I have a client who would like to start a social networking site.
I'm comparing open-source apps first, and found some good ones, but I don't know if they'll be perfect for her needs.
Dolphin with Ray widgets - Looks great, like the professional install availability. Needs VPS at about $39/month.
Elgg - New version coming out in Summer '08. I am wondering how tough the install would be.
Ning - Its easy to use and hosted, but, its expensive if you want all branding and etc. removed. Looks like $33/month if you remove alllll the ways its branded, and there are bandwidth/storage limits.
Features we would really like to have:
1) Membership needed to have access to the site.
2) Easy smooth install.
3) Ability to plug in any html/flash widget/code such as the Ray instant messaging widgets, YouTube videos, Google Adsense, or whatever.
4) As low cost as possible.
I'm leaning toward Ray, but I don't know if it will allow YouTube/Adsense, and don't know how I would set up a membership payment system. The membership payment system is right now my biggest concern with any of these options.
I'm really just starting to look into this, I'd love to hear from anyone who has some guidance.