July 21, 2013

  • Let’s Stop the Xangan on Xangan Violence: Tough Love Vs Enabling Behavior


    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:


    1) Malcontents

    2) Ingrates

    3) Spoiled Children

    4) Free loaders

    5) Nobodies

    6) Clueless folks who fail to understand there is “no free lunch”

    7) Traitors

    8) Cheapskates


    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.





Comments (15)

  • Even if they eventually bring back the free blogging model, good luck trying to lure back all the members they’re about to purge.

  • It’s a predicament with an unknown involved. I was co-leader of an Unreal Tournament clan. I was defense captain, liaison to other teams, graphics artist for our website and treasurer in charge of the servers. We rented 3 servers, sometimes 4. Donations for the servers from team members was voluntary. Some months I had to pay out of pocket for the lion’s share of server rental. Some months I didn’t and some months I received more from members than the servers cost in which case I would put the overage toward the following month’s bill. All in all things pretty much balanced out but not quite. I ended up paying about $30 out of pocket on average. I also had to maintain the servers, rebooting and doing other tweaks so a small amount of my time went into it as well. I and probably others have no idea how much those who run Xanga pay per month nor how much time they put into upkeep. It could be they decided they can’t afford or do not want to afford an out of pocket cost. It could be they want to see some profit from their work to keep things going. I don’t know. But yes, the name calling on all sides should cease and desist.  

  • @SoullFire -  I was about to post a blog similar to this but you beat me to the punch. That’s okay because I’ve had my hands full these last 3 nights on Blogster. Thank you for posting this blog!I don’t know what’s more upsetting. The damage The Xanga Team caused or the Xangans, who love hurling insults and hijacking our pages, only to start shit. I’m really sick of some of the paid users’ rude and nasty dispositions on here. They can call me a “vocal naysayer” and whatever else, but I’m wondering how many of these same people have made a difference to their readers, friends, and subscribers’ lives. I’ve only been a Xangan for 7 months. You would be amazed at those, who have stopped by my page thanking me. I’ve had Xangans thank me for giving back their confidence, having the ability to empathize with the average unemployed people like myself, who have experienced economic hardship, health scares, etc.Within the last 48 hours or so, I’ve managed to help save 1 of friends/subscribers lives on Blogster. This 13-year-old boy visited my Blogster page a few times, asking for my advice. He was on the verge of committing suicide because he’s having problems with his parents. I’ve done nothing but be there for the boy these last 3 nights and gave him 2 links to online crisis hotlines. He returned thanking me for caring about him and trying to help. Just an hour ago, he made a compliment post about me, too. I didn’t ask this kid for any money and I wasn’t expecting it either. So, while these Xangans want to hijack my blogs and Pulse lecturing me about my “choices and priorities,” telling me “there’s no free lunch,” they need to shut the hell up and go kick some rocks! I’m not blogging to turn a profit and to have this “professional” appearance. People read what I have to say and like what I’m about, as a free user. These Xangans, who choose to over pay for any and everything, don’t have to like everything I say and do. However, they DO need to show some respect. If they really want to know the truth, some of them are acting worse than trolls. I’m calling it like I see it.

  • humans will be humans, and humans have opinions. the end.

  • @coolmonkey - True that. If the updates are decent, they do have a decent shot since just so many folks find alternate blogging sites lacking.@TheSutraDude - I have no doubt that expenses were a driving factor, but I’m sure you’ll agree there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. For example, if instead of making contributions voluntary, the UT leaders imposed an immediate mandatory fee to cover expenses- that would have likely had a significant negative effect on the amount of participants.I think the whole community in general would have been open to fund raising ideas such as a PBS style pledge drive with voluntary donations, and a plea for folks to sign up for premium rather than demand it. Unfortunately, this was implemented in one of the harshest ways possible – no more free, you must now pay and if you don’t, we’ll erase your online status and we give no value to how long you’ve been here. Throw in the constant communication black outs and you have a recipe for many people feeling dis-invited and looking to relocate. We still have yet to see any “new version” mock ups that they are requesting folks to pay up front for.

  • @RealistMe - I think it’s the “burning house” syndrome, where tensions and worries about what’s going to happen trigger negative responses in people. But this is largely in part due to Xanga blindsiding the community with such bombshell news and a short deadline. Factions immediately start forming with those who accept the changes versus those who reject them. You being a realist, (no pun intended ;) ), it’s easy to see the problems with ending free blogging, but many buying into the changes have to see things differently in order to accept it.I don’t take it too personally since I know there are people who love this platform and are in fear of it failing, and anyone saying anything negative only makes them feel more anxiety. I would have hoped the top brass would take heed of the warnings and change course, but as I said, it looks like they insist of having to find out the hard way what all the warnings and complaints were about. The market will offer the indisputable and likely unpleasant reality of the situation. I only hope that they then reconsider and make the right changes to fix things. Of course we could be wrong and this turns out to be a great move on their part- and I will be pleasantly surprised.You’re an active member so you will do well attracting subs and friends whatever platform you use since you are not afraid to mingle and mix. Xanga is special in that folks could still get traffic to their site without having to actively work to build it up- that’s the draw to so many of this platform.Good job on helping that kid in need on Blogster. =)@mrqtran - True, but mom always said if you can’t say someone nice about someone, we should hold thy tongue. =) Negativity towards others is also counter productive since one would think the goal would be to get people to reconsider and stay rather than be antagonized to feel even more justified that leaving is the right choice.  In the end, both sides want the same thing – for Xanga to succeed.

  • @SoullFire - That’s very true. I’ve even said it here on my more recent Xanga entries. The Xanga Team dropped this huge ball on us all within a very short amount of time. Now, everybody’s at each other’s throats. I know I shouldn’t take it too personally. However, I’m pretty hot tempered and I’ve been getting really pissed with the way some hijack our pages only to negatively label us with disparaging names and remarks. None of us want to leave Xanga but we have no other choice. Before they announced this shut down now turned relaunch, I was already thinking about blog hunting, again because my viewership is low. Some changes are good and some are bad.

  • The way they went about telling us was sad too. John writes this emotional and caring letter explaining how we’ve reached the end and must pay up in 1.5 months or die. The hypocrisy was unbelievable.They didn’t even turn to us for solutions or ideas.

  • @SoullFire - They actually have done a PBS style pledge drive. Some members have donated a lot more than the $48 one-year fee. Some members have auctioned prizes they put their own time and money into creating and are mailing the prizes out on their own time and expense. So far it’s still not enough but there are 9 days still to go. Our UT team didn’t make donations mandatory because some of the players were still in high school or college but we let it be known that mandatory donations were a possibility if we couldn’t get enough voluntary donations which would have been the case had I not been willing to throw in  50-$100 or more some months. Most of the donations came from A-team players. I’m guessing not a lot of Xangans can or wish to afford those kinds of contributions every month. But again, I don’t know what Xangans have in their pockets or how much keeping such a website running costs so I’m in the dark. 

  • @TheSutraDude - I only wish they would have at least tried the option your group came up with by first asking for voluntary contributions rather than making it mandatory from the start. While some may say the pledges were voluntary, when they add the “or else” in the form of the site will shut down and only members with pledges of a certain threshold will be allowed to continue to blog, it becomes less voluntary and more compulsory. I believe it’s that feeling of being “forced” to do something rather than asked is what’s turned off so many people. A true PBS style pledge would have been more community interactive- not just a big message to pledge this amount by this deadline “or else”, followed by an extended silence and continued spotty communication afterwards. We were told that they were considering the switchover at the start of the year – it would have been great if they brought us in the loop then.They don’t seem very enthusiastic or community minded while the members on the other hand have been going gang busters in raising money and being very creative about it. That doesn’t go unnoticed. And while I understand they have to move forward based on what they think is best, it’s just bad business to promise something and not deliver. You can’t tell people that you will give out timely info, and mock ups to the new version, then not do it and not even update people to say why. That weakens trust and only adds to the negativity and resistance. The worst part is due to there not being a main broadcast message/splash page stating their situation, they’ve not only seriously reduced their pledge potential, but many people still have no idea of the situation and stand to lose their blogs without knowing they can make free archived backups.

  • @SoullFire - I understand what you’re saying. I can imagine some on our UT team felt similarly when after UT99, 2k3 and 2k4 our team decided to migrate to World of Warcraft. I actually didn’t join them myself for several months but interest in UT was dying all over so I finally made the move just to see what the game was like. In WoW everyone has to pay their own monthly subscriptions. Some on our UT team went to CoD which I think was the same deal subscription-wise. I missed some of them and I missed UT. Personally, I was about to quit blogging so the timing of this change makes the decision easier for me. 

  • lol you have a nice mom, my mom is old school vietnamese off fishing boats during war, so she’d say you better not let the other kids pick on you.

  • Well said. I don’t like the backlash one bit. I am still working on a backup plan because it is realistic–it is not a reflection on my loyalty or lack of it.

  • Very good points

  • @lil_squirrel4ever - Yes, a backup plan is sensible and safe, especially since we haven’t got any further updates since early July. @Jinryu - Thanks!

Post a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *