Just thought I would post my own discussion to go off on this issue. Someone recently posted that they had been approached by a potential serious investor about acquiring their business - and that they had real concerns about the fact - having their project on the Ning platform could be a deal breaker.
Got to say I concur with this, sadly, but I have been trying to use the Ning platform for business purposes since 2008 and they have not been able to:
- Provide the service they sold me on like create your own social network where you are the owner, have paid to remove their branding, have complete control, and do not need to know coding.
- Provide system stability that would reflect the money I have invested into a hosted service.
- Provide control over features such that I can set them up the way I want - without them making system wide changes I did not opt in to - and that ultimately disrupt my end-users' experience.
Not that I don't appreciate the casual use/ hobbyist notion of social networks - but your ideas on how to use were supposed to be up to you - and if I wanted a professional themed community where I could represent my professional services, well that should have been equally appreciated. Imagine, then, you're there trying to deliver a high end presentation to your market/ audience - and suddenly the site crashes, or half the members did not get notifications about the event, or one day "videos" are just flat out discontinued as a service, or your members get their inboxes flooded with emoticon gift badges, or you paid to have Ning branding removed and one day Ning just says,
"Nah, we changed our mind, it's allowed in the fine print of the terms of service, and we have to make the tough calls sometimes because gosh... we actually have a serious business to run."
This is why I joined Ning Creators in the first place, participated in development councils, and got involved offering advice to other creators in "their" customer community. All I needed from Ning is to do what they said from the beginning, and all I've gotten is excuses.
Even today, my project floats out there in space either pending the return of authentic leadership that can straighten up the product so it's at least not a professional embarrassment to associate my business with - or to find a way to use as some temporary flash in the pan event with no assurance to people that sign on it will be around tomorrow.
Honestly, I could have financed my project already 5 years ago and have been approached by investors wanting in since - I won't allow them to put their money in because Ning is a spooked horse ready to do who knows what on any given moment.
So sad to say that even today it feels like talking to a wall - and I can appreciate the efforts new management is making - but it's still just too slow and naïve.
- Offered to run the business for them ... got nothing but crickets.
- Offered them strategic consultation ... over their heads, no idea what I am talking about.
I would like to see if I could get some VC partners to help me acquire the platform, and thus have the ownership and control needed to get things done and done right... people think I'm joking or must be a joke.
So, just to be clear, I am still a paying customer and I have my reasons for that. I'm not a satisfied customer and have not been for many years, but I am also not looking for alternatives.
My site is essentially a placemat where I can direct potential investors toward presentations and examples of "what it could be like", with a special point on "what it could be like for a business if Ning was what it could be". Folks, this is not what I had in mind going in, just what I've had to do to adapt to Ning's often ridiculous customer experience.
Since Ning is not all that, it makes a terrific case for my insights and what I would do, and it only takes one properly motivated benefactor, but if I could not acquire, I would probably hire my own team and build from scratch... just sayin.
Whatever you do, don't depend on Ning for your business right now! They have a long long way to go before they are viable for that purpose - and unfortunately were oh so close from the very beginning, having steadily moved in the wrong direction ever since.
I remember laying this argument heavy on the former GM to which he said they had a "business class" product/ service starting at 3K per month, lol! I was even told that if building a social network was what I really wanted, that I could do it for free via a Facebook group - which just goes to show you a small sample of how disconnected this platform's leadership has been from it's "serious" customers for years.
In all my years reaching out to Ning leadership as a business user, all I have ever gotten in return is a sense of diminishment from them as if my startup is not really anything at all. Well, if I am the creator with the business idea, and all I need to move forward is the product/service they sold me on, and they do not deliver on their end, who is the one with the business that's not really anything at all? It's Ning.
As always, Ning, if you want to talk business, I am right here and you know how to reach me.