How to charge for social networking websites

A while back I criticized the Xing business model and the fact that the users – the main assets of the networked – are charged a significant fee.  It’s not that I cannot afford it, it’s more about the fact that they need users as much, if not more than the other way around.

I just discovered Ning, which offers users to build social networking sites – for free of course.  BUT you have the option to pay: You can pay to:

  • Remove promotional links
  • Control the ads shown
  • Use your own domain name
  • Increase storage and bandwidth

Whether the model is viable is to be seen – but I consider it more honest towards the users and more robust against competition.

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