Forget about hiring pricing coders and designers, Ning lets you create and share your very own Web 2.0 sites. Dubbed a “playground” for building social applications, Ning was co-founded by Marc Andreessen, the guy who also co-founded Netscape. Despite a fitful start, Ning has matured into a surprisingly easy and fun service to play with.

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Ning lets you clone and modify a number of existing templates (they call them Apps) that look remarkably similar to many Web leaders (craiglist, eBay, del.icio.us, etc.)

Browsing through their site, you can check out the sites that others have already created (e.g., L.A. restaurant reviews). If you like what you see, you can instantly clone the site and begin to modify it to your fit your own needs.

Here’s one that I created (in only a few minutes mind you, so easy on the critiques) that knocks off craigslist:

The Future of Real Estate Exchange

The value I see here, aside from the fun of just playing around with Ning’s different options, would be to the smaller brokers and independent agents who are looking for something to add to their portfolio of web properties. Someone who has maybe gotten their feet wet blogging or with their own web site and is looking to expand their offerings to clients.

The combination of a blog and a craigslist clone, for example, might help a Realtor market themselves as the leading local market expert on a particular neighborhood.

In any case, it’s exciting to see that these sorts of Web 2.0 web sites are becoming as easy to set up and customize as a blog. The fact that they’re free doesn’t hurt either. Someone with the right combination of vision, drive and gumption might be able to come up with something truly exciting.

Come up with a neat Ning App? Please post the URL in the comments section.

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