Ning adds in-browser photo editing to social networks (exclusive)

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Build-your-own-social-network company Ning announced today that it is adding Aviary, a photo-editing tool that works inside a social network’s web browser, to its social networks.

That gives social networks built on Ning a one-up over sites that are built around image sharing, like 4chan or news aggregators like Reddit. It removes the barrier of having to purchase (or pirate) expensive photo-editing applications like Photoshop to modify images and create original content for those sites.

Photo editing is a feature that’s so popular it spawned a new startup from 4chan founder Christopher Poole called Canv.as. That site is essentially a massive image-sharing board that lets users “remix” images with rudimentary photo-editing tools — all from within the web browser. And so far it’s proved to be pretty popular, with hundreds of new, remixed images appearing on the site daily.

“If you look at usage and popular features, photos are right up at the top of the list,” said Ning Chief executive Jason Rosenthal. “And users are really doing both Photoshopping and photo sharing, people are already uploading and sharing photos around the topic of the site.”

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Ning previously eliminated its free product and focused on paying customers. Small groups interested in building a tight-knit social network can pay $3 per month to build one on Ning. Then there are “plus” and “pro” pricing plans that are for larger social networks, which cost $25 and $60 per month. The company has more than 100,000 social networks built on top of its service. More than half of those social networks are either “plus” or “pro” clients.


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