"We are going to change our strategy to devote 100% of our resources to building the winning product to capture this big opportunity. 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"
It is a measure of the site's opacity and of members' search habits that the main discussion thread on this topic is buried from view here. But there is less excuse for missing the thread two items below, "Drastic changes at Ning", where the link and some limited answers were already posted.
The Admins team are testing alternatives and we wait for the concrete proposals to be made by Ning in the first week of May. We were in any case contemplating a move to premium service in order to avoid the ads. It would not be a huge cost to defray, possibly by voluntary donations from a few members. But we have been discussing an alternative more directly under our control almost from the beginning and this may be a stimulus to change. The frontrunner as an alternative is Buddy Press.
We have already established our own domain at openanthcoop.net which is currently linked to Ning but could easily be divertd to our own server.