Ning appathon & OpenSocial report

Image representing Ning as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Jason Rosenthal started with some statistics:

  • 5000 new Ning networks per day are added,
  • 1M new registred users every 13-14 days.
  • By end of the month close to 40m registred users (how many of that are active?)
  • 20% of active Ning Networks are running one or more of Ning apps
  • Apps reaching over 9 million users after first four weeks of apps being launched.
  • On average 2 apps per network

Arne Roomann-Kurrik from Google on OpenSocial (that’s what Ning apps are):

Most work is done on simplifying the development of the apps. There are three main development patterns for OpenSocial:

  • Social Mashup (AJAX-only apps)
  • Social application (running inside social networks, relying on external server)
  • Social website (outside of social networks, consuming data through REST or RPC)
Image representing Google Friend Connect as de...
Image via CrunchBase

OpenSoical will try to go into new markets, surprisingly that’s OpenSocial for enterprise. And into long tail through Google Friend Connect which currently runs on 9 million websites. OpenSocial is working with/inside smaller local networks (, hyves , studiVZ,,, NetLog, mixi, BigAdda, Sonico) which together have more than 100M users. Porting from Ning apps to Google Friend Connect and vice versa should be easy for developers and easily extend their reach. Supposedly cost/benefit is very good when porting.

The main guy behind the OpenSocial in Ning – Ernie H. speaks: There are some differences between Ning and other social networks (since Ning is based around sub-networks). Apps can take the skin from the master social network in order to look like it belongs, even though they are living in an iFrame. Network owners want control, so let them have it. There are about 100 apps available on Ning Apps directory.

Next up is Melih Onvura from TokBox – multi-party video chat, collaborative environments. An app on Ning network, chat between members of the network. Pretty popular for prayers. 7000 minutes of video per day by the Ning Network members. Next was which is content management service (used to concentrate on file sharing). 3M individuals using the service, couple of hundred networks through Ning. Single sign-on is important and fully implemented.

Diego Doval, Ning CTO is next explaining what’s coming up in the future. They recognize they can’t cover entire functionality people will need.

  • Q4 2009 – bug fixes & better discovery
  • Q1 2010 – Open Social 0.9/1.0 will be rolled out, including REST support
  • Q2 2010 – general availability of OS 0.9/1.0 and Ning Platform Extension, basically accessing more information from the network like photos, member list, upload of content and video, etc.
  • Not yet dated: Payment mechanisms, Network Homepage and Profile Page integration, Application Analytics

Unfortunately extending the rich text editor hasn’t been mentioned.

And at the end: week-long worldwide OpenSocial competition. Two categories: original apps, ported apps. $5000 usd prize, and you have a week!

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