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Ning, the network of social networks, and the one that we are using in class is making massive staff cutbacks and has announced the end of free services for its users. From the approximately 20 million people that monthly uses ning, the few premium accounts will have to pay even more, and the standard users will be asked to pay a big amount. One year ago, everything was good news for this platform. Around a million social networks had been built on it and Ning had offered 90 different applications for social networks creators.
Then, last month, Gina Bianchini (CEO of the company) left Ning without much explanations. 40% of the employees were dismissed and Jason Rosenthal, the new CEO of Ning, announced after a month in his new desk that the only way he could find to redirect the way of the company was making the premium accounts more expensive and force all the users to pay for using the ning platform. In spite of that, he promised new contents for premium users and assured that Ning users will not regret paying this small quantities and will remain “happy”.
But the only problem for Ning is not the loss in their benefits but the creation of new platforms that also provide users a way of developing their own personal social networks. Grou.ps; Spruz; SocialGO; BuddyPress (part of WordPress); Loved By Less or Elgg are some of a big amount of websites that have just started to fight between them in order to get their own part of the social networks market. As the experts say, Spruz is the one that is specifically reaching out to Ning users because makes publicity of itself as a free platform with free software and that will remain the same always.
I hope this website won´t disappear but in its five years of life it has not reach the popularity of other social networks such as Facebook or Twitter and, now, they are paying for this.