Okay, before we start. This is a rant about how poorly managed Ning is when it comes to serving the customer.
I have been a Ning customer for over 5 years. Back in they days when no one really knew what Ning was or how to use it. I endured the early years and have remained
loyal, even though it was painful and expensive.
I primarily used Ning to host my personal website, which is not really the purpose of the community platform, but it worked well for what I was doing. Ironically,
since I was not driving it as a community, I had few visitors and very little communication on their system.
Sooo, yesterday (May 15, 2013at 3:58PM ET) I get an email from Ning saying that I had too much spam and they were firing my as a customer effective in a few
HOURS!....My first reaction when I read this email while traveling is that it's spam. Someone is impersonating Ning for some unknown reason and no reasonable CEO would ever allow such poor
decision making and customer management to occur within their business.
So, first thing this morning, I go to my website and it's locked down. I have this website integrated within dozens of marketing literature, so "my" customers get to
see an ugly maintenance page. I'm unable to login to get my data off their system unless I contact them. However, they don't provide a way to contact them....Humourous while insane. The bright
side is that I did have a few hours pack my digital bags and get out....
If a community platform is having a spam problem, one would think that the folks selling the platform (e.g. Ning) would implement tools to prevent spam NOT just fire
the customers that are paying for their services. To give credit to the brilliant executives at Ning, their strategy of firing customers will definitely solve their spam problem over time when
there are no more customers.
Anyway, I will work today to find a new business to spend my money with to host my stuff, all the while keeping an eye open for the small headline that will appear
one day stating that Ning is shutting down dues to the weather, economy, Internet, Google, or something other than it being many years of burning cash and losing customers.....
Below is the email..
Over the past few months, we've noticed that there has been a large amount of spam accumulating on your Ning Network. We're certain that
this spam isn't the image you want to portray on your network, and you may not even be aware of it. The amount of spam is so high that it is also having a serious impact on the health of the
databases that your network and others rely on to stay online and speedy. For your benefit and for the benefit of other Ning communities, we will lock your network in the next few hours. We will
also cancel your subscription and credit the remaining time on your current subscription term.
Once your network is locked, you and all visitors to your network will see a branded
maintenance page. You will not be able to access your network or any content on your network, though your content will not be deleted. If you are interested in continuing with your community,
please contact us.
We apologize for the inconvenience, and appreciate your cooperation in this matter.
The Ning Team
After waiting a few days, I was expecting to receive an email to inform me that my refund had been processed.
Unfortunately, I never received such email so I had to spend my time going to the Ning site and finding the way to contact Ning about the refund. I sent them an email inquiring about the refund
and the next day got an email reply saying that I was eligible for a refund, which is generous of them, but they have a "bug" in their system and unable to process it for a few more
Wow! They can spend there time and programming resources to worry about my spam (by the way, I only have about 3000
followers, so not much net traffic there), write code to email me that I was no longer appreciated as a customer and change my website to show it was down for maintenance, BUT they are not able
to handle something that we all have been doing for over a decade (processing refunds)...
Below is the email from Ning....so now I get to keep up with them actually doing what they said they would do.
Thanks for your email!
We'd took a look at your account and you are eligible for a prorated refund. Due to a bug in our system, this refund may be delayed getting to you. You
should expect the refund to appear in your account by the end of the week.
If you'd like to provide us with additional details or updates, you can reply to this message via email. If you choose to update your question via email, please be sure to leave the subject and
body of this email in place.
The Ning Team