Welcome!

Virtualization Authors: Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Victoria Livschitz, Pat Romanski, Lori MacVittie

Related Topics: Web 2.0, Search

Web 2.0: Product Review

Ulitzer vs. Ning - a Quick Review

The Value of Both Sites

Having used both sites for about two weeks, there is still a great deal I am learning to do with both Ulitzer and Ning, but a reader asked if I would do a quick comparison, so I will.

The obvious point for me is that the sites have two different objectives for the writers.  For Ning, the writer is trying to be involved in a niche social network from scratch.  For example, I have built my own social network for marketers and salespeople called BuyerSteps.  I created BuyerSteps as a way for other professionals to join in a conversation around the 21st century buyer.  So, Ning represents a way to build a community.

In the case of Ulitzer, as a writer I am focused on getting readers from within an existing audience.  There are already thousands of readers coming to the Ulitzer site, so if they are interested in my topics such as marketing, they will find my articles as well as others.  Ulitzer allows the writer the ability to set up a feed coming from another site, so it can be a write once, publish twice strategy.  You just have to give Ulitzer a couple of hours to upload a new article you wrote on a different site.

Ning
Ning allows you to very easily construct the framework for a community for free with Lego-like ease of use.  You can easily blog, post presentations, videos, photos, invite friends, contribute to forums and manage your experience.  As the website's administrator, you can restrict certain people who don't fit your profile and set it up so that you must approve all blog posts.  What amazes me the most is how easy it is to add videos and additional boxes for almost any kind of content.  The site is very web-smart from an application standpoint.

What I have also done is added a widget from Twitter and LinkedIn's Question and Answer section.  In a very short period of time, you can have a robust set of capabilities up and running for all of your members.

Using premium services that are offered, Ning allows you to turn off Adwords for $24.95 a month as well as rename the site to whatever URL you want for $4.95 a month which I do.  The website administrator can also remove the Ning promotion link for $24.95 a month.  Until you have thousands of users, there is little financial reason to spend another $50 a month to turn off Adwords and the Ning promotion link.

Ning also makes it easy for you to have Google Analytics track your website.  Ning has over 150 applications that the user can add to their experience with the largest group being games.

You can also define your user profile questions and modify the site's appearance.  As a community tool, there's not much to complain about on Ning except that the administrator needs to work at building their own audience.  Just like Twitter, unless the community builder already has a large following and presence from an outside source, it will take patience and discipline to get your thoughts in front of a lot of people.

According to Quantcast, 7.5 million users a month go to Ning which certainly speaks to the needs of the long tail of community.  Any small business or affinity group that wants to build a community site without spending a large amount of time or money can be using the Ning platform for free in less than an hour.

Ulitzer
This is a terrific site for tapping into existing readers.  Ulitzer doesn't force me to drive users to the site since the core value of the site is that many authors are contributing.  The core value of the site is not to build a social network, but to provide pithy content to an information-hungry audience which at this point seems pretty technology-based.  In just over ten days, I had thousands of readers of my articles mainly on marketing and sales.  It would be nearly impossible to get that at Ning in ten days for a new community site.

The site's functionality is solid for a writer in regard to posting an article and then choosing which topics it should go under.  It seems the biggest challenge for Ulitzer will be how they handle editorial control.  If I am the editor of a topic, it's not clear to me that I control the editorial content.  When I go to some of the topics, I know there are stories that fit under the topic better than what I am seeing, but I'm not sure what to do about that.

In the management panel of the experience for the writer, I can edit my story and view my story prior to it being posted.  From a pure housekeeping standpoint, I hope they add the ability to delete my story from the management console at some point.  Ulitzer doesn't publish the story unless I submit it, but I would still like to take it off of the console.  Facts change and it would be great to kill a story if the writer could.  For instance, I started one story and decided not to publish it because I changed my mind.  That story is still sitting in the management console because I can't delete it.

What I really like about Ulitzer are the internal analytics.  I can see which of my articles is getting the most views.  Not only does it make me feel good when I see the number, it allows me to do research my own articles in regard to what the readers like.  This helps guide the writer for future articles which is good insight.

I think the author description area is feature-rich.  It makes it easy for the author to describe themselves, add a bio and choose tags for their stories.  You can also pick your favorite topics and submit your stories to those topics to help readers find them.  Finally, you can add your Google Adsense number if you want to make Adsense revenue, but I find this business proposition less than compelling.

If one of your goals is to get found through the search engines, it appears Ulitzer has a better case than Ning based on my limited analysis.  When I searched for a few of my articles using a few words out of the title, it was Ulitzer and its group of publications that presented the same articles I had placed on Ning.  So if exposure and the ability to be found is important to you, Ulitzer seems to be the superior site.

Ulitzer is early in its growing usage and doesn't see anywhere near the overall traffic that Ning does.  However, if you have just decided to start writing and are looking to grow as a writer while Ulitzer's audience does, this looks to be a good place to post your articles.  It should be pointed out that writing on Ulitzer is free once you are approved.  I think Ulitzer is on to something and as a contributing writer, I hope it can continue to grow.

My bottom line
Use both.  If you are a member of a social network on Ning and like to write, using Ulitzer too allows you to participate in your social network while enjoying the existing audience from Ulitzer.   Don't pit one against the other, but use both in your social media strategy.  That's smart 21st century awareness for you and your organization.

More Stories By John Ryan

John is an experienced leader with a strong background of defining and executing company strategies. He is especially skilled in channel management, market analysis, brand marketing and selling technology products and services. He has successfully served in a number of executive positions and has been in management for 20 years. John is currently writing a book on increasing revenue generation. He has been a co-author of a comprehensive marketing methodology for high tech companies and has helped venture capitalists and private equity firms gauge their technology investments. In 2004, John served as Vice President of Marketing for the NA arm of the $6B IT Services division of Siemens, AG. John served on the board of directors at WebTrends, purchased by NetIQ (NTIQ) for $1 billion in 2001. WebTrends was highly successful dominating the web site analysis and reporting space. Prior to WebTrends, John was the Vice President of Marketing for Tivoli Systems. John has worked as a contracted consultant for established companies, start ups and top analyst firms. John can be reached at [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter @buyersteps

@ThingsExpo Stories
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.