For a little over three years, Ning has offered its platform for users to create their own online social networking sites. Now the company is adding a serious upgrade: Developers of each social network site will gain access to new network-wide applications that site visitors can use.
That’s a pretty serious addition to the system, since it enables Ning members to take their sites along a path that’s been blazed by MySpace and Facebook, but in a very controlled way. The idea is to expand on the limited apps facility already offered by Ning–site owners can already add their own simple apps like music players. From now on though, a developer can create an app, submit it to Ning, where it will be investigated by the company for quality and compatibility within the existing Ning software, and then it can be syndicated across all the Ning networks, where any site owner can then incorporate it. Apparently there are already 90 apps ready for testing as private beta versions.
Example uses like Ticketmaster or Live Nation applications demonstrate how powerful this change is–either would enable musicians, who use Ning as their site platform, to not only promote their music and concert dates, but to also sell tickets to their concerts directly from their site.
Why is this news important? Because social networking is a hot topic at the moment, thanks to the spiraling success of Twitter and Facebook. And Ning is actually rather successful itself–it’s busy adding around 90,000 registered users a day across its one million various member-developed social network sites. And with 200,000 of these million in active use, the new app scheme is a powerful way for app developers to access thousands of potential customers.