OPTION 1
If you are using a Ning site for K-12 Education, you can request that advertisements be removed permanently from your site. This post provides details. According to the post, Ning sites eligible for ad removal must be geared toward “students between the ages of 13 and 18 (grades 7 – 12.)”

OPTION 2
If your site doesn’t meet those requirements, you alternatively can fork over $20 per month to Ning and have ads removed. This is what our Storychasers nonprofit does on our “Celebrate Okahoma Voices” learning community website built with Ning.

Ning: Add Premium Services - Go Ad-Free

OPTION 3
An anonymous but very tech-saavy little bird today shared the following tip with me. Another option to remove the advertisements from a Ning site you have created is adding the following code to your Ning site CSS page. Access this (when logged into your site as an administrator) by clicking:

MANAGE – APPEARANCE

Click the ADVANCED link under the heading “Now, make it unique.” Scroll to the bottom of the code, hit enter/return to start a new line, and add the following block at the end:

.xg_ads {
height:0px;
width:0px;
display:none !important;
}

Save your additions to the CSS, and ads should be removed from your Ning.

This is a screensnap of my Digital Dialog Ning before I added this custom CSS. Note ads are visible in the right sidebar.

Ning before ad hack (ads are visible)

Here’s a screensnap after this custom CSS was added. Note the ads are gone.

Ning after ad hack (ads are not visible)

For the record, please note I removed this custom CSS from my Digital Dialog Ning after testing it to confirm this method does indeed work. Ning-provided advertisements continue on my free Digital Dialog Ning site.

I am not a lawyer (thankfully) but my cursory scan of the Ning terms of service didn’t reveal any language that would make the addition of this CSS code a violation of the terms. The terms with respect to advertising now read:

On free Social Networks, we have the exclusive right to sell, run and/or serve third-party advertising on your Social Network. If you are a Network Creator, you agree not to include any advertising for anything other than Your Social Network, including ads served via an ad-server service like Google AdSense, in any Social Network, any of Your Code, or Content you provide on Ning. If you pay the Premium Service fees to run your own ads, however, you may include third-party advertisements or sponsorships on Your Social Network. If you run your own ads, Ning will have the option, which we may exercise on notice to you, to offer and display, in partnership with you, all or some of such advertisements on Your Social Network. Ning may establish general policies and guidelines surrounding the running of your own ads (“Advertising Policies”). Any such Advertising Policies are part of this Agreement and are subject to change from time to time.

YOU AGREE THAT NING WILL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE OR LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE OF ANY SORT INCURRED AS THE RESULT OF ANY INTERACTIONS OR DEALINGS WITH ADVERTISERS OR AS THE RESULT OF THE PRESENCE OF SUCH ADVERTISERS ON YOUR SOCIAL NETWORK.

If you are a Network Creator, Ning reserves the right to include promotional links on Your Social Network(s) at no cost to Ning, unless you pay the applicable Premium Service fees to remove promotional links. Removal of promotional links does not include removal of required Ning legal notices and links to Ning Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and Guidelines or any statement indicating that Ning uses Ning ID for authentication upon sign in by Your Network Members.

Of course, like any TOS agreement, these could change tomorrow.

I think the “little bird” I talked to today who provided this tip found this code somewhere online using Google. Interesting this hack is available and possible. Is it legal? I don’t know, but I’m betting we’ll hear some feedback on this in the comments.

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  • Chris Johnson

    Let me begin by saying that I have read your blog for quite a while (though this is my first comment) and I appreciate your posts. However, I think there’s a hidden message in this post that may not be what you hope to convey.

    I would strongly advise those who read this post against using the ad removal “hack”. I say this not because you might get caught or get in trouble, but because it needlessly takes advantage of the people who host your Ning. You’re getting webhosting and access to the software platform they created (both of which cost money) for FREE and with very few restrictions. By removing the ads, you eliminate the only motivation for Ning to offer the service for free. (In biology, we would call it a parasitic relationship). If individuals who visit your Ning do not want to see the ads, there are many oft-traveled ways to remove them.

    To be fair, I have been known to “hack” a thing or two myself when I feel that there is no reasonable justification for something besides greed. Also, in web design, I find “display:none;” to be highly valuable for debugging, preloading, et cetera, but CSS is enabled with Ning so that users can customize their site. If you really want the ads gone, please pay the $20 to get them removed. Just think of the hidden curriculum behind what you are doing if you take a service and software without reciprocating in any way.

  • http://www.techsavvyteacher.com/blog Jason

    I have been known to use a ad-remover or two myself but I would also ask: is it ethical to do so? The web is advertising-based… I think we agree that we need to put up with a certain amount of that when we use free sources…

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