With yesterday’s news of Ning’s move to eliminate free social networks on its platform, competitors are rushing to emphasize their free offerings for building a social network. Today, Grouply, a startup that’s built around creating and managing online groups from Google and Yahoo Groups, is going to try to make it easy for Ning users to port their groups to Grouply’s platform. And fellow competitor Grou.ps is also welcoming Ning refugees to its free social network platform as well.
Grouply will shortly announce a more comprehensive ‘Ning to Grouply’ migration tool that will enable a Ning network owner to easily import other important content from their network, says Mark Robins, CEO and co-founder of Grouply.
Of course, there are slight differences between the functionality on the two sites but groups on Grouply provide many of the same core social features as Ning does, including a customizable community website, event management, discussion forums, an activity feed, and an app store with add-on applications.
Grou.ps also provides a similar platform to Ning. The startup’s networks are attractive to users because it lets you run all of your group’s collaboration tools from one GROU.PS domain using a single login. The system supports wikis, photos, links, blogs, calendars, chat, forums, maps, profiles, and subgroups – each of which is available as a plug-and-play module for your community. These modules also allow users to pull in their data from other third party services (flickr, Digg, blogs, etc).
But its important to note that Ning’s traffic and userbase is still much greater than both of these competitors. For example, Grou.ps has 2.8 million users, whereas Ning has at least 37 million users as of last November. And the number of Ning networks that migrate may not be too significant; 75% of Ning’s traffic already comes from premium accounts.