It’s now been two years since Xanga converted to the WordPress based system with the help of about $70K from their supporters:
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:
- When will the front page be restored?
- What is the schedule for community feature restoration?
- Why are features promised “out of the box” not yet available?
- How can I contact a user on followers lock?
- 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.
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.
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, 2012 – Xanga 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, 2013 – Edlives 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, 2013 – Xanga 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 11,2013 – EdLives 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?
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.
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.)