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Monetizing Ning

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Martin Westhead

on 11 May 2014

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Transcript of Monetizing Ning

Monetizing NING
Once upon a time, in the days before Facebook and Twitter there was a Social Network company called NING...
2M Networks Created
40M Users
...and grew
...and grew...
Until it needed to make some money...
...but how?
In 2007 Ning added premium services...
In 2009 we introduced Ning Virtual Gifts...
In early 2010 Ning investigated premium advertising...
...but the best inventory had been already sold as a premium service for $20 per month.
...but the social dynamic was wrong and it didn't catch on.
...so in April 2010 Ning announced a...
Ning started charging a subscription (to everybody)...
F**k you, you
blood sucking
Finally a
Some customers
were pleased...
Great service
I'm happy to
Others less so...
...never considered a serious money
maker, just testing the water.
How did the New Model Fair?
It was very successful
overall Ning lost only 15% of traffic
careful management of customer communication paid off
One year later we adjusted the prices
- Increased Plus and Pro
- Hid mini
Result: 30% increase in ARPU
Price Experiment:

- Could we do better with 3 price points?

- Introduced very high priced VIP plan
Result: 10% increase in ARPU
2013: Ning 3.0 launched
- New pricing model: based on members
- Better aligned with customer value
Result: 15% increase in ARPU
Just because you have Web-scale traffic doesn't mean its easy to make money
Think about future Monetization when you set up customer expectations
Transparent customer communication
Always think about customer value first
Take aways
Value in continually evolving your pricing model
Run the Ning Engineering Team

Stanford Lecturer
: "
Monetizing Free: How to make money by giving things away
" (Spring 2014)

: The Flower of Scotland http://theflowerofscotland.com/

Kill Bill
a full open source subscription billing system built at Ning
Martin Westhead
Why Subscription?
best inventory sold
hard to target long tail -
hard to identify brand safe content
Value conflict
Free sites - trying to maximize page views
Paid sites - want control
Cost and risk of policing user generated content
What about the competition?
At first they scoffed and tried to scoop up the deserters...
...but within 6 months the were either
out of business or
running subscriptions
Disclaimer - just my
Full transcript