The clock has started ticking on your decision to keep Ning and pay them for your social network or find a new solution. Yesterday, I believe I found the best alternative to the Ning network, but there are a few disclaimers. First of all, I will admit that for my social networks I manage and generate revenue with, I will keep Ning for now. But, for the networks that I manage for fun or for future value which generate no revenue, I refuse to pay to keep them running and I am switching to a new network system.
In my situation I have many social networks that I am trying to build and even a few dollars per network per month is too much for the ones I might not build up for a year or more. If you want to switch your Ning network to a new system I have a few recommendations based upon research I conducted.
If you have a growing social network and are using less than 10GB of total storage space and 100GB of monthly transfer, then I recommend you transfer your Ning network to the Grou.ps social network platform. I migrated a social network, Models CyberVillage, to this new beta-version platform and it was fairly easy and comprehensive. Using the Adobe Air free downloadable program and the Ning Network Archiver download, I saved all my social network pictures, blog posts, videos, member data and more to my hard drive and uploaded it to the Grou.ps platform.
I was also able to set up a CName to switch my web address for the social network to Grou.ps for free which almost everybody else charges for. Even if you have say ten Ning networks and pay five dollars a month to use the CName to have your own domain name for your network, then you save $50 a month just on names using Grou.ps.
After you download Adobe Air, Ning Network Archiver and the csv file for your member data, you can create the Grou.ps social network and simply use two tools. The import tool allows you to select the files on your hard drive that will upload all your Ning network members, photos, etc. Then, after you set the CName in your domain host to Grou.ps, and your domain host gives you the go-ahead (READY) light, then you type the domain in to the Grou.ps admin then in a few hours, probably a half hour, you have your name. Based upon how much data you have, by next day you will have all your Ning content.
Ning is a great platform and I will probably use it in the future, but I no longer wish to keep all my eggs in one basket. Especially when most of the social networks I manage are not generating any real traffic or revenue. Stay tuned and I will give a more detailed article about the effectiveness of the Grou.ps social network platform. The one issue I noticed that is a fairly big concern is that the friend data did not migrate. This could be a deal breaker if you have a fairly large network, but for mof the free ones it is not a deal breaker for me. I will ask Grou.ps directly to be sure I did not miss anything and follow up on this article in a few weeks.
Rob Thrasher researches and writes about High Tech, Life and Homes and Business Success: SpotLight on Success Radio that airs on BlogTalkRadio, Live265 and LifeandHomes.com reaching over a quarter million media consumers. Rob is the owner-founder of CyberVillage Social Networks. Rob is the producer and host of the SpotLight on Success Radio Show which airs on/in BlogTalkRadio, Life and Homes Magazine and CyberVillage Radio about four times monthly. Find the show by Googling CyberVillage Radio. With over a quarter million media consumers and growing Rob interviews successful business people like Andy Kurtzig, serial entrepreneur and founder of JustAnswer.com. Join us to learn what fuels the success of our guests. The show is available in iTunes and hundreds of other places. The show is currently honoring former military business founders.
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