Ning
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Google Apps
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SocialGo
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37Signals' Basecamp
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ActivelyOut (Current Version and Next Version)
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Zoho
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The Current System
                                   Critera                  Weight                        Comments     ...
Skipped Evaluations
  Platform                                                   Reason
Zazengo         Not really built f...
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Mets Platform Evaluation

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We needed an online platform to share information about our marriage equality projects. I evaluated a bunch, and Ning was the winner.

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Mets Platform Evaluation

  1. 1. Ning Critera Weight Comments Score Weighted Final Score Score out of 100 Members can supply their own metadata. There Quickly create/edit master-list of doesn’t appear to be a way for admins to add/ 10 9 90 members, including affiliation, skills, change metadata for users. and interests Yes -- a new “advanced member search” Search master list by relevant criteria 9 feature allows users to be searched by 10 90 customized profile metadata. Manage Members and admins can create public and Members’ Data Assign members to smaller email lists/ 9 10 90 private groups. sub-committees Groups are relatively easy to navigate Make directory of lists/sub-committees 5 9 45 available to members Robust privacy features, such as invite-only Protect privacy and confidentiality 10 10 100 networks, private groups, and private events. Files can be attached to forum posts. There Provide repository for docs and files isn’t currently a way to create a designated area 9 for docs. But there is a robust manager for 7 63 photos and video. And we could continue to use Google Docs for file sharing. Share Resources Members can interact on forum; docs Allow collaboration where appropriate 8 5 40 themselves cannot be edited online. Docs can be posted to the forum for individual Easily share docs with an entire list/ 7 downloading. Private groups have private 8 56 sub-committee forums. Nothing as good as Meeting Wizard for Coordinate meeting times & keep 8 coordinating schedules. But Ning will manage 9 72 track of RSVPs Coordinate RSVPs. Events Nice options for displaying calendars of events. 8 10 80 Provide calendar of events Yes -- fairly easy to use. One concern is that Ease of use for non-techies 10 there are tons of features, so it may be hard for 8 80 new users to find what they’re looking for. Fairly easy to do. Admin tools are very clear; but Usability Ease of use for admins, particularly 10 again, the sheer volume of features may make it 8 80 when adding/deleting members confusing for new admins. Yes 10 10 100 The ability to have multiple admins Yes -- see here for an example: http:// Provide a simple, outward-facing mototube.ning.com 6 10 60 webpage with basic info about who we Public-Facing are and how people can join or help Representation We can post an email address -- not much else Manage communication from the 4 7 28 in the way of message management. public/journalists Free for most features. If you need more than Cost 8 10GB for storage, $10/month for each 10GB 10 80 block. 131 Aside from a lack of collaboration or messaging tools, Ning has a robust feature set that is easy 88 to learn. In fact, the feature-set is SO robust Totals: 1154 that we would have to be very careful about disabling the things we don’t need, to keep the site from getting cluttered. Platform Evaluation - 1/2/09 1
  2. 2. Google Apps Critera Weight Comments Score Weighted Final Score Score out of 100 Members can supply their own metadata. Quickly create/edit master-list of Admins can add/change some metadata for members, including affiliation, skills, 10 10 100 users. Member accounts can be uploaded in and interests bulk. Not really -- admins can do some searching, Search master list by relevant criteria 9 2 18 but that’s about it. Manage Members’ Data Assign members to smaller email lists/ Yes; admins can add people (anyone -- not just 9 10 90 domain members) to a Google Apps Group. sub-committees This would have to be done manually in a Make directory of lists/sub-committees 5 4 20 document. available to members Robust privacy features. 10 10 100 Protect privacy and confidentiality Docs can be kept internal-only; or they can be Provide repository for docs and files 9 10 90 publicly shared. Share Excellent doc sharing and collaboration tools. 8 10 80 Allow collaboration where appropriate Resources Yes, files and docs can be shared with a group. Easily share docs with an entire list/ 7 10 70 Robust privacy tools. sub-committee Not as useful as MeetingWizard for planning, Coordinate meeting times & keep 8 9 72 Coordinate but Calendar app will keep track of events. track of RSVPs Events Yes; Calendar app is very easy to use. 8 10 80 Provide calendar of events Very straightforward, with some feature-glut. 10 9 90 Ease of use for non-techies Fairly straightforward. Administrative stuff Ease of use for admins, particularly Usability 10 requires some technical knowledge and might 6 60 when adding/deleting members be a little scary for new admins. Yes. 10 10 100 The ability to have multiple admins Yes; flexible tools to do this with Sites. Provide a simple, outward-facing 6 10 60 webpage with basic info about who we Public-Facing are and how people can join or help Representation Admins can manage messages from the public Manage communication from the 4 9 36 alongside all of their other emails. public/journalists Free for Standard Edition. Extra backup/support features for 501(c)(3)s with free access to Cost 8 9 72 Premier Edition. Differentiating all of the various editions is a bit confusing. 131 Excellent email and document sharing tools. Can be a little technical at times for admins. 87 Lots of features may result in some clutter. One Totals: 1138 additional downside: for users who already have a Google account, it may be a little confusing to have to create one more. Platform Evaluation - 1/2/09 2
  3. 3. SocialGo Critera Weight Comments Score Weighted Final Score Score out of 100 Custom metadata can be set up, though I’m a Quickly create/edit master-list of little unclear on what the process is. 10 7 70 members, including affiliation, skills, and interests Yes, under Members/Advanced Search. 9 10 90 Search master list by relevant criteria Manage Good tools for sub-groups. Assign members to smaller email lists/ Members’ Data 9 9 81 sub-committees Looks like this would probably be available to Make directory of lists/sub-committees 5 7 35 view under a tab somewhere. available to members Good control over privacy. 10 9 90 Protect privacy and confidentiality Not yet available; being considered for future Provide repository for docs and files 9 0 0 versions. Share Not available. 8 0 0 Allow collaboration where appropriate Resources Not available. Easily share docs with an entire list/ 7 0 0 sub-committee Pretty good tools for organizing events, Coordinate meeting times & keep 8 10 80 managing RSVPs, track of RSVPs Coordinate Events Yes, but requires some setup. Not all features Provide calendar of events 8 5 40 are in place yet. It looks pretty simple; but since they’re in Beta, Ease of use for non-techies 10 6 60 the site can behave a little unpredictably. Relatively straightforward. Ease of use for admins, particularly Usability 10 7 70 when adding/deleting members Yes. 10 9 90 The ability to have multiple admins Yes, similar to Ning. Provide a simple, outward-facing 6 9 54 webpage with basic info about who we Public-Facing are and how people can join or help Representation We can post an email address -- not much else Manage communication from the 4 6 24 in the way of message management. public/journalists There is a free version and a for-pay version. The for-pay version offers 5GB storage (instead Cost 8 of 1GB) and “better security,” though specifics 7 56 are vague. While it’s in Beta, the premium version is free; later, it’ll be about $20/month. 131 Similar to Ning, but unfortunately it’s still in Beta 64 and a little less out-of-the boxy. Additional user Totals: 840 setup is required, and the online help through Get Satisfaction is pretty limited. Platform Evaluation - 1/2/09 3
  4. 4. 37Signals' Basecamp Critera Weight Comments Score Weighted Final Score Score out of 100 Limited admin control over members’ metadata. Quickly create/edit master-list of 10 5 50 members, including affiliation, skills, and interests Not available. 9 0 0 Search master list by relevant criteria Manage Members can be assigned to “projects.” Assign members to smaller email lists/ 9 8 72 Members’ Data sub-committees Projects can be viewed by members. Make directory of lists/sub-committees 5 8 40 available to members Some privacy tools, but it’s hard to say exactly Protect privacy and confidentiality 10 3 30 what data is shared. Yes. 9 10 90 Provide repository for docs and files No online editing of docs, but it does support Allow collaboration where appropriate 8 7 56 Share versioning. Resources Limited privacy control on files -- members of a Easily share docs with an entire list/ 7 “team” can share docs, including “contractors,” 5 35 sub-committee but they can be hidden from “clients.” Not in Basecamp, but Backpack supports Coordinate meeting times & keep 8 3 24 limited event planning. track of RSVPs Coordinate Events Not in Basecamp, but Backpack supports Provide calendar of events 8 3 24 limited event planning. Moderately challenging. 10 5 50 Ease of use for non-techies Moderately challenging. Ease of use for admins, particularly Usability 10 5 50 when adding/deleting members Yes. 10 10 100 The ability to have multiple admins Not available. Provide a simple, outward-facing 6 0 0 webpage with basic info about who we Public-Facing are and how people can join or help Representation Not available. Manage communication from the 4 0 0 public/journalists Cost 8 Starts at $24/month. 3 24 131 Well-organized, but interface is a bit confusing. 49 Very business-oriented, so the focus on Totals: 645 “companies” makes it a little distracting as a social organizing tool. Platform Evaluation - 1/2/09 4
  5. 5. ActivelyOut (Current Version and Next Version) Comments Critera Weight Comments Score Weighted Final Score Weighted Final (Next Version) (Current version) (1-10) Score Score out (1-10) Score Score of 100 out of 100 There doesn’t appear Planned for next version. Quickly create/edit to be a way to create Not sure how much control master-list of groups of members/ admins will have over 10 0 0 9 members, including 90 contacts. users’ metadata. affiliation, skills, and interests Members of the site Possibly. Search master list by 9 can be browsed; not 1 9 5 45 relevant criteria searched. You can create a Planned for next version. Assign members to public forum thread, smaller email lists/ Manage but that’s the only sub-committees Members’ 9 way I see to narrow a 0 0 10 90 Data conversation to a specific group of people. Not available. Possibly. Make directory of lists/sub-committees 5 0 0 5 25 available to members I can’t find a privacy Strict privacy policy Protect privacy and policy on the site. planned for next version. confidentiality 10 0 0 8 80 Not sure flexible data- sharing will be. Not available. Planned for next version. Provide repository 9 0 0 10 90 for docs and files Not available. Possibly. Allow collaboration 8 0 0 5 Share 40 where appropriate Resources Not available. Possibly. Easily share docs 7 0 0 5 with an entire list/ 35 sub-committee Not available. Possibly. Coordinate meeting 8 0 0 5 times & keep track of 40 RSVPs Coordinate Events Events can be listed More privacy options Provide calendar of in a non-calendar planned for next version. events 8 7 56 8 64 form. All info is public. Relatively easy to Will probably be same. Ease of use for non- use. Some confusion techies 10 8 80 8 80 during sign-up with multiple profiles. Membership- Possibly. Ease of use for Usability management admins, particularly 10 0 0 5 50 functions are not when adding/ available. deleting members Not available. Possibly. The ability to have 10 0 0 5 50 multiple admins Not available. Possibly. Provide a simple, outward-facing webpage with basic 6 0 0 5 30 Public- info about who we Facing are and how people Represent can join or help ation Simple messaging Possibly. Manage available. 4 5 20 5 communication from 20 the public/journalists Free Free Cost 8 10 80 10 80 131 Good for planning Some big updates stand-alone events. planned. Definitely worth 19 69 But the tools for evaluating when we have Totals: 245 909 organizing projects or more details. campaigns aren’t there. Platform Evaluation - 1/2/09 5
  6. 6. Zoho Critera Weight Comments Score Weighted Final Score Score out of 100 Not really. CRM and People apps are more Quickly create/edit master-list of focussed for customers or job applicants. You members, including affiliation, skills, 10 1 10 can create a DB, but it’s not tied to contact or and interests message management. Not available. 9 0 0 Search master list by relevant criteria Manage Not available. Assign members to smaller email lists/ 9 0 0 Members’ Data sub-committees Not available. Make directory of lists/sub-committees 5 0 0 available to members Some privacy features. Difficult to tell exactly Protect privacy and confidentiality 10 4 40 how much info is shared with other members. Docs can be managed in Projects. Files can be Provide repository for docs and files attached to forum posts when you set up a 9 Project. Stand-alone editor for spreadsheets, 3 27 and another for docs. All pretty complicated to use. Share Resources Some collaboration tools, though a bit Allow collaboration where appropriate 8 3 24 confusing This doesn’t appear to be possible -- none of Easily share docs with an entire list/ 7 the apps seem to communicate with each 0 0 sub-committee other. There’s a “Share” app that seems like it can Coordinate meeting times & keep 8 handle events. But it’s so confusing I couldn’t 1 8 track of RSVPs Coordinate figure it out. Events Not available. 8 0 0 Provide calendar of events Tons of features -- pretty intimidating 10 1 10 Ease of use for non-techies Tons of features -- pretty intimidating Ease of use for admins, particularly 10 1 10 when adding/deleting members Usability Possibly with Projects app; though as with all The ability to have multiple admins 10 the other functions, it was too confusing for me 1 10 to figure out. Not available. Provide a simple, outward-facing 6 0 0 webpage with basic info about who we Public-Facing are and how people can join or help Representation Mail accounts are available. Not very easy to Manage communication from the 4 5 20 use. public/journalists Cost 8 Free 10 80 131 18 Totals: 239 Platform Evaluation - 1/2/09 6
  7. 7. The Current System Critera Weight Comments Score Weighted Final Score Score out of 100 A bit time-consuming. Quickly create/edit master-list of 10 4 40 members, including affiliation, skills, and interests Not available. 9 0 0 Search master list by relevant criteria Done manually -- time consuming, potential for Assign members to smaller email lists/ Manage human error. Google Groups helps, but also sub-committees 9 1 9 Members’ Data creates some confusion between group- communication and email-communication. Would have to be done completely manually. Make directory of lists/sub-committees 5 1 5 available to members Depends on everyone’s discretion -- no formal Protect privacy and confidentiality 10 1 10 procedure in place to ensure privacy. Yes, using Google docs; not connected to any Provide repository for docs and files 9 8 72 other tool or procedure. Yes, using Google docs; not connected to any Allow collaboration where appropriate Share 8 8 64 other tool or procedure. Resources Yes, although lists must be set up manually; Easily share docs with an entire list/ 7 4 28 and it’s difficult to share lists. sub-committee Using MeetingWizard for this, which works very Coordinate meeting times & keep 8 well; although it doesn’t connect to any other 8 64 track of RSVPs Coordinate tool or procedure. Events Not available. 8 0 0 Provide calendar of events A little daunting. 10 3 30 Ease of use for non-techies Pretty time-consuming. Ease of use for admins, particularly Usability 10 2 20 when adding/deleting members Yes, but the process is a little unclear. 10 4 40 The ability to have multiple admins Could be done with Google Sites, or just some Provide a simple, outward-facing simple HTML site. 6 7 42 webpage with basic info about who we Public-Facing are and how people can join or help Representation No tools or methods in place to handle this. Manage communication from the 4 0 0 public/journalists Cost 8 Free. 10 80 131 38 Totals: 504 Platform Evaluation - 1/2/09 7
  8. 8. Skipped Evaluations Platform Reason Zazengo Not really built for project-based collaboration, Zazego is more targeted to activism campaigns. It’s possible that as a result of our project, a platform similar to Zazengo will be built; but it doesn’t do the contact management, collaboration, and event planning that we need. Egovern Designed for public communications with elected officials. Not quite right for organizing projects. Golightly Insanely complex; expensive; and details about about how it works are hard to find. Golightly is a tool for massive organizations that have lots of time to invest in customizing a gigantic suite of tools. Even just learning about what it does requires a seminar. Drupal An open-source content-management system, Drupal doesn’t come with the features that we need out of the box. Given some time and expertise, we could build a pretty sweet site -- and in fact, I would advise giving it high consideration for the building of sites in the future. But for right now, we would have to invest too much time in it to get what we need. Sample form Critera Weight Comments Score Weighted Final Score Score out of 100 Quickly create/edit master-list of 10 0 0 members, including affiliation, skills, and interests 9 0 0 Search master list by relevant criteria Manage Assign members to smaller email lists/ Members’ Data 9 0 0 sub-committees Make directory of lists/sub-committees 5 0 0 available to members 10 0 0 Protect privacy and confidentiality 9 0 0 Provide repository for docs and files 8 0 0 Allow collaboration where appropriate Share Resources Easily share docs with an entire list/ 7 0 0 sub-committee Coordinate meeting times & keep 8 0 0 Coordinate track of RSVPs Events 8 0 0 Provide calendar of events 10 0 0 Ease of use for non-techies Ease of use for admins, particularly Usability 10 0 0 when adding/deleting members 10 0 0 The ability to have multiple admins Provide a simple, outward-facing 6 0 0 webpage with basic info about who we Public-Facing are and how people can join or help Representation Manage communication from the 4 0 0 public/journalists Cost 8 0 0 131 0 Totals: 0 Platform Evaluation - 1/2/09 8

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