Ning users were less than happy when the niche social network provider announced that they where ending their popular free service and forcing everyone to either pay up ($4.95-$24.95 per month) or leave the service.
The most-suggested alternative is none other than BuddyPress, the “social networking in a box” system built atop of WordPress.
This lead me to an interesting thought. While I generally advocate the purchasing of one’s own domain and hosting, this isn’t always within the financial or skill range of the individual seeking to launch a small social network for a group of friends. I wonder if Automattic has thought to capitalize on Ning’s mass exodus of users by launching a hosted BuddyPress service, a la WordPress.com?
It doesn’t sound all that far-fetched of an idea. Of course, I don’t pretend to know what the Other Matt and company deem to be a smart business move. I also don’t know if they would consider the platform to be mature enough yet.
Anyway, if Automattic doesn’t do it, I imagine some enterprising developer would sooner or later.