Ning is an online platform for organizations and people to build their own customized social networking sites. Ning launched in October 2005 and is based in California. Ning offers users the ability to build their own community-driven websites branded and customized however the individual or business likes. Users can add their own photos, videos, blogs, forums as well as integration with other social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Ning was co-founded by Marc Andreeson (of Netscape) and Gina Bianchini, and the intention behind it is to allow users who may not have the necessary technical expertise to make their own social networking site that can cater to people with specific interests. As of the summer of 2011 Ning featured nearly 100,000 social networks, or Ning Networks, through its platform and 65 million unique monthly visitors.
Ning began in 2005 and was initially a free service for anyone to use, and the site started with approximately 20 social applications. As of 2010 users updated to Mini, Pro and Plus plans to remain a part of the Ning community; each level of payment leads to different levels of customization available. As of the summer of 2011 nearly 100,000 Ning Networks were running on the Ning platform. A few examples of Ning Networks can be anything from fans of a music video to the paleo diet.
Ning is meant for people and companies who see the need for their own social network, perhaps surrounding a topic or an extreme niche. The platform allows those who aren't necessarily technologically savvy to create their own online community with their own features, branding and design. A Ning community can be integrated with other social networking sites; for example, a network can be set up so that users can log in with their already existing Facebook or Twitter account. Ning is an ideal platform for people who want to create their own community without plugging in too many hours or dollars in building it from the ground up.