charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
As part of their marketing/feature efforts, Posterous has this thing where they're publicizing their ability to import from different services, and highlighting the benefits of Posterous. As I said earlier, their choice of Ning is baffling from a technical perspective, but pretty clever from a marketing one. (Basically, a Ning is like a social network/community site, not like a blog) Tumblr makes more sense, however, and since Tumblr has made the philosophical choice not to have comments as a feature, they can easily differentiate themselves there. Vox also makes more sense, but they don't seem to be doing the locked posts.

Basically, Posterous has a lot of interesting, and even unique features, and I like many aspects of their design, but I don't use it that much because a) I already have a Wordpress installation, b) none of my online friends use it, and c) I haven't found that many blogs on Posterous to read. Anyway, it'll be interesting to see whether Posterous gains many converts from their efforts.

Also, on the dw_news comm, they're asking for suggestions in marketing DW. I think, as I said in the comments, there's a big difference between marketing to current/former LJ users, and people are not LJ users or do not enjoy using the LJ software: the marketing approaches will have to be very different there, and I suspect content rather than features might be the attraction.

In other news, here's some interesting speculation (in the comments) on the future of English-language LJ. (Stressing, of course, that it is simply speculation)

my speculative thoughts )
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
In the wake of Ning announcing that they're cancelling free networking on Ning, some thoughts

1. This can happen to anyone, so when using a host/service, it's important think about exportability and open formats, and escape routes: Even if the owners of a service don't openly decide to kick out free users, businesses are always failing. Obviously, no business wants to fail, but there are no guarantees in the business world. If the service can't keep running, or service degrades to the point where it's not worth sticking around anymore, you've got to think about what you're going to do. If you can't export your data, however, leaving is impossible. Therefore, an easy and convenient way of exporting all relevant data is very important.

2. Exportation is a problem, but what about importation? With blogging, the most popular formats are often open-source, or freely installable, either on your own server, or those of other services. The ease of use of WP or WPMU or Buddypress installs means that even if you were to have to leave the service, you could create a comparable blog elsewhere.

3. Addressing: If you move, then how will people find you? This is why the ability to use a domain name (and effective domain-name mapping) is so important, especially if you have many visitors from outside the service. Owning the domain name means that even if you leave the service, people will be able to find you.

4. Features: If the software/service has features that are not to be found on any alternate ones, it'll be even more difficult to move. This is why I'm puzzled by Posterous trying to get Ning users, because the feature set on both services is quite different.

5. Network effects: As previously discussed, this is the situation in which we derive benefits not only from us using the service, but from other people's usage of the service. (This can be indirect: more people using Wordpress means more tutorials, more themes, more tools, even if it doesn't directly impact one's installation and usage; or, it can be direct, as in the case of Facebook) This is the only one for which a technological solution hasn't really been found yet. Perhaps DiSO will solve the problem, or people moving to multi-platform clients (a la Seesmic and Brizzly). I think with Twitter and FB and Tumblr and a lot of people using a lot of things simultaneously, a solution is coming closer to being reached. With higher smartphone/mobile adoption, also, clients which read locked information are increasing. Also, with the greater size of a platform, the amount of people interested in creating clients/etc increases.
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
1. Ning has recently announced an intention to go premium-only, and get rid of free users. It seems that they will be allowing free networks some weeks before booting them. According to the letter, the premium networks account for 75% of Ning's US traffic.

Are freemium services cutting back on 'free' and emphasizing the "mium"? Ah well.. generally on the web, there are no guarantees that any business is going to be there tomorrow, unless they're publicly traded and you can see their numbers, and even then, all kinds of disruptive things could potentially happen. (Disruptive technology, competitors come up with something that takes over, etc)

2. In other news, a la carte icons have finally arrived at LJ. Accompanying them are stats for Paid and Plus (and Permanent) communities, as well as Google Analytics for paying journals (but not communities). So far there seem to be some problems with/confusion about a la carte icon ordering for people who already have additional userpics. (So far Google Analytics has received little attention, as has stats for communities, in the shadow of the big announcement)

In general, users seem pleased, except perhaps for some Permanent account users, as the maximum number of icons is now no longer the same as the number of Permanent icons. (However, with this, it appears that now Permanent account holders can now have in excess of 400 icons, should they buy all of the packages)

I wonder what new feature people are going to constantly be lobbying for now, then?
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)
After the dramatic decline of Myspace, the higher ups reacted by 'verticalizing' Myspace, essentially, conceding to Facebook the title of #1 Social Network and instead opting for "powerful music (and other things too) portal." (going back to its roots as it was originally a music site) People in the social networking world seem to feel that the market has gotten saturated, and thusly new companies need to be extremely innovative and find unoccupied niches; also, by verticalizing, a site can cater to a specific demographic and a specific field, and thus be much better able to support itself by advertising, as rates are higher in such circumstances.

One example of this phenomenon is Ning, which is dedicated to allowing people to create their own social network sites: they pitch both to the casual user and the business customer. (You can see more Ning networks by flipping through Ning's blog) You can easily sign up and begin your own network (and I did, just for testing purposes. Join and try it out too? There are a lot of features I can't really try out just on my own.), and start customizing it. (For more about Ning's capabilities, read their help section)

I'm pretty darn impressed by both a) Ning's ease of use, and b) the amount of features Ning has, although currently Ning would not be useful to me, as what in the world would I create a social network about? (hah, any suggestions?) However, if I did ever want to create an online group about something, I think I WOULD want to use Ning, because it allows for members to form sub-groups which can be private, for both individual blogs and a discussion forum, and has a heck a lot of apps which add functionality. (Like polls, stores (Ning doesn't ban running a store on your site), Twitter tracking, various media streaming apps, collaborative apps, etc)

how Ning makes money )
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)

Speaking of virtual gifts, Ning (which is kind of like a site which allows you to create your own mini-social network, sort of like a buddypress install; actually, I'm quite curious as to why LJ users and others groups seeking community setups (such as fandom groups) haven't embraced Ning, because it has a plethora of features, such as chat, forums, galleries, blogs for individual members, activity streams, video, downloads, locking stuff down so non-members can't see it, etc. Actually, if I were starting some community project, I might be tempted to try it out.)

poking around in Ning )
Silliness aside, here are the features of Ning.

May 2014

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