Of course, it doesn’t hurt when Marc Andreessen is a co-founder and the timing was good considering the upswing in popularity of social marketing / media / networking over the past two years. The flip side of that is the possibility that the folks at Ning had a pretty accurate crystal ball and called this one pretty well. Either way, being good fortune or recognizing opportunity the success is there.
Ning has overcome its fair share of adversity as well.
Ning lost 20 percent of its page views in December when it chose to shut down networks containing porn and other adult content. Traffic had recovered in February, CEO Gina Bianchini told CNET News.
The company made a business decision to clean house of the rough stuff back in December and it went into effect in January. The $60 million raised in VC way back when certainly helped with this decision as did some pressure from advertisers.
The CEO who has been on the cover of Fast Company in the past told cnet that the most successful sites are those that have rabid and passionate followings like thetwilightsaga.com which is
an official fan site for the vampire-themed book series that converted to a Ning network shortly after the first book was turned into a hit movie. In two months, 94,000 people joined, she said.
One thing to note is that while there are 1 million networks the active member numbers aren’t quite that high. One fifth of the networks are considered active while 6.1 million of the 22 million registered users are classified as active.
With a small staff and good backing we may well be hearing more about Ning as the economy really starts to weed out the players and posers.