Ning nonsense is an opportunity for WordPress and BuddyPress developers

Another chapter in the Ning saga (see my previous posts on the subject): In the past few days, Ning has been sending out emails indicating that they’ll be wiping out non-premium networks in the course of the next couple weeks (see, for example, this blog post).

It’s no coincidence, of course, that I’ve gotten a number of emails in the last few days about support and/or paid consultation for Ning -> BuddyPress migrations, based on my free plugin Import From Ning. Unfortunately, I’m currently swamped with work, and I’m not available for active plugin support or for paid migration gigs related to Ning.

If you are a WordPress developer looking for work, this is a golden opportunity. For one thing, you can make a good amount of money helping folks to migrate their Ning data to BuddyPress, and generally helping to customize their BuddyPress installations. Most of the hard work is done for you: my Import From Ning plugin, while buggy and in need of some updates for recent versions of WordPress (in particular, the plugin has crummy error handling), has all of the logic you’ll need to parse Ning’s JSON files and process them for BP import. Even if you don’t know much about BuddyPress, you’ll find that the BuddyPress parts of the process are already spelled out for you. You might even learn something about BP along the way!

Furthermore, those developers who are really intrepid could take this opportunity to help the Ning/BP users more generally by taking over development on Import From Ning. If you are doing client work anyway, which may require fixing bugs and adding improvements in the plugin, why not contribute it back to the distribution version? By doing so, you’ll not only be helping to grow the BP community (and the cause of free software over proprietary services!), but you’ll be making a name for yourself as a contributor/committer to a popular plugin. In other words, it’s great publicity, and you’ll be creating a market for your services down the road.

If you are a WordPress or BuddyPress developer who is interested in receiving referrals for Ning migrations, and/or if you’re interested in making contributions to Import From Ning itself, let me know and I’ll add you to my list. (You can leave a comment below, or send me an email – boone <at> gorg <dot> es.)

6 thoughts on “Ning nonsense is an opportunity for WordPress and BuddyPress developers

  1. Alistair

    Hi Boone, would be interested in any opportunities that may arise from this please.

    Although not having any sample Ning data to work with doesn’t allow for much experience to be offered for specifics here.

    However the basic installation and / or theme customisations for WordPress / BuddyPress to be considered here would be very much available for.

    If clients are willing to take the risk and there is enough documentation out there r.e. importing will also be willing to venture into that.

    Hope your clients find the people you need.

    Keep up the fine work mate.

    1. Boone Gorges Post author

      Thanks, Alistair.

      It’s a bit tricky to get experience with sample Ning data. All the sample data I have is from actual Ning communities, so there are privacy concerns about posting it publicly.

      There’s not much in the way of documentation, beyond what’s in the plugin itself. But if you’re comfortable mucking around in WP plugins more generally, then you should be OK with this plugin as well.

      I’ll add you to my list!

  2. Alistair

    Hi man,

    Quite taboo strategy these Ning guys are taking.

    I am member of a Ning community but lacking those crucial admin privileges and with the reasoning of this post it’s highly doubtful they will receive any money for further grace.

    Took a look at the material you have tagged for Ning and all seems fine.

    Thanks for listage 🙂

  3. ralph

    Hi guys.

    I was just about to start the process of moving a large well established ning network to buddypress.

    The ning network is

    I’ve got basic wordpress site up already at

    The ning network has 4300 members, its audience are mainly east african and the subject is about bongo flava which is – swahili hiphop/rnb, the main music in tanzania.

    It used to be very popular, still doing ok. Comes up 1st page on google if you search bongo flava and still gets about 300 unique visitors.

    I’ve not been advertising or anything so couldn’t afford to keep paying ning $25 dollars per month.

    Also dubious about their policies as mentioned above. Been checking on buddypress regularly and nice to see it getting much busier over the last year

    So, decided that now seems a good time to make the jump.

    I don’t have any £$£$ to offer right now, but if you were looking for a live network to test I’d be really happy to have the help, and in no big rush for things to be done at speed.


  4. Hugo -hnla

    Been a while since I had to deal with Ning export data, but would it not be possible – albeit laborious – to modify a sample file and replace real ‘private’ data with dummy data for testing, as the lack of files to test with is a drawback.


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