Saturday, August 23, 2008

Important Announcement From WidgetLaboratory

We wish to extend another great "Thanks!" to everyone who has expressed their support and exercised patience and restraint. We realize that the financial and emotional strain of Ning's actions have caused many of you to be in a turmoil the last 24 hours, wondering "what will I do now?"

Since Ning took these aggressive and unwarranted steps, WidgetLaboratory has been working tirelessly to come up with immediate and satisfying SOLUTION for all of you. We are proud to announce that we have achieved success. Our primary focus has always been to provide the BEST customer support, AWESOME products, and a WELCOMING customer experience. Now that Ning's management has demonstrated for public scrutiny their means and methods, we are prepared to demonstrate ours. To wit:

1) All of WidgetLaboratory Source Code will be made publicly available and free to anyone to use under a Creative Commons License. We have created an easy-installation pack that will allow any Network Creator to use any of their previously purchased products on their own networks as before, and make any and all modifications and changes they wish, subject only to our retention of authorship rights and credit.

WHY should any of you suffer from Ning taking away our products? We worked very hard for the last eight months developing solutions that Ning would not. With over 100 million in Venture Capital and more than 99 employees, Ning was unwilling or unable to produce what two crazy dudes working out of a Castle in Bratislava were able to. IT'S YOUR SOFTWARE, so ENJOY IT! We believe that YOU have every right to use the products you paid for on your own network. If you are clever, we're sure you will also figure out how to make your own changes to our hard work and make your own "versions" as well. OUR PROMISE was to back our products 100%... and now we are doing just that;

2) WidgetLaboratory will be providing FREE MIGRATION TOOLS to anyone who wishes to use them. Not feeling too "comfortable" anymore having someone else hold the keys to your website and members? Ever think about the fact that some sites claim that you can "leave when you want" but then provide you NO MEANS to do so? Ever think about what it would be like to have YOUR Network UNPLUGGED after a year or more of hard work and hundreds or thousands of members all LOST? We have... we're living the nightmare. Anyone who wants to use our free migration tools will be able to do so at their own discretion;

3) Open Source "Safe Harbor" Site Creation for business and other professionals. Was your business and reputation put into jeopardy yesterday? Did you feel like an idiot having to explain to your clients and associates why your site looked like someone mixed it into a blender? Where did all those hours and hours of work and pages and pages of content go to when Ning pulled the plug?

WidgetLaboratory has received tremendous support from outside of the Ning community. The Social Networking "phenomenon" is not owned by Ning. Not by a long-shot. With the support of our new partners, and utilizing off-the-shelf options as well, we are now crafting a solution that will likely be a "safer" environment for anyone who does not wish to be subject to the whims of a hosting-company "executive decision".

We believe that our customers have the RIGHT to OWN their sites, OWN their site content, OWN their own code, and OWN the right to not be terminated, threatened or cajoled by ANYONE, especially a hosting-company executive.

Our new solution, for anyone interested, will employ the same creativity, fun, and focus on features that have become the hallmark of the WidgetLaboratory "brand". We will NOT be hosting your solution. We will NOT be acting as an intermediary. We instead will be providing you with multiple open-source sites upon which you can "plug and play" your social network and still have all the WidgetLaboratory products from today, as well as those that we create tomorrow. All the while you will have COMPLETE CONTROL over your own destiny and site. No one will be able to take that away from you or threaten to pull-the-plug for dubious reasons with no method or means for appeal.

4) We will be publishing the complete record of our relationship with Ning from start to finish for public scrutiny. Many of you have no "doubt" as to what took-place behind the scenes... but others are still not sure. We have stated all along that we were only maintaining our silence until such time as Ning's counsel elected to reconsider their position. We have always stated that Ning should have simply restored WidgetLaboratory and prevented the ongoing "harm" that it was causing to all of you, and THEN sit down with us to negotiate the business terms... which are the TRUE reason why we were removed. As you will soon read for yourself, from day one until we were unplugged, WidgetLaboratory has maintained our professionalism, respect for the Rules of Ning, obeyance of the Terms of Service, and submission to Ning's decisions. We were unplugged because of Anti-competitive concerns by Ning's management;

5) Choose your own destiny, make your own decisions. We are aware that Ning may now be offering up to six months of "free" premium service to any Network Creator who complains loudly enough or directly to Gina Bianchini. Not sure if this is true, but perhaps any of you can verify that for yourselves? Perhaps this would be an additional way to help compensate for the disruption of your business and personal networks?

We have also heard that Ning will be now "magically" producing tabs, pages, and a way for you to migrate out your WidgetLaboratory content as well. After more than a year of stating that this was not on their "roadmap", this is incredible news and fortuitous timing as well. Anything that restores some semblance of "control" to YOU as Network Creator is a good thing for everyone.

6) Damages are in Ning's court now. We stand ready, willing, and able to help anyone and everyone who needs the same. We are always available via email, telephone, or skype. Whether you decide to stay, or think it's time to leave, ultimately you have a friend in WidgetLaboratory. We are not "going away" anytime soon. In fact, Ning's actions may have been the best thing that ever happened to WidgetLaboratory and you. NOW the Emperor has been shown to be wearing no clothes... and Ning's actions will now face both public scrutiny as well as any resulting litigation or class-action suits that follow in order to restore you all to the position you were in before Friday morning. WidgetLaboratory intends to continue with our promise of 100% satisfaction as stated herein.

We welcome ANY and ALL questions, inquiries, and invitations to discuss the facts and details further. We are an open-book and have NOTHING to hide.

Spencer Forman
CEO & Co-Founder


Pam said...

This is very good guys are superb. I have some questions and will email. Bravo!!!

The Edge said...

So this means we can repost the chat code and it will now work?

Scott Sandland said...

First of all, thanks for all you guys have done and continue to do. I'm sure more details about this news will be coming soon.

A few simple questions many of us have:

1. If we install your code will we get our old settings and info back (like our Supertabs, media now, or Niki info?)

2. If we port out with you, what will that migration be like for our members. As you know, at the end of the day it comes down to them.

3. Will someone run this by Gina and see what she says about her pulling the plug on our personal sites if we use their code?(I was already threatened today that I could be banned and I don't want to push my luck right now)

Thanks to Spence and Mick for changing Ning forever. Whatever happens and no matter what people decide, we all owe you guys a huge thank you for the hand holding, tech genius, and creative solutions you provided when nobody else would. Your work is of the highest quality around.


Jim said...

Evil Genius!

So I'm a little confused.... will your products still work with our ning sites?? And how do we get the coding? What am I gonna do without your whitty voice explaining new If you guys start your own social networking site, I'm there!

In Venice Beach

Loki said...
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Loki said...

OMG, this is the bastard brainchild of Gandhi and Solomon, you guys are AMAZING! What a fantastic solution to this situation, I applaud and thank you with heartfelt reverence.

Ofelia B.G. said...

Let us know wehen we can reinstall your products (and how), we can wait a little more.

Who im is so important, like the chat, i miss super arcade and members map, like birthday party, and smilies...
miss you...
We want you guys back.

John said...
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John said...
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UR Team said...
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G Gekko said...

Ok. To be honest. What can I do have complete control of my destiny. Do I need to just forget Ning altogether and start social network site from scratch or can I use Ning for a while then get my Code. The last think I need is to be held hostage by someone else and their rules and agendas.

I just don't want to be in a situation where all is well and then 6months or a 12months I get banned from Ning for whatever reason. I need complete control!!

Any suggestions folks

Pradeep said...

Hi EG. Thanks for your updates. I wish Ning brings back WL. can you please post the list of widgets you created. When all of a sudden all the widgets are removed, i am still confused and cannot recollect how my website looked like until Friday.

Pam said...

Yes, I'm having that same confusion as pardeep...I think I know which ones I used but I became so accustomed to them that now I don't remember.

Thanks again for some options. Looking forward to learning what's next.

John said...
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John said...
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Zohra said...

I think you guys should start your own similar platform and offer some of your best products as premium services or for a fee or whatever.

I think you guys know how to create such a system and how to run it.

It's so strange that now, aftger all these happenings, ning offeers us 'magically' a chatsystem and maybe an IM while we have been complaining about this for months and months.

Why did a think like this need to happen, just to get a chatroom, they are creating now in just four days and presenting it to the audience this coming wednestday...

Really guys, you need your own 'NING' thing... what better can you offer to your clients then a system that has all these features built in with a click of a mouse, in a manage system... instead of being a 'third party developer'

I believe you guys can achieve a thing like this!

Best regards,

Jincey said...

Best news I've heard in a while. I am very interested in your porting tools as well as safe self-hosting. Can you provide contact information for me to get in touch and discuss pricing on the move?

Anonymous said...

Good luck to your team, you did a good job for sharing your code as open source.

Cheers to you,

Scott Sandland said...

My biggest concern with staying with Ning isn't that they will pull the plug on me. We have all been asking them for these products forever and they provided us with a cooler manage page and "notes".

Once they calm us down will they keep developing widgets and updates for us? I doubt it. If so, what quality will they have?

WL got muscled out of a space in which they were kicking a lot of ass.

I was fortunate that I hadn't started my other networks yet.

Muggzzi said...

Spence -

This response is not only brilliant in its solution - but hits the very heart of the major Ning "flaws" -- ownership, integrity, abuse of control, arrogance, and open source values.

While many people just want to host a simple community - and cannot deal with the technology requirements to build off of an open source model. Many, many of us want a more advanced solution that can more easily integrate with other web-based communications.

Moving to some basic open source cores to build off from -- will allow thousands of site owners to pay for advanced modifications and customizations instead of the primary structure. This makes great sense.

Ning wants to harvest ad revenue from thousands (and hold us hostage) -- rather than drive true quality, community and innovation. The model you describe will finally provide sure footing and affordable customizations for community owners.

I can't wait.

And, I believe today we are witnessing the beginning of the end for Ning. Deep arrogance laid bare.

catriona97 said...

Thanks Guys that's great!

I just read the post where Ning announced that they were starting to add the features they just removed. Does ANYONE find that suspicious other than me??? They haven't done a damn thing in months and all of a sudden they can crank out chat, tabs etc? What a joke! And everyone is sucking it up...YAY Ning! Disgusting. That just contributes to my desire to leave. And as soon as I find an alternative, I will. That fact that they are banning members at Ning Creators is outrageous too. That says a lot about a company!

No one has offered me 6 months free, guess I should scream louder!

Robert Robbins said...

I have no SFTP access to my Ning site. Is this an attempt to block your move?

admin said...

I have no sftp access either and would also be very interested in hearing more about what you are offering, how do we get more info?

Web-Runner said...

me acces to my site with ftp...And also banned from ning creator and developer...

I think that all WL's customers network are looking with attention and perhaps in danger...

My ning is an adult site and in six month they never put the disclaimer...And this morning I have...I think they visit my ning to evaluate????

E.Genius...You are very busy and have no many time...Do you want I create on Six appart a network to us (your customer) where we can easely discut and wait for good news from you ,and where you can inform us???

Team Neoncon said...

Yep - My SFTP is blocked as well. Smooth move on the Open Source access. As on OS dev myself, I suggest you build a completely free (as in beer and liberty) OS NING alternative (ie. BuddyPress) and make your $$$ selling premium add-ons, premium support and/or advertising.

Mark said...

So...give me some details...I just purchased my first widgets a few days ago and then the morons at Ning pull this stunt. I really cannot wait to leave see their faces as they watch the number of networks decrease minute by minute - PRICELESS. Trust is a hard thing to build and they have BROKEN MY TRUST. BYE BYE NING.

Now...let's get started building something GREAT WL!!!

support said...

I´m confused and I don´t really understand their latest announcement.

How does that make it any easier for us ?

If there are a solution for tranferring the members and content from our networks to (I´m sure ) your marvellous new bratislava style network platform I will gladly follow.

I´m getting tired of answering the same questions from my members.

You have my complete trust because you showed me and everyone else what is possible an we want it back!

And never mind the money I spent, I´ll pay you again if you make us all happy.

Sweden needs you ( and Date Bait ):D


Web-Runner said...

I can't stay without answer...I create

A friendly Community to help (as we can )WL to survive ...

I'm not from WL...just an happy customer...Until yerteday ,and the Ning's Crime...

In this Community we can share information ,ideas ,and prepare our response...

I need some volonters to help me in this friendly work...

JEF said...

Ning Networks without WL products are crap. You doing so grt job and your excellent costumer service is so appeciatated. WL Help Desk sort or give a response to a problem in less than half a day when Ning needs 2 weeks !!!!

Expecting to see you again on the net and hope than I will be able to use all purchased products as soon as possible.

I support you WL.

chocophile said...


As Loki pointed out earlier, a solution worthy of "Ghandi and Solomon."

On a more practical level, what does all this mean exactly for me as a NC who is also a WL customer?

The post I am replying to mentions an installation package in the present tense ... can I download it today? Can I install it today? My sites were supposed to go live tomorrow. Obviously there won't be 100% of the content there as I have lost the last 48 hours because of the outage but at least having all of the UI components up is going to be of great help.

You and I discussed privately the concept of a migration tool so I am very, very interested in that when it is ready.

If all goes well, I hope to continue to use WL tools wherever I end up hosting my networks for chocolate lovers, dessert professionals, and pastry and baking students.

:: Clay

kristinthediva said...

uh..I just spent my money to get these widgets and loved them, and was just trying to learn how to use them. What now? I don't understand why ning did me folks!

Super S-- Spence! I miss your site!


SpoonMan66 said...

Any idea when this stuff will be made available?

SpoonMan66 said...

Oh yea and I just bought 2 WL widgets about a week ago. I am royally ticked off at Ning. They showed us where their priorities really lie.

Anonymous said...

Friends, you have not only impressed over the last several days, but your articles have warmed my heart a little bit, ha ha. You have taken this very well... took it in the jaw and stayed standing! Well done.

PolitiPIMP said...

I love revolutionizing the world and believe it is very appropriate to "DEFY THE THING" when need be. I knew you guys were fire starter just like me.

I look forward to downloading the code you provide. You guys have always been great!

Thank you for not falling asleep - like 80% of the world.


AB said...


Thank you for making the source code available for us to install with regards to products already purchased; it is most reasonable of you.

We would like to know how to retrieve the "installation pack" for our company's WL purchases. Please email us at at your earliest convenience.

Thank you,

HUD Foreclosed

diaries of the travelling tandem said...

I would like to find out how to download the source code for ad manager which I purchased.

Thanks in advance,

capt. explorer'd'pirate said...

arrrrrrrrr.... glad you still there... ahm... i'm a lil bit confused... about the "migration", how you do that, and if we do that... the whole site that i used to developed can be transfered as whole together with all its member...

and the "codes"... "unplugged"

anyway thank's matey for not leaving us... whatever you guy'z plan..... THE BLACK PEARL's are in.......

macewan said...

Ning's actions show that customers come last. I'm more hesitant to develop around this platform knowing their prone to such odd behavior.

Guess it's time to look for alternatives. Perhaps that go social site or self hosted packages.

Sad, unpolished and extremely unprofessional.