Ning, the startup by Marc Andreesen that has tried and tried and tried, I think has finally succeeded with their most recent relaunch. If you remember, Ning relaunched last September with social applications which allowed, with some simple programming language, for users to create their own Flickr, MySpace and YouTube. Well, they’ve upped that concept and it’s better than ever.
First thing you will notice about Ning is that, well, they’ve simply found their niche. The interface looks a little polished up, and unlike their previous versions which were much broader and offered a lot of overwhelming power to the user, this version lets you do one thing and only one: make your own social network. In a way, it’s a social network of social networks. Best thing about it? No programming skills required whatsoever (those MySpace HTML polishing and customizing skills come handy though).
To create your first social network (yep, look out MySpace!), you simply sign up for a Ning ID. Once you’ve created a Ning ID, you can create your social network with a WYSIWYG drag-and-drop style interface. To be honest, it’s easier than creating a MySpace profile!
I think it’s great to see a start that has struggled so much back on track and find its niche. Odeo/Twitter/Obvious Corp went through the same thing a few months back, and now it’s Ning. Hint: both were founded by 1.0ish web heroes. In any case, I think the idea of having your own social network for something will be more attractive than having a community on an actual social network.