color is unique; then you can latch onto that.

When there's some more potential:

Mentoring

If the person is asking for a critique, and you think their work is worth offering opinions about, then it's a different story. At which point, if you have any experience yourself (and the other party respects your opinions), it's a chance to become a mentor. This can be a truly rewarding experience. It can be a joy to see someone blossom as they absorb the criticism they receive.If the person is not being specific, as is detailed in the above section, ask them those questions. Who is the intended audience? Unless the work in question is a pure for-fun piece, it doesn't necessarily matter how beautiful it is--it also has to be practical. Consider your "student's" goals--are they doing this just for fun, or do they want to make a living at it? Maybe they are very good at doing sites with lots of complicated decorative elements, but if they're aiming for business clients perhaps they'd appreciate some tips on how to make more "boring" sites. And so on.

Hope this helps.- E

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The buzz word for 2010 will be Micro-Localized Social Networking. Spacial relativity will become less and less a factor in determining social borders. A new world order will begin to emerge within two years.According to Nielsen Online, 2009 saw exponential growth of social media. Twitter alone grew 1,382% registering more than 7 million unique US visitors in the month of February alone. Meanwhile, MySpace users continued the migration to Facebook. What will social media look like in 2010?Next year, "social media will get even more popular, more mobile, and more exclusive" — at least, that's what David Armano's thinks, author of Six Social Media Trends for 2010.I believe the boutique social media phenomenon that Ning has enabled will surpass all other social media providers combined. Due to the ability of Ning users to create their own social media experience based around what ever passion they share with others. When I last checked, in November 2009, Ning users have created 1.5 million social networks with a combined 37million unique users; growing at a rate of 12 million new users every month.I believe the tasks Ning made possible for us to undertake will have a tangible lasting impact on the evolution of the human experience.

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Furqan Khan is the 21-year-old whiz kid behind Kicks on Fire, a Ning Network for sneaker aficionados (or "kicks", for the uninitiated). Furqan regularly runs promotions and contests on his Ning Network to engage members and even drive new membership. He chatted with Ning about Kicks on Fire, the promos he runs and what's coming up.
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Finding the right ads to post is easy... if you know where to find the advertisers. To help save you some time, or maybe give more work then you were expecting, here is a list of 232 Affiliate Ad Networks. I personally have experience as an Advertiser on Commission Junction and multiple internal affiliate programs for my employer. As a part-time affiliate publisher in my free time, I get links to monetize my personal sites and Ning Networks from Commission Junction, LinkShare, PepperJam, Amazon Associates.

Links to apply to all of these networks plus reviews and opinions from other affiliate marketers on which is the best programs or ad networks to work with, I find OfferVault to be extremely thorough. That site will also help you find which network the company you want to promote is found on and where they are paying the most.

Find more revenue ideas for your Ning, join the Making Money with Our Nings Group

AdOptim
AdPerio
adreporting.com
adrevolver.com
Ads4Dough
adscendmedia.com
adsmarket.com
advibrance.com
advtise.com
Aff.Biz
affbot1.com
Affiliace.Com
Affiliate Future
Affiliate Lounge
Affiliate Teer
Affiliate.Com
AffiliateBot
AffiliateNetwork.Com
AffiliateShop
affiliateventuregroup.com
AffiliateWindow
Affiliator
agamimedia.com
ampedmedia.com
andesnetwork.com
aquasismedia.com
ATM Interactive
Avangate
Axill.Com
Azn network
bestpriced.com
bigtopnetworks.com
blitzads.com
bloosky.com
bluephoenixmedia.com
BluePhoenixNetwork
bountycpa.com
bridaluxe.com
bulletads.com
cactusmedia.com
Canadian Sponsors
capitallnetwork.com
CashEngines.Com
cleafs.com
ClickBank
ClickBooth
clickkingdom.com
clickmount.com
Clicksor
clickXchange
clixGalore
ClixSense
Commission Junction
Commission Soup
CommissionXchange
Convert2Media.Com
copeac.com
coprosper.com
Cosmic Affiliates
CPA Junction
CPA Lead
CPA Shine
Cpa Universe
cpaadstrategy.com
CPABoo
cpabullet.com
cpaemarket.com
cpaflash.com
CPAPark
cparev.com
cpathunder.com
CX Digital Media
CyberBounty
Dale Network
Dark Blue Network
digitaltargetmarketing.com
Direct Leads
Direct ROi
directagents.com
dmipartners.com
dpowermedia.com
eadvertising.com
EarnReal
ecomleads.com
eggressivenetwork.com
e-Junkie
empyremedia.com
enjoyclicks.com
Epic Edge Media
exclusivecpa.com
expressrevenue.com
filinet.com
firelead.com
FlexOffers
floatinteractive.com
Flux Ads
fusionwhiz.com
fxcash.com
globaladrevolution.com
globaldirectmedia.com
go2directads.com
Google Affiliate Network
gptmedia.com
guppymedia.com
holidayaffiliates.com
hooqy.com
hybrydads.com
Hydra
icommissions.com
ideamamaadnetwork.com
idicampaigns.com
ilogins.com
iMedia Team
incentreward.com
incentvalue.com
income-list.com
instantdollarz.com
interactivebrands.com
internetmediaaffiliates.com
Inuvo (Kowabunga)
Iron Offers
Joe Bucks
join.eu
jumboaffiliates.com
Kolimbo
Lead Flash
leadcreations.com
leadexpose.com
levelclick.com
LinkConnector
linkmo.com
linkoffers.net
linkrevenue.com
LinkShare
LinkValu
Logical Media
lvntracker.com
MaxBounty
media202.com
mediadnet.com
MediaTrust
Merchant Zoo
metarevenue.com
Modern Click
Monetize It
money3affiliates.com
More Niche
motiveinteractive.com
mysavingsmedia.com
ndemandaffiliates.com
NDustryClix
netpartner.com
neverblueads.com
nivanetwork.com
Offeratti
Offers Direct ADS
offersquest.com
OfferWeb
OfferWise
OMG Network (UK)
Our Free Stuff Net
paidonresults.net
Panthera Network
partnerstats.net
payaff.com
PayDotCom
peerfly.com
PepperJam Network
perfectpaycheck.com
platinumpartner.com
Plimus
pntra.com
pokeraffiliateworld.com
Primary Ads
ProfessionalCash
profitcenternetwork.com
profitistic.com
quadrantnetwork.com
rapidresponse.com
ReferBack.Com
RegNow
responsivedata.com
Revenue Loop
Revenue Street
revenue500.com
revenueads.com
revenueco-op.com
revenuegateway.com
revenuehill.com
revenuewire.com
revresponse.com
Rextopia
rocketprofit.com
ROI Rocket
roibooster.com
search4clicks.com
Share a Sale
shareblossom.com
sharecpa.com
Share-It
shareresults.com
Silvertap
Spark Network
Sprin Trade
superaffiliatesoft.net
synervation.net
tarsus-media.com
The Web Gem Network
ThinkAction
TML Affiliate
topaffcash.com
Trade Doubler
trafficpayouts.com
trafficsynergy.com
trafficvenuedirect.com
triadmedianetwork.com
Uffiliates
uniqueleads.com
Valued Network
VHM Network
vintacore.com
VIP Profits
vtarget.com
Web Clients
WebGains
WebJamAds
Webmaster Life
worldofoffers.net
xorclicks.com
yahyahmedia.com
YEP Revenue
yottacash.com
Zanox
AdOptim
AdPerio
adreporting.com
adrevolver.com
Ads4Dough
adscendmedia.com
adsmarket.com
advibrance.com
advtise.com
Aff.Biz
affbot1.com
Affiliace.Com
Affiliate Future
Affiliate Lounge
Affiliate Teer
Affiliate.Com
AffiliateBot
AffiliateNetwork.Com
AffiliateShop
affiliateventuregroup.com
AffiliateWindow
Affiliator
agamimedia.comampedmedia.com
andesnetwork.com
aquasismedia.com
ATM Interactive
Avangate
Axill.Com
Azn network
bestpriced.com
bigtopnetworks.com
blitzads.com
bloosky.com
bluephoenixmedia.com
BluePhoenixNetwork
bountycpa.com
bridaluxe.com
bulletads.com
cactusmedia.com
Canadian Sponsors
capitallnetwork.com
CashEngines.Com
cleafs.com
ClickBank
ClickBooth
clickkingdom.com
clickmount.com
Clicksor
clickXchange
clixGalore
ClixSense
Commission Junction
Commission Soup
CommissionXchange
Convert2Media.Com
copeac.com
coprosper.com
Cosmic Affiliates

I personally prefer the convenience of working with the networks, but remember, companies with internal affiliate programs pay more then those that are listed on ad networks. The ad networks will charge an extra 20 - 30% fee to the advertisers on top of your commission per transaction. So that means if you can partner directly with the company you can earn 20 - 30% more.

Website Hosting Affiliates earn $90 - $150 per sale, among the most profitable type of ad you can run. Often retail affiliate programs only provide a 10 - 30% commission; average sale less then $100. But don't be discouraged by smaller commissions per transaction, a popular retailer, especially one your audience is interested in, can generate significant traffic and commissions, from your members online shopping.

Strategy Tip:One idea that plays on affiliate ads is to start a page for Member Discounts. Collect the best coupons and special offers you can find then keep your members updated with online savings to help them pinch their pennies. Not only will this strategy ad valaue to your network's content, it will give your members another reason to return frequently to check out the latest deal that you have uncovered.
If anyone finds a great printable coupon affiliate program. Please write a review, as I am in the search for the best places to find that type of offer to run.Happy Ninging,ben

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Perhaps you're not sure how to or are having a hard time landing sponsors for your Ning Network. If you can't afford an agency or are not a marketing company with rate cards, site metrics, and a large enough audience to justify a monthly fee for sponsors, making money by obtaining and placing the right ads on your websites is not a secret.
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