How changes at Ning affect GovLoop community

In light of recent changes at Ning, the social network service that powers GovLoop, I asked founder Steve Ressler to comment on what impact this will have on the GovLoop community.

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.

About Luke Fretwell

Luke Fretwell is the founder of GovFresh, co-founder/CEO of ProudCity and co-host of the podcast, The Government We Need. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn or email at

4 Responses

  1. Jed

    I wholeheartedly agree with Steve that government should pay attention to the fact that “nothing is free.” I worry that many people get excited about free tools without considering their long-term viability or the reality of development, maintenance, and management costs.

    Hopefully this will wake a few people up.

  2. I’m so pleased to see people being proactive and wanting to solve problems together. I have been working on a site – no pay – for over a year and it is amazing the effort and resources it takes to put a quality tool together. So, thanks for the comments about understanding “nothing is free”. My hope would be to create a metric to share with users how our technology is helping defray operating costs at City Hall. Is anyone up for the challenge? It could be a widget of sorts that all mash up developers could support.


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