In case you hadn’t heard, Ning has decided to go to a pay model and force existing free users to either migrate to a premium plan or step off. The details of how this will work are still unclear, but your free Ning social network won’t last much longer.
Many Ning users are upset and looking for alternatives. There are many factors you will need to consider in figuring out what will work for you. Many people can make do with a simple wordpress blog with certain widgets or plugins installed. Other people need a full-on, collaborative, social network with discussion forums and the whole nine yards. Here are a few services to take a look at in your search.
Groupsite ties together social networking and collaboration in an effort to make group communications easier and more efficient. It’s a hosted solution with Pro plans and a free tier for social networks. With the free account, you can add individual premium features at $9/month each.
Groupsite has all of the features you would expect to find, including forums, calendars, blogs, file sharing, and profiles. Some have said that Groupsite is to Ning what Facebook is to Myspace. Check out our coverage here and go take it for a spin yourself.
SocialGo, founded in 2007, is more of a direct competitor to Ning as far as their goals. They allow “anyone to create a professional-grade social network for their group, business or interest.” They are focused on expanding premium services, but do offer a free (forever) account to get your feet wet. If you don’t really feel like setting up your network on your own, you can pay $149 and have a SocialGo Concierge do it for you.
“Any organization seeking to aggregate and organize people online can greatly improve its effectiveness, engagement and appeal by migrating to the GROU.PS platform.” Grou.ps focuses on customization and creativity as far as creating your site goes. Their free option gives you 10GB of storage and 100GB of bandwidth. Grou.ps will also allow you to add advanced features on top of an existing Yahoo group. (our coverage)
Google FriendConnect is one option you can go with if you want to add social networking features to an existing website. Possibly a blog or something of that nature. By itself, it doesn’t offer some of the features that Ning does, but it gets you most of the way there as far as connecting people around your content goes. Again, which options you can consider is based on your specific needs. More details on FriendConnect right here.
This is a new initiative by Twitter that allows you to easily integrate Twitter into any website. Like Google FriendConnect, this is not a stand-alone social networking platform and may be lacking some of the features you might need. It all depends on what you’re building on top of and what type of network you have. What it will give you is a method for millions of Twitter users to congregate around your site.
This is just a small number of the alternative solutions out there. Some people don’t even need all that Ning currently offers, while others can’t survive without the full set of features.
What Ning alternatives have you come across?Category: Social Web | Tags: @anywhere, friendconnect, grou.ps, groupsite, Ning, socialgo