Ning Blog


This is a running commentary about our new service, Ning.

Ning is a Playground for building and running social applications, or social apps.

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Ok, I am excited.


We're talking Tom Cruise-on-Oprah excited. We've decided our little experiment is ready for prime-time. If you are reading this, you might be one of the five people who care about this fact.

We've been working on Ning for a little while now, but this past month has given me a newfound appreciation for IRC, Paxti's Pizza, Red Bull, U2's live albums, Tiny Wild Buffalo, Interns, and the Spanish language. While it might be delirium at this point, the only other time I can remember being this excited was trying to figure out who had a crush on me.

For the four out of five of you who don't know what Ning is and came here because you are related to a member of the team, we've built an online service (or Playground, as we like to call it) for building and using social applications. Social "apps" are web applications that enable people to match, transact, and communicate with other people.

With Ning, you can become a Beta Developer and build apps or just enjoy the benefits of using what other people come up with.

In either case, we are just happy you decided to check us out.

Posted by gina in October 3, 2005 12:12 PM

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Comments (29)


The word of the future. Trust me.

Posted by ian on October 3, 2005 11:24 PM

Congrats, Gina. :-)

Posted by Chris on October 3, 2005 11:38 PM

Congratulations! :-)

And thanks for the early hint. I got excited when I first got to know the project, and I bet there will be a lot more people talking about it. It'll be a great ride, enjoy it, guys!

Posted by Fred on October 4, 2005 12:47 AM

looking good! here's to hoping that user-generated social applications catch on (psst...I know they will!)

oh, and you should provide a feed for this blog ;)

Posted by enygma on October 4, 2005 05:16 AM

I've just signed!! Ning seems really great. I'm gonna try to use Ning's based apps in a personal project.

Posted by Alessandro on October 4, 2005 06:05 AM

I'm going to spend a few minutes here. Checkin' things out. I'm trying to "get it" so that I can more easily blog it over at WebWord. If you want to talk about Ning usability, throw me a bone. That's what WebWord is all about...

Posted by John S. Rhodes on October 4, 2005 06:05 AM

OK i'll bite. I have found Widgets (Konfabulator) to be very usefull and entertaining at the same time, I also like the fact that they are very easy to program (for atleast high-level programmers) and its easy to take somebody elses Widget and create your own out of it. Is Ning the same thing except instead of the app running on your desktop it runs on a website? Sorry if I over generalized i'm just trying to wrap my head around this to see if it's worth my attention.

Posted by Ken on October 4, 2005 06:06 AM

OK, there is something that is bugging me on Ning. Once I get into an area, e.g., the Ning blog, I can't easily escape. You've got to make it a easier to get to the home page. It seems a bit strange that the upper left doesn't have the main Ning logo and/or a home link. Maybe I'm just being an ignorant little monkey. That is certainly possible, if not probable.

Posted by John S. Rhodes on October 4, 2005 06:08 AM

OK another question, I just noticed when I posted to this blog that you are using Movable-Type why did you not use Ning? From what I understand about Ning at this point it seems a natural app for it.

Posted by Ken on October 4, 2005 06:08 AM

Sounds a great idea.

Posted by Ian Thain on October 4, 2005 06:45 AM

well, a month ago I wrote some specification about an open platform which lets users to build their own apps by giving them the bricks to build with. And I see you guys making it a reality. Thats cool :) however I am pretty annoyed that I didnt think of it earlier and didn't do it at all. Well guys, I wish you all the succes!
PS. I am wainting for approval for my developer account I wish to see that side too, please hurry! :)

Posted by andrash on October 4, 2005 06:49 AM

Congrats on the launch :) I'm looking forward to being able to use Ning.

Posted by Mike on October 4, 2005 07:28 AM

nice...can't wait to create.

Posted by michael on October 4, 2005 07:49 AM

Hey John,

The Ning image in the upper left of any page should take you back to Ning Home. I just realized the Ning logo on the blog, takes you to, well, the blog. That's no good. We'll get that fixed this morning and take a look at other places where that might also be an issue. Thanks for the feedback.

Posted by Gina on October 4, 2005 08:45 AM

wow, way to freeload of other peoples ideas!

Posted by no on October 4, 2005 09:32 AM

Ken, excellent question. While it would certainly be easy to build a blog on Ning (you can check out as a little experiment along these lines), we think there are a lot of great blog services out there already. With that in mind, we thought it made more sense to focus on social apps that aren't as easy for non-programmers to set-up and configure for their own purposes – like or We also wanted to have a different piece of software running on a different server for the inevitable moment when we need to take the Ning Playground down for a break. This way we can let people know what’s going on, even when we are down.

Besides, Diego knew how to set up Moveable Type :-)

Posted by Gina on October 4, 2005 09:47 AM

Tom wouldn't hold a candle to you if you were on Oprah...

Congratulations to you the team.

Looking forward to lots of Ninging.

Posted by Michael Parekh on October 4, 2005 10:29 AM

Congrats, this looks really interesting and promising, I can't wait to set up my own "ning thing" on here.:) I hope you are able to roll out those developer accounts relatively quickly.

I agree with John about links to the home page. It took me a while to find the link under "Powered by Ning" (that ones seems to be on every page), but it's very small type and not exactly where people would be looking for it. A more obvious return to the front page would be helpful.

Posted by eszter on October 4, 2005 11:00 AM

Hey there - great address :-)

Ah, you bring up the free rider issue. It’s a fair concern.

Maybe we’re living in some weird Utopian parallel universe, but we think that there is a way to offer a free service that enables people to build and use social apps they otherwise wouldn’t – maybe because they don’t know how to code, don’t have the time, or don’t have the money to build social apps – and still make enough money to support it without being total jerks.

While this is certainly a commercial experiment, we’ve tried to make this a fair trade:

1. We don’t own anything you do on the Ning Playground. You are sharing code and content, but you are sharing with everyone, not just us.

2. We’re contributing right alongside you. Everything we add to apps on the Ning Playground, including the 20 or so Example Apps, 15 or so Components/Shared Libraries, and Developer Resources we’ve put out there and will continue to add to, are all open and designed to be shared – both on and off the Ning Playground.

3. We support a broad set of open standards and formats to make getting in and out of the Ning Playground as easy as possible. These standards include well-known acronyms such as: PHP, HTML, JSTL, RSS, Atom, REST, SOAP, OPML, XSPF, SFTP.

4. It’s free. We think we can stay free and still support the Ning Playground with a combination of revenue streams (advertising, purely optional premium services, etc.).

While we totally appreciate the Playground might not be for everybody or every situation, maybe for a few people it might be interesting. We just appreciate you checking us out.

Posted by Gina on October 4, 2005 11:12 AM

Ning IS bricks.
I don't want to
strain the metaphor.
(3 pigs and wolf)

How come I can click to the Blog from Home, but not back again?

Not that it's hard to enter "", but ...



Posted by sabadash on October 4, 2005 11:25 AM

We're working on lack-of-sleep oversight :-)

Posted by Gina on October 4, 2005 11:28 AM

Hi Gina! Looking forward to playing with Ning. Kudos on 'playground' vs 'toolkit'-- good framing! It took me a little while to get logged in (see blog url below) but now I'm signed in and taking a look around.

As someone who has a whole kabocha's worth of seeds drying on the counter, I'd like to build a Bay Area Seed Swap application. All I need now is the dev bit so I can start building!


Posted by Strata Chalup on October 4, 2005 11:45 AM

Lack-of-sleep is the *best* state of mind. ;)

Congrats, Team Ning!

Posted by Adam on October 4, 2005 11:51 AM

Oh, mee, too.

I didn't realize how close to rollll out you are.

I like the stuff. I like the thought. It rhymes with today's sun-goo PR. Only, really, better. Cause it's easy to do math, just look it up, but it's hard to find friends and cohorts (compadres, etc.).

And - anyway - Home is there, but just the last part of the 'e' -- right under ning links, see?

have fun


classic mac: not just for fish anymore

Posted by sabadash on October 4, 2005 12:10 PM

hmm - it's not taking my username or validated email address, keeps asking me to login again

Posted by GregBurton on October 4, 2005 12:21 PM

Woo! as of 3:47pm Central time, on Technorati, "ning" is #1...

Posted by enygma on October 4, 2005 01:50 PM

Congratulations. Between JotSpot and Ning and a few other web-app-playgrounds out there, Web 2.0 creeps closer everyday.

Posted by galiel on October 4, 2005 02:49 PM

Sorry guys, good effort, but I'm not enthused that you're trying to commoditize social networking and the products and efforts of the companies who work hard every day to drive their great products. Now you're just like that generic brand of medicine, food and hardware. It's cheap or free, but never as good as the brand name.

Posted by Bryan on October 5, 2005 01:07 AM

Hey Bryan,

Thanks for your comment. Our intent is not to commoditize the hard work of others. Lord knows this stuff takes a lot of work. We respect and appreciate what people have done. We just want to enable more people to do it.

I am not a developer. Our ultimate goal with this Playground is for enable me or someone like me to create something small, but social without having to know Ruby or PHP or how to set up web hosting, ops, etc.

Alternatively, if you live in a place where there aren't listings or dating or reviews (which are probably very few in this day and age), you can add them from the bottom up instead of waiting for larger services to decide to expand.

We'll see where it all goes, but we have no intention of being better than the brand name. Just look at the Example Apps and their features :-)

Anyway, thanks for checking us out.

Posted by Gina on October 5, 2005 10:19 AM

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