Current status of the Ning Platform is always available on the Ning Status Blog.

Blogs

All Posts (157)

The Ning social network we used in our BYU Comms230 class this semester was a useful tool that was wholeheartedly embraced and endorsed by class members. Powerful, intuitive social media tools aren’t just for marketing. They represent and facilitate fundamental shifts in human interaction—shifts that can improve university learning.


>>> 43 out of 43 students said such a network would be helpful in ALL of their classes.


>>> The following few quotes represent hundreds of positive comments from class members:


“The network took class discussions and extended them into online conversations.”

“Seeing my classmates’ work sparked my own ideas.”

“The professor has talked a lot this semester about building a personal online brand. Blogging has helped me do that.”

“I got many more insights through sharing ideas on blog posts.”

“The network unified our class and facilitated communication.”

“I was motivated to submit higher quality work because I knew my peers would see it.”

“It’s simple. I don’t have to print assignments. I can get things done from anywhere. It’s quick. The communication is instant.”

“Everything I need for class is in one spot—the calendar, syllabus, class video stream, lecture slides, and quick ability to contact classmates, the professor, and the TA.”

“My questions are answered and my comments acknowledged much quicker than in regular classes.”

“Blogging forced me to think. I wasn’t just memorizing material.”

“Blogging has helped me feel like I have a jump on the industry because I’m actually in it.”

“It was really motivating to me to make my blog posts good so that others would respond to them.”

“Comments left on the posts unified the class, and we were able to bounce ideas off each other.”

“Blogging made me think, and put those thoughts into words. When you have to explain yourself to others it makes you dig deeper and find out why you think that way.”

“Yes. I recommend it for other classes. The world is more technologically savvy. Students must be too.”

“Blackboard is functional, but the Ning network is fun and so much more interactive.”


You can read the full post by clicking >HERE.


You can visit the class network by clicking >HERE.

Read more

Important! Maintenance on Friday

Important notice for all Network Creators: All Ning Networks will be down for scheduled maintenance this Friday (tomorrow), April 9th from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. PST. Since this is planned downtime, your Ning Network will display a branded message (with *your* Ning Network’s name) to any visitors. If you have any questions, please let us know here.

10,000 Creators Strong Contest Winner(s)

It’s official. We’ve now reached our 10,000th member and awarded our contest prizes: John and Jennifer, FTW! Thanks to everyone for helping us celebrate this milestone.

Want to Connect Your Ning Network to LinkedIn?

Someone asked for a clever way to connect their Ning Network to LinkedIn, and a Creator had a really nifty idea about how to use a simple RSS feed to connect the two. Great answer, Steve!

Made by Awesome Creators

Jen: Check Credentials of Potential New Friends Before Accepting Friend Requests

Joseph Porcelli: Teaching Members Which Features to Use When! and How to Export Your Members to a CSV File

Amit S: Running a Ning Network Isn't a Child's Play!!

Across the Internet

Fundraising from Online Communities: Love this quote: “If you want to fundraise from online communities, don’t start by asking for money.”

Is your Ning Network F-U-N? Don’t Build a Boring Online Community

This is (in theory) written for PR folks, but a few of these tips could be invaluable for Network Creators (check out BackTweets and Wordle for usefulness and fun, respectively).

Excuse me, sir. Are forums going to be replaced by something shiny and new? Forums Are Everywhere and Here to Stay, So Skip the Tools Discussion and Focus on Your Objectives

Read more

Fellow NC's,

This is Joseph Porcelli, one of Guides here on Creators. This week, I'm spending some of my time reminding our members which feature to use when so I thought I share some of our process with you.

Have you ever noticed (or gotten frustrated) that you members will post content in the wrong features? Blogs in forums, forums in blogs, events as blogs…ring a bell?

A while back a study was conducted on our networks. One of the major observations was that there was no continuity to where our members posted and found content. To address this we've taken the following steps:

  1. We distinguished and published how each feature is best used and gave concrete examples.
  2. We used the language editor to change the names of the feature on the front page. See what it looks like.
  3. We made a Prezi.com presentation that quickly explains which features to use when. Feel free to use our prezi or save it and customize it for your own networks.
  4. We edited our welcome message to mention which features to use when. Here is the link on how to edit your welcome message.
  5. In our weekly broadcast messages we remind folks what feature to use when and event break out forum posts by category to reinforce how to use the forums . Here is a copy of our most recent broadcast message NFN_Broadcast.pdf
How are you teaching your members which features to use when?
@JosephPorcelli
Read more

If you joined Creators recently, you may have known about our contest to reward our 10,000th member with a Timbuk2 Ning bag and 10,000 gift credits. We’re happy to report that we have a winner! Well, actually, two.

Please join us in raising the roof, hoisting a glass, and high-fiving Creator John Freeman! He’s located in the U.K., and his Ning Network, Down the Tubes, is all about British comics. Congratulations, John! You are our 10,000th member!


We always ask folks to let us know how they heard about Creators, and some people regularly tell us that they heard about us from an existing member of Creators. We wanted to reward one of those people who get mentioned a lot, so we tallied up the person with the most recommendations and came up with a second winner: Jennifer James. It makes sense for us to see so many people listing Jennifer as how they heard about Creators; she runs a number of very successful Ning Networks, including the Mom Bloggers Club.

Thanks for joining us, Jennifer and John. You'll both be receiving a Timbuk2 Ning bag like this one in the mail, and you should soon see 10,000 gift credits attached to your account. Go crazy with the gifts!

We also wanted to say thanks to everyone else who’s been following along as we grow. The Creators Network as you see it now has only been alive for five months, and we’re thrilled at how much we’ve grown. What makes it especially wonderful for those of us who work at Ning is how we can take the combined wisdom of our members and apply that directly to how we build Creators. Like many of you, we’re building up a Ning Network from scratch; having so many smart people around to offer suggestions and feedback moves us along and inspires us to keep building new things.

Thanks again, everyone! We’ll do some more contests soon. Feel free to suggest an idea for one, too. Always open to suggestions.

Read more

10,000 Creators Mark Reached

We reached our 10,000th member! We’ll be announcing the winners (there’s two!), but it looks like that might be early next week. We’ve contacted them and are awaiting their responses. Thanks to everyone who entered — which is everyone. We’ll definitely be doing more contests in the future. We’d like to also spotlight contests NCs have run in the past that were successful. Everyone can benefit from that kind of shared knowledge.

April Fools!

Jen, one of our superstar Creators members, totally tricked us with an April Fool’s joke. Most April Fool’s jokes don’t work on us, but this one did. Apparently, it worked on a lot of people. Nice one, Jen!

DIY: The “Hero” Box

Lots of Creators have been asking about the new carousel of rotating images at the top of the Creators Main Page. Here’s a tutorial that shows how to make something similar.


Made by Awesome Creators

JP: 5 Free Matching Ning Backgrounds and Ning Headers

Joseph Porcelli: How to Export Your Members to a CSV File

Jen: Add Google Ads in Header

Peter Moorman: Top 5 Reasons Ning Members Leave and How You Can Get Them to Stay


Across the Internet

Developing Online Community Guidelines: This is some great advice for anyone who ever plans on revising their Ning Network guidelines. It includes a comprehensive list of all the things you *could* restrict — but with reasons why you shouldn’t.

Ever wanted to go beyond the virtual and actually meet the people in your Ning Network? Here’s 8 Ways To Merge Your Online Community With The Real World

The One Thing About Building a Community asks the question: If I had to start over from scratch and build a new online community, what would I do different? Good quote: “Community is not something that happens when you need it, it's something that you build over time that is suddenly there for you, when you need it.”

From the shouting-fire-in-a-crowded-theater department: Does Free Speech Apply to Communities? Favorite quote: “Those accusing you of censorship are a bit like those friends of friends who appear in your house, smoke in the kitchen, turn the music up a little bit too loud and suggest you should chill out when you challenge them.”

Community Resource: We discovered some new online resources; especially good for larger Ning Networks.

Can you answer this question: “People will participate in my community because…” If not, read on: Why Will People Participate In Your Online Community

Read more

Fellow NCs,

Once a month we do an export of our members and import them into our CRM database. We do this for two reasons:
  1. So we have a back up our members locally.
  2. We run queries against donations made by email and name (we are a non-profit), and based on profile questions answer, invite members to groups and events that might be of interest.
Here's is how to export your members:
  1. Log into your network as either the Network Creator or a user with Administrator rights.
  2. Go the Manage tab and under "Manage your members" section click on Members button.
  3. On the bottom right hand side of the members page click on Export All Member Data (.CSV)
Depending on the size of your membership you either be prompted to..
  • "Click OK to start the export. If you have a lot of members, the process might take a few minutes.",
Or, if you have lots of members you'll get a message that says..
  • "Click OK to start the export. We'll send you an email with instructions for downloading the data as soon as it's ready."
Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions.

Joseph
Read more

Welcome to the fourth in a series of Ning Creators blog posts focusing on simple design tricks you can use on your network.

Trick #4: Adding a Two-Column Hero Box

The following code, used on the homepage of Ning Creators, will insert a "hero" module that spans two columns at the top of your network's Main page content area. This area could be used to insert an image, a custom Flash/JavaScript piece or just a simple text introduction.

Here's an example:

To get started, visit the "Appearance" area inside the "Manage" tab, then paste the following CSS snippet inside the "Advanced" section (underneath any other code that may already be there):

.space {height:270px;} /*Height of the Hero Area */
.module_text .xg_module_body {overflow:visible;}
#spotlight {margin-left:-245px;width:741px;}
#spotlight img, #spotlight embed, #spotlight object {padding:0; margin:0; max-width:741px;}

Next, visit the "Analytics" area inside the "Manage" tab, then paste in the following snippet (underneath any other code that may already be there):

<script type="text/javascript">
if (typeof(x$) != 'undefined') {
x$("#xg_layout_column_2").attr({_maxembedwidth: "741"});
}
</script>

On the "Features" area inside the "Manage" tab, add one new Text Box at the top of the left column, then a second Text Box at the top of the center column. Save your changes.
Here's an example:

Back on the Main page, click the "Edit" button on the new Text Box in the left column, then insert the following snippet:
<div class="space"></div>
Now click the "Edit" button on the new Text Box in the center column, and insert this snippet:

<div id="spotlight" class="space">ADD HERO CONTENT HERE</div>
Replace the "ADD HERO CONTENT HERE" text with your custom content (whether it's an image, embed code, HTML, etc.), then save your changes.

Enjoy!
Read more

Last week, I returned from five days at South by Southwest Interactive – an annual conference that focuses on technology and social media. The most interesting panels and talks that I attended while at SXSW focused on the ways that new social media technologies - like Ning! - are shaping the newest generation of non-profits.

Kiva, a non-profit that is arguably the most well known microfinance organization today, has engineered a fantastic online social network for their organization. The engineering team at Kiva has built a robust social network that allows lenders to connect with entrepreneurs in the developing world, which includes photos, descriptions, and updates on the portion of the loans that the entrepreneurs have been able to pay back. DonorsChoose is another non-profit that's been helping support teachers for the past decade. They're using a social network to allow donors to choose which projects they want to contribute to, and they've done a fantastic job of building a website that's truly interactive. When someone adds a donation on their website, they encourage them to write a note explaining why they decided to give money. It's a great example of using a social network to create an authentic and personable experience for donors.

While these organizations may be building their own websites with the help of a team of engineers, many of the strategies that are working for them can be applied to non-profits using Ning to provide the framework for a non-profit network. I can't think of a better place than the Ning Creators Network to share the lessons I learned!


Be transparent.
People like to know where their money is going. The more that you can do to explain what happens to the money after you’ve deposited a check (or accepted a donation through Paypal), the better your donors will feel about giving you money. Use the Pages feature to create a help center on your Ning Network, and let people ask you questions directly using your Discussion Forum. You can use the Blogs feature to update your Ning Network with the latest news from the organization. Ask your employees to create profile pages, so that donors can see the faces behind all your hard work.

Let them spread the word.
You don’t need to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to telling people about your organization. Let the people who are already supporting you be your advocate. If people believe in your non-profit, they'll want to tell their friends. Encourage the members of your Ning Network to invite their friends to join, and you can focus your energy on creating the best possible way for them to learn about your cause. That said, it never hurts to show people what your focus is. Greet new members who join your Ning Network, and reward members who invite their friends with Award gifts.

Use your Ning Network to build a relationship with your donors.
Once someone has joined your Ning Network, it's much easier to keep them involved. Send out broadcast messages to announce new initiatives, and update your Blog to let your members know what's going on. Ask your members for feedback using a Forum discussion, and find out what you can be doing better. Here on Ning Creators, we get loads of ideas about how to make Ning better and what we can do to get our Network Creators to love us. This can work just as well for your non-profit!

Connect with Twitter and Facebook.
Chances are you already have a Facebook fan page and/or a Twitter account to keep donors involved. It can be daunting to manage all of these social media outlets, so let your Ning Network help you with this! Connect your Ning Network to Twitter and Facebook, and you can push your status updates to all three places with a single click.

Thank people in public.
Show the people who have contributed how much you appreciate them by thanking them on your Ning Network. Use profile comments or customized gifts to say thank you, or use the Pages feature to post a donors directory. Just had a volunteer event? Post photos on your Ning Network to show off how well it went!


The best part of my job is seeing the way Network Creators like you are using Ning in creative ways. If you have more suggestions for using a Ning Network to help grow your non-profit, let us know here!

Read more

Post <br /

Ning communities can be compared to your average dinner party. Nobody wants to be the first one at your house. If the conversation is boring, your guests will likely not come back. If you tell them about an
exciting “multi-level” marketing opportunity, they will resent you.

Below are the top 5 reasons ning members leave, and tips for how you can prevent it. This is copied from a post on my blog: http://petermoorman.com/top-5-reasons-ning-members-leave-and-how-you-can-get-them-to-stay

  • “My inbox is full of your broadcast messages, and they don’t even have anything worthwhile in them to read”

The broadcast message is a powerful force in growing your network, but it can be abused. Send broadcast messages no more than 2x a week, and make sure they have useful content for your community. Nobody likes
Spam.

  • “The forum is confusing, how do I even post a question?”

Forum setup is frustrating for new users. Make it simple. Do not have 10 different categories. It’s much better to have few categories with lots of posts, than 20 categories with little to no activity.

  • “Wait. You’re charging me how much to continue my membership in this network?”

You want to start your network as an open community with no charges. If you decide to charge a premium for membership, let your original community members in for free or at a deeply discounted rate. There’s no
better way to drive off membership than to start charging the very
people who helped your network get off the ground in the beginning.

  • “My eyes hurt after 5 minutes on your site.”

Do not have a black background. Do not have flash animation sirens in the sidebars. If you want members to stay, create a network that is easy on the eyes.

  • “There’s no discussion or interaction here. What’s the point of staying?”

With a new network, you have to get the discussions going. Invite your close friends to join, start discussions in the forum, and make the network buzz with activity. Users will leave if they see no signs of
life.

  • “Whenever I go to your network, I get confused about how to navigate and posts”

Navigation is key to promoting network growth and retention. Make it easy for users with less experience with the internet to navigate your site. Just because you can speak CSS and HTML as fluently as English,
doesn’t mean your users can.

Feel free to add any other tips in the comments below.

Read more

As we announced last month, Ning.com Network Search is making a comeback!

We have been working hard to make it easier than ever to find Ning Networks for your interests and passions. So we’re happy to announce that in the next few days, search will be back on Ning.com! We’ve heard a lot of feedback about how important this feature is from Network Creators as well as from members looking for Ning Networks.

For your Ning Network to appear in Ning.com’s Network Search, it must:

  • Be public. Prospective members won't know too much about or be able to join your Ning Network if
    it's private, and we want to protect the privacy of private Ning Networks and their members.
  • Be active. If your Ning Network has thousands of members but hasn't had new content in months,
    it's not likely to be ranked highly in searches.
  • Be launched and accessible. We don't want to showcase Ning Networks that aren't yet ready for prime time!
  • Not contain content that violates our Terms of Service.

For information on how to optimize your Ning Network for search, or if you have any search-related concerns about your Ning Network, please contact us through the Help Center.

Thanks,

Brent

Read more

A digest for Creators of discussions, blog posts, and interesting things found along the way in the past week — on Ning and across the Internet.

On Creators

Spam: Beat It

If you haven’t seen it yet, we have a dedicated page where we’re posting updates on any spam-related issues.

Content Flagging Now Live

We released a new feature this week for NCs: Content Flagging. It’s entirely optional, and it allows you to give trusted members the power to hide content that is clearly inappropriate — like spam. You can read all about it here.

Want to appoint some of your most trusted members as Content Flaggers? We've put together some boilerplate messaging language that we hope will help you reach out and invite them.

SXSW Roundup

Two of our SXSW contest winners report how you can really make a bang with very little cost but also how SXSW isn’t for the timid — or camera shy.

Popular This Week

The 90-9-1 Rule

10,000 Strong Contest (We’re at 9,471 members — getting close.)

What’s in Your Dream Text Editor?


Across the Internet

Thoughts on Community Management. One of the best general blog posts about tending an online space we’ve read in a long time. Superb.

What to do after you lower the ban hammer: Replying to a Banned Member Who Wants to be Unbanned.

Some great points made here about where to place your energies when moderating an online space: Pre-Approve The People Not The Messages

We’re Addicted to Social Networks: A new study uncovers a lot of interesting stats, including this one: 28% of iPhone owners visit Twitter or Facebook before getting out of bed in the morning. (Guilty as charged!)

Do People Really Need Your Online Community? This is an excellent reality check for a community that feels dead and needs reviving. Favorite quote: "If your community has died, don’t throw in the towel…. Sincerely reach out to each person with this question: ‘What would make you want to spend an hour a day in this community?’ "

Read more

Just as we did a few weeks back when we announced our Facebook App, we wanted to offer you some boilerplate to use for your Ning Network around the idea of content flagging. If you have decided to appoint Content Flaggers on your Ning Network, you may want to let them know with a simple message. We've put together some boilerplate copy that we hope will help, along with some copy to use after people reply to your message.

Of course, all of this — including Content Flagging — is entirely optional, but our hope is that this might help Creators be more efficient, while still being high-touch with their most valued members. Hope it helps!


Invitation to content flagger

Subject: We’d like you to be a content flagger

We recently added the ability for select members to flag content that seems inappropriate — stuff that seems spammy. Since you seem to be one of our most helpful members, we wanted to reach out and ask you to be a content flagger for the community.

We’ve asked some of our best members to take on this role, and the way it works is pretty straightforward. If you see spam or content that is clearly inappropriate and violates our guidelines, feel free to flag it. Once flagged, the content will be hidden from view unless it is unflagged. This will help us fight spam by spreading the ability to help keep the community clean to our most trusted members.

Of course, there’s no pressure for you to flag anything or do anything different, but we hope you’ll want to join us in keeping an eye out for the rest of the community so we can continue to make this a great place to interact. Our admins already do a great job of monitoring the site, but adding flaggers helps them be even more efficient.

Thank you note

I’m thrilled that you want to help watch over the community. If you ever see a blog post or photo or video that seems spammy, you can click on the Flag icon to hide it. If you’re ever unsure about whether something is inappropriate or not, you can simply err on the side of leaving it up. Our admins will be on the lookout, too. Thanks again for being such a helpful member!


Read more

The 90-9-1 rule

A fantastic blog post was put up last week, which has lead to a number of great discussions about member traction and engagement within communities. Dr. Mike Wu, Ph.D. posted metrics based on his study of over 200 online communities here.

As he writes, "The 90-9-1 rule simply states that:

  • 90% of all users are lurkers. They read, search, navigate, and observe, but don't contribute
  • 9% of all users contribute occasionally
  • 1% of all users participate a lot and account for most of the content in the community"

The data he present generally backs this up. The comments both there and in a related LinkedIn community explore how he defined his terms, constraints of the data, and how to encourage engagement.

Do you agree with his findings? Do you see them reflected in your Ning Networks?

I look forward to his future posts, where he promises to "dive deeper into the contribution level of the hyper-contributors, you community's real superusers."

Read more

Hey guys! So I was one of the lucky winners to spend some time with Ning down in Austin, and I just wanted to drop in to give some feedback from the perspective of Creators.

SXSW is billed as a Tech Conference, but it's really a Festival. I think what that means to Creators is the following...

This is aimed towards those who are interested in making money via your network, and feel ready to do that (big audience, big traffic, unique segment of a market). I know that's not everyone, but I feel like it'd be one major agenda that might drive you to consider going to SXSWi if you haven't been.

  1. Industry People: Austin is all about people. Everyone is there. Bloggers, Company Founders, marketing teams, PR people, advertising people, and thought leaders. There's lots of educational and non-profit conversations happening. If you wanted to meet them, hear from them, or pitch them (in a non-pitchy way), Austin is a great opportunity. I'd build a list of hopeful meetings, reach out beforehand to set a few coffee chats up, and then spend your time there using Foursquare/Gowalla/Twitter to track down the one's you don't have on your schedule.
  2. Feedback: The early adopter crowd is there in full force. They're willing to hear your ideas, your community dynamics, and your story. Literally everyone there has a story, and is open to share it in exchange for yours. There's no reason to be shy, because rather than criticize or shoot you down, you'll get valuable feedback and insight into what else is happening in your space.
  3. Promotions/Marketing: I was really underwhelmed at the 'buzz building' tactics in Austin this year, despite the opportunity. With 15,000 early adopters/open minded geeks walking around, all carrying with them an audience of interested parties, you can really make a bang with very little COST. It's more a matter of doing something really innovative. Perfect example: the Ning team hands out free pie slices during their 'office hours'...and they were not only gone in short time, but generated buzz that I heard for the next 24 hours at parties and via twitter.
  4. Parties: Parties are a big, big part of the agenda down there. Problem is that they're expensive and exclusive, generally. Thing is, the best ones happened off the radar. If you want to bring people together to talk about you or your community, do that in a social setting 'off campus'.

I'm sure there's more, but that's a lot. If anyone has questions, just let me know...I'm happy to share!

Read more

We're Back from SXSW! One of our SXSW contest winners, Darcy of Swap Mamas, acted as our reporter in the field this week. She wrote not one, not two, but three (!) blog posts to highlight what she saw at SXSW. Nicely done, Darcy! (Never been to SXSW but curious what it’s all about? The SXSW Experience! captures the spirit of SXSW in stunningly beautiful time-lapse video.)


We Have a New CEO: Get to know our new CEO and let Gina know how much we appreciate her hard work by signing a virtual group card.

Our 10,000 Strong Contest Rolls On: We crossed the 9,000 member mark this week, and we’re headed toward 10,000. We’re giving the lucky 10,000th member a Ning Timbuk2 bag and 10,000 Gift credits. If they mention you or your Ning Network, we’ll give you the same. More here.



Popular This Week on Creators

New Spam Update Page for Creators

How to Customize Your Sign-up Page on a Public Network


Across the Internet


How to Build A Massive Online Community has an excellent interview with someone who built a very large (48K+ people) and very successful online community from scratch. My favorite quote, when asked about member growth milestones: “The most exciting member was number two.”

A good post from the consistently interesting FeverBee: Making Things Happen In Your Community. Best quote: “Stop trying to get your community to do things they don’t want to do.”

With so many new tools at their disposal, what did the attendees of SXSW use to communicate with each other? The Social Technologies Powering SXSW 2010 points them out. A lot of them are, not surprisingly, location-aware online tools.

Ning gets a shout-out as an inexpensive tool to use when considering how to represent a business online in Make it Simple, Focused, High-Performance, and Polished: My Web Philosophy. It also theorizes that there are three kinds of people on the Web. (We’re a #3. We’re guessing you are, too.)

If Your Online Community Is in Trouble Turn to Grass for the Answer. No, it’s not about drugs, it’s an extended metaphor about gardening and people in online spaces.



"Best of the Week" is a digest for Creators of discussions, blog posts, and interesting things found along the way in the past week — on Ning and across the Internet.

Read more
Hi everyone,
Over the last 18 months, I’ve met many of you in person or online. For those I haven’t had a chance to meet, let me introduce myself — I'm Jason Rosenthal, and I'm honored and very excited to take on the role of CEO at Ning. When looking at the 2.3 million Ning Networks that have been created to date, I’m amazed at what you've all accomplished and inspired by your creativity. As CEO, you can expect to see us continue to rapidly innovate the Ning Platform, strive to provide you with the support you need when you need it, and to keep listening to and learning from all of you.
I'd also like to take a moment to thank Gina for building Ning and infusing our employees and you, our Network Creators, with her passion and enthusiasm. Gina built an amazing team at Ning, and I am lucky to be working with some of the most talented people I've met in my career. I share Gina's vision for Ning as the place for people's interests and passions, and plan to continue to build on what she — and our team here — have already achieved.
Thank you for making Ning what it is today, and I look forward to many more conversations with you in the future.
Jason
PS: You can always get in touch with me here on Creators with feedback, ideas and suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you!
Read more

Last day, and Mama's headin' out the door to an SXSW party (Get OUT. Reeeeeally??). Unlike last night and the night before, tonight should be a fairly early one (*snort*), seeing as my flight leaves at 8:30 tomorrow morn.

What a fabulous experience this trip has been. I've been inspired, learned some new things, met some great people, made fantastic contacts (fingers crossed!), and hopefully turned a bunch of people on to the awesomeness that is Ning.

I'm SO grateful for such an amazing opportunity -- I have no question that with all I've gained these past few days, Swap Mamas will benefit immensely. I owe it all to you, Ning. I'll definitely be posting better pics when I get home ... catch y'all soon!

Read more

Today was FANTASTIC. Great sessions, great parties, and now, at 11 pm, we're on our way BACK out to meld into the fray -- first on the list, the Mashable Party (if we can deal with the line wrapping around the block)!

I'm spreading the Ning luv aaaalll around -- hoping to catch up with the RVIPers shortly. (Ning has an RV. They drive around. They let people on. And they SING KARAOKE. It's a beautiful thing.) One thing's clear -- EVERYONE knows what Ning is. And convincing them of it's awesomeness has been unnecessary.

Best session today? Peter Shankman of HARO (Help A Reporter Out). If you're not already familiar with his site, do yourself a favor, head over and sign up for his 3x daily newsletter. His best advice? Be kind to people. When someone asks what my business model is, it's hard not to respond, "Be good to people and good things will come to you." It's how I live my life and it's how I run my network.

Sadly, tomorrow's my last day ... I'm packing in as many panels as I can. As for photos? Of course, I have a bunch. But, um ... yeah, left the cord to download 'em at home. Lovely. Sooo, I promise to post as soon as I get back. For the time being, this crappy phone-photo should whet your appetite.

To be clear, this is NOT the Ning RV. (One can dream ...)

Read more

Day One at SXSW and seriously? I heart nerds. And I say that with all kind of luv, seeing as I'm a complete nerd myself. (Self-love is good, no?) Which means I'm in H-E-A-V-E-N.

So far, best part of the day, was the Opening Speaker, Danah Boyd. Boyd works at Microsoft Research New England and also serves as a fellow at the Harvard University Berkman Center for Internet and Society. She's doing some fascinating stuff with regard to privacy and publicity. And one of her comments struck me as particularly relevant to many of the conversations going on in the Ning Creators Community. In a nutshell, she makes the very valid point (IMHO) that when it comes to social networks, more is not necessarily better. That just because we CAN "optimize" the user's experience, doesn't necessarily mean we SHOULD.

Hallelujah.

I've often felt, that as much as I ADORE social media, it's important to remain grounded and remember that nothing replaces the human touch, metaphorical, or physical. Leaving just a little bit of that "human" experience in my network is integral to my network, and I would argue, ANY network. And when you can create a community that successfully straddles the chasm between the virtual world and reality? Gold.

So, enough of the soapbox. Needless to say, I was impressed. And inspired. And later, when I attended the panel, "The Socially Conscious Geek: Making Money While Doing Good," I was inspired even more.

Like I said, I heart nerds. (Oh, and Ning, btw. :D)

PLUS ...

they party like ...


Forever's gonna start tonight.

But more about that tomorrow. (RAWR.)

Read more

Many Network Creators continue to report high levels of spam on their Ning Networks.

What are we doing about it?

First of all, I want you to know how seriously we consider this issue. Spam isn’t just an annoyance for Network Creators and their members. Spam gets in the way of member participation and interaction, which is the lifeblood of a successful, vibrant Ning Network like yours. We have a dedicated engineering team that is focused on spam prevention led by Martin Westhead.

Unfortunately, the current spam attack promoting “Canadian Pharmacy” is a sophisticated attack attributed to a Russian cyber-criminal organization. As with other sophisticated spammers, this organization employs dozens or even hundreds of people to create accounts, resolve CAPTCHAs and verify email addresses, then passes the accounts to a large botnet to post spam from thousands of computers, each with a different IP address.

Due to the sophisticated nature of the attack, there aren’t any quick fixes. We have already implemented several steps to block spam and plan to deploy a number of other features in the next few weeks. These measures are already blocking and disabling thousands of spam accounts each day. Here’s an update:

  • Yesterday, we significantly tightened our rules for new blog posts, which has been the primary type of spam for the “Canadian Pharmacy” attack. These rules identify and remove spam accounts automatically. You may have noticed a decrease in spam based on this action.
  • Next week, we will test and begin implementing temporary blocks on members that look suspicious based on their recent activity.
  • Within the next two weeks, we'll roll out a new feature for NCs — you'll be able to give specific members of your Ning Network the ability to easily flag and hide spam on your Ning Network.


How can you help?

We are using the data from the “suspend for spam” feature to automatically disable thousands of accounts across the Ning Platform each day. Please continue to use this feature when you suspend spammers.

We recommend that you turn on blog approval on your Ning Network. This will help you block new spam posts. While it's not optimal for some larger Ning Networks, we also recommend that you consider turning on member moderation.

As we implement increasingly stringent anti-spam measure, we are working hard to minimize the number of legitimate members that are incorrectly blocked or disabled. We apologize if this happens to any of your members. Please have them write in to our Help Center and we will re-enable their account as quickly as possible.

John McDonald
Vice President, Advocacy

Read more

Meanwhile, you can check our social media channels