Saturday, August 23, 2008


As promised, here is a complete record of correspondence from August 2nd, 2008 through August 22nd, 2008 between WidgetLaboratory and Ning.

Ning has premised their shutdown of WidgetLaboratory solely on the basis of "unduly degrading the performance of the Ning platform." It is our position that there was no warning of any such degrading prior to the termination notice (which was sent after the termination had been completed). Any prior mention of TOS issues had solely to do with whether WidgetLaboratory was entitled to utilize member login information in order to support its customers and products.

Please notice the August 7th communication from Ning to WidgetLaboratory, where there is no warning as to any imminent or future shutdown. The last we heard, Jason Rosenthal was going to be contacting us about "business conversations" on the 15th of September. The next communication from Ning is on August 22nd, where their counsel informs WidgetLaboratory that we have already been shut-down.

Read this document on Scribd: WidgetLaboratory Correspondence with Ning


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear this happened. Your products were so user friendly and so worthwhile for the ning communities. I hope ning reconsiders and actually decides to partner with you and your development team. They would be in a winning situation to offer enhanced products than to take the action they have taken.
I wish you the best in the pursuit. Makes one weary about having a network hosted by another site...yikes!

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...

Dragon Rider said...

I'm very unhappy the ning is not using your product as they were very easy to use.i whish that someone would change there mind.A number of my friends are thinking about going back to yahoo 360.

WorldOfJah said...

thanks for sharing this Spence. Truth is on ur side. Keep up with the good works!

ning is trying to 'buy out' NCs with some 'miraculous' features. I think this was carefully orchestrated, they took you out and now are trying to mimick your ideas.. I mean they have promised a chat for more than a year, and now all of a sudden they will have one up by Wednesday? This is one of the most horrible and treacherous business move ive witnessed recently, and I hope that NCs do not believe what they say when they re suddenly praising ning on the NC forum. I have nothing against Ning but it seems to me they have been really manipulative towards NCs and Widgetlab, especially for anyone who takes the time to read the correspondance uploaded by Spence.
If one reads through this email, one can easily see that Ning was looking for a reason to kick widgetlab. This is obvious, they wanted to, but couldnt find a valid reason to do so. That s why they ve covered it u, so well that two days later everybody is singing NIng's praises. Shameful!
Im happy abt the new features on Ning but this story cant just go under the carpet. Spence has always been nice to everybody and it is not fair that he was treated this way by Ning.
I understand that some of wl widgets caused the platform to slow down and to be buggy, but ning shouldnt have removed them unilaterally. As Spencer said, there were ways to fix things, or at least they could have hired widgetlabs team. And no point investing again in any 3rd party apps, as it can be taken down without any single notice to us (or the widget provider) at anytime of the day. Ning is NOT a platform open to 3rd party developer.

Keep up with the good works Spence, as i said truth in on ur side and nothing can beat this. looking forward for ur next move.

Dave said...

There are two weeks with no correspondence. Was there no communication or just no e-mails?

Spence..the one thing for the spirit of being open, is that you guys clearly had some discussion that there were issues with you and the Ning platform prior to the 22nd. That appears to be what the entire email chain prior to the 22nd was about. You've been saying there was no warning, but this seems to indicate certainly the relationship was dissolving weeks ago, including mentions of discontinuing being a third party provider well before the 22nd.

Ofelia B.G. said...

I think they Ning sould buy you all the products and sell us directly, or maybe work together with you, is a shame that they doing this like that way.

All of widgets Lab clients need you, you made our netwoks better, and all of us have a different products of you, we make it more personal, ning now is just one more of the plataforms that give the opportunity of create a network, you give the difference.

Hope they reconize soon that they need your work as we need you.

They say that they would work in a chat now, i think they sould think in all of us at first, and have products ready when they to turn off your network, because we are angry about this dessicion.

WidgetLaboratory said...

In answer to Dave's question... there were no communications of any kind (email or phone) regarding Terms of Service violations. It was all related to business as usual.

The point we believe is brought forward in the correspondence is that any discussion relating to TOS was ONLY to do with whether we were entitled to ask for login information for any customer that was requesting help, and nothing at all to do with Network "degrading" issues.

Ning is not claiming that we were terminated for any issues relating to asking for login to assist customers, only for Network issues. They offer no explanation as to why they didn't simply act as we have been during the last eight months and suggest what if any "load" required attention.

When or "if" Ning ever releases (or is forced to release) their proof of Network loads, we are comfortable that this will demonstrate conclusively that the motives for terminating WidgetLaboratory were anti-competitive.

The two weeks were during Ning's "meltdown maintenance upgrade" period. During this time they were working on overhauling their back-end, and we suggest that they took this opportunity to direct blame and remove WidgetLaboratory. We saw no unusual behavior, loads, or customer complaints from our end prior to the 22nd of August.

RecruiterGuy said...

Sorry, WidgetLaboratory... I was using a few of your products and getting ready to purchase a few just days before this happened. But I fear that you may have been better off keeping that email volley under wraps.

The tone from WL from the beginning is quite aggressive and does have a 'conspiracy' tone about it. Unless there are emails prior or conversations that aren't mentioned - and I hope there are - the volley makes WL look VERY demanding and really high maintenance.

I was hoping the emails would show the exact opposite as I love rooting for the 'little guy' and have a few favorite networks that were reallllly benefiting from your widgets.

Keeping my fingers crossed for you that something can be worked out that is both professional and good for all involved.
Good luck!!

Dave said...

Yeah, I have to agree with this. The tone of these e-mails is the opposite of what I expected. There are just so many demands, and 'to wit' and a bunch of wording that if I were Ning I'd clearly think WL was the aggressor and then some.

It is clear in many of the emails that Ning was warning WL about some things and WL's responses back were harsh and aggressive. Really it should be on WL to work within the framework of Ning, including updates, without expecting any hard core assistance or support from Ning.

There appear to be quite a few warnings weeks before this happened on Friday that there was a chance, if not an outright likelihood, that Ning was going to discontinue any relationship/permission of WL to continue to operate. While I'm sure the action itself may have been surprising in terms of timing, it in itself doesn't look like it should have been a surprise.

Just my opinion here, but ... I don't think the release of these documents if you really read through them does anything to help the impression of WL here.

darkena said...

its a bad sign but ning is the culprit.. ive seen numerous posts on WLs clients bad experience was deleted in Network Creators. Proof? try and post on the WLs issue related, when u receive email someone has replied, try checking all of them, few will point you to NC main page.. If they are transparent, if Spence is the bad guy, why don't give him a chance to speak and clarify, why delete negative comments and leave all the 'Ning is so great !'..

We need to get out Ning and smoothly migrate our users and content somewhere else..

They just blocked access to sftp n webdav because on an excuse that suspicious activity going on. They disabled Php function in the Tracking box and try to patch them?

I found it funny, how can a single site get 3 vulnerabilities at 1 time, Php? Sftp? and Webdav? Those are 3 different but related protocols. If the vulnerability is in PHP theres no point in blocking SFTP and Webdav.

Theres so many lies, cover up k.

catriona97 said...

I completely agree with World of Jah and Darkena. Too many suspicious things going on. And the masses are falling for their "look over here at the shiny coin" routine to see they are being screwed.

It does look like to me that Ning was looking for an excuse. I had numerous WL products and never experienced any errors. The only downtime I remember was a 2 hour period in the last week and that to me was no big deal. Nor did my site run slow. Ning's excuses don't fly with me.

Kurt Iverson said...

I would have to agree with a few of the comments. WL looks to be aggressive, but I can see their point. There was a lack of tact in their responses. But Ning made it pretty clear what kinds of problems they were experiencing and seemed like they wanted to move forward as long as WL could release some of its hostility. However, I still think Ning handled the shut down poorly. It becomes a battle of He Said/She Said and without knowing the type of relationship from day 1, it's hard to pick a side now.

Iconoclast said...

Is the Ning beheading of WL just a little karma you brought upon yourself, Spence?

Spencer You Got What You Deserved said...

You showed yourself to be an agresesive bully trying to Lord it over NCs a long time ago.
The extent of your arrogance has been further laid to bare buy you actually believeing that such a one-sided attempt at bullying a very professional and reasonable Gina would be met by raptures of applause.
You have berated long time customers, people that found fault with your products and anybody that basically did not choose to walk the party line with you.
Your attitude is befitting if a 2nd hand car salesman rather than the 'CEO and Founder' of whatever your comapny was called.
Your gane is up you utterly reprehensible little man.
Sure we can see that Gina made some mistakes, but she presented herself as a professional businesswoman at ALL times in the face of your bile.
If your blind arrogance led you to think this was the master ace up your sleeve then let me agree with you. It was - an ace up the sleeve for Ning. There are a couple of us that are aware that you continued to ask for member logins and PINs etc even as recent as less than 10 days ago. You are bluffing your way through all this and dragging an ever decreasing support along for the ride. When they find out that you have been emailing members of networks where's your support going to be then? You had a good ride while it lasted but we are glad Ning outted you. Go paint your porch and reflect on how much rosier this would all be if you didn't take your high school bully tactics to the boardroom.
Call me?

william said...

How do I get in contact with you guys? Its vital.

DC13yers said... supports freedom of speech and every other kind of freedom too and will support WL, let's hold Ning accountable, we demand our free speech and refuse to live in fear!

samanthaCent said...
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Cent said...

As a development company for a number of Ning Networks, this was handled poorly. It is apparent that there was much hostility in the emails from Spence to Ning. I applaud Gina for being extremely professional in her responses. While we do not truly know the extent of the conversations, its apparent that this is not something that just developed.

While the removal of WL from Ning could have been handled a little bit more delicately, I don't completely know the true relationship there.

Being anti-competitive seems like a long shot. Ning has over 200k networks and WL was used on 2k of them. It would have been rather simple for Ning to create similar functionality in a matter of weeks, launch it as part of an update (which are free), and they would instantly reach about 95% of the networks there. It wouldn't be prudent to create this much of a sh*t storm for no reason.

John said...
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John said...
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John said...
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Web-Runner said...

It seem as many meople are very happy with the WL's ban fom Ning.

I'm not from WL but I think this place is to inform WL's customers and for theire numerous friends to comment and help as they can the WL team...Not to give lesson of jealusy and laugh misfortune of others

I don't know what exactly hapen between WL and Ning ,and it's not my problem...

I just take care of the LIBERTY

Roni said...


Spencer I think you should create your platform, call it SING and I'll move my community over. ;~)

I'm so sorry this happened to you and I appreciate ALL you do and continue to do. said...

I was reading your correspondence with the Ning people. I had the impression that the tone of Widgetlaboratory's language is quite demanding bordering on arrogance.

Rob said...

Wl's products were great and I used a bunch.were easy and well designed. I always felt however that WL was "thumbing their noses" at Ning a bit though. They were comming out with better products in faster time. Who's right, who's wrong - I don't know and frankly don't care. Move on.