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How Ning Changes Affect GovLoop

A number of people have asked me about how the recent changes at Ning affect GovLoop.

-Basically Ning cut off free networks and will make all networks pay. As part of this change, they had to unfortunately lay off staff
At GovLoop, we pay Ning for a variety of services like taking off the ads, hosting it on govloop.com and not govloop.ning.com. So we are one of those paying premier networks they are focusing on. Which is cool….

Here’s my quote from my interview with govfresh

Changes at Ning can only be a good thing for GovLoop. As they mentioned in their press release, they are focusing more on delivering premium services to premier, paying networks like GovLoop.

There are lots of additional and different requirements that are needed when you run a robust 30,000 person social network like GovLoop that is different than running a 50-person free, family reunion site. For example, one key problem we have been trying to solve is with over 5,000 blogs, 700 groups, and 30,000 people, how can GovLoop members find the right content, groups, and colleagues relevant to them. These are the types of problems that Ning can focus on.

On a side note, I think it is an interesting development that government should pay attention to in Gov 2.0. I’m a big believer in low-cost to free (and open-source), tools but there is some truth to the statement “nothing in life is free.” The start-ups we all love and appreciate all need business models to survive and provide services so we shouldn’t be against paying for products that provide valuable service – it may be good for all of us in the long run.

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Bowen Moran

Thanks for chilling fears that I, and, many other Govloopers felt reading the news this morning. Private-public partnerships have a great deal more play below the 49th than they do in Canada, so they often make Canadians nervous. Your point about “nothing in life is free” is most definately true. I may not yet pay into Wikipedia, for example, through donation, but I defend the validity of the tool as a reliable source with a fervour that borders on religious. Govloop, which has equal to greater value for me, is an asset I try to support by encouraging the brightest folks I know to contribute to the intellectual capital of the community. That’s payment, I think, of a different kind that I hope is valuable.


A really good analogy is Meetup.com.

-For a few years anyone could create a Meetup group for free. What they found was that lots of people created groups that became inactive. And they spend a lot of time and money on these inactive groups.

-Meetup began charging for every Meetup group (I think like $10/month). People got really mad and actually # of meetup groups shrunk at first. But they were more active and they could focus more on those that really cared about making their Meetup groups a success.

So Ning is basically taking a page out of that playbook.


Jean-Paul – I know there is some work already b/w GSA and Ning on Privacy/TOS.

But let me know what you are specifically interested in changing and I’ll push it up.

Chris Bennett

I really like how CoTweet puts it out there:

How much does CoTweet cost?
CoTweet is currently free to use, so have at it! We’ll give you plenty of notice before we start charging for the service, and the cost will be reasonable.


Agreed Chris. They do a good job – yeah it’s free. But you know we have to survive so some day we will.

It’s kind of like Twitter. You can’t be mad they are introducing ads. They have to at least break even somehow.

Tam Walton

Thanks for letting us know what was going on…..I’m really worried about my lil ol’ site of just 260 members. Not fun.

Avatar photo Bill Brantley

I used to pay $19.95 a month for LinkedIn and it didn’t even come close to features and networking I receive from GovLoop. If you have to charge to keep GovLoop going, I would be glad to pay a reasonable fee.