|By John Ryan||
|September 12, 2009 04:30 PM EDT||
My original post in late June was based on two weeks of using Ulitzer and Ning. I've added additional thoughts after two months of use.
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 few hours to upload a new article you wrote on a different site. You still have to go back into that article even after it has been posted and assign it to topics and tags. This is part of the administration of your stories which is under the manage stories menu.
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. You do have to be careful though as you can put too much on the front page which may slow down load time and discourage users.
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. Ning also makes it easy to get verification code from Google so you can verify your website. It's under the Manage/Special Options menu.
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. Ning also allows you to turn interested members away and set it up so that the administrator has to approve every blog and comment. I personally like this feature since BuyerSteps is focused on professionals, not raw traffic. Since we're not focused on high traffic, but quality, it's better that I can turn them away.
According to Quantcast, 7.3 million U.S. 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.
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. Ulitzer also tweets my stories to Twitter without my participation which has created hundreds of Retweets for me in the last two months.
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, I can edit stories out of a topic but there are so many stories that are newsfeeds, it tends to clutter this area. I wish there were a better way to sort through these with more data like readership.
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. But don't let that fool you. Ning is more fragmented in its audience, while Ulitzer is a site that is promoting your writings to its general audience. If you have just decided to start writing and are looking to grow as a writer while Ulitzer's audience grows, this is 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. The one thing about Ulitzer which fascinates me is how easy it is to post content. After wrestling with Word documents in other content management systems, Ulitzer is a breath of fresh air in its ease of posting new content with links and charts.
My bottom line
Use both if you want to build your own community. However, Ulitzer is a must for a newer writer or analyst. If you write at all, take advantage of their audience. I plan on continuing to use both in my social media strategy. One is for community while the other is for broader audience. In my world, they happily coexist.
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, discussed the best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Jan. 23, 2017 05:00 AM EST Reads: 2,141
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Jan. 23, 2017 03:00 AM EST Reads: 1,016
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jan. 23, 2017 02:30 AM EST Reads: 5,014
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at Dell EMC, introduced a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organization...
Jan. 23, 2017 02:30 AM EST Reads: 3,372
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet and...
Jan. 23, 2017 02:00 AM EST Reads: 6,648
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Jan. 23, 2017 01:45 AM EST Reads: 2,773
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Jan. 23, 2017 12:00 AM EST Reads: 5,884
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
Jan. 22, 2017 11:00 PM EST Reads: 1,042
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Jan. 22, 2017 07:45 PM EST Reads: 3,874
"LinearHub provides smart video conferencing, which is the Roundee service, and we archive all the video conferences and we also provide the transcript," stated Sunghyuk Kim, CEO of LinearHub, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 22, 2017 03:15 PM EST Reads: 1,695
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Jan. 22, 2017 02:30 PM EST Reads: 3,767
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
Jan. 22, 2017 02:00 PM EST Reads: 5,836
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Jan. 22, 2017 02:00 PM EST Reads: 5,302
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Jan. 22, 2017 01:45 PM EST Reads: 3,238
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Jan. 22, 2017 01:00 PM EST Reads: 4,398
Discover top technologies and tools all under one roof at April 24–28, 2017, at the Westin San Diego in San Diego, CA. Explore the Mobile Dev + Test and IoT Dev + Test Expo and enjoy all of these unique opportunities: The latest solutions, technologies, and tools in mobile or IoT software development and testing. Meet one-on-one with representatives from some of today's most innovative organizations
Jan. 22, 2017 12:45 PM EST Reads: 1,698
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
Jan. 22, 2017 11:45 AM EST Reads: 2,979
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Jan. 22, 2017 11:30 AM EST Reads: 3,759
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jan. 22, 2017 09:30 AM EST Reads: 4,782
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
Jan. 22, 2017 09:30 AM EST Reads: 3,040