In the last two months, Ning has been making some drastic changes. In March, longtime CEO Gina Bianchini was replaced by COO Jason Rosenthal. Then, less than three weeks ago, Ning’s bubble burst — the company laid off 40% of its staff and killed off its free service.
Tomorrow, Ning intends to announce its plans for the future, including new features and pricing plans. And we think we may have just stumbled across one of them: a new advertising product that resembles AdSense. Maybe they will call it NingSense. Update: We’re hearing this actually went live a few months ago and is unrelated to tomorrow’s announcements. It appears to be part of a public service announcement campaign that links to charity sites and cause-oriented Ning networks.
Ning is apparently trying out some new ads that are “Powered By Ning”. TechCrunch reader (and Ning network creator) Rafael Sosa says that he’s just started seeing these on his network in place of some of the AdSense ads Ning typically runs. Each of the sites being promoted is also a Ning network — it’s unclear at this point if the Ning ads will be exlusively used to cross-promote other Ning networks, or if outside advertising will be accepted. But at the very least, Ning will be using these ads to send traffic across the Ning network. Small or new networks will presumably be able to buy these ads to drive traffic much like Facebook apps or iPhone apps buy ads on each other’s apps as a distribution-building mechanism.
Clicking on the words “Powered by Ning” takes you to the site http://www.ning.com/?psa=1, which is currently identical to the Ning homepage.
We’ll have more on this tomorrow.
Thanks to Rafael of Chat.pr for the tip