I want to go on the books by stating this is one of the most difficult announcements to make in the entire 5 years Raginpit Magazine has been in operation.
About 2 weeks ago I was asked to do some research to make sure that one of our groups on our community site was not violating any Terms of Service agreements with the Ning platform. The Ning platform or network is the social website service that http://raginpit.ning.com runs from. Some of our members who joined up from Myspace may not be aware of this so I felt that's first important to mention.
Being part of a service like Ning comes with advantages and disadvantages such as - you can build a community quite fast and they provide you most of the the tools you need to do so. There are several Ning networks out there for almost every interest group. People can jump back and forth from one network to another with little effort and you can maintain the same profile account on each site you join. When we signed up we were also under the terms of service rules stating that we own all content posted to our sites and content posted by you the members own yours. They said they would not exploit that.
Some of the downers include the spamming of members increasing as you join more networks unless you actively go in and turn on all your privacy settings on each individual site you have joined. Some Nings have privacy modifications so you may have more security on one Ning site than another. You the Ning creator can't advertise on your site unless you are a premium member. The price isn't so high, so it's a foreseeable goal to look forward to as a network creator. You get to be private, your members get to be private if they so choose, and you also get to take over the advertising and have the Ning brand removed.
What an offer, right?
Well the last couple of days I have discovered an internet war ensuing between Ning creators and Ning.com who decided to, as of Dec 2008, "Ning reversed its policy against meddling in the content of individual networks." All Adult sites who were promised to be protected if they join Ning are being deleted as of Jan 1st 2009. That's no biggie I'm sure to most except die hard porn fans who were duped into driving traffic there and nudists duped into believing Ning would not judge their cause.
As of early March you probably received an email from Ning.com talking about how you can now view all your social networks through "one profile!" Here is what's screwed about that - so can every other member on Ning.com. This means that if you signed up on one of Ning's private networks that you DON'T wish for others to know about, think again... Ning just exposed your ass and left you hanging in the wind. Go take a look and change your privacy settings now. It may be too late though as now all your co-workers and family know everything about you if you have it posted on one of these sites and they are also members.
The indecent material issue is still raging through, as I also discovered Ning's talk about a censorship deptartment is very real. There are no set terms on which everything should be judged and is now left up to them to decide for you what's okay and what isn't. I actually found a Ning site that has been under fire who had material deleted and the network creator was warned. It was a fan site for Netflix!
That spells it out really clear for me as a metal head that it's only a matter of time before we are all under fire. There are several metal Nings I know of. If you are a member on any of these than you are exposed on Ning.com right now.
If you are a Network creator and paid premium prices, your anonymity is now gone. They said they were not going to email your members, but they did email all of the non-premium sites. Now your members and other members of other networks already know your a Ning, so that didn't do any good.
I know a lot of you would like to say thanks to Ning for all of these wonderful changes, but even if you did, Ning would delete your comments.
This leaves a huge issue with us. Where do we go from here? Do we continue and say, "fuck it, they have us over a barrel?"
We do have an option which is to pull away from Ning knowing there is a high risk of losing all of our members in the process.
We can build a new community and I found a script out there that can allow us to build a community site more suited for bands and fans with way more features. We will take a financial hit to build it and things will slow down again for a bit to do so.
Doing so we CAN guarantee your privacy at that point because we will be in control of everything. It would mean moving content from the now exsiting Raginpit Ning community and you would have to set up a new account.
- Each profile will still be customizable like the old days of Myspace with a simple to use profile editor built in.
- Bands will get free PDF electronic press kits and will have full stats on how their music, videos and profile is doing.
- Automatic banner generator and the friend system is separated so bands have fans and friends have friends. This means you will have more control over what bands send you and bands can concentrate on those who really support them and not just someone doing a link exchange with your friends list.
Long story short it's loaded and would not take too long to install and get our community back to moving again.
This is just an option. Personally we are sick of all the problems we keep running into relying on other people's ambitions and get rich schemes that always bring us back to starting over and over. We are really wanting to go independent and make our own rules, which accommodates the metal life style and people with understanding of who we are. We feel this needs to be solved soon in order to not disrupt business already in motion to provide solid publicity to the bands and professionals who participate with us and the fans who enjoy what we do.
It all seems to be very bad timing.
Please leave a comment.
Should we stay knowing what is going on with Ning Networks? We know they are making bad choices, we also know they are just trying to establish their business which is now worth a lot of money. We have no idea what troubles they may be trying to work through in order keep things going.
On the other hand, maybe leaving and going totally independent with our own site and server might be safer for us and you. The first trouble we see with going that way is losing a lot of users. We don't know if people on our site are here because it's an awesome looking Ning community or if they are here and down for our ideas and goals which is to build the biggest and best independent network for metal artists.
We honestly believe Raginpit can make a difference and help find better ways to bring more people into shows through improved street promotions and marketing. We have had more than a few successful events of our own and we don't mind spreading the "know how" on making that happen for you.
Please check out these reference links I found through Google.
Ning, Please Listen To Your Network Creators - An active petition going on right now
XP Censorship and Advertising Dollars! - Their forum was closed because you can't have a general un-moderated discussion forum on Ning. That would be in Raginpit terms the "Mob Rules" forum provided to give you freedom of speech.
Take some time ponder what this all means to you and your privacy, the intellectual property you own and let us know what you think we should do. How do you feel about all this?Buy me a shot! [CLICK HERE]