Xanga 2.0 2016 Review = 2015 Review = 2014 Year Review = It’s Groundhog Day!

Review_3_groundhogXanga

 

Who could forget the great comedy classic “Groundhog Day” where Bill Murray had to endure living the same day over and over again for years.

Well, Xanga has taken a page from that movies notebook and decided to freeze time on its site indefinitely as well.

Quick Review Timeline:

Xanga 2.0 1st Year Review 2014

This review points out all the issues with Xanga 2.0 its first year out of the gate with its “new and improved” version.

 

Xanga 2.0 2nd Year Review 2015

There was nothing new to report with all the issues of the 1st review still present. It was noted that the last site status update at the time was Feb 11, 2015.

 

Now we are in the 3rd year of Xanga’s 2.0 existence and the last official status update from the site is still Feb 11, 2015. That’s right, it’s absolutely identical to that from last years review. There must be a ton to learn about “themes” to keep them on that topic for so long.

So at this point, it’s crystal clear that they aren’t even trying to be professional with keeping former and current paying subscribers informed with their upgrade schedule and status. Hmm, didn’t they promise more communication when they were calling for donations from all their faithful users? Oh well, that promise must have gotten misplaced during the update to the WordPress platform.

But wait, there is an official Xanga appointed Liaison to help facilitate better communication between TeamXanga and users.

For reference, here’s the definition of Liaison:

“a person who helps organizations or groups to work together and provide information to each other”

I’ve seen many requests for updates from users, but for some reason the appointed liaison only updates with the following month after month: “Nothing new to report”

There is no follow up as to WHY there is nothing to report after all these months of silence. How this “helps” with communication is anyone’s guess. How can you be a liaison and not pass on information? A liaison is NOT a passive role!

But whatever you do, don’t demand Xanga take some accountability for their lack of transparency, or else this “liaison” will take offense and make it sound like the problem is with you instead. You can read my 2015 Xanga review for more details on that.

It’s like I stated in my past complaint- if you remain silent it’s perceived as acceptance and no effort is made to improve communications. If you complain, you either get a “I understand”, or “what are you doing to help?” and still communication from Xanga goes nowhere.

There’s a real alternate version of reality going over over there.

 

Anyway, all the above is nothing new and has been going on since the move to WordPress. However there is something new to report! I may not be the liaison but shall do so anyway. =)

Apparently Verizon, who recently bought the site “Yahoo”, is rumored to be buying Xanga as well.  Was the writer serious or just making a joke at Xanga’s expense? Probably a joke, looking at its current state devoid of updates, progress as well as the bulk of former members.

 

 

 

 

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.

custsrv

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.)

keep-calm-and-enjoy-the-silence-30

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.

 

 

Xanga 2.0: 1st Year Full Review: The “Anti-Social” Network

xanga2

About a year ago, Xanga Inc, shut down “Xanga 1.0” and launched “Xanga 2.0” on a “WordPress” platform, which was billed as a bold new upgrade to its aging predecessor. The new version has a pay-wall so users have to pay $48 a year for the privilege of blogging.

The initial launch of “2.0” was anything but smooth with many people not even aware Xanga 1.0 was shutting down- due to Xanga not sending a global email or creating a global splash page informing users of what was being planned. My two initial reviews on this transition can be seen here: (1) Preliminary Review, 2) Review). The prevailing hope of all those optimistic about Xanga’s “upgrade” back then was that things would improve over time and they would soon have their own comfortable and familiar Xanga back.

Well, a year has come and gone and unfortunately the poor quality of the site has barely improved, if at all. Users who have paid $48 to blog have had to deal with a system that operates far below the replaced Classic Xanga and even free WordPress. In addition, users also can’t communicate to any other blogging networks outside the Xangaverse environment and now see their subscriptions times nearing expiration, forcing them to pay up once more to continue operating in this deeply subpar environment.

The “Xanga 2.0 is Now a Reality” banner is turning out to be more of a “Mission Accomplished” moment instead.

 

To bring everyone up to speed or refresh one’s memory to how we got to this point, the timeline of events is as follows:

____________________________________________________

May 30, 2013 – The Xanga Team posts a message on their blog announcing that they are contemplating either shutting down Xanga in July, or porting it over to a more modern WordPress platform “if” users would be willing to contribute a total of $60K before the July deadline.

This created a big stir from all those who got the message. The problem is the message was just posted on their blog, so users who don’t visit the front page to look for a small section that had Xanga Team updates never got the word, which included Xangans in “Hong Kong” who don’t have a Xanga Team update section. This meant the vast majority of folks had no idea Xango 1.0’s days were numbered.

The pressure of just having a six week deadline for the community to raise the funds felt more like a gun to everyone’s head to either pay up or have their online blogs wiped out. Folks wondered why there was this sudden move to urgency rather than getting an earlier message from Xanga to allow more time to respond.

Their fundraiser message included the following:

“Through July 15th: We will contact our registered members to let them know about the fundraiser, and also allow any and all users to download their blogs and media files for free.”

This NEVER happened. I don’t know of any user who received any email notice of Xanga’s impending shutdown or fundraising efforts. You have to ask yourself why wouldn’t they notify everyone? It could have been done with just a simple startup splash page when the user logged on. You would think that they would want to reach as many current and former users as possible for their pledge drive. This was just the beginning of many questionable moves by “Team Xanga”.

After this bombshell of an announcement, and the pledge drive/deadline being only six weeks long, “Team Xanga” went into a media blackout with no new updates for over two weeks, leaving that to a volunteer not employed by Xanga, EdLives. This is followed shortly by a newly created hashtag, #wearexanga to promote the pledge drive.

Why would a firm in crisis seeking pledges from their community under a tight deadline not assign some PR type of person to communicate other than a non company volunteer? Answer: they clearly either do not understand how to run a business or they don’t care enough about the community to address their concerns in a timely manner.

Can you imagine if this were attempted in professional circles? Picture this: “CNBC reports that Xcorp has no one available to answer questions about their announced crisis, but someone not employed with the company is willing to try and field questions or pass them onto Xcorp staff”. Can you imagine how much negative backlash that would generate?

During this time non Xanga employee Edlives  promotes the pledge drive on a daily basis and extolls the virtues of what “Xanga 2.0” would have over the current free blogging sites as told to him by “Team Xanga”.  He also arrives at the conclusion and begins “preaching” that ad-revenue based websites are not viable for long term survival, trying to justify Xanga’s switch to a pay-only website.

I can tell you without any doubt or reservation that his conclusion is just WRONG. He used failed websites and the poor ad revenue state of “Xanga 1.0” to support his case, but glossed over successful ad-based revenue websites like Google, YouTube, WordPress, and Facebook to name a few. He even stated that Facebook was on the decline phase of its corporate life cycle. At the time he wrote that, Facebook stock was in the low $20’s. Now a year later Facebook’s stock value is in the mid $70’s and etching out all time highs. Assuming he is also reflecting on opinions given to him from “Team Xanga”, it suggests they are unwilling or unable to address the true problems of their business weakness and in turn, just assign the fault to an outside force rather than their own actions. This is a key reason many businesses fail – refusing to accept blame and take action to improve.

Xanga was given a gift in having a “volunteer” being such a cheerleader for their new product as it gives them legal protection since he’s not employed with the company if all his glowing expectations of the new Xanga fail to pan out.

Despite the more realistic and negative warnings about Xanga’s pay-wall business plan by myself and others like former Xanga bloggers Cagey and CoolMonkey, he always had a positive counter to them. Unfortunately, enough people were convinced to support the plan rather than try to get “Team Xanga” to change course at a time when potential pledge payers had the most leverage.

June 17th, 2013 – “Team Xanga” CEO John Hiler finally reappears for an official update. The excuse for the delay in updating was “personal issues”, which brings up the question- aren’t there other employees who could have provided updates? After all, Xanga isn’t a one person operation, but from the lack of response you might think it was a “no man” operation.

It includes a Q&A segment – here’s an example:

____

How are you going to reach other members?

It’s going to be tough to reach a lot of our members from earlier years, since in most cases we don’t have their latest email address. So in addition to press outreach, we’re also working on a marketing campaign that will help us virally send out the word on what’s going on!  More on that soon.

____

Does anyone know what that “viral” marketing campaign was? I for one didn’t see it nor did anyone else I’ve spoken with.

 

June 30th, 2013– Xanga CEO John appears on Blogtalkradio. During the radio show he mentions that all current and former premium user’s blogs would be transferred over and was researching to see if all “TRUE” user blogs could be transferred over as well.

Portion of transcript of conversation:

______________

Alex: Clarify which accounts are automatically transferred.

John: Focusing on bringing over all Premium members. Also going to [bring] over all accounts that have been Premium at one time. It will be a lot of work to transfer accounts over. All user accounts will be transferred even if blog doesn’t transfer. Users can still log in, read their subs and comment.

Alex: What about the True members?

John: We can look into whether we can support that. It’s a question of numbers; how many we can transfer over. We want to move over as many as possible.

Alex: There may be people who decide they want to continue on xanga after July 15. Will they have lost all their entries or will their old blog still be somewhere?

John: Have they ever been a Premium member? First we’re going to move over the current Premium members. Then we’ll move over those who have been Premium in the past. Then we’ll get as many transferred as possible.Others can download their archives in the XML format and transfer them.

______________

This turned out to be FALSE – with the only blogs transferred being current premium members and folks paying the $48 ransom fee. There was never an explanation or apology for the change of plans.

Pants on fire

 

July 8, 2013 – With just one week left before the pledge drive deadline, “Team Xanga” finally issues another update to answer some of the questions all the community members have. The update mentions the importance of the “Xanga 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…”

You will see the utter IRONY of that statement as we continue…

The July 15th deadline is extended to the end of the month.

 

July 9th – July 30th – Another data blackout with “Team Xanga” keeping users in the dark about its fate as the deadline clock winds down. Not one update during this time and the pledge drive amount received at that time is far from the $60K goal. Things look pretty grim. Most Xanga users move on to other sites.

 

July 31, 2013 – On the last day of the pledge drive, a new update is finally posted from “Team Xanga”.  John the Xanga CEO announces he is making a contribution of $10K, effectively lowering the pledge goal to $50K. The pledge drive deadline is also extended, again, to end of August.

With about $48K in pledges at the time, it’s pretty much a done deal that reaching $50K by Aug 31 won’t be a problem- ensuring “Xanga 2.0” will launch.

Question: Would a company that really cared about their community/customers let them twist in the wind and worry about their future right until the deadline date when they had to know earlier about extending the deadline as well as reducing the pledge amount needed?

Aug 1, 2013$50k goal reached.

Aug 29, 2013 – Xanga makes a surprise announcement that this will be the last day of “Xanga 1.0” and will be shutting down around midnight EST for the transition to “Xanga 2.0”.

Sept 3rd, 2013 – Xanga 2.0 is launched

____________________________________________________

So here we are a year later – so let’s see what the current state is since my unofficial update last November:

1)  Still no front “Community Page” that old Xanga 1.0 had.

2) No easy way to find current users or new blogs.

These two problems alone have effectively DESTROYED the Xanga community as we knew it.

What was that they were saying about the “Xanga community” being so important again? :/ What a joke that turned out to be.

3) “Team Xanga” continues to ignore the community.

Xanga’s splash page has not been “Xanga Team” updated since Sept 2013- a YEAR ago. It still states they are “starting Xanga 2.0” at midnight. :/

Ditto for Xanga’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.

No updates closing in on a year and counting? Is this the action of a company that truly cares about the community they asked to donate money?

Is this their version of “warm community feeling?” It’s like they collected their money and then gave those who donated half a peace sign. The level of community disregard and disrespect is absolutely amazing.

4) Functionality remains far below “free” WordPress and other blogging sites

Here are “Team Xanga’s” words:

Here are some of the new features we’d be able to offer out of the box:

* Custom themes – you’ll be able to use custom themes we’ll pull from around the web, as well as add/edit CSS.
* Plugins – We will provide a library of powerful plugins that you can activate and configure on your site.
* Group blogging – At long last, you’ll be able to allow others to blog on your site… and share moderation rights on your blog.
* Threaded comments – We’ll look into threaded comments, which would allow readers to reply to comments in a threaded manner
* Better spam controls – Every user would have their own spam queue that they could configure and manage.
* Moderation features – You would be able to put keywords, IPs and usernames into moderation on your blog.

I crossed out the features that were not only MIA “out of the box”, but are STILL absent today.

The best way to describe “current” Xanga is like an “alpha” version of WordPress that lacks all the modern features and makes “Xanga 1.0” functionality look like state of the art blogging.

 

obama-then-i-said4

 

5) Xanga is still “landlocked” with being unable to see or leave messages on other blogs outside of Xanga including “free” WordPress– leaving folks trapped in a fishbowl that has gotten considerably smaller.

Even worse, there are no search options of any kind so good luck finding other users.

6) Net traffic volume is in the basement

Most people blog to have their posts be seen by others on the web – the more the better. Xanga’s “1.0” net traffic wasn’t that great, but in “2.0”, it’s abysmal:

Healthy Net Traffic of “Free” WordPress  Over a Year:

Wordpress Metrics 1yr_7_2014c

Monthly unique user traffic is averaging around 34 million…giving the site a ranking of being in the top “31”.

 

Here’s the Net Traffic of $48/mo Xanga Over a Year:

Xanga Metrics 1yr_7_2014c

Xanga’s monthly unique user traffic dropped from over 200k in “1.0” to under 40K now, giving it a ranking of “50,607”.

You sure wouldn’t blog on Xanga to be “discovered”, although it might be good for a witness protection program.

Witness_Protection_Program

 

5) For the “privilege” of working in this ultra degraded environment, “Team Xanga” is still treating this as a working service worth paying for and running the clock on everyone’s subscriptions.

When I requested subscriptions be extended until the site is fully functional, I was politely told to send in $48 and directed to a paypal site for renewal. They feel their current level of service is worth charging $48/yr for.

joke

7) No respect or consideration of any kind for their most loyal customers

Those who remained on Xanga through the years and didn’t jump ship to the newer platforms like Facebook got the shaft as their reward.

Their most loyal and active base of community, the TRUE users, were just cast off like garbage. The real sad part is how many of these users went to great lengths to help raise funds for the pledge drive- some even buying multiple year memberships, only to be forgotten and ignored once the monies were collected.

Xanga_True_Strike

So much for any significance or appreciation of the badge of loyalty……

Here we see yet another ENORMOUS mistake – getting rid of all their built in beta alpha testers.

As subscriptions expire, why on earth would anyone be motivated to renew in Xanga’s current abysmal state, and who would be encouraged to join when they can get far better service from free blogging sites? Free WordPress is worlds better than “WordPress powered” $48/yr Xanga. So the active bloggers list on Xanga shrinks even more.

The end result is blogging content on Xanga will decrease further, making it even more boring and unattractive to current and potential users. For being one of the senior blogging companies, Xanga is forgetting the prime reason why free blogging started in the first place. Blogs represent content, which attracts more people. Xanga now thinks that people want to blog on a site that has minimum user blogging content. Yeah, this will be as popular as folks wanting to go to an empty night club.

 

There seems to be just one person who remains strongly optimistic about Xanga- its number one “volunteer/cheerleader” Edlives. Ed still maintains that the site is just in “transition” and will be eventually improving, even though a YEAR has passed with no significant updates. That’s a heck of a transition timeframe- especially when folks are being charged during this period.

opti

 

The actual pledge drive site to “Save Xanga” has been taken down, but as we know, nothing on the internet is truly erased- here’s a final archived snaphot: Xanga Crowdhoster

They raked in over $68K to charge folks $48/yr for a site that is far inferior to free blogging sites. Nice.

 

joker_bail2

 

Something is missing on that final Crowdhoster snapshot – the section for all the “Under $48” donors- but not to worry – there’s an older snapshot that has it. Here’s what it says:

Xanga Crowdhost Rewards2

So everyone who contributed $1 and up should have been on a “Thank You” post created by “Team Xanga”. This also NEVER HAPPENED – just another broken promise.

Feel Cheated

Surprisingly, quite a few folks who have paid $48+ to blog continue to be good natured and patient about the persistent state of non functionality that resembles NOTHING like the beloved Xanga of old, classic “Xanga 1.0”.

But for the majority of paid users as well as former “free” community members, we know a hot mess when we see it. Compared to “Xanga 1.0”, “Xanga 2.0” is the XANGAPOCALYPSE.

This is the standard reaction when someone from “Xanga 1.0” checks out “Xanga 2.0”:

 

Trading Update: 4/14 – 4/25

The word of the week is….patience.

Last week on Thursday, I made some additional revelations which helped me to fine tune my system to enable capturing extended moves while reducing risk. Once I had analyzed the charts and made the updates, I logged back into the trading software to view the market real time- only to find out the market was closed for the night and Friday as well for the Good Friday holiday.

The week starts and I’m looking forward to trying out the changes made to my system, but the market doesn’t cooperate by remaining flat with little movement. Tuesday and Wednesday is more of the same with little to no market movement. This was the week Apple, Amazon, FaceBook, and other big name stocks were announcing their earnings  for the past quarter, so likely the market was subdued in anticipation.

Thursday was better with movement, but my charts were messed up with all the “flatline” data from the prior three days. Friday was a good day with Thursday’s action making it possible for clearly charting opportunities.

Unfortunately just one day to check out my new methods didn’t provide a lot of time to get familiar with them and I wound up missing the best moves of the day, as in seeing what I “should” have done after the moves were already playing out. The good news is I was able to spot the moves rather quickly, albeit after the fact. Typically I have to spend time after the market closes going through the days market moves to see what I missed, so this is a nice change, and shows me what I need to focus on.

I wasn’t able to capitalize on my new strategy this week, but only due to my missing the set ups, which will certainly improve with further use and observation. Updates this week will lend to make my charting clearer to make the right set ups stand out more.

Looking forward to next week’s market action.

 

Trading Room Set Up Pics

Trading rooms can reflect the personality of the trader, and as such can vary greatly from one to another. After one becomes immersed in trading, one typically realizes that having just one or two screens isn’t enough to capture all the visual information needed to make trade decisions. And so, one starts adding monitor screens…

Let’s start with my set up:

Trader_R

 

I had been using a two screen set up for a while, but when I got serious about trading, I quickly realized I needed more screen real estate. I added another monitor I wasn’t using, but that wasn’t really doing the job either, so I decided to do a real upgrade and build a 4 monitor system. That made a BIG difference in my ability to keep track of the different market time frames. Surprisingly, even now, I have problems fitting everything I want to see on all four screens at once.

 

Here are some set ups I’ve seen on the web:

 

Trading Room 4

Trading Room 3

Trading Room 13

 

The pic above is more of a gaming set up, but I suppose it would also make a good trading environment.

Trading room 9

 

trading room 2Nice trading room scenery!

Trading room 6

 

Trading Room 8

And now for the extreme set ups…..

Trading Room 7

 

Trading Room 1

Hmmm, when your room starts looking more like something from NASA, you may have gone a wee bit overboard…. 😉

 

 

Say What….The “Five Second Rule” is Real???

surprise

You know the so called “rule” that if you drop something on the floor, you have five seconds to pick it up before it becomes “toxic”? Well it turns out that a scientific study surprisingly shows there’s credibility to that statement:

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/technology/science/scientists-prove-the-fivesecond-rule-is-no-myth/story-fnjwl5wq-1226856396072

Article excerpt:

‘Food picked up just a few seconds after being dropped is less likely to contain bacteria than if it is left for longer periods of time according to the findings.

The type of flooring the food has been dropped on has an effect, with bacteria least likely to transfer from carpeted surfaces and most likely to transfer from laminate or tiled surfaces to moist foods making contact for more than five-seconds.

“We have found evidence that transfer from indoor flooring surfaces is incredibly poor with carpet actually posing the lowest risk of bacterial transfer onto dropped food,” said Professor Anthony Hilton who headed the study.’

______________________________________

Eh, I’m still not convinced enough to do it myself -food that touches the floor that has been walked on by street shoes = food that now belongs to a pet or the trash IMO. 🙂

Those Who Can, Do – Those Who Can’t, “Preach” That it Can’t Be Done

Danger_False_Prophets

Put “Day trading” in a search engine and all kinds of articles will come up – most of them warning against it and it being a “sure fire” path to lose money.

It’s important to always consider the source when evaluating information offered by others – too many people try to pass off their opinions as “facts”, and therein lies the danger if one makes the mistake of believing their misinformation.

There are people doing this for all subject matters – it seems the internet is a breeding ground for false prophets. In the case of day trading or investing, it goes like this:

1) Person  realizes that have no ability to day trade/invest.

2) Person than makes the leap that the problem can’t be with their ability, or lack thereof, and therefore day trading must be impossible for all.

3) Person then proceeds to share this “deduction” with others as if it’s an undebatable fact.

I recently read another blog written by some “Investment Capital Firm” that more people are starting to dabble in day noting the rise in active trading activity reported by brokerage firms, and warns them not to do it based on the “overwhelming odds” of likely failure. They even threw in some statistics to support their sentiment, such that 80% of all traders lose money and an extremely small percentage of people who actively trade are consistently profitable.

As Mark Twain is quoted as saying- “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” One has to be careful analyzing and interpreting the significance of what is presented as “statistical revelations”.

The dismal active trading stats needs to be examined more closely for a better understanding.

It’s important to understand that “anyone” can be declared an active trader by virtue of having enough money to open a brokerage account. There is no “pre test” or standard used to separate those who know what they are doing from those who don’t. Throw in all the commercials and ads painting the market as a way to get rich quick, and you have a ton of inexperienced and ill prepared folks trying their hand at trading- leading to an obvious high rate of failure. This doesn’t mean that day trading isn’t viable, but rather that it’s not easy and requires real skills.

If one could be declared a “doctor” by just buying a white coat and stethoscope, you’d also see an extremely high rate of failures among these doctors, but that also doesn’t mean one should give up on the prospects of being a “good” doctor whose willing to take on the proper education and training.

The writer also mentions day traders being more emotionally driven compared to the more “rational” longer term investors. Unemotional investing applies to day trading as well. Active traders getting emotional highs/lows from their activity are really just gamblers in disguise.

All the beneficial applications and behaviors of long term investing applies to day trading as well, only on a much smaller time frame.

One can systematically and unemotionally day trade the market with the same level of professionalism and savvy as an experienced long term investor. I would make the argument that a good short term trader makes for a good long term trader because the market’s nature is fractal and exhibits similar behavior over different time frames.

The bottom line is there are many day traders that lose money because they have not properly prepared and have no business being in that activity- and the same thing applies for longer term investors, or any profession requiring skill/training for that matter.

Day trading, like investing, can be done well if one is willing to put in the necessary study, training, and overall preparation in order to succeed. Those looking to get rick quick in either time frame are much more likely to fail in their quest.

It’s interesting to note  that these articles warning people not to “speculate” on markets and leave it to the “professionals”  could also be fueled by a hidden agenda besides basic ignorance. After all, a person who knows how to manage their money and invest well on their own is one less potential customer for a professional investment firm.

CantVsCan

What Chart Pattern Analysis Compares To

sleuth-1_300x300

Many times I’m asked how or what it is I do when day trading. First, there is not a standard system of trading, meaning not everyone trades the same way. Everyone typically trades using a method they have either been taught or developed that they feel most comfortable with.

My method deals with chart pattern analysis, which entails looking at chart data and trying to find structured behavior that can be used to make accurate predictions on future market movement. Now looking at a typical chart of price movement looks fairly random, which presents the challenge of this task.

To paint a visual of what kind of work is involved, imagine you are from another planet visiting Earth for the first time. Now imagine you are viewing a screen showing the activity of a wide cross section of area in a large city, with the following twist- all you see are “blips” on a screen – no street names, or even streets. You don’t see any stop lights or traffic signals of any kind. You can’t even differentiate a “car” “blip” from a “person” or “animal” blip. All you see is a blank screen with all the “blips” moving about. Now consider taking on the task of monitoring the movements of these blips to figure out what “patterns” or “rules” are in effect directing movement so that you’ll be able to improve your chances of predicting future blip movement.

Remember, you have no preconceived knowledge of pedestrian or traffic laws in advance and are just trying to figure out what the rules are from watching how the blips move about. At first it would look like a random jumble of movement, making it hard to single out particular behavior rules. You basically have to “reverse engineer” where all the stop lights, streets, and traffic signs are located by observing behavior over time.

Now this challenge would be difficult by itself if everyone followed the “rules”, but we know in real like they don’t. People jaywalk and cross against lights, cars make illegal moves and park in unauthorized areas. In addition, emergency vehicles won’t be held back by stop lights or stop signs. So you begin to learn that the rules you seek to make can’t be absolute since there will invariably be exceptions, but should describe general behavior that takes place the majority of the time.

Analyzing market behavior in search of patterns is similar to this, where you have no rules or distinct markings to indicate how prices will move, and you have to create a set of guidelines on your own- no easy task for sure.

Now of course traders have created “cheat sheet” books with notes of patterns to look out for such as “head and shoulders” or “flags” to name a couple, but studying other people’s work isn’t the same as figuring it out on your own. It’s like traveling to a foreign country not knowing the language but having a book of quick foreign phrase translations- you won’t feel that comfortable or be that effective if that’s all you know.

Now again I want to say that not everyone engages in chart analysis in this manner, but I come from a technical background so I find approaching trading from a ground up technical perspective works best for me.