Ning Update – my 2 cents worth

This is a follow – up to my previous blog on the subject of Ning eliminating free Networks Free Ning Services to end soon?
Please read it first to put the follow up in context.

The overwhelming majority of comments on the Ning blog are very critical of the move by Ning to eliminate free service, which is understandable. Many are left high and dry, unable to afford the rates for premium. This is a desperate money grab that is bound to backfire! There are other services out there that are free and easy to use, with premium services available that are affordable and actually worth it. At Weebly, pay $ 4.58 a month (six month term) for premium, which drops to $ 2.99 a month if you choose a 2 year term, for a cornucopia of great extra features and up to 10 websites! But the free basic service is not bare bones by any stretch of the imagination, but jam-packed with great features!

Aside from Weebly, which has proven to be a reliable host for two of my websites, there is also Google offering free websites with a number of attractive templates and easy to use features.

Weebly’s basic service is free – and it has a lot of attractive features – the premium service is affordable, giving you even more great features, domain and hosting ten websites with virtually unlimited storage (basic service gives you 2 sites for free).

While I will try to keep one of my networks on Ning going (because of the amount of time and effort invested), I will certainly drop the other ones with a recommendation to either use Weebly or Google as more stable and reliable hosts.

Those of you that cannot afford premium at Ning (for example, the rates for dropping ads are absolutely ridiculous – even a large network cannot make $ 25 by replacing them with their own google ads) the advise would be to go either Weebly or Google.

The 75% of Premium customers on Ning had at one time started with the free service. Where does Ning think their future premium customers are going to come from?
Perhaps Ning should look at the Weebly business model to learn a thing or two about dealing with their clients, the structure of basic free services and offering great premium services at affordable rates that truly give the customer a big bang for their buck!

Today, I left a comment on Weebly’s blog (announcing $ 13,000 in Prizes for Designers):

I’ve been with Weebly now for just about a year. I am continuously impressed by the improvements and the jam packed features of your free service, and now this: an opportunity for some lucky designer to make it big!
You leave the competition in the dust, gasping for air! The recent announcement by Ning to eliminate their free service will cast off a great number of disgruntled clients. I recommend that they look at Weebly! Your premium services are very affordable (unlike the gouging that Ning will force their premium clients into, should they decide to stay) – I have to commend you and hope for your continued success. I am sure you will see quite some growth come May, when Ning clients are left high and dry.

My sites on Weebly:
Otto Rapp Photography
Visionary Art Gallery

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~ by ottorapp on April 20, 2010.

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