Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Bernard Golden, Roger Strukhoff, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Sandi Mappic

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

@CloudExpo Stories
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Ashar Baig, Research ...
In her General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing, at Verizon Enterprise, will focus on finding the right mix of renting vs. buying Oracle capacity to scale to meet business demands, and offer validated Oracle database TCO models for Oracle development and testing environments. Anne Plese is a marketing and technology enthusiast/realist with over 19+ years in high tech. At Verizon Enterprise, she focuses on driving growth for the Verizon Cloud pla...
StackIQ offers a comprehensive software suite that automates the deployment, provisioning, and management of Big Infrastructure. With StackIQ’s software, you can spin up fully configured big data clusters, quickly and consistently — from bare-metal up to the applications layer — and manage them efficiently. Our software’s modular architecture allows customers to integrate nearly any application with the StackIQ software stack.
As Platform as a Service (PaaS) matures as a category, developers should have the ability to use the programming language of their choice to build applications and have access to a wide array of services. Bluemix is IBM's open cloud development platform that enables users to easily build cloud-based, creative mobile and web applications without having to spend large amounts of time and resources on configuring infrastructure and multiple software licenses. In this track, you will learn about the...
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 Internet of @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, will discuss 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! Speaker Bio: ...
Compute virtualization has been transformational, yet security policy implementation and enforcement has lagged behind in agility and automation. There are a number of key considerations when implementing policy in private and hybrid clouds. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Holland Barry, VP of Technology at Catbird, will discuss the impact of this new paradigm and what organizations can do today to safely move to software-defined network and compute architectures, including: How normal ope...
Samsung VP Jacopo Lenzi, who headed the company's recent SmartThings acquisition under the auspices of Samsung's Open Innovaction Center (OIC), answered a few questions we had about the deal. This interview was in conjunction with our interview with SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson. IoT Journal: SmartThings was developed in an open, standards-agnostic platform, and will now be part of Samsung's Open Innovation Center. Can you elaborate on your commitment to keep the platform open? Jacopo Lenzi: S...
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 hap...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SOA Software, an API management leader, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SOA Software is a leading provider of API Management and SOA Governance products that equip business to deliver APIs and SOA together to drive their company to meet its business strategy quickly and effectively. SOA Software’s technology helps businesses to accel...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Utimaco will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Utimaco is a leading manufacturer of hardware based security solutions that provide the root of trust to keep cryptographic keys safe, secure critical digital infrastructures and protect high value data assets. Only Utimaco delivers a general-purpose hardware security module (HSM) as a customiz...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ElasticBox is holding a Hackathon at DevOps Summit, November 6 from 12 pm -4 pm at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. You can enter as an individual or team of up to 10 developers. A New Star Is Born Every Month! All completed ElasticBoxes will then be sent to a judging panel - 12 winners will be featured on the ElasticBox website in 2015. All entrants will receive five full enterprise licenses for one year + ElasticBox headphones + Elasti...
Once the decision has been made to move part or all of a workload to the cloud, a methodology for selecting that workload needs to be established. How do you move to the cloud? What does the discovery, assessment and planning look like? What workloads make sense? Which cloud model makes sense for each workload? What are the considerations for how to select the right cloud model? And how does that fit in with the overall IT tranformation? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, John Hatem, head of V...
Cloud services are the newest tool in the arsenal of IT products in the market today. These cloud services integrate process and tools. In order to use these products effectively, organizations must have a good understanding of themselves and their business requirements. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Brian Lewis, Principal Architect at Verizon Cloud, will outline key areas of organizational focus, and how to formalize an actionable plan when migrating applications and internal services to...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, will discuss how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP ...
Ixia develops amazing products so its customers can connect the world. Ixia helps its customers provide an always-on user experience through fast, secure delivery of dynamic connected technologies and services. Through actionable insights that accelerate and secure application and service delivery, Ixia's customers benefit from faster time to market, optimized application performance and higher-quality deployments.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Calm.io has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of DevOps Summit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Calm.io is a cloud orchestration platform for AWS, vCenter, OpenStack, or bare metal, that runs your CL tools puppet, Chef, shell, git, Jenkins, nagios, and will soon support New Relic and Docker. It can run hosted, or on premise and provides VM automation / expiry, self-service portals,...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Aria Systems, the recurring revenue expert, has been named "Bronze Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Aria Systems helps leading businesses connect their customers with the products and services they love. Industry leaders like Pitney Bowes, Experian, AAA NCNU, VMware, HootSuite and many others choose Aria to power their recurring revenue bu...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to require a new way of thinking and of developing software for speed, security and innovation. This requires IT leaders to balance business as usual while anticipating for the next market and technology trends. Cloud provides the right IT asset portfolio to help today’s IT leaders manage the old and prepare for the new. Today the cloud conversation is evolving from private and public to hybrid. This session will provide use cases and insights to reinforce t...
Blue Box has closed a $10 million Series B financing. The round was led by a strategic investor and included participation from prior investors including Voyager Capital and Founders Collective, as well as the Blue Box executive team. This round follows a $4.3 million Series A closed in December of 2012 and led by Voyager Capital. In May of this year, the company announced general availability of its private cloud as a service offering, Blue Box Cloud. Since that release, the company has dem...