|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.
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
Feb. 11, 2016 01:15 AM EST Reads: 205
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
Feb. 11, 2016 01:00 AM EST Reads: 218
Father business cycles and digital consumers are forcing enterprises to respond faster to customer needs and competitive demands. Successful integration of DevOps and Agile development will be key for business success in today’s digital economy. In his session at DevOps Summit, Pradeep Prabhu, Co-Founder & CEO of Cloudmunch, covered the critical practices that enterprises should consider to seamlessly integrate Agile and DevOps processes, barriers to implementing this in the enterprise, and pr...
Feb. 11, 2016 01:00 AM EST Reads: 399
Sensors and effectors of IoT are solving problems in new ways, but small businesses have been slow to join the quantified world. They’ll need information from IoT using applications as varied as the businesses themselves. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Meike, Distinguished Engineer, Director of Technology Innovation at Intuit, showed how IoT manufacturers can use open standards, public APIs and custom apps to enable the Quantified Small Business. He used a Raspberry Pi to connect sensors...
Feb. 11, 2016 12:45 AM EST Reads: 155
Data-as-a-Service is the complete package for the transformation of raw data into meaningful data assets and the delivery of those data assets. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lakshmi Randall, an industry expert, analyst and strategist, will address: What is DaaS (Data-as-a-Service)? Challenges addressed by DaaS Vendors that are enabling DaaS Architecture options for DaaS
Feb. 10, 2016 11:45 PM EST Reads: 346
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
Feb. 10, 2016 09:00 PM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint Systems, Inc., a provider of innovative web and infrastructure monitoring solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit at 18th Cloud Expo New York, which will take place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Catchpoint is a leading Digital Performance Analytics company that provides unparalleled insight into customer-critical services to help consistently deliver an amazing customer experience. Designed...
Feb. 10, 2016 04:00 PM EST Reads: 377
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
Feb. 10, 2016 04:00 PM EST Reads: 158
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
Feb. 10, 2016 02:30 PM EST Reads: 428
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Feb. 10, 2016 02:30 PM EST Reads: 396
Recognizing the need to identify and validate information security professionals’ competency in securing cloud services, the two leading membership organizations focused on cloud and information security, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and (ISC)^2, joined together to develop an international cloud security credential that reflects the most current and comprehensive best practices for securing and optimizing cloud computing environments.
Feb. 10, 2016 01:45 PM EST
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
Feb. 10, 2016 01:15 PM EST
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Feb. 10, 2016 12:15 PM EST Reads: 427
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
Feb. 10, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 623
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Feb. 10, 2016 11:00 AM EST Reads: 191
In most cases, it is convenient to have some human interaction with a web (micro-)service, no matter how small it is. A traditional approach would be to create an HTTP interface, where user requests will be dispatched and HTML/CSS pages must be served. This approach is indeed very traditional for a web site, but not really convenient for a web service, which is not intended to be good looking, 24x7 up and running and UX-optimized. Instead, talking to a web service in a chat-bot mode would be muc...
Feb. 10, 2016 11:00 AM EST Reads: 262
It's easy to assume that your app will run on a fast and reliable network. The reality for your app's users, though, is often a slow, unreliable network with spotty coverage. What happens when the network doesn't work, or when the device is in airplane mode? You get unhappy, frustrated users. An offline-first app is an app that works, without error, when there is no network connection.
Feb. 10, 2016 11:00 AM EST Reads: 210
SYS-CON Events announced today that AppNeta, the leader in performance insight for business-critical web applications, will exhibit and present at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AppNeta is the only application performance monitoring (APM) company to provide solutions for all applications – applications you develop internally, business-critical SaaS applications you use and the networks that deli...
Feb. 10, 2016 10:45 AM EST Reads: 401
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Feb. 10, 2016 10:45 AM EST Reads: 112
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
Feb. 10, 2016 10:45 AM EST Reads: 251