Larry Brauner

Coping with Recent Ning Site Changes

The Online Social Networking world will never stand still. You can count on that. Social networking sites and the culture surrounding them will always be in a state of flux.

When I wrote Ning Social Networking Sites, I anticipated that before long Ning would add features enabling business networking sites to protect members’ privacy and reduce spam.

Now that these changes are a reality, you as a Ning user may need to adjust.

New Privacy Feature

A new optional Ning feature permits individual sites to hide their members’ affiliations with other Ning sites.

You can still manage your friends on each site. In fact, it is now much simpler to do so than before. However you can no longer manage your friends across Ning sites, nor can you view the other Ning sites to which your friends belong.

Unfortunately I do not have a work around for this. It looks like Ning has plugged the holes, but if I find something, I’ll let you know.

If you want to see all the Ning sites to which you belong, that you can do. Log on to Ning and click on “My Social Networks”.

New Anti-Spam Feature

Another new Ning feature permits individual sites to limit bulk mailing to friends. You can mail to 100 of your friends at a time. If you have many more than 100 friends, this mailing restriction will be somewhat of a nuisance.

You have several options:

  • Live with the restriction, as annoying as that might be.
  • Participate at sites that have not implemented this restriction — if you can find any. Ning may have plugged this hole too. You can invite friends from one Ning site to join you at another Ning site using the “Invite Your Ning Friends” option.
  • Start your own Ning social network. As the site administrator will be able to mail all of your members.

A strategy worth considering is joining many Ning sites and limiting yourself to 100 friends on each. When you exceed the 100 limit, prune away inactive friends and refine your targeting too as you go.

Is Ning Shooting Itself in the Foot?

You must have the ability to mail all your friends if your online social networking strategy is similar to My Online Social Networking Strategy.

I hope Ning isn’t shooting itself in the foot by eliminating group mailing and other features that are useful for serious business networking.

Like MySpace, Ning may learn the hard way that business networkers are a very fickle crowd.

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23 Responses to “Ning Social Networking Sites Update”

  1. DebKessler on October 19th, 2008 10:54 am

    Once again, I am very pleased to be on your mailing list. Your information is right on time and relevant to ever changing marketing worlds.

    Debbie Kessler

  2. Debbie Morgan on October 19th, 2008 1:40 pm

    Hi Larry!

    Wow, I knew Ning had made some changes, but I wasn’t aware of the ones you listed here.

    I did notice that the information at the top of the page is now on the side, so I thought the changes were mostly cosmetic.

    Thanks, Larry, for letting us know what’s going on.


  3. Jacqueline on October 19th, 2008 3:10 pm

    I don’t use Ning, but I’m certainly going to check it out.

  4. Ginger on October 19th, 2008 4:16 pm

    Thanks, Larry. Once again, you’ve provided information we is beneficial to us all!


  5. Free Customized Target Market Report on October 20th, 2008 9:46 am

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for this update on Ning sites. I haven’t invited my friends from other sites to join me at, but I think I will.


    Linda P. Morton

  6. Hicham on October 21st, 2008 9:43 am

    Hello Larry,

    Thanks a lot for your informative post and blog. Feel free to advertise over at my blog via EntreCard whenever you wish.


  7. Morgan Mandel on October 21st, 2008 4:08 pm

    I don’t see any use for these restrictions. If someone wants a Ning network to be private, I thought there was an option for that. If someone spams a lot, it seems the creator could give that one a warning first, then boot them off.

    I encourage promotion at Book Place, but so far people are not abusing it.

    Morgan Mandel

  8. TeasasTips on October 23rd, 2008 2:36 pm

    Larry, I think Ning is just trying to follow suit to what the ‘big boys’ of social networking are doing, i.e., MySpace, Facebook, et al.

    However, I like Ning because it allows for niche markets to thrive…and if you are looking to target a specific audience, Ning is where you should hang out.

  9. Larry Brauner on October 23rd, 2008 2:52 pm

    I don’t believe that Ning is trying to immitate MySpace or Facebook. Thay have to be different to build a strong following.

    I do believe that they’re enhacing user privacy and reducing the amount of spam.

    It’s generally difficult to strike a good balance between capabilities and restrictions.

  10. Anissa on October 23rd, 2008 3:21 pm

    Great info! Thanks for putting up useful stuff that we all can benefit from!

  11. Nadira on October 23rd, 2008 3:46 pm

    Right on the money Larry!

    ‘Networkers are a fickle crowd’ and in a way one cannot blame them.

    The majority of folks are networking to promote their business and increase visibility online, so any changes which hinder this will not be received with open arms!

  12. Vincent Wright on October 23rd, 2008 4:05 pm


    Thanks for inviting me to stop by - and thanks, too, for sharing your thoughts about Ning’s recent changes.

    As an owner of 10 ning sites, I don’t really have a problem with any of the changes except one: being limited to communicating with 100 friends.

    While, as a site owner, I embrace and, indeed, welcome the concept, as a networker trying to network with friends across various Ning sites, I have to admit that that particular approach is downright aggravating.

    I belong to many, many, many Ning sites where I have over 100 friends in each. So, for me, I’d have to find a work around if I want to work with those professionals. And, think about it: the only reason to connect with them in the first place is to be able to network with them, else why bother?

    LOVE Ning. But, the networker in me just doesn’t care too must about this particular implementation. (If we could communicate with 100 at a time, that would be the ideal situation, from my perspective…)

    Keep STRONG, Larry!
    Vincent Wright

  13. marly on October 23rd, 2008 4:10 pm

    This is to comment on the spam topic. I don’t know how to put a spam detector in my site. I hope this will help me. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Chris Lang on October 23rd, 2008 8:34 pm

    One thing Ning has done is limit the ability to e-mail your friends list alerting them to even one post, say on a Ning site you all participate in.

    Now you can only email 100 of your friends at a time, making it rather tedious.

    Also, I am pulling back from all social networking site list building. All my Facebook, MyBlogLog and Ning lists have become completely unresponsive and my site and email have all faced blocking for no reason.

    At this point I am only using my AWeber double opt-in list and directing all social friends to follow me there.

    Social Marketing Central (on Ning) was very responsive to my marketing for quite some time. Now it has completely become 100% unresponsive.

    A Facebook group built in the last 30 days now is totally unresponsive. (1000+ members)

    I am pulling back from all contacts on all sites and going back to my e-mail AWeber list completely.

    Until I can find out why I am have been blocked for no reason this is the limited tack I am taking.

    You can read about Trend Micro wrongly blocking me here:

    Trend Micro Wrongly Says is Dangerous and Undesirable

    Chris Lang

  15. Robin Rotfleisch on October 27th, 2008 1:23 am

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for the info.

    I have found Ning to be a bit hard to follow, maybe I’m a little “challenged” or just need someone to explain how they work.

    Kudos on any improvements that they have made.

    How many social networking groups can/should one person handle?

    Thanks for your input.

    Robin Rotfleisch

  16. Larry Brauner on October 27th, 2008 1:29 am

    Hi Robin,

    Everybody’s needs are different.

    However, let me recommend My Online Social Networking Strategy for some ideas.


  17. Robert Coaster on November 8th, 2008 6:48 pm

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for listing the Ning site changes.

    I don’t really care for the changes, and you are right, Ning might be shooting themselves in the foot. I’ve lived with all the changes that the Ryze networks imposed awhile ago and look how the membership and postings have dropped on that social network.

    Have a great weekend,

  18. Larry Brauner on November 8th, 2008 8:25 pm


    I had been considering starting a new Ning site for months, but the recent changes were what finally got me to take action and start my new Ning social networking site, Critical Thinking Outside the Box.

  19. Jeffrey D. on November 9th, 2008 8:46 pm


    While studying and learning the Ning system, I have found that all you need to create a Ning site is to HAVE an MLM or a business!

    Absolutely NO creativity or thought goes into HALF of these sites. A lot of them are based on someone’s own personal business!

    I understand that we need to promote our businesses and to make money, but geez, have some class about it! Some of these sites are even going as far as saying ” We Encourage SPAM! “, not in those certain words.

    75% of these people are so worried about how much “dressing up” and “banner ads” they are allowed to put on their sites, they are not taking the time to reap the benefits that some “good” sites have to offer.

    I now receive in my Inbox, sometimes 2 to 5 emails a day from the same set of people for exactly the same thing. I wish I wouldn’t have joined half of these sites, but I never knew! If I only knew how to opt out….

    Ning should actually shut down, in my opinion, some of these sites. I’m glad to see the steps they are taking and believe they are “NOT” shooting themselves in the foot. Unfortunately, they will never be able to stop uninformed and ignorant people.

  20. Larry Brauner on November 9th, 2008 8:57 pm


    To opt out of a Ning social network, click on “Settings”, and then click on “Leave…”.

  21. Eric on February 3rd, 2009 5:38 pm

    It’s really hard to find news and updates on a site as small as Ning. Lucky they have you Larry!

  22. Larry Brauner on February 3rd, 2009 9:01 pm

    Thank you Eric.

    Ning isn’t as small as you might think. It’s made up of many thousands of sites, and some of them are very substantial.

  23. sGcody on March 30th, 2009 6:25 pm

    BEWARE: If you create a social network on Ning, they will steal ALL of your member data…forever..without the consent of you or your users…they will put that data on

    Ning Exposed - Tech Company Scams its Clients

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