Ning, a Web company launched by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen that allows users to create their own social networks, said Thursday it was cutting more than one-third of its staff and would begin charging for its services.
Jason Rosenthal, who was named chief executive of the Palo Alto, California, company a month ago, replacing Gina Bianchini, a co-founder of Ning along with Andreessen, announced the moves in a memo to employees.
Rosenthal said Ning would concentrate on the paid premium services which are providing 75 percent of its monthly traffic in the United States.
"We are going to change our strategy to devote 100 percent of our resources to building the winning product to capture this big opportunity," Rosenthal said. "We will phase out our free service."
"Existing free networks will have the opportunity to either convert to paying for premium services, or transition off of Ning," he said.
"As a consequence of this change, I have also made the very tough decision to reduce the size of our team from 167 people to 98 people," Rosenthal added.
Ning claims 43 million registered users and to have been used to create more than two million "Ning Networks."
Ning was launched in October 2005 by Andreessen, founder of pioneering Web browser company Netscape, and Bianchini, who stepped down as CEO a month ago.
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