Forbes wrote It's a Good Ning explaining how "old media was sidling up to new media" in the way Martha Stewart enlisted Ning to build them a social network for female entrepreneurs - Dreamers Into Doers.
"Created by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia on Ning"
Forbes says: Martha Stewart Living asked [Ning] to build the network after realizing articles on its main Web site about female entrepreneurs attracted significant interest from advertisers and readers. By operating a small biz-focused mini-Facebook, Martha Stewart's editors and producers can keep up with the specific issues that a narrow segment of its readers care about and create new content targeted for them...
The article also gave some interesting statistics about Ning:
- Founded in 2004 by Gina Bianchini and Marc Andreessen;
- 30 million registered users;
- 1.4 million networks have been created; which means
- the average network has 20 people;
- 215,000 networks are active; which means
- 15.4% of networks are active;
- investors have so far put in about $119 million.
What can we figure from that?
Let's say that the 15% of networks which is active accounts for 85% of registered users - that's 25.5 million users, that's 119 members per active network on average. On the other hand the 80% of non-active networks, then, has an average of 4 members.
Let's then say that 20% of these active networks account for 80% of active users, that is 20.4 million users, among 43,000 networks, means 474 people per active "active network", and 30 members per ordinary active network.
So the activity is concentrated in:
- 20.4 million people; on,
- 43,000 networks;
- with an average of 474 people per network.
Twitter has 50 million members, but probably fewer than 20.4 million in active networks. On the other hand the growth rates of Twitter and say Facebook are astoundingly better than Ning's.
For the investors, looking for say 6X ($714 million) on their investment, with an investment horizon of say 6-10 years (2010 - 2014), then it looks a stretch to hit that jackpot from the current activity base. Although, it is only $35 per user of the most active users, which is far below some valuations per user on Twitter and Facebook.
By the way, Bianchini is "upbeat about the growth patterns she sees" - the rate of active Ning networks is growing faster than the total number of Ning networks. Her translation: more and more people are staying involved.
What do you think Ning is worth now and and it's prospects for the future - it's best assets and the greatest threats?