|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.
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
Jul. 26, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,002
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
Jul. 26, 2016 09:02 AM EDT Reads: 124
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
Jul. 26, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,307
It’s 2016: buildings are smart, connected and the IoT is fundamentally altering how control and operating systems work and speak to each other. Platforms across the enterprise are networked via inexpensive sensors to collect massive amounts of data for analytics, information management, and insights that can be used to continuously improve operations. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Chemel, Co-Founder and CTO of Digital Lumens, will explore: The benefits sensor-networked systems bring to ...
Jul. 26, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,512
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Jul. 26, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 584
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
Jul. 26, 2016 06:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,420
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Jul. 26, 2016 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,100
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
Jul. 26, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,532
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
Jul. 26, 2016 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,838
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
Jul. 26, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,357
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
Jul. 26, 2016 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,323
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, explained how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
Jul. 26, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,019
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, 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 opportuni...
Jul. 26, 2016 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,545
In today's uber-connected, consumer-centric, cloud-enabled, insights-driven, multi-device, global world, the focus of solutions has shifted from the product that is sold to the person who is buying the product or service. Enterprises have rebranded their business around the consumers of their products. The buyer is the person and the focus is not on the offering. The person is connected through multiple devices, wearables, at home, on the road, and in multiple locations, sometimes simultaneously...
Jul. 26, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 682
“delaPlex Software provides software outsourcing services. We have a hybrid model where we have onshore developers and project managers that we can place anywhere in the U.S. or in Europe,” explained Manish Sachdeva, CEO at delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 26, 2016 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,551
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
Jul. 25, 2016 11:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,024
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 25, 2016 11:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,325
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Jul. 25, 2016 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,529
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
Jul. 25, 2016 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,958
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
Jul. 25, 2016 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,999