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One of the most common questions I hear from Network Creators is, “How can I make money?” Or, “How can I make this a full-time job?” Lately, many of you are also asking, “How can I cover the cost of a Ning Network?”

We’ve come up with a solution… well, actually four solutions. And we’re working on more. Open a storefront, provide pay-to-play games, collect donations, and advertise are all options we’re spotlighting on our Revenue Generation page. Some of you are already using these solutions to make money. However, in the past it has sometimes been difficult for Network Creators to integrate these solutions into their Ning Network and provide a great member experience. To make it easier, we've been focusing on cutting favorable deals for you with our partners, making installation as easy as possible through new Ning Apps, and helping you better integrate the new apps into your Ning Network (including on your Main Page).

I’m most excited about the new CafePress App. It’s simple to set up, create branded merchandise, and begin earning 10% on every sale. And it’s a great way for your members to show their support – and wear your swag with pride! Even better, we cut a special deal with CafePress to help you cover your Ning subscription fees. Sell just 4 t-shirts (earn $8 in commissions) and get Ning Mini for a full year. Sell 40 t-shirts, or earn $80 in commissions on any type of CafePress merchandise, and get Ning Plus for a full year. That’s 60% off the annual price for Mini or Plus! Install the CafePress App on your Ning Network or learn more about the special deal.

If you choose to fund your Ning subscription through CafePress, your app will include a personalized appeal to your members and a progress meter to encourage purchases. Here’s an example of the Main Page app for a Network Creator earning his Ning Mini subscription:



Of course, it’s also dead-simple to set up a storefront to make money and create custom designs. After setting up their CafePress Shop, Duke City Fix sold more than 40 items in a span of less than three weeks! (Read their story on Ning Creators)

Get creative. Or better yet, have your members get creative. Hold a design contest and sell merchandise designed by the winner. Hold a photo contest once a month, ask your members to vote, and feature the winning photo on merchandise in your CafePress store.

We'll keep on working on more ways for you to help you cover your costs, make money, and maybe even turn your Ning Network into a full-time job. We also would like to learn from you – please comment with your ideas and money-making success stories on Ning Creators!

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Replies

  • I was so excited to see this announcement in my inbox! But then I read the part about receiving only 10% of the retail price.

    As I understand it, if I open a regular Cafe Press shop, I set the amount of profit I will make from each item. For example, if the cost of a mug is $10 and I sell it for $15, I receive the $5 profit. But under the app, if the mug sells for $15, I will only pocket $1.50 (10%). And that's a big difference!

    This seems a little backwards, since Cafe Press is sure to see a fair amount of income due to the many Ning Creators who will install the app. Why penalize us this way? Or am I just missing something here?
    • Hey, Anna. You can open up your own CafePress shop if you want. Go for it!
    • Hi Anna,

      Just to follow on from Eric's note, we have some more information here on the CafePress app, but basically you are getting the 10% cut in addition to having the sales count towards covering the cost of a Ning Mini or Ning Plus yearly subscription. If you'd prefer complete control over the profit you're getting from each item sold, you can always follow Sophie's advice here.

      Thanks,
      Phil
    • Hi Mark,

      The donate app was built by Ning, not a third party. It uses PayPal, which accepts currencies from around the world and converts them into the target currency. We set this to be US dollars since that's the currency that Network Creators pay Ning in, but we're checking to see how easy it might be to make this configurable and we'll update the app if we can.

      Thanks,
      Phil
      • DONATION APP PROBLEMS - I am not able to move it to the space on the site where I want it. It doesn't move to the left or right column but in the main which is not where it will work on my site.

        Why does it not have that portability ?
    • Right-on Anna! We were already creating our Cafe Press store when I saw info about that App. I too was initially excited! I thought maybe it would make creating our store and integrating it easier. But then I saw that you only rec 10% of the sale. It makes no sense! You are better off creating your own Cafe Press store and pocketing the higher revenues (in some cases three times the amount!) and then paying your Ning subscription on your own! The "progress meter" is a cool idea, but I can keep track myself, make my own in Photoshop and post it.

      I thought the idea was to create "deals" with these third-party Apps! With the size of Ning and the amount of networks and members, Ning should be easily able to cut a deal with, say "Cafe Press", where we receive HIGHER revenues than if we just start a store on our own. Instead, a lot of Ning creators will probably jump on this (and other Apps), not realizing they could make a lot more revenue doing it on their own. Instead, Cafe Press and other companies are going to be pocketing higher revenues than they normally do and just taking advantage of unsuspecting Ning creators....
      • Dax: Read the comment above yours -- you receive your markup plus an additional 10%. Not less.
  • Can we build a cafePress shop on their site, and pull it into NING and from there, pocket the difference (profit) instead of just the 10%? (going by Anna's post here).
  • I already have a cafepress storfront why doesn't it pull all my additional items for sale to my new app store?
    • Hi, ROB! This CafePress App won't synch up with an existing CafePress storefront. This is something we could add at some point if enough folks wanted it, but this first version of the app will create a new storefront for you.
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