Ning (www.Ning.com) is one of the biggest Social Website hosting services available.  Ning (in Chinese) means Peace… Ironically something thousands of users are having a problem with right now.

The following is from Wikipedia about Ning:

“Ning started development in October 2004 and launched its platform publicly in October 2005.[4] Ning was initially funded internally by Bianchini, Andreessen and angel investors. In July 2007, Ning raised US$44 million in venture capital, led by Legg Mason.[5] In March 2008, the company also announced it had raised an additional US$60 million in capital, led by an undisclosed set of investors.[6]

On April 15, 2010, CEO Jason Rosenthal announced changes at Ning. The free service would be suspended and of the current 167 employees, only 98 would remain. Current users of the free service will have the option to either upgrade to a paid account or transition their content from Ning.” – Wikipedia (April 19th, 2010).

If you have a company, whether it is small or large, be careful what you do to boot-strap your marketing and sales.

Ning, with over a million websites and $100 million in investment dollars, just pulled the plug on ten’s of thousands of free social websites.

For a while, many have been speaking about being careful ‘where’ you put your content.  Whether it is Facebook, Twitter or other social service, make sure you have YOUR content also on your own hosted location.  We want to use those services and the wonderful social interaction to help build our business all we can.  However; make sure you keep control of your content by first loading it to your website, then load it up to one of the social websites.

If you can’t accomplish this, have an exit strategy some how to help you if and when the social company implements changes to their business model and you are left in the cold.

Those that are on Ning have an option – they will have to pay up now or pay (in time or money) to change to another solution.