We have been patiently waiting for Ning's legal counsel to inform us as to what part of Ning's Terms of Service were violated. We have thusfar only received a "canned" response, as enumerated below. We have, however, had some time to carefully review and consider all of the points of view that have been expressed on the Ning Forums, TechCrunch, and other places. We believe that it is important to clarify a number of issues:
Since WidgetLaboratory is not publicly funded, does not have anyone to account to other than our customers, and is prepared with documentation to demonstrate that the facts are on our side, we believe it time to provide answers where none are otherwise forthcoming from Ning. To wit:
1) Each and every time that Ning suggested that any of our products had required "attention" on our part, WidgetLaboratory immediately provided a solution that was received cooperatively by Ning and solved the issue. Since the very first widget we created in December of 2007, Ning has had the ability and taken full advantage of being able to reach us at a moment's notice. Each and every time they needed assistance or required a modification to our code, we made the changes in compliance. In sum, Ning has ALWAYS been able to get full reliance, compliance, and subordination from WidgetLaboratory to ensure that our products have no negative impact on their network whatsoever;
2) WidgetLaboratory has been extremely protective of all client and customer relationships and preservation of private information. There has been some speculation that we violated some Terms of Service that relates to customer data or privacy. THERE HAS BEEN NO SUCH CLAIM MADE BY NING. The ONLY claim made by Ning's Legal counsel at this time, as would form the basis for our removal, was that our products had "unduly degraded the performance of the Ning platform." There is no other claim of wrongdoing, at all, and there never has been any wrongdoing...particularly of that nature;
3) Unlike the last eight or more months, in this case Ning made no effort at all to contact WidgetLaboratory to inform us that we were having any negative impact on the performance of their networks prior to their sudden termination. Despite having been developing products on Ning since December of 2007, and dozens of personal phone calls and emails to us at all hours, in this case Ning provided NO WARNING WHATSOEVER that WidgetLaboratory products were having a negative impact as would cause Ning to remove us entirely. More relevant, Ning cannot demonstrate that our products had any negative impact in this case because there is no proof to be found;
4) Ning's means and method are demonstrative of bad faith motive. Even if one were to speculate for a moment that there were a "network" reason for TEMPORARY removal of a product from the Ning network, because of a major degradation...that does not explain whatsoever why Ning has PERMANENTLY removed WidgetLaboratory without any opportunity to correct these alleged problems. Given the magnitude of the damages to Ning Site Creators caused by Ning's unilateral decision today, common sense dictates that Ning would have simply asked us to remove any product or products that were causing any issues, and then allowed us to restore these as soon as any alleged code problems were resolved. Instead, Ning completely removed all WidgetLaboratory contacts with the Ning network, banned our Executive Team from the use of their network via IP Blocking, has taken down our personal recreational websites (such as Trikepilot.com), and has otherwise today blocked or deleted or banned anyone who has made any post at the Ning forums that would convey the other side of the story. This extremely "unusual" behavior is not indicative of a company that is acting in "good faith" to keep their networks operational. We allege that it was punitive, calculated, and designed to remove WidgetLaboratory, a company that was providing a popular service on their network. Ironically, a service that seemed to have generated more positive publicity and use of Ning than any other source of publicity;
5) Gina Bianchini is suddenly "silent". The strong-willed woman who stood up to Michael Arrington and told him where to go... is now suddenly unwilling or unable to provide any facts to support Ning's claims that WidgetLaboratory was doing anything wrong? Her silence on this subject speaks volumes. Our only reason for not publishing the full documentation of our position at this very moment is our belief that "discretion" will allow us to reach an an amicable resolution of this matter with Ning that restores our customers' products and functionality immediately. Such a resolution would help to mitigate the damage and losses already caused by Ning's unilateral actions this morning. We have expressed to Ning's counsel that a more appropriate resolution of this matter would have been, and still should be, the restoration of WidgetLaboratory and its products to the Ning network while a more "long-term" solution is worked-out. Such a solution would protect the CUSTOMER above all other interests, as it should be;
6)Where is the regard for the customer? Talk is cheap. True support and dedication to your customer base are not. Ning has over one hundred million in Venture Capital by their own reporting. WidgetLaboratory had no funding whatsoever. Nevertheless, with only a handful of employees, WidgetLaboratory was able to elevate itself to a position of supporting more than five thousand of Ning's largest networks with a dozen or more highly-valued products. We further had more than one million Ning members utilizing our Who-IM and Chat products, which were moved to our own Cloud servers back in January in order to avoid causing any load on Ning's framework. We have built our company and reputation on being THE BEST at CUSTOMER SERVICE and creating NEEDED products.
Were this not a fact, we would not have "earned" the attention of Ning, nor would we have garnered their backlash this morning. In our opinion, WidgetLaboratory proved to be a threat and a slight embarrassment to Ning because we provided the products that Ning's customers so desperately wanted and needed. Despite our documented efforts to integrate ourselves into Ning's corporate structure, our numerous personal conversations with Gina and her staff asking them to consider working directly with us, and innumerable changes to our code to ensure full compliance with Ning's "architecture", we were always treated with a degree of hostility. The reasons for this are now clear.
Whether you used our products or not, WidgetLaboratory provides a much-needed service on Ning and fills a void that has remained from Ning's "reincarnation" in 2006. We stand ready and willing to be judged in both the court of Public Opinion as well as a court of Law. More reasonably, however, we ask that Ning reconsider it's recent action and restore our products to our mutual customers before any further damage is done from loss of the same. There is no factual basis for any claim that our products have an adverse effect on their network that cannot be resolved in a matter of minutes or hours, should we be afforded the same opportunity that we have been over the last eight months.
CEO and Co-Founder