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Public vs. Private Ning Sites?

Hi everyone,

I'd like to hear your thoughts on Public vs. Private Ning sites. If switching from Private to Public, is there an easy way to lock-down all member profiles automatically so they are not searchable by Google? Or does each person have to change those settings on their own?

What do you see as advantages and disadvantages to both?

The ones I see are:


  • Faster membership growth (since people need to join to see any content)
  • Relative privacy - profiles, blogs, etc not indexed by Google.


  • Easier to share and link to network content
  • Higher on search engine results
  • Slower membership growth
  • Fewer frustrated users (no longer have to sign in to see content)
  • All content automatically public and indexed by Google (I believe unless members lock them down...and I think they can make blogs/photos/videos/events private & profile page private with the exception of name and photo?)

Anything I'm missing? Other thoughts?

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  • NC for Hire
    One thing I welcome and it has already been discussed before is increased flexibility with what can be public on a private site besides the front page.

    Right now if you go to the tab manager to create a page you have options on visibility including "everyone" which is misleading. "Everyone" in this case "means everyone who is a member" It's as if when designing this it wasn't taken into account that this should have been adjusted for Private sites.

    Anyway, if I could make a page truly visible to everyone on a private network I may start to gain some of the benefits of a public network. It is a Page! It is not a forum or a blog post that includes profile info. Heck, if that is too integrated what about Notes?

    What I love about Public front page/Private Sites is the ability to have my feeds be public nonetheless. If you check out my profile you'll see I have and RSS Feed to my private blog posts on my private network on a public profile of a public site. I just love that. Most of my sites are private. I think I am just starting to get used to the public paradigm so maybe others can comment on that.
  • It seems like you've thought of all pros/cons for both:) I personally prefer having completely open sites, unless there in issue with confidentiality, such as you might find with a network for people with depression, who've had a miscarriage, or other "sensitive" topics. Perhaps if you were a business and worried about people stealing your content, or a private business/group in real-life who didn't WANT members other than your real-life members, then you might want privacy/member moderation.
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