|By John Ryan||
|July 5, 2009 08:30 AM EDT||
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 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.
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.
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus o...
Jan. 19, 2017 07:30 PM EST Reads: 4,228
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Jan. 19, 2017 06:30 PM EST Reads: 6,314
Providing secure, mobile access to sensitive data sets is a critical element in realizing the full potential of cloud computing. However, large data caches remain inaccessible to edge devices for reasons of security, size, format or limited viewing capabilities. Medical imaging, computer aided design and seismic interpretation are just a few examples of industries facing this challenge. Rather than fighting for incremental gains by pulling these datasets to edge devices, we need to embrace the i...
Jan. 19, 2017 05:30 PM EST Reads: 3,626
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. 19, 2017 05:15 PM EST Reads: 3,100
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. 19, 2017 04:45 PM EST Reads: 3,755
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Jan. 19, 2017 04:00 PM EST Reads: 5,427
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint, a leading digital experience intelligence company, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint Systems is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into your customer-critical services to help you consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed for digital business, C...
Jan. 19, 2017 03:45 PM EST Reads: 1,793
@ThingsExpo has been named the ‘Top WebRTC Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @ThingsExpo ranked as the number one ‘WebRTC Influencer' followed by @DevOpsSummit at 55th.
Jan. 19, 2017 02:00 PM EST Reads: 4,783
"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. 19, 2017 01:15 PM EST Reads: 5,675
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. 19, 2017 01:15 PM EST Reads: 5,165
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. 19, 2017 12:15 PM EST Reads: 4,310
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
Jan. 19, 2017 12:15 PM EST Reads: 2,016
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
Jan. 19, 2017 11:45 AM EST Reads: 1,721
"What is the next step in the evolution of IoT systems? The answer is data, information, which is a radical shift from assets, from things to input for decision making," stated Michael Minkevich, VP of Technology Services at Luxoft, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 19, 2017 10:00 AM EST Reads: 5,568
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions with...
Jan. 19, 2017 10:00 AM EST Reads: 5,583
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
Jan. 19, 2017 09:30 AM EST Reads: 6,040
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. 19, 2017 07:30 AM EST Reads: 3,661
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. 19, 2017 07:00 AM EST Reads: 2,034
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
Jan. 19, 2017 07:00 AM EST Reads: 1,231
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, John Jelinek IV, a web developer at Linux Academy, will discuss why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers...
Jan. 19, 2017 06:00 AM EST Reads: 874