Sadly, Ning's "only" solution is to save pocket change by nixing their free services. Sadly, the ones that used that service most was the educational community. We turned to them, championed them, and spread the gospel of Ning at conferences, workshops, and in classrooms. And now we - literally - have to split or pay up the pot.
What Ning fails to realize is that we used their service BECAUSE it was free and because our schools couldn't or wouldn't afford to pay for services like it. That same negative cash flow still stands, and so we have no more money now (less money, actually) than before, so if they think they are going to intimidate us into buying the farm, well, sadly, their crops will remain untouched.
This is a total crash and burn for Ning, and the new(ish) CEO should be super proud that he is driving one of the best services straight into the ground.
There are other services, and a smart start up will take over and improve what Ning started. They will do it with less staff and cut the overhead; they will wisely use advertising and Social Networking to their advantage. They will provide FREE service and be rewarded by innovation instead of damnation.
Good Bye, Ning. Don't let the virtual door hit ya...