My Final Xanga Update: After over a “Year’s Silence”, Xanga Finally Opens its Mouth and Sings its Swan Song

September 9th, 2013, was the last mass update provided by the “XangaTeam” when they went over to the “new” Xanga 2.0 “WordPress” format. After that,..silence….and more silence.

Unanswered were questions running through the mind of many- here are a few:

1) Why is Xanga 2.0, which is costing $48/yr, operating with less functionality and features than free WordPress?

2) What happened to the “Front Page” and other user and community friendly features Xanga 1.0 had?

3) When can we expect to see improvements to restore all the community centric features of Xanga 1.0?

4) if Xanga 2.0 is on the WordPress platform, why is it still shut off from the rest of the blogging community so that not even free WordPress users can leave comments?

5) I thought you guys said Xanga 2.0 was going to keep all the community features as “1.0” and would be a better deal than the free blogs like Blogspot and WordPress?

 

Days, weeks, and months passed by with nary a peep from Xanga as to what their status was and what they were doing. NOT ONE WORD. The only one saying anything was the volunteer Xanga helper EdLives who did his best to provide a positive spin to the situation.

During this time, the subscription clock was running – meaning folks were being charged to blog on a site that looks like the pre alpha version of free WordPress.

What was delivered was NOT what was offered – a new site that would have all the rich community features that made Xanga 1.0 stand out from the rest. People were NOT told the system they had pledged money to would be a bare bones version of free blogging sites and would remain in that state until further notice.

People wondered if Xanga had pulled a “bait and switch” and had taken the near $70 grand of crowdsource moula just for their own amusement.

After a year of silence the “volunteer cheerleader” EdLives mentioned that he had finally been able to communicate with Xanga CEO John and that an update would be forthcoming.

That statement became a reality on October 1 when The XangaTeam blog finally issued an update. Let’s review this update line by line to fully understand what it means…

Before I begin, remember what Xanga 2.0 was marketed as – having the SAME community features as Xanga 1.0. A direct quote from an update from them last year:

Community

Whenever anyone asks me what Xanga is all about, I always answer: “blog community.” To me, that’s what makes the site fun: you can blog, and there’s a community of people generally excited to read your posts (and vice versa).

I know a lot of people who have tried other blogging platforms, and they’ll often say that they feel they’re publishing into a vacuum… and that nobody is reading their blogs. We’re working to keep that warm community feeling on Xanga… so that when you post, your subs can quickly and easily chime in with a comment. (As part of that, we’ll be importing every single login over – along with all subscriptions/friends – so that your subs can continue to read your posts even if they’re not blogging on Xanga 2.0).

We’re incredibly excited about using the WordPress platform, as the publishing software is incredibly powerful. As we adapt it for use for Xanga 2.0, we’re working to make sure that all that power is combined with the warm fuzzy feeling of Xanga community love as well.”

 

Also, they noted that they would be more communicative going forward with the arrival of Xanga 2.0, with the community playing a greater role in guidance and control. The year of silence appears to contradict that notion however.

Anyway, EdLives’ answer to mine and others complaints about this lack of response was that we didn’t have all the info to justify our criticism and when the John’s update came to light, all would make sense. You can be the judge if this is the case. Here we go (my comments in blue)….

_________________________________

Update

We want to thank everyone for being there for us.  Without your involvement, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Here are a few of the things that we’ve been working on over this past year:

* We built out a new server system, and migrated thousands of websites over to the new servers
* We fought off ongoing DDOS and brute password attacks that were slowing the site down
* We’ve made further upgrades to our server setup over the past six months, to use new more powerful servers as they became available.
* We’re planning one more server upgrade later this year, to take advantage of better and cheaper server systems that have become available.

(These hardware updates are nice, but this is the “back end” stuff- the stuff that is invisible to the customer, the blogger. For the PAYING customer, the more important items would be front end stuff like the user interface along with user features and operations.)

One area where we’ve dropped the ball is providing updates on all of the above.  Initially we were fighting off the DDOS attacks, and didn’t want to tip off our attackers on our progress.  So we focused on talking to our users one at a time, through our email support and help forums.

 (So this is their excuse for over  a YEAR of SILENCE? They act like no other company has to deal with “denial of service attacks”. Newflash- it happens to just about ALL major internet entities such as Facebook, Google, Blogspot, Amazon, and a host of other popular internet companies. It’s nothing new.

Besides that, how on earth do they think that justifies ZERO updates for a YEAR? They didn’t want to “tip off” the attackers?  What does that have to do with any upgrades or new hardware purchased? And if this were the REAL reason for lack of updates, why not just state that as a simple update – that they are dealing with internet attacks without going into any details?

Two Words: LAME EXCUSE

IMO: They should just admit this was a screw up with no decent excuse and fully ACCEPT the blame rather than try to deflect it.

On to the next LIE – they focused on talking to users “one at a time”? I guess all the folks saying their emails and attempt at contacting Xanga went unanswered must be hallucinating…)

But more recently, we’ve largely defeated the ongoing DDOS and password attacks.  The site has been up and stable, and we’re gearing up to make the further upgrades mentioned above.  We’ll be providing more regular updates and communication, both on this blog and also on our Facebook page.

(The site may be stable, but it still has subpar functionality than that of free blogging sites. And didn’t they ALREADY say last year that they would be updating more? Xanga needs to learn that WORDS are CHEAPACTION Counts.)

 So we’re working to communicate more regularly, and to start building the community teams that we mentioned earlier.

(As in a YEAR ago before they collected the funds and went silent)

First up: we’ve asked Joel of edlives.xanga.com to serve as a community liaison.  You can reach him at his blog at edlives.xanga.com, or through Xanga’s facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/xanga.  We will have a regular call with Joel to discuss feedback and ideas.

(Uh, really? Isn’t this what he was doing ALREADY? The only difference now is you are making it “official”?)

We’re also going to be working together to pull together a list of other areas where we could use help.  If any come to mind, please let us know and we’ll discuss it with Joel in our next call!  And as a thank you for sticking with us, we’re offering 6 months of free blog hosting to all of our paid members.  Just email Eugenia at help@xanga.net, and she’ll add it the extra months to your account!

 (So lets see- in return for one year of horrible blogging conditions with no updates that whole time, the reward to the diehards is 6 more months of broken website? Really? Even worse is folks who want this offer will have to request it as it isn’t being given out automatically.

Let’s take a moment to think about this- Xanga hasn’t updated for over a year – so most folks that did pay for subs have no idea there is a new Xanga update and a free six month offer. Why not just extend everyone’s sub by six months automatically? Oh yeah, if they did that, some folks who would have PAID another $48 to blog may put off doing that.

So it’s okay to leave paying users in the dark for over a year on a subpar blogging site, but it’s NOT OKAY to extend them the additional time automatically, because making money is more important, got it.)

Thank you for sticking with us over the past year.  We’re looking forward to working together to build Xanga in the coming year.

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

That was it with no mention of any restoration of ANY of the community features of Xanga 1.0.  This was it after a year of silence.

So was EdLives right? Does the above “update” adequately explain the year plus long silence and massively degraded service so that prior complaints were not justified?

 

To me the update did explain quite a bit- it made it CRYSTAL CLEAR that Xanga is finished and “Xanga 1.0” is history, not to be duplicated by anything Xanga offers for the foreseeable future.

It’s crystal clear that any business sense Xanga had at the beginning of its existence has left the building long ago. The first and most important rule in any business is that CUSTOMERS COME FIRST. You MUST do what it takes to convince new people to pay for your service and current customers to continue paying.

Imagine if Facebook, Google, or Amazon decided to offer extremely subpar service for an ENTIRE YEAR. Do you think they would still retain their customer base, or would the vast majority of folks migrate to other companies? And those are FREE sites! But Xanga thinks charging people for a service inferior to free blogging sites, and ignoring their customer base is the ticket to success.

The reality of the situation is Xanga already lost most of their users when they decided to put up a pay wall. Then they lost many of the folks who paid to blog during the continued poor functionality of their “new” Xanga 2.0 site. Now the 1 year subs are expiring and there is no incentive for anyone to continue to pay to blog under such poor conditions.

Xanga needed to restore the community features ASAP and they FAILED MISERABLY and don’t seem the least concerned about it.

There are so few people left that there’s little hope for any type of recovery and more subs expiring will be the final nails in the coffin.

If people want to restore the old “Xanga Style Community”, it will have to be done elsewhere without Xanga’s “help”.

In summary, this is my response to Xanga CEO John’s latest “Update“:

 

 

RIP Xanga 1.0 you deserved to go out better than this.

 

 

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27 thoughts on “My Final Xanga Update: After over a “Year’s Silence”, Xanga Finally Opens its Mouth and Sings its Swan Song

  1. I always knew, they were just trying to cheat people out of money as their last hur rah. If they really cared, they would have left it as is. Glad I didn’t give them a penny.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. so sad. I really miss Xanga,but I am glad I stuck to my guns and left and didn’t pay. I could see how poorly run it was, and how quickly it was going downhill. They didn’t care about their loyal users, and turned their backs so long ago. Sadly, I do miss the community, and wordpress is definitely lacking in that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What the Xanga team did was ethically wrong, if not legally wrong, too, I would think. Hope the team enjoyed their bonus pay given from the generosity of so many who hoped to continue receiving a service they had paid for. It was handled in the shabbiest, most deplorable way possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My initial thought was just gross incompetence, which would have been disappointing, but “okay” if they were a free site not asking folks for money- but they crossed major ethics and possible legal lines asking for donations and promising a product they failed to deliver and the arrogance to ignore the community for a full year once they got their pledge funds.

      Then they have the gall to say “Tell us what you want to see” in their latest update when they should know already folks want to see what was originally promised – a Xanga 1.0 community look and feel.

      Like

  4. I did notice that they went conspicuously silent after my husband filed a fraud report against them with the FBI fraud division due to the funny business with the fundraiser to begin with. He’d included various back and forth between myself and Eugenia where she was convincing me to not only forward the confirmation of my payment but ALSO my personal Paypal info. When I had questioned her about why my personal info was needed, it was “To verify your identity”. It was after that we filed against them for fraud and I didn’t give them a penny.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Companies that fail to adapt, to grow, and to take care of their customers will always fall. Some more quickly than others. I’ve seen this with a few companies now. My father’s is a very old one. In the good days they expanded could barely keep up. When times got rough and competition started thinking outside the box trouble began. For years I’ve told him the company should modernize, utilize advertising and social media, even offer older employees computer training. Things have been so bad the layoffs will soon come — but not before of course they hire a consulting firm to investigate doing the very things I’ve said for years. -__- Xanga lacks any ethical sense and innovative thinking. What was done to its users was spineless and cowardly, and it literally boggles my mind how anyone could continue to support it. I still feel there is a real need/market to incorporate some of the fast messages of aspects like facebook/twitter, social community functions like the Xanga of old, and the seriousness of blogs like wordpress all in one. If they did that people would flock in droves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Biz Stone clearly must have been the true brains of the show since he moved on to bigger and better things while Xanga stagnated and made misstep after misstep.

      I think one of the problems that can plague non proactive companies like Xanga and your father’s is the “If it aint broke, don’t fix it!” mantra where they ignore the winds of change until they are behind the eight ball and have to struggle just to catch up.

      Xanga had a whole community to get help from and ignored them except as a source of cash.

      Xanga was happy to milk the cow dry without making any real effort to keep modernizing while others did, and got left behind as their biggest stars like Wong Fu and Michelle Phan moved on and took their traffic with them.

      I’m also amazed at the folks that are still supporting them after all this, but the bloom is definitely off the rose…. for those left, their enthusiasm is much less than it was a year ago….and will surely drop lower once the next wave of people leave as their subs expire.

      I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop in the form of a lawsuit for breach of trust.

      “I still feel there is a real need/market to incorporate some of the fast messages of aspects like facebook/twitter, social community functions like the Xanga of old, and the seriousness of blogs like wordpress all in one. ”

      True. I think the odds are high the hole left by Xanga will be filled in time by one of the current blogging sites as they continue to evolve. It would also be awesome if Xanga wound up giving up their code to open source and let users have real control over its direction- but we know that will never happen since they are too cheap to even grant their current users a six month extension unless they formerly request it.

      Like

    • The real problem is they won’t admit it’s over, but will happily string along anyone who wants to believe AND shell out money to sub. It would have been better to just have a closing down party last year than continue in this zombie state.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What the Xanga team took was so intensely personal, it was a community, a family of sorts, and meant a lot to me and others. It would have hurt to see it end, but to offer hope and take money to keep it going? So wrong. I wish there was a legal way to get back the donations to those who gave in good faith that it would be used as promised.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You inspired me to go leave a nice, novel-length comment over on that page. Not that anyone will actually read it, but I did it anyway.

    I couldn’t help but vent about the whole situation. I agree with everyone here–it was wrong, plain and simple. Xanga did everyone dirty. I’m one of the lucky ones who wasn’t able to afford to pay, and now I’m glad of it. Now, even if I could afford it, I wouldn’t go there. I feel sorry for the people who bought into the lies, including Joel, who seemed like such a nice guy. Seems to me Xanga cheated him just like they cheated everyone else.

    What pissed me off the most about the whole thing was the fact that (1) they chose to move my best friend’s blog over to 2.0 but not mine, (2) they did it without even informing her of the change–I had to tell her about it, and (3) after they moved her blog, we could no longer comment on each other’s posts, and we were supposed to be able to do that whether we had Xanga or free WordPress. So in order to just be able to do what we used to be able to do on Xanga 1.0 with no problem, we both had to start over with entirely new blogs on an entirely different site. (She tried free WordPress and hated it, so we both chose Blogger as our Xanga replacement.)

    Sorry for turning this comment into a novel as well. I didn’t realize I was that upset about it. But yeah. The whole thing is just sad and ridiculous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure at the heart of it is the fact that it looks like they bit off more than they could chew and the prospect of converting a WP platform to be like Xanga 1.0 look/feel is much more difficult than initially thought. But the fact that they aren’t being upfront about it and ignoring their PAYING customers is where they cross the line from just incompetent to unethical and in the worst case, illegal.

      EdLives can no longer play “innocent victim” when he continues to go along with Xanga’s wishes and put positive spins on the situation despite the fact that the community has been dissolved for over a year, so at this point what they essentially have is a vacated site as the vast majority moved on. both he and Xanga heavily marketed “Xanga 2.0” as having the same level of community features as “1.0” and being worth the subscription fee. What was delivered was something that operates far below free WordPress and other free blogging sites, and they have presented no timetable on when that will change. What makes Xanga truly look guilty is the fact they are still charging people for subscriptions rather than automatically extending them until they upgrade the software to perform as promised.

      I never paid for a sub because I didn’t believe having a pay wall would work, but I never imagined they would pull a bait and switch. It makes me sorry I donated anything at all to their campaign. I can’t imagine what those who bought multiple memberships must be feeling.

      Like

    • It’s Bizarro world over there, where the “victims” are blamed instead of the rotten service of the company. Deliver horrible service, then expect the “paying” customer to have the burden of making things right. Not really a great business model for success.

      Like

  8. Well, I guess the customers are supposed to pay AND do the work :/ —what a joke.

    I requested an additional 6 months. My one year was up (someone had donated one of their yr long memberships to me) i just randomly went to the site to see what was new (LOL – TOTALLY wasn’t expecting anything) and saw the 6 month deal.
    I do still get daily comments on my stuff if I post, but I’ve pretty much moved all of that personal blogging stuff over to LiveJournal – my first blog ever 🙂

    Like

    • I think it’s absurd that folks even have to request the extra six months rather than make it automatic- but “absurdity” seems to be their current focus- such as their non employee “spokesperson” ranting about folks complaining about the glaring deficiencies of Xanga 2.0, as if they are out of line after well over a year of broken website.

      I won’t hold my breath with expecting any major upgrades taking place over there anytime soon, when they take over a year for just a standard update. To be fair, the latest “timely” update “only” took about 7 weeks.

      Livejournal has good community features. I did a review of free blogging sites last year and they were part of the list:

      http://soullfire.xanga.com/2013/07/06/alternative-free-websites-review/

      It’s a good alternative now with the passing of Xanga 1.0. I noticed they now have multiple options for leaving comments from other social network sites, which is a plus. If “1.0” had that feature, that would have helped greatly with driving up Xanga’s shrinking traffic.

      Like

  9. ps- WordPress INSISTS on defaulting to another wordpress account I have even though I have logged out and cleared cache.. grrrr *shakes fist at wordpress* – this is from terraspiritus.ca — at Xanga i’m godisinthewind.xanga.com

    Like

    • Haha, yes, I’m all too familiar with some of the curious “quirks” or “features” of WP that make me scratch my head. 🙂 At least your username made it clear who you were. By the way, when I saw the avatar, I thought that was a pic of you in your Halloween costume. 🙂

      Like

  10. Pingback: Xanga 2.0 Celebrates its “2.0” Anniversary With Eerie Silence | Soullfire

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