Ningbar Launches, Plus Ning Stats

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Palo Alto based Ning made a significant change to their application interface on Friday, removing the mandatory sidebar on applications and replacing it with a fully customizable javascript bar across the top of the page.

I met with CEO Gina Bianchini a week ago to see the changes. Gina also gave me an update on how Ning is doing in general.

Ning is a site that lets users create customized applications through Ning modules and third party web services. CCHits is an example – users contribute links to creative commons music. Other users vote on the music in a Digg-like fashion, and the best music makes it to the top of the site. Or see Trail Reviews, which combines trail discussions and voting with Google Maps. One of my favorite applications is Bookmarks, a surprisingly useful social bookmarking service (like del.icio.us). And for beer and sports fans, there’s Team Sports Bars. Applications on Ning can be cloned by other users who want to do things a little differently, by adding or removing modules or web services.

Applications are hosted by Ning and share users (meaning once you’ve signed up for one Ning application, you are registered for all). Ning generates revenue from advertising placed on the applications and through premium options. For example, an application creator can pay $8/month to have advertising removed, or pay $5 per month to map an application to a custom domain. Other premium options are also available.

Ning Stats

Ning launched in October 2005. Since then, 14,000 applications have been created. Ning has registered users in 176 countries and 47% of users are non-U.S. So far, Ning users are there to participate as well as watch – on average, for every two new users to Ning a new application is built.

Alexa page view stats show some positive trends, although Ning clearly hasn’t hit “hockey stick” growth stage yet.

Ningbar

Ning has replaced the mandatory (and much criticized) sidebar it places in every application with the Ningbar (more details from Diego Doval, Ning’s head architect, and Brian McCallister), a customizable, dynamic javascript strip across the top of apps. Screen shots are below, showing the strip in its starting and expanded positions:

Ning still has a long way to go before users can add and remove modules and web services without any programming skills. Look for a release, scheduled for end-of-summer, to finally open up the core Ning features to all users.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Albert_Lai/514069708 Albert Lai

    Thanks for the review Leena.

    Wanted to also add that we’re in talks and/or development with many of the major platforms — Including Google/OpenSocial, and other international (read: Non-North American) platforms as well.

    But our focus right now is prioritized by the demand from our developer community, and right now its still mostly Facebook and fbConnect. With mobile platforms becoming the most interesting for many.

    Other platforms are on the road map and we’re excited about working with any platform that our developers want to expand on to.

    Looking forward to all from fbConnect land! =)

  • http://law.okguru.com/tag/malpractice/ phenom.bade

    thanks for the post.

    http://health.okguru.com

  • Thomas

    So they’ll provide analysis as long as you’re using an iphone and on facebook? What good is it if it’s that limited?

    • http://michaelocc.com Michael O'Connor Clarke

      Thomas – I think the point you’re missing is that, without something like Kontagent, Facebook is an analytics void.

      Any decent marketer wants to have some way to measure the effectiveness of what they’re doing. Marketers have flocked to FB, for plenty of obvious reasons, but it’s been something of a black hole for data and analytics, up till now. Kontagent gives app developers the kind of deep analytics within Facebook that they’ve previously only been able to get outside of the “walled garden”.

      Oh, and you don’t need an iPhone. That’s just an added platform for those who need it.

    • http://www.kontagent.com Albert Lai

      Kontagent now supports:

      1) Onsite Facebook apps
      2) fbConnect enabled web sites (new)
      3) fbConnect enabled iPhone apps (new)

      Meaning you don’t need to have an iPhone AND be on Facebook.

      Then again, when was the last time you saw an iPhone owner that WASN’T on Facebook (esp. in North America)? =)

      – Albert / Kontagent

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Reuben_Steiger/707482026 Reuben Steiger

    Congratulations to Albert Lai and his team. More great things to come, I bet. . . .

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  • Terry

    As a marketer, you absolutely cannot overestimate the value of this service. I have marketed several iphone apps and having a service like this that identifies where the initial impressions are coming from is absolutely invaluable.

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