Larry Brauner

Nearly a year has passed since my first Ning article, Ning Social Networking Sites.

Since then online social networking has taken some exciting twists and turns. MySpace has lost luster, while Facebook and Twitter have become social media darlings.

Ning Still Facing Obstacles

Ning seems to be in somewhat of a holding pattern.

There have been some changes here and there, mostly for the better in my opinion, but no exciting breakthroughs. There are new apps, a new Ning central networking site, and new flexibility, but site creators and users still have their reservations.

As mentioned in Ning Social Network Controversy, the Ning management has been criticized for its policies and its tactics and, as too many people are aware, Ning sites haven’t been immune to spamming by both Ning members and by intruders.

My Ning sites now all require membership pre-approval, since I know of no better way to deal with persistent outsider spamming.

What is Right with Ning

Despite any shortcomings, I still feel as when I wrote about the Ning controversy, that Ning truly epitomizes Web 2.0. Ning sites are communities of people, and Ning is a community of community sites.

I’ve certainly written a good deal about social media list building including both List Building Paradigm Shift and List Building Using Ning Social Networks. Nevertheless communities are the essence of social media, not lists, and social marketing must therefore favor community building over list building.

Fortunately Ning can be used to build either communities or lists. There are creative ways to build communities within Facebook and Twitter, but Ning networks were designed expressly for that purpose and afford marketers a variety of useful tools and a degree of social media ownership.

Ning Still My Favorite Networks

I still use Ning social networking sites more than all others. I like them for the reasons cited above and for the many other reasons I’ve discussed in previous Ning related articles.

I have so far created four Ning sites of my own and hope to create more in the future:

  • Let’s Follow Each Other - This is a fun networking site for Twitter folk who want to gain followers, share ideas, promote themselves and network with each other.
  • Beyond Business Coaching - This is a site for entrepreneurs and marketing professionals who are interested in social media, customer acquisition, customer retention and CRM.
  • Online Kosher Networking - This is a niche site for orthodox affiliated members of the Jewish faith to network and share their ideas about Jewish values, Israel, religious observance, charities, politics, jobs, business, etc.
  • Outside the Box - If you enjoy my blog, but you don’t use Twitter, and you aren’t necessarily business oriented, this may be the right site for us to connect and network together.

In all fairness, I must tell you that Ning has competitors such as SocialGO, GROU.PS and others but admit that I haven’t yet evaluated them. If you have tried other social network platforms, I invite you to share your experiences with them.

To learn more about using Ning, please read Introduction to Using Ning Sites.

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19 Responses to “What is Wrong with Ning”

  1. SG Entrepreneur on June 23rd, 2009 8:14 pm

    Funny to be reading this right after removing myself from the Ning network because of the incessant spam. I do hope that it gets better, we’ll see … I might get myself back on it after a few months.

  2. Larry Brauner on June 23rd, 2009 9:04 pm

    Some of the Ning sites I belong to have serious spamming problems, so I can appreciate where you’re coming from.

    When new members join my sites, they have to swear on a stack of bibles that they won’t spam. If they do, they face a firing squad. The sharpshooters have perfect aim, so there’s never a messy clean-up.

    All kidding aside, I’ve had to ban a few people but overall members are behaving themselves.

  3. Authentic Change Coach on June 23rd, 2009 9:15 pm

    Hi there, you tweeted this post and the Ning piece of it caught my attention. Thank you for writing this about Ning. I have a blog but I have not known how to create a close knit community for my coaching practice.

    I tried in Facebook to create a group. I have tons of members but they do not interact in the discussions.

    I will read around your blog.


    Iyabo Asani

  4. Mel Smith on June 24th, 2009 12:05 am

    I joined a few of the Ning sites and shortly afterwords I started to get emails from dozens of other Ning people that were relentless in their spam. I have tried to stop them, but some just still send out their spam.

    So, I just delete it with the rest of the spam I get.

    I am not interested in getting involved with some other programs, and I think it is rude for people to keep sending me invites to their programs, and never stop.

    How do I get on their list to send me email? I don’t even belong to the Ning site they have joined.

    I get way to much email daily now. I have 3232 emails unopened in my inbox, I have to take time now to delete them.

  5. Larry Brauner on June 24th, 2009 12:22 am


    It’s important to realize that not all the mail you’re receiving is spam.

    The reason you’re receiving it is that you connected with these people on some Ning site. That gives them the option of contacting you from any Ning site to which they belong.

    To stop the e-mails, you must remove the mailer from your friends. The easiest way to do that is from Hope you’re not removing me!

    I myself have tens of thousand of unopened e-mails. I don’t sweat it. I take it in stride and consider it to be sort of like background noise.

    The type of spam I detest is when people post advertisements as comments on my profile. Private messages I can live with.

  6. Debbie Morgan on June 24th, 2009 1:45 am

    Hi Larry!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Ning. I think when I jumped into the social networking arena, Ning was fairly new. I am a member of many Ning communities and have enjoyed making friends. Many, like yourself, have been an asset to me in my business, but like all things in this world, you have to take the good with the bad. I dislike the spammers as much as the next person, but I don’t let them ruin my social experience. I delete them and move on. There are too many great people out there to let the spammers put a damper on things.


  7. mike garr on June 24th, 2009 12:55 pm

    Hi Larry,

    Good article on Ning.

    In my opinion, I believe Ning is one of the simplest ways to build a community with the most tools to offer members. And, it’s free to create too.

    I understand the spamming that people are referring to. It is a nuisance. However, for most of the Ning communities I belong to it is not an issue, because the owners deal with it quickly and appropriately. Owners who address spamming up front usually don’t have a problem… or, at least not a serious one.

    I see spam generally coming from larger Ning communities built for network marketers. Clearly, these people don’t understand the basics of spam (or they don’t care), yet THE OWNERS do not police it either. Shame on them.

  8. Eddie Garcia on June 24th, 2009 3:01 pm

    Hey Larry,

    I’ve never heard of Ning before but I haven’t been on the web too long either. I appreciate this informative information about this site and I will be looking forward to your next post dealing with Ning made simple.

    Friends 4 Life!

  9. Stacey Chadwell on June 24th, 2009 4:19 pm

    Having a few websites on Ning too, it is clear this is a two layer problem. First, there are spammers who join just to spam the membership. Since all of my sites have always been a request to join, I review each request. If they do not answer the questions, I email them for answers before approval. If I have seen the same profile photo before with a different name I delete immediately. If I hear a new member spams one of my members I write the offending party and either they stop or are deleted.

    On the other hand, when I am a member of someone else’s site and I receive spam I consider if they are a “friend” I am interested in keeping. If so, when they send me relentless requests to join this and that, I usually ignore those and delete the message if I am not interested in the site.

    If they are a casual “Friend” and we have not made a connection, I am inclined to take them out of my network if I don’t want to ignore them.

    If you receive spam from a new member, email the owner and notify them. If they are a “friend” decide whether you want to maintain contact. If they are important to your network, ignore the messages. If not, go remove them off your list.

    Like you Larry, I am not wild about spam on my pages. I usually delete those comments immediately.

    As always, you wrote a good article! Look forward to your next one!

    Best regards,


  10. Jeanine Mercer on June 24th, 2009 5:03 pm

    Ning is spam heaven! I’ve never had so many invitations in my life! Everyday I get 25 emails that say “come join me on this” it’s crazy. I think this is the main reason why Ning will never work for anyone!

  11. Larry Brauner on June 24th, 2009 6:13 pm


    You wrote your comment before Stacey’s was approved. Her excellent advice addresses the very issue you raise.

    One point I wish I had made in my article is that all successful social networking sites have spam.

    I get spammed more on Twitter than any other site, and Facebook is at least as bad as Ning.

    Repeating what I stated in a comment above, to stop spam, you must remove the spammer from your friends. The easiest way to do that is from

  12. Maru del Campo on June 25th, 2009 5:50 pm

    Hi Larry and everyone!

    Thanks for your article. Stacey’s advice gets around the spam issue quite nicely and in a practical way.

    I’d like to add that Ning comes with an excellent support system. With my Ning site, as Internet and PC beginners, we really made terrible mistakes, and Ning support came forth fast and solved our issues.

    Some of the new features, like chat, came after some site creators asked for them.

    Looking forward to reading your next article on Ning.

    A big hug from Mexico,

  13. Inggrid Smith on June 26th, 2009 5:40 pm

    I just heard about Ning as a social networking site. Seems it is like Twitter. Thanks for your article about Ning.

    Inggrid Smith

  14. Devin on June 26th, 2009 5:50 pm

    Over 1.6 million communities created on the Wetpaint network and counting at about 40-50k a month!

  15. Larry Brauner on June 26th, 2009 7:37 pm

    I’m in a good mood this afternoon, so I’m willing to tolerate some comment spam.

    Despite the spammy approach, Wetpaint looks like it deserves some investigation.

  16. Market Segmentation on June 27th, 2009 1:41 am

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for this evaluation of the Ning network. I know that it has worked really well for you.

    I for one appreciate your attempts to eliminate spam from your Ning sites.



  17. Ninah on June 27th, 2009 2:47 am

    I love Ning. Although I still feel that its features are a bit limited, it has worked well for my group. I think it’s the only one of its kind

  18. Create an Online Community or Simple Social Networking Website. Free. With Ning on August 18th, 2009 6:38 pm

    […] What are the potential disadvantages of creating your social network or online community on Ning ?  […]

  19. Charley Uk on May 25th, 2010 9:47 am

    As soon as anything new is tried, someone tries to spam it. It is the most difficult thing to solve on the Internet.

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