by Brian Solis
Credit: Fast Company
The DIY niche social network company (Yahoo Groups 2.0) has exploded in growth, with traffic increasing by 4,803 percent, to 4 million visits, between February of 2007 and 2008.
Co-founder Marc Andreessen emailed VentureBeat to help clarify the back channel on the funding, “We raised the money to enable us to keep scaling given our accelerating growth (over 230,000 networks on Ning now, growing at over 1,000 per day) and to make sure we have plenty of firepower to survive the oncoming nuclear winter. At current growth rates, we don’t need it to get to cash flow positive, but having lived through the last crunch, it’s good to be conservative with these things.”
This funding coincides with a FastCompany cover story that it so over-the-top that it’s almost laughable. The article shares questionable observations such as, “Ning is poised to hit critical mass,” “no one can stop it,” “The secret is what’s called a ‘viral expansion loop,’” and “Significantly, viral-loop networks don’t create content—they organize it. They provide an environment that is, in theory, almost infinitely scalable, and then rely on the wisdom of crowds to create or aggregate masses of material to fill it.”
Is Ning useful?
But unlike Social Media services such as Blogger or WordPress, the communities on Ning are driven by niche groups and “niche” implies a finite audience. However, if we look at the Long Tail model, Ning could be poised to connect the highly elusive groups of people that would never join a mainstream network. Let’s not forget that many 1.0 companies started this process, albeit less elegantly, and have paved the way for companies such as Ning to continue the adoption.
For a truly entertaining take on the FastCompany cover story of Ning, jump over to PaidContent’s story, “FC: OMFG, Like, Totally, Ning.”
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