It remains to be seen what kinds of premium services will be offered by Ning, but since I use at least three new ning sites a semester, I won't be able to afford anything. The upside is that if I switch to something like BuddyPress, I'll have complete control, and its open source.
Apparently Ning is responding to the concerns of educators, and may not be aware of how much their services are valued by teachers. The following was posted at Classroom 2.0 (also a Ning site), which has a survey for educators to respond to. If anyone wants to continue using Ning, I suggest taking the survey:
"John McDonald, the VP Advocacy for Ning, has sent me the link to an online survey that they are hoping educators will fill out to tell them about their use of Ning for educational networks. The survey is at http://www.surveymethods.com/EndUser.aspx?B793FFE5B6F7E1E3B7, and if you have created or run any Ning networks, I encourage you to fill it out. Ning is asking for responses by this Monday, April 26th. "
Ryan, thanks for sending out the announcement about Ning's updated plan. Indeed it's true that K-12 educators will have free access to Ning mini (without groups, however). But college educators, such as myself, will not be afforded free sites. A real bummer. There is a really good critique and discussion of Ning's new plan over at Classroom 2.0:
I did see the CR 2.0 blurb - I was reading so fast - and planning on figuring out how to pay for the jazzed up Ning for MC POP that I didn't even notice they excluded college. Uggghhh, are you going to write them? You know I actually run my college classes through this Ning. Hummmmm...