In my latest video, “Ning’s New Pricing – Not So Bad After All” (see end of post) I kind of missed the mark in explaining why the proposed pricing structure isn’t outrageous so I just wanted to put things into better perspective and explain why I think the pricing isn’t that bad (see below for proposed pricing plan and letter that sparked outrage).
Ning has had membership and data caps on their subscription plans in place for quite some time now but they never really went around enforcing those caps. Ning’s proposed pricing structure may seem like highway robbery but it’s actually in line with other companies who provide website hosting. Nonsense you say?

Let me Explain
You shouldn’t be fooled by companies which offer unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth at prices as low as $2.99/Month. The word “unlimited” doesn’t really mean “unlimited”. These companies have policies in place that governs the use of their resources. Let’s take a look at GoDaddy web hosting plans for example.

GoDaddy “Deluxe” shared hosting plan offers “Unlimited Websites”, “Unlimited Storage” and “Unlimited Bandwidth” for $8.99/month ($5.99 is introductory rate). Most people won’t care to find out what lies behind the question mark next to the term “Unlimited Storage”. Allow me to shed some light on that.

Information Hiding Behind the Question Mark.

“Our Web Hosting plans are designed to host most personal, small business and organization websites. We don’t limit the amount of storage and bandwidth your site can use as long as it complies with our Hosting Agreement. Should your website bandwidth or storage usage present a risk to the stability, performance or uptime of our servers, we will notify you via email and you may be required to upgrade to a Virtual Private Server or Dedicated (Private) Server, or we may restrict the resources your website is using. It’s very rare that a website violates our Hosting Agreement and is typically only seen in sites that use hosting for file sharing or storage.”

The Network Creators who received letters from Ning regarding their storage and membership levels would be in violation of GoDaddy’s shared hosting policy and therefore would be forced to upgrade to Virtual Private Server or Dedicated Server hosting at the cost of hundreds a month. Keep in mind that this price will not cover the cost of maintaining your online community ( resolving bugs and other technical issues not related to the server). By the way, GoDaddy isn’t the only hosting company with such a policy in place…this is pretty much standard across the board.

Shared Hosting Pricing Plans From GoDaddy

GoDaddy-Web-Hosting-Plans

I see comparisons in pricing being made with cloud storage services such as DropBox but you really shouldn’t compare the two. They’re not the same situation. Let’s look at this from a real world point of view. A storage company will charge a lot less to store your worldly belongings than a landlord would charge you to store those same belongings in an apartment. An apartment is designed to do a lot more so it costs a lot more. You can’t run an online community on DropBox.

What about Jamroom? Isn’t that a better option than Ning? Yes…that’s if you’re looking to compare platforms but if you’re looking to save money…tough luck. Get ready for a sticker shock. It will cost you $679/month to host a community containing 1TB data. You really can’t escape the cost of hosting a community of that magnitude.

If you’re building a case to leave Ning I think it may be better to consider the platform as a whole rather than focusing on just the pricing based on data usage and membership. If you’re building a case solely on the new pricing structure, you will be in for a shock. You won’t get much better elsewhere.
Personally, I don’t think Ning’s pricing is outrageous but do I think it’s worth it? No I don’t think Ning’s platform is worth that price. There are a lot of alternatives to Ning that will give more bang for your buck if you’re looking to move. Moving a network of that size may be a bit tricky though. You’re sure to loose a lot of data. As Richard pointed out, you only have the option to archive the last 10,000 items of each content type so you may be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Come Join Us on EX Creators
I’ll help you explore your options.

Ning’s New Proposed Plans
As of January 1, 2016 the new subscription plans will go into effect for both Ning 2.0 and Ning 3.0 networks and our subscription plan structure will be as follows:

 

 

Mini

Plus

Pro

Business Plus

Corporate*

Price  (Monthly)

$2.95

$24.95

$59.95

$500

$1,000

Member Limit

150

10,000

100,000

100K – 1M

1M – 1.5M

Storage Limit

1 GB

10 GB

500 GB

501 GB – 1 TB

1 TB – 3 TB

*In the event these limits are exceeded, custom pricing shall be negotiated.

Letter that Sparked Outrage

Really Ning? You’re raising my rates from $60 to $1000 per month????

Posted by SteveH on November 24, 2015 at 5:57pm in Community Support (Ning 2)

Well this is one way to lose business. Just received this little nugget in an email:

“Currently, your network utilizes 1.29 TB of data storage monthly and has more than 27,000 members (this data can be viewed in your network’s dashboard). Therefore, based on your data storage needs and membership, effective January 1, 2016 your network will be enrolled in the new Corporate Subscription Plan and your new monthly rate will be $1,000.”

On what planet does 1-3TB of hard drive space cost $1,000 per month??????

Best Regards

TDB
Ex Creators Dot Com