Mike Isaac

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Ning Gets Glammed Up With Sitewide Update

Ning, the social network network, announced its largest new release since being acquired by Glam Media last year, the next version of Ning targeted primarily at businesses and professional customers.

The new product, Ning VIP, is a subscription-based service starting at $1,000 monthly, offering a suite of tools for larger-scale social networks. It’s appropriate for a site with a larger customer base like an MTV or a Food Network, rather than a smaller niche community. Some of the new tools combine attributes found on other social networks, like activity feeds, badging and other game-like features.

“Call it Facebook in a box,” said Samir Arora, Glam Media CEO and Chairman. Only Ning’s networks give more granular control over community management features, Arora argues.

The fruits of the Glam acquisition seem to be found in the other half of Wednesday’s announcement, dubbed Glam Social. It’s essentially an entire ad tech platform wrapped up in a bow for the network owner, complete with a social analytics dashboard that tracks engagement inside Ning as well as social metrics on other integrated networks, like Facebook and Twitter. Glam can build ads for users inside of their own network, making it simpler on the network owner.

The other claim Arora trumpets: A full mobile Web autocreation package set up for network owners. So, for new Ning customers, an HTML5-optimized version of their network is set up for them, as well.

Since the acquisition, Arora says, Ning has been growing well, with more than 50 million monthly active users across Ning networks, adding more than 2,000 new networks per month to the nearly 80,000 that already exist.

Will the new, glammed-up version of Ning bolster those ranks? Perhaps, especially for those who don’t want to look to an outside ad tech platform to monitor community engagement.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik