Changes at Ning can only be a good thing for GovLoop. As they mentioned in their press release, they are focusing more on delivering premium services to premier, paying networks like GovLoop.
There are lots of additional and different requirements that are needed when you run a robust 30,000 person social network like GovLoop that is different than running a 50-person free, family reunion site. For example, one key problem we have been trying to solve is with over 5,000 blogs, 700 groups, and 30,000 people, how can GovLoop members find the right content, groups, and colleagues relevant to them. These are the types of problems that Ning can focus on.
On a side note, I think it is an interesting development that government should pay attention to in Gov 2.0. I’m a big believer in low-cost to free (and open-source), tools but there is some truth to the statement “nothing in life is free.” The start-ups we all love and appreciate all need business models to survive and provide services so we shouldn’t be against paying for products that provide valuable service – it may be good for all of us in the long run.