July 21, 2013
As the clock ticks down to the end of “Xanga 1.0″, Xangan’s are faced with the stark reality that the landscape will be dramatically changed. Assuming the pledge drive succeeds, the new Xanga 2.0 will not have “free” (ad sponsored) blogging.
As a result of this new policy, many Xangan’s have chosen to jump ship to other blogging sites that continue to use the free blogging model. Other Xangan’s have decided to stay under the new terms of “pay to blog”.
The problem is I can’t help but notice the rising hostility from those among the “stay and payers” towards those choosing to leave.
Before I continue, I’d like to add that I walk the line between the two groups – I made a pledge donation, and I also have no plans to continue blogging here under the “pay wall” model once my current premium time expires. I made the pledge because I’d like to see Xanga 2.0 make it out the door for old times sake and to help those choosing to stay. I choose not to stay because I also believe that their decision to end the free blogging business model is a serious business error on their part that’s counter to community growth and development.
Casually browsing blogs and comments you can’t help but notice that battle lines are being drawn between those leaving and those staying. What’s worse, is that the attacks from those staying are becoming increasingly personal and nasty. Those leaving are getting branded as:
3) Spoiled Children
4) Free loaders
6) Clueless folks who fail to understand there is “no free lunch”
I could go on but you get the idea. I haven’t seen that type of rise in resentment of those leaving towards those staying. To be clear, I’m not including “Trolls” who eagerly cheer for Xanga to fail – for anyone who does that clearly wasn’t part of the community to begin with.
First, this reaction is a clear indicator of the community damage Xanga has caused by their actions.
Next, as someone who is among those “leaving”, I want to make some things perfectly clear to those staying who are attacking those leaving in this manner:
1) If you are currently paying for premium, you are NOT paying for others to blog “free”. You are paying for increased service and functionality. Xanga 1.0 is based on the “ad revenue” model where they get paid from advertisers – along the same lines as “free” TV and radio. Xanga made a good income from this model until their net traffic fell to current levels.
2) Those pushing the “no free lunch”, or one of its variants, see above. Xanga was getting paid by advertisers so please stop framing it as if free blogging was “charity”. Understand the business model.
3) Those who practice pejorative name calling to those who disagree with Xanga’s actions need to get off their high horse and stop. Those leaving have as much right to voicing their views as those who are painting a positive picture with staying. Again, I’m not talking about completely negative trolling which should be called out, but people pointing out valid problems and concerns. Calling these folks “traitors” or saying things such “if you’re not happy, leave already” reeks of intolerance and attempted bullying rather than positive community values.
Blogging in and of itself is also “paying” because it creates content for others to read and enjoy. Take a look at some of the bloggers you like to read and see if they are staying or leaving – won’t their absence diminish the “value” of your subscriptions?
Why do you think the free blogging model even exists? The answer is simple – people are more likely to join a service where they see others going/hanging out. Empty places don’t attract people. Just about every social site (physical or web) knows this, but apparently Xanga has forgotten this “minor” fact.
It can be argued that those who appreciate the community care enough to leave to show Xanga the error they are making. If Xanga wants this to be a thriving business, they need to do things that will attract people rather than repel them. Actions speak louder than words and a sizable drop in users is a clear signal that the current direction may not be a good one.
If everyone were to just “suck it up” and stay regardless of their feelings on the matter, that would just be enabling Xanga to stay on their present questionable path. Sometimes “tough love” is needed to get someone to see the error of their ways and make the needed corrections.
I can all but guarantee you that come August, the “new” Xanga will be strongly considering bringing back some type of free blogging, largely in part to the also “new” largely depopulated landscape.
The true tragedy of this is they will have the learn the lesson of why free blogging is needed the hard way, causing great damage, strife, resentment,infighting etc,… to the community in the process.