According to an email I received today from The Ning Team with the subject “Changes coming to Ning in July”. The first change that is announced is that they will be phasing out all free Ning Networks. Basically they say they would like to provide a better product for their customers and it would be impossible to do so offering a free service. They say that this will not happen until July and they are doing this to give everyone with a Ning Network to weigh their options.
What are the new options?
From their official announcement of their plans they will offer ad-free Ning Networks with the Ning Mini from as little as $2.95/month (or 19.95/year) to the Ning Pro at $49.95/month (or 499.95/year). Which if you think about it is not an excessive amount of money for what they are offering. My only problem is that with the Ning Mini offer you are limited to 150 members. Now I can understand why they would limit the bandwidth and storage, but I cannot understand why they would limit you to 150 members. I am on a few Ning Networks with over 150 members that have been around for a number of years. This means that you will be forced to pay at least $19.95/month or $199.95/year if you want to keep your network up and running.
What other things might be missing if I select the Ning Mini?
Well to start off with all of the uploaded audio and video. Not to mention the Groups and Events that you have already created. If you have added Pages or Notes, you can forget them too. You can view their comparison of all three plans for more information.
They say that they are leaving the free option behind but are offering a service that “is affordable for almost every budget”. The problems is that this affordable plan is not really an option for most Ning Networks and they will be forced to pay much more just to keep what they have up and running.
I am very curious to see what happens to the many Ning Networks. Will people be willing to pay to keep their sites alive or will they search for another free option? And if they keep their sites, how will this affect other free services that may one day be changed to pay services?