Xanga 2.0 Celebrates its “2.0” Anniversary With Eerie Silence

Xanga undead

 

It’s now been two years since Xanga converted to the WordPress based system with the help of about $70K from their supporters:

Xanga_Crowdhoster

 

So what is the status of the site at the 2+ year mark? Well, you won’t find it from any official Xanga update from their site– there have been no updates provided since Feb  11, 2015:

Here is the list of the previous number of official updates from Xanga since the switch to “2.0”:

(September 6 2013 – September 30, 2014) – Over a YEAR of silence

(This update was more of a blurb than something to justify a year in a vacuum. My complete thoughts here.)

(More of the same back office updates)

That’s just 5 updates for a span of over two years.

At no time do they provide any CUSTOMER DRIVEN updates such as:

  1. When will the front page be restored?
  2. What is the schedule for community feature restoration?
  3. Why are features promised “out of the box” not yet available?
  4. How can I contact a user on followers lock?
  5. When will we get the “Xanga” we enjoyed back?

The lack of updates would raise eyebrows even if it were still a free blogging site. As Xanga took close to $70K in pledge money and is now charging $48/yr for their service, the situation stands out glaringly- especially knowing they’ve been told numerous times that regular communication is most desired by their customers.

Broken-Friendship-Quotes-apihyayan

In terms of current status the review I wrote at the 1 year mark will suffice since not much has changed since then.

The “Community Based” Xanga that everyone enjoyed and appreciated ended with the shutdown of Xanga 1.0 and has yet to be reinstated on Xanga 2.0, despite all the promises made.

It should be abundantly clear to all that any hope to restore the old community is long past. Many People who would have continued to blog on Xanga have stopped altogether and those who still blog have moved on to other free platforms. Any excitement or momentum from the conversion to “2.0” has been lost long ago. The site now being “promoted” for latest member updates is facebook as Xanga has lost its front page since the conversion to 2.0.

The thing that bothers me most is the sense of injustice that Xanga has done for all the people that worked so hard for them to be able to update to Xanga 2.0. So many people were disappointed and have moved on- and all the while Xanga makes no apologies or updates on what their completion schedule is. To take money from people as well as charge them for services that are available on other sites for free, and still feel they don’t need to provide any type of regular updates is beyond the pale of customer disrespect.

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So when the official appointed liaison  EdLives (Joel) blogged about Xanga on August 12, which turned into another defense of Xanga’s current condition despite being into two years of this mess, I felt compelled to set the record straight with the true reality of the situation. That led to my original posted comment being “held for review”, my accusation of being censored, and all the brouhaha that followed.

Some may have the opinion that I’ve been overly harsh in my critique and response to EdLives’ posts. I believe he has confused his job responsibilities. As a liaison, you mutually represent two or more parties in their communication. However, he wasn’t doing this. Instead, as mentioned by Kamikaze_Zealot, he was really taking on the role as Xanga’s “PR” person in standing up for and defending Xanga’s shortfalls. Taking on the role of a PR person will of course be in direct conflict with being a neutral liaison and will likely land you in the crossfire. If you look at our exchanges he is definitely picking up and defending the Xanga flag as opposed to also representing the needs of the community.

I would like to see accountability and ownership of Xanga’s failure to deliver what they advertised in a timely manner and no explanation to justify it. Both Xanga and EdLives heavily promoted the switch to “2.0” but It seems to me neither will open up and just state what the true situation is.

Here’s a short blog walk down “Xanga” memory lane:

Walk on “Classic” Xanga:

May 17, 2012Xanga offers “Lifetime Memberships” for a limited time.

That was just a year before they announced the impending shutdown of “1.0” I would think the fair/ethical thing would be to refund anyone who bought memberships at that time. Selling folks “lifetime” memberships that only last for a year is highly suspect.

June 4, 2013Edlives  argues the case that the “ad based” revenue model won’t work in support of fee based blogging.

June 11, 2013 – Edlives Compares free blogging sites to Xanga 2.0

EdLives argues that Xanga 2.0 will be superior to free blogging sites.

June 15, 2013 Edlives posts a blog on the Rise and Fall of Ad Revenue Websites

Here, he argues that the ad revenue model is flawed and destined to fail over time. I counter argue that his assessment is wrong and success depends of the company’s ability to market themselves to keep and grow their user base.

Of course the gigantic sustained success of Facebook, Google, Youtube, Tumblr, WordPress, BlogSpot, etc, clearly prove that the ad based revenue model is not only alive and well, but growing and providing new opportunities for individuals who can grow a sizable subscriber base. Facebook recently announced a milestone of having one billion users online in one day.

June 24, 2013– Edlives compares Free WordPress to Xanga 2.0 fee based WordPress

Of course we know that the current features of Free WordPress still greatly surpass “Fee based” Xanga 2.0 for 2+ years and counting…

Free WordPress provides regular updates, constant feature upgrades like themes, fonts, viewcounters (stats), likes, etc…, and I’m able to automatically cross post to other social network sites like Tumblr, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Path, or Facebook- one post is pushed out to the other sites if desired. Most media sites like Time, News (both local and national), Variety, Fortune, etc,.. are now in WordPress RSS format allowing you to subscribe to their sites and get direct updates in your feed. Of course all this comes with being able to cross communicate with other folks on many other social network platforms like BlogSpot/Tumblr, using your just your WordPress or Disqus login account. Unfortunately, none of these features are currently available on WordPress based Xanga 2.0, which is still lacking even the most basic search function to find/contact users.

The irony is it appears to be much easier to make free WordPress Xanga-like than “paywall” Xanga 2.0.

July 1, 2013 – Transcript of Interview of Xanga CEO John Hiler by Alex

July 8, 2013Xanga 2.0 Vision is presented

Reading this will let you know the difference between what was envisioned versus current reality.

July 18, 2013 – EdLives Posts about Improving Communication

The lack of communication between Xanga and the community is addressed yet again. It’s not as if Xanga is “in the dark” about the issue with their lack of communication – they’ve been told more than once, and while they apologize, their behavior remains the same.

Walk On “Xanga 2.0”:

September 20, 2013 – EdLives posts updates on the Xanga 2.0 switch

It’s been about three weeks since the launch to “2.0” and the blogging site is in a sorry state with no updates from XangaCorp. The crowd is starting to get restless. The major 1st sign of trouble was Xanga’s Facebook account was going to be used to update people rather than Xanga. If you think my criticism is harsh, PrincessPowers makes me look quite tame by comparison.

October 10, 2013 – EdLives posts Looking at the Positive

Edlives states Xanga is just in a “transition period” and that things will get better. Many are not buying it with Xanga’s continued lack of updates.

November 11,2013EdLives Does another Update in the Wake of Xanga’s continued Silence

More of the same – people wondering about progress and restoration of community features like the frontpage and EdLives doing his best to provide some assurances. All this- TWO YEARS AGO.

So it should be clear as day that both Xanga and Edlives were quite involved in advertising Xanga 2.0. Based on this I tend to get irritated when Edlives now responds to questions about the problems of Xanga 2.0 along the lines of “Hey, I’m just a volunteer, I don’t work for Xanga”, or “That’s up for John or someone from Xanga to answer” instead of twisting arms to get Xanga to honor their commitments to provide regular updates.

The defense that really gets to me is when he states “What are YOU doing to improve things?”. Can you imagine reporting a problem with a company and they try to turn it around on you as if it’s your responsibility? Bizarre! Makes absolutely no sense.

Customer: Hi power company, my service is out- when will it be restored? Your technicians haven’t arrived when you said they would

Power Company: What are YOU doing to help the situation?

Customer: ???

As I told him, people have every right to complain about services that were promised and not rendered and should NOT be the targets of reverse blaming. The victim blaming has to stop.

The truth is Xanga is basically having EdLives twist in the wind so their lack of promise fulfillment and customer contact makes him look like a bad guy as well. At least now he is being “somewhat” more neutral in his responses, although there is still ongoing defending of Xanga  such as stating they are taking what we say seriously, but just not responding. The reality is not responding is action that shows they are NOT taking the concerns of the customer seriously at all.

If I were the liaison – I would be pushing John to do a live Q&A on Google hangouts  or ask Alex to host to field user complaints and concerns. You can’t keep telling folks “You understand their anger or concerns” without pushing for the other side (ie, Xanga/John) to respond. Otherwise, you become the defacto “wall” that Xanga is hiding behind.

The complaints are far fewer these days as the majority of folks that had issues have long since moved on and stopped caring. In fact, it seems that of  the remaining trickle of people still blogging there, most must be quite content with the current “alpha-beta” state of Xanga based on their silence or words of support to counter my noted areas of concern.

According to Xanga’s “Splash Page” update last year:

We are now officially in phase 2 (of four) of the Xanga 2.0 launch!

Phase 1: Data Migration
Phase 2: Site Tuning  <—
Phase 3: Feature Prioritization
Phase 4: Building Together

They state they are in “Site Tuning”. The Feb 11 update states they are now “starting” to move into features, which is typically the hardest and longest part of software development. At their current rate it looks like at least 3 –  5 more years to cover phases 3 and 4, making the likely “completion” no earlier than 2019.

cobwebs_thinkstock_2

I hope the remaining customers are Zen masters of patience- as they will certainly be given much time to practice it in the solitude and quiet of Xanga non updates.

(PS to EdLives, who has reviewed my blogs in the past – if you think I’m not being fair or correct in my comments or assessment of the situation, you’re more than welcome to post your side of the issue and state where I am in error.)

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22 thoughts on “Xanga 2.0 Celebrates its “2.0” Anniversary With Eerie Silence

  1. I’ve been saying it for 3+ years now, and I’m gonna say it again…. Xanga doesn’t care. They just simply…. stopped Heck, the known members of the Team don’t even use Xanga anymore! John and Eugenia’s blogs haven’t been updated sine 2012 at the latest, and Marc doesn’t even USE his blog at all! A quick Google search of John Hiller shows he’s moved on to other things, primarily investments. Xanga is a “hobby” if anything at this point. What I want to know is why don’t they have a back-up for Eugenia, who took over the help section from John when the users started demanding answers and he just gave up responding. Eugenia goes off for weeks, sometimes a month at a time and then has to deal with a backlog, so nothing gets done and so many people get their messages eaten by the internet and have to start from scratch. Meanwhile, they’d best fork over that $48 in one lump sum instead of spreading it out over months for $4 (because the current payment system that have at the moment makes this absolutely impossible, plus they don’t HAVE a payment option to pay by the month.)
    Additionally, I STILL want to know where that extra $10,000 John magically found and chipped in came from, because supposedly he was so broke he couldn’t even contribute to the fundraiser in the first place, hence the freaking fundraiser.
    SOOOOOOO much of this smells fishy, has smelt fishy, and now just smells like death so foul not even the sharks that were circling the fish are interested anymore.
    Ad based platforms DO work, but here’s where Xanga ran into one if the biggest problems it had with it….. They gave free users the ability to REMOVE ads from their blogs, along with other previously exclusive to premium features. They literally cut their nose of to spite their face at that point. So, why pay money to remove the ads from your blog and get all the other goodies anymore when you can do all that for free? – I directly questioned the team time and time again about this, and was met with silence and comment deletion. So my faith in them and their platform died out long before they started begging for cash like conmen.
    Also, I personally feel Edlives/Joel is the WORST candidate for liason. Reason being conflict of interest. His entire Autisable project (which by the way I do quite like the idea. No disrespect on that. We need more positive exposure for everyone across the spectrum, and more education for those who are caregivers, friends, family, etc.) is hosted through Xanga. He has a vested interest to keep Xanga afloat until he can separate the two, which he has repeatedly stated is going to happen.
    So, after Autisable becomes it’s own entity separate from Xanga, what then? Will he still be the PR champion for Xanga? Will he finally become a liason in the true sense of the word? Once he’s gotten what he was promised out of the deal, will he start singing a different tune? Or will we finally get honest and straight answers out of him?
    And lastly….. If Xanga 2.0 is so fantastic and great and wonderful and BETTER than all the free platforms in existence….
    WHY IS HE TRYING TO WRESTLE AUTISABLE AWAY FROM XANGA IN THE FIRST PLACE???
    Again…. the fact that the people involved with Xanga, paid employees, owners, and unpaid volunteers alike, are moving AWAY from Xanga, or simply NOT USING IT, really says so much to what is left of the community, and to those watching and waiting to see how things turn out before attempting to return.
    If THEY don’t use the service/product…. why should anyone else?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clearly all those with true business sense are no longer working there- ignoring one’s customers is always a recipe for disaster and to do so after asking them for donations and continuing to charge them is gross negligence at best, criminal fraud at worst.

      They seem to be in another world and have managed to get EdLives to buy into it as well, to think what they are running is anything like “old Xanga” when they have been without a front page and the most basic social networking features for over two years and counting, and treat it as “business as usual”. Month after month goes by and even the most die hard supporters are calling it quits, leaving a skeletal site with just a handful of users shut off from the rest of the blogging world with a dysfunctional system that makes Free WordPress look like the “Deluxe Model”.

      The true absurdity is I don’t think they are intentionally scamming anyone, just HORRIBLE management of their company. You are spot on in saying they don’t use their services, and don’t feel any responsibility or urgency in getting the site up to speed or updating people as to what their schedule is. You would think they just started running their business yesterday rather than over 15 years ago. They clearly don’t listen to advice from outsiders or the folks who could help them the most- their loyal users.

      Makes you wonder if one day their users will just get a “404 Not Available” error when they try to log on if they decided to close up shop without notifying anyone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not notifying anyone seems to be their MO. At last count, there’s only 10-22 people actually working there (and to find that was a pain in the behind. I just basically started googling different people who’ve worked there that I could find their first and last names. Searching for Dan got me the best results and the numbers though.)
        I stand by my statement about Xanga basically being little more than a hobby at this point. All of the people involved have impressive LinkedIn profiles ranging in quite a variety of fields. I mean, Eugenia alone has a good amount of experience in HR and her degree is actually IN PUBLIC RELATIONS. So, it would make much more sense from a business perspective to have HER being liason rather than dealing with straight up just customer service. The 3 co-founders have a good balance of business experience, yet seem to have been hit by the arrogance bug. John alone works in consulting for marketing, investments, and business. You would think that, out of the three of the co-founders he would actually know what the heck he is doing. Dan Huddle and Marc both have expansive backgrounds in computer programming. So the fact that the site is still in the sorry shape it’s in shows more of a lack of interest than anything else at this point. The skills to pay the bills are there. They simply just stopped caring a long time ago.

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  2. Pingback: Xanga 2.0 Celebrates its “2.0” Anniversary With Eerie Silence | Ravings of a Madman

  3. I enjoyed my time on Xanga and have moved on. I did pay $48 and moved on after it expired. Even if they had gotten 2.0 off the ground with all the neat features, there just wasn’t enough users. A lot have left already and moved to other places or stopped blogging. I was sad to see Xanga wither away. I learned a lot from the community there.

    Like

    • They sealed their fate with the horrible conversion process and virtual abandonment of their site in such a sorry condition. They have a lot to learn about integrity and responsibility- to make such bold promises for a community filled Xanga 2.0 that was supposed to have the same look/feel as classic Xanga, and then to leave it like this for over two years without even a front page let alone any true community features.

      It is a true betrayal of trust on their part towards all those who believed in them and contributed time and money.

      Like

  4. Hello. buddy71 had reblogged this, I was a former Xangan (Marica0701 and Cestovatelka were my last two names there), and I remember seeing you on Xanga 1.0.

    Wow. I can’t believe that it’s already been two years since 2.0 rolled out. I had been one of the “ohmaigawd we need to save Xanga!!” people, who had even tried to help with fundraising. I did buy one $48 subscription for myself, but once it expired in May (after a few “free” extensions given to us by the Team) I left. I could no longer justify its price, no matter what angle I looked at it. No noticeable updates (how long did it take for them to finally get email notification of replies????), not many of my friends were still there, and I wasn’t posting frequently enough to feel like I would get my money’s worth again.

    I agree with you. The Team’s lack of communication and updates were unacceptable. In every comment that I left on their last posts, I tried to mention this problem and that it would be difficult for them to retain customers. Oh well. Such a shame. I wonder when the site will just shut down for good – take the beast behind the shed and finally put it out of its misery. I stop by there once in a while to visit two friends’ blogs, though.

    But I’m happy with WordPress. It’s free, and it offers me more than enough features that I have no desire to pay for a premium WP site. Xanga had its golden years, and I miss them, but it is what it is. I’m fine enough with my smaller presence on WP.

    Thanks for the awesome post.

    – Marica

    Like

    • Thanks for stopping by! It’s like a different world over there- everyday is the same with little to no updates and the remaining folks just seem to take it in stride. Meanwhile, they are cut off from the rest of the social blogging world including free WordPress.

      XangaCorp claimed they cared about “community”, but they would have never let the site go without at least having a frontpage this long if they had even an ounce of concern.

      They’ve shown by clear example how to kill a social network.

      I think it will likely remain in this “zombie state” for years.

      Like

  5. I had a subscription to Xanga 2.0 because a friend had paid for it, but it expired more than a year ago and I hardly ever go on there anymore.

    Not many people blog on there anymore. And the Xanga Team rarely updates and hasn’t followed up on their promises. I didn’t donate any money to Xanga because I didn’t have the money to do so, and also, it just felt kind of fishy to me.

    Even if Xanga 2.0 gets all the promised updates, I think I will remain on WordPress. I have moved on and Xanga fooling people around this long, after all the money users donated, is just wrong.

    Like

    • Their plan was quite self destructive from the start in creating a pay wall. The whole point of allowing “free blogging” was so that people would provide content that would in turn attract other people and grow the site. That’s why Facebook, BlogSpot, etc.., don’t charge for basic blogging.

      Then not following up to restore the social function of the site like not bring back the front page were just more nails in the coffin.

      I’ve moved on with free WP as well, but I visit back to hold them accountable for their broken promises because what they are doing is such a back stab to the folks that supported them.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I always found paying to blog just fishy, I mean there are other blog sites that provide services for free. I just log into xanga 2.0 from time to time but it seems pretty much dead.
    I think the thing that I miss most is the community that xanga 1.0 had 😦

    Like

    • The crucial point of allowing free blogging is to encourage more folks to blog, which provides content for other users, making the site active and interesting which attracts more users. Putting a paywall up begins the death spiral of far less people blogging, resulting in far fewer new blogs. People see less activity and in turn visit and/or blog less often as well. What you wind up with is essentially a ghost town with very few people blogging and no attraction for any new folks to join. Why a seasoned company like Xanga that’s been around for so many years can’t figure this out is quite incredible. It’s like they’ve lost all their business sense- unless it was their intent from the beginning to not provide service and just take peoples money- banking on past customers continued use.

      Such a shame for what was one of the best online communities. 😦

      Like

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