Feedback on Ping

Kathleen Gilroy is asking for feedback on the Otter Group’s new business venture – Ping. This service will help to foster blogging communities of practice. Here is the intro to the executive summary:

After ten years of running successful online learning communities and programs, the Otter Group is introducing a new service for developing and managing affinity networks for colleges and universities: Ping Affinity Networks. Ping is a personal network for connecting with your peer group. The network is made up of individual weblogs, a weblog portal and powerful search tools that combine the blog network with proprietary databases. Ping capitalizes on two rapidly growing communications technologies which are ideal for creating personal and peer networks: weblogs and RSS.
Because blogs provide a lasting, personal identity, they make it possible for reputation and trust to develop online. Ping returns the Internet to its original conception: groups of trusted people sharing knowledge. Weblogs and RSS enable the “anyone can publish, everyone can subscribe” promise of the Internet. Trusted blogging networks not only help keep out the riffraff, but also act as trusted filters for the vast influx of information faced every day. Ping’s personal network puts you back in control of your Internet life.

Ping enables the creation and growth of communities of interest, offering their members ad hoc ways to collaborate. Ping stimulates high levels of participation in online communities by using weblogs to lower the technology barriers of participation to almost zero. With RSS, newsreaders and specialized, proprietary search technologies, Ping makes it very easy for community members to find and track, people, ideas, and information. The Ping Connector, a proprietary search tool, enables searching against both private directories and the blogging network. Ping builds viral marketing and member recruitment into its technology platform, so that community members can promote (and receive credit for) membership simply by maintaining their weblogs.

Ping’s business model is based on subscriptions from individual bloggers. Ping subscribers pay for their participation in the blog network for a variety of purposes that are both self-serving (reputation building) and altruistic (knowledge sharing). Subscribers join Ping in order to enhance their reputations and build their personal brands; advance their careers, network, and find jobs; increase their Google ratings through linking to one another’s blogs; share information, photos, and knowledge with their friends and family; document their personal and professional lives; make social and professional connections; and share knowledge, ideas, and information. As the community grows, linking to other blogs has the reciprocal benefit of creating value for your own blog. This underlying reciprocity is expressed in Ping’s mission statement: the love you take is equal to the love you make.

For my part, it seems to have some potential, especially since I have not found many uses for my memberships in social networks, likes Ryze or LinkedIn. I use my blog a lot more to communicate with colleagues & clients, so I would check out Ping to see if I can meet more interesting people, at a reasonable price of course.

Update: Kathleen further describes the Ping business model today, October 1st.

And a further update, where Steve Bayle discusses the value-add of Ping:

The bottom line
What’s new about Ping is the concept of an affinity group blogging network. Ping provides substantial added value to both alumni and the alumni relations departments of their schools, value adds that are not available from “free” advertiser supported blog hosting companies or even companies selling individual blogging subscriptions.Considering the many thousands of dollars it costs to be admitted to a college community, we believe the ability to extend that community beyond the campus and the 4-year undergraduate experience is well worth the $50 per year individual subscription fee.

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