Ning (website)

Ning, Inc.
Screenshot of
Type of business Subsidiary
Type of site
Social networking service, Community building platform
Available in Multilingual
Founded Palo Alto, California (2004 (2004))[1]
Headquarters Palo Alto, California, U.S.
Area served Worldwide
Key people
Revenue US$30.0 million (2011 est.)[2]
Employees <50 (2014)[1]
Parent Mode Media Corporation
Slogan(s) The World's Largest Platform for Creating Social Websites
Alexa rank Negative increase 1,634 (November 2015)[3]
Launched October, 2005[4]
Current status Online

Ning is an online platform for people and organizations to create custom social networks,[5][6][7] launched in October 2005.[4] Ning offers customers the ability to create a community website with a customized appearance and feel; feature sets such as photos, videos, forums and blogs; and support for “Like”, plus integration with Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo!.[6][8] Ning, Inc. is owned by Mode Media.[9]

Ning was co-founded by Marc Andreessen and Gina Bianchini. By June 2011 there were over 90,000 social websites running on the Ning Platform.[10][11]


Ning started development in October 2004 and launched its platform publicly in October 2005.[12]

At its launch, Ning was a free-form platform for the development and hosting of open-source "social applications."[12] The source code for Ning applications was available to users,[13] and the service made it easy for anyone to fork a Ning application, modify its PHP code and run it as their own. Applications included photo albums, blogging software, and many for sharing business reviews.[14] In late September 2006, Ning narrowed its focus to offering a group website, a photos website, and a videos website for people to copy and use for any purpose. These three templates were later superseded by a single customizable application aimed at enabling anyone to easily create their own social network.

Ning was initially funded internally by Bianchini, Andreessen and angel investors. In July 2007, Ning raised US$44 million in venture capital, led by Legg Mason.[15] In 2008 and 2009, the company announced it had raised an additional US$75 million in capital.[16][17]

On April 15, 2010, CEO Jason Rosenthal announced changes at Ning. The free service would be suspended and of the current 167 employees, only 98 would remain. Current users of the free service had the option to either upgrade to a paid account or transition their content from Ning.[18] For a time, Ning had its headquarters in Facebook's old office space.[19] Once purchased by Mode Media, Ning moved to its headquarters.

Ning has 90,000 customers with social websites on the Ning Platform.[10] Customers include bands Linkin Park,[20] and Weezer,[21] The Twilight Saga,[22] Tony Hawk's Shred or Die,[23] the Diabetes Hands Foundation's TuDiabetes,[24] and the Brooklyn Art Project.[25]


Ning allows users to create their own communities and social networks around specific interests with their own visual design, choice of features and member data.[26] The central feature of Ning is that anyone can create their own social network for a particular topic and catering to a specific membership base. A Ning community can be integrated with online services like Facebook, Twitter and Google.[8]

The social networks running on Ning's service are programmed with PHP and the platform itself is built in Java.[27] Ning added an iPhone interface in March 2009,[28] and In October 2010, Ning launched an iOS application for network administrators to use in managing their social networks.[29]

The Ning Design Studio.[30]

In February 2011, Ning introduced a new way for customers to customize and change the appearance of their Ning Networks by launching the Ning Design Studio.[30][31] The feature allows customers to use pre-made templates to make custom visual changes on their community.


Screenshot of the Ning's email on removing free networks
Ning's email on removing free networks

Removal of networks with pornography

In December 2008, Ning announced that it would no longer host networks that featured pornography and similar content.[32] Network owners were given just over a month to move their pornographic content to another provider. The reasons cited for removing pornographic networks from the platform were that they did not cover the costs of providing them and that they created a disproportionate amount of DMCA takedown notices for copyright infringing material.

Removal of free networks

On May 4, 2010, Ning announced that they would be phasing out free networks. Email notifications to ning network customers proclaimed that free .ning networks would expire totally at midnight UTC−08:00 on Friday August 20, 2010 unless the customer decided to choose a paid plan.

See also


  1. 1 2 "Corporate Info, History", Ning. Retrieved June 12, 2011.
  2. Ning's Second Coming Is Chugging Along, On Its Way To A $30 Million Revenue Run Rate, Dan Frommer, Business Insider, Feb 3, 2011
  3. " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
  4. 1 2 Ok, I am excited by Gina Bianchini, Ning BLog, October 3, 2005
  5. Social Graph-iti, The Economist, Oct 18, 2007
  6. 1 2 Ning adds lots of knobs and dials to prettify its custom social networks, Anthony Ha, VentureBeat, Feb 2, 2011
  7. The Ning POV: How Custom Social Communities Can Change the World, Christina Lee on June 21, 2011
  8. 1 2 Ning Partners With Janrain To Offer Social Sign-Ins To Users, Leena Rao, TechCrunch, Nov 10, 2010
  9. "Privacy Policy." Ning. Effective December 16, 2010. Retrieved on September 17, 2011. "Ning, Inc. 285 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 400 Palo Alto, CA 94301"
  10. 1 2 With Revenue Up 400%, Ning Adds Paid Access Service, Tomio Geron, Forbes, June 15, 2011
  11. Ning Announces Ustream Integration Into Social Websites, Mariel Loveland, Scribbal, June 7, 2011
  12. 1 2 Andreessen adds some Ning to the Web, by Martin LaMonica, CNET news, Oct 6, 2005
  13. Platform Wars. Ning
  14. Badges badges badges
  15. Ning news: new investment round, by Marc Andreesen,, Jul 9, 2007
  16. Ning news: Series D investment round, by Marc Andreessen, April 18, 2008
  17. Ning Raises $15 Million More at a–Yes, Really–$750 Million Valuation, by Kara Swisher,, July 21, 2009
  18. TechCrunch - Ning’s Bubble Bursts: No More Free Networks, Cuts 40% Of Staff
  19. Ning Moves Into Facebook's Old Palo Alto Office, by Alaska Miller, Business Insider, Nov 13, 2009
  20. South by Southwest & Back, Erika Gessin on March 24, 2011
  21. Ning And Ustream Launch In-Depth Integration To Allow Creators To Stream Live Video, Leena Rao, TechCrunch, June 7, 2011
  22. Ning Nuzzles Up To Advertisers, Helen Coster, Forbes, June 30, 2009
  23. SHRED OR DIE: Straight Up SK8 Memories & Some Straight Talk From Tony Hawk, Fidel Gonzales, Dirt Forge, Mar 25, 2010
  24. TuDiabetes launches TuAnalyze with a Custom Ning App, Laura Oppenheimer on May 19, 2010
  25. Ning Opens a Virtual Gift Shop With Custom-Made Gifts, The New York Times, Oct 20, 2009
  26. Web pioneer touts Ning Inc. as easy to use social network, by Michael Liedtke, Rocky Mountain News, Mar 5, 2007
  27. Andreessen: PHP succeeding where Java isn't, by Stephen Shankland, CNET News, Oct 19, 2005
  28. Keep up with your social network from your iPhone…, Evan Goldin on November 20, 2008
  29. Just one more thing…, Evan Goldin on October 20, 2010
  30. 1 2 Ning Design Studio, coming February 9, Nick Barr on Feb 2, 2011
  31. Ning Design Studio & Instant Ad Boxes Are Live!, Nick Barr on Feb 9, 2011
  32. Bianchini, Gina (2008-12-01). "The End of the Red Light District". Ning Blog. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
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