Oh Ning It! The Cost of Free

April 27th, 2010 |

Ning, a community builder, is now phasing out their free version, leaving all the non-premium networks without a home. While relocating to another place may not be an issue for most people (small, non-serious niche sites), the ones who planned on making a business out of their site are pretty much left with two choices; build elsewhere or upgrade.

If you find yourself leaning towards the “build elsewhere” option, you might want to take this lesson into consideration: Even free has a price. While it’s a common sense lesson, I constantly run into people who forgo my advice to pay for something they can actually call their own, instead choosing to go the DIY route in search of free.

Free doesn't always equal freedom

I remember a client who wanted to purchase my domain name and services… only to reverse their decision and use a Ning site instead. After trying for a year, their attempt at branding the site not only failed (the brand name competed against my former brand), but they underestimated the complexity of the net in general. They thought upgrading to premium features would help. They did not understand what they were getting into, causing confusion to both the owners and the members. Oh, and they lost a lot of money in the process.

Are free web apps and sites are the devil? This isn’t always the case. I, myself, use free apps on a daily basis because I understand “the cost of free.” The cost I’m referring to can be expressed in a simple equation:

(Ease of use + Ability to grow) – Frustration with limits = The Cost of Free Read the rest of this entry »

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nukirk

A Girl and Her Apps: Part Two

January 23rd, 2010 |

Cont. from “A Girl and Her Apps: Part One”

Facebook (free)
Okay, now this one might seem a little obvious if you’re already a Facebook user, but it took me awhile to stop using Safari on my iPhone and start using this app instead. It’s a very efficient way of using Facebook on your phone though there are a few downsides. For one thing, you can’t “@mention” people in your status the way you can when you’re updating online. Secondly, it’s harder to do advanced searches, narrowing by network, etc. Otherwise though, it does a pretty great job and it’s available on pretty much all of the “app phones” out there. If you have a Facebook habit, you need this app on your phone.

SportsTap (free)
Now I’m not a huge sports fan, but there are a few teams I care about and this is a great application for keeping tabs on all the big games. The customizable settings in this application allow you to narrow down your updates to the specific teams you’re interested in, the Detroit Red Wings for example, and you’ll get updates when they start a game, every time someone scores in that game, and when the game is over. You can also go for a wider approach and survey what’s going on in the entire NHL if you’d like. You can scope out the team standings and schedules, find out the league leaders, and scope out news articles and action shots on recent games. SportsTap includes the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA, other Football leagues, Auto, Soccer, Golf, and Tennis, so you’re pretty much covered for all the games you can think of. I haven’t used any other sports apps, but I’m already convinced this is the best one out there. Read the rest of this entry »

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Joan Miller