I think NCs need to spend less time developing (staring at their networks) and more time selling. I know groups of less than 100 that bring in more money with paper newsletters ($50 business card size ads) than networks with over 1000 members.
Sure could Ning build in an ad manager and maybe have some more common ad space available ie: header and footer. YES!!! Is this going to make a difference weather your not you make money with your network? NO!!!
We have hyper local network with just over 2k member and we bring in about $2k/mo (We expect this to be 3k in the next 30days). Our goal for this network is 5k but its just one small piece of the puzzle to the big picture.
Some of you are not looking to make money but you still need to cover cost and your time should be considered other wise your selling your self short. Would you start a magazine or newsletter and cover all the cost of printing etc?
Everyone wants it for FREE even your members but you need to ask yourselves do they deserve it? If the answer is YES then you'll find away to afford the small cost. There are many options donations, sponsors, ads etc. But if you don't ask you'll never get it. SELL SELL SELL, wake up cause its not going to sell its self and put a price on it even if it's a small one just to cover cost and growth.
Thanks for posting the video. He is a good speaker with a good message.
It really is too bad that the ad supported model is not working as well as people hoped.
I have some sites that sell stuff, but they are not on Ning becuase they are direct sales sites with no user input required or desired.
I created my Ning sites to build communities that would hopefully be supported by ad revenue.
This works in some niches, but overall the ad revenue is poor.
This is the same throughout the online world as the New York Times has millions of people reading their online content, but they still make less money compared to the print version - which makes little sense as online ads can be clicked on with direct action/purchases/research/sign-ups taking place.
Hopefully the online ad market will mature to the point where online content will be supported in better ways by online ad revenue.
In terms of selling stuff on a Ning network, I would be interested in hearing your experiences. I have had some luck doing this on networks created to help people who are researching a specific product/purchase.
Sounds like you have a local network. Are you selling theater tickets, sports tickets, classified ad space, etc...????
We are selling banner ads to local business this is the base model to maintain and expand the network and ultimately offer national advertising/corporate sponsors. We have added free/paid classified but this is just more of feature. You have to crawl before you can walk.
I hear people say its not business but they also say its a full time job? Which is it?
Do you know why the ads Ning places on the previously free Nings were not enough to support those Nings. I ask because you suggested running banner ads so you may understand their workings better than I. It sounds like your banner ads are doing something different or better. Maybe it is more a matter of network size? Small networks were not getting the click through traffic? What size of a network would you think would be needed to make it worth trying to set up banner ads? Do you work through an ad service or do you make and post the ads yourself for companies? I know how to make Flash banner ads because I am learning to make educational interactive for my students to use. What is the back-end like to get the ads into your Ning sidebar/template?
I think most networks are catered towards a specific audience, market, nitch. Being that the networks are so targeted this narrows your ad content. For example we target a local market (50 miles) if we run adsence we generate less than $5.00 a month even thought we do about 13k visits and over 200,000 pageviews. There is no magic plug-in you have to go out and SELL SELL SELL (physically or over the phone). We contact local businesses who provide services to our market and offer them exposure no different than the phone book, magazine or billboard. We run one 160x600 banner (standard ning ad spot) and the banner rotates with each pageview. We offer rotation for as little as $475/yr and offer additional guaranteed banner views starting at $200.00 for 10,000 views. It's not about trying to get rich like these do good NCs claim. Networks don't happen on their own you make them happen and it takes revenue to maintain/support them to keep them fresh so that your members keep coming back for more.
oh yes price point is probably the hardest thing to figure out as there really isn't anything to compare to we have changed ours a few times to get to this level. First it was guaranteed views but this was to much for some so then we thought about only having the flat rate but then some wanted to know how they could get more exposure. So now it's a fine mixture of both.
We actually have 7 networks that tie together and now some want more national exposure but I'm not even trying to figure out a price for that yet even thought some NCs think where just trying to get rich. LOL
Yeah, I have a funny mixture of communities, very niche and international (Moms with MS) and local but barely getting started so low view points (Seattle Urban Garden) and other moms groups that are local. Hmm...I'll see what similar bigger sites are charging, research can't hurt.
Thanks for this, Kris. I started a discussion thread for the previously free Ning NCs to strategize how to pay for the transition to paid Nings. I would like to mention this thread there, if you don't mind. It may help some NCs. Does anyone know if I can link to this discussion by just posting the address bar link?