xanga “hate”

Image representing Xanga as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

the biggest issue i have are the scope changes:

1) switching from building a server with the $60,000 to renting server space somewhere. the former plan while ambitious mean that after raising the money, the cost would drop substancially.
2) the removal of the freebloging options. by this i don’t even mean free bloging at xanga.com domain, but just minimally having it so people on xanga, aren’t as seperated from the wordpress.com domain, allowing mutual follows and other basic inter-operability. i totally get why having a bunch of free users could be a poor ecconomic decision. it would be like what happened to “the gap” (clothing brand, and store chain). but at the same time, one of the issues xanga was having was shrinking community and by incorporating basic rss, and subscription capacity to both blogger.com, and wordpress.com (perhaps with further social network integration, even if it forces you to make a proxy blogger.com account); and you have a really powerful product and you don’t need necessarily a huge community, cause you will check other ‘external’ feeds.
why? because you aren’t building a fence of inoperability around your product.
… it isn’t hate on my part, but it is remarkable- the degree the community as an economic asset was largely dropped to be meagerly strung along. the updates are both good but also have bad attributes to them.
the vision of an advertising-less site, while perhaps noble- is at the same time not necessarily viable. they could- for example- have the advertising towards the users rather than outward like most blogs. so if you choose the advertising option, you have advertising added to your home and to the sites you view, but still get the full feature set.
what i mean is that the free users of the site while not being a pure economic resource, did and do contribute to the community feel and they buffer and increase the amount of content which makes the product worth more as it is personally interesting/investing rather than just an amazing infrastructure. and that is the thing, even if they were to say “we are using the word press engine to build a new and separate site, a xanga 2.0, and while we will be pay only, legacy blogs will be migrated (only ceded yesterday) and anyone who has a wordpress.com account or a xanga-legacy will be able to comment and do some simple operations/interactions. a wordpress.com account can comment a xanga blog post or subscribe and vice versa- merely some plug ins wont work without the account.
if your site that you are selling is wordpress+ a ton of more content modifying it to be an even better experience,  then market it as such.
so why do “xanga haters” not want xanga to succeed? cause the business strat seems so off it doesn’t seem real. the reversal to switch from building a server and buy hardware to buying space is just part of the reversal, they also:
  • increased the number of days to their crowd sourcing campaign
  • nelged several times on what was previous stated to be a technical limit, not a financial limit. and it turned from not being technically possible to be restricted to mere. this pattern of releasing ‘good’ or hopeful news, while changing the scope to be less- without making it less/more dire. seems strange. it is liek they planned out from the final result they were aiming for, a plot line so tehy could resolve negative attributes, but also “finding” good attributes which weren’t even off the table in reality- just in rhetoric.
  • nelged on legacy status of people who bought other services from them previously. like life or true. they could have made at least life or true be the basic blogging teir and have it not compatible with some of the exclusive rent to get addons. or perhaps dropped instead picture uploads, or private and protected bloging options.

there is simply a ton of stuff that they could do, which they aren’t doing which causes eyebrows to raise. like:

why isn’t the xanga team worried/nervous about not meeting the target ?

or really pushing out updates about what parts of 2.0 they have done?

why was the time extended? and how is that in the spirit of crowd funding? why not make it thus length to begin with if in dire ecconomic need?

it sounds like one of the team is just going to scoot in last moment, and put in whatever is left.

and when it is done, why think they are going to keep the exclusive pay for blogging style?

why are the ultimatums replaced with fuzzy language?

why does this resemble of a 2nd years’ theater-in-business paper?

the reason some hope the funding fails, is cause it means that they were being completely honest about the financials and not a fully capable company (with change to spare) trying to crowd-fund just to push the expense upon others. it means that xanga hasn’t been waiting/wanting to push expense on a minority of core users, and that they literally need the money. and the funding style is not arbitrary.

the funding style being arbitrary would have been fine if it was open/honest from the beginning and the goal of having a server stack wasn’t dropped. if they want to have a server that they literally can plug or unplug and work on, that is a really genuine and worthwhile direction to take the site. and $60,000 to do that would be frankly- on the low side of cost. and if the team was saying simply: okay we need 68,283.71 or w/e to build the server, and if we get to $60K the team will be able to use the last of our money to get the rest of the cost, as well as write most of the software after that.

what we are funding afterward- our stretch goals will be how far we push the site functionality from base. because of this we will have tiers of funding.

the teirs as they should have been. if funded:

$0.50 right to make an account under any not previously registered name

$1 well get a thank you as a founder. right to reserve/migrate your username, but not titles. also you will only be able to post comments and rate blogs.

$5 will work as a necessary migration fee. if you have true or life, your title will transfer; though the different medium means it turns to free basic bloging. if you don’t you will get your username, your account. (if a specific stretch goal is hit, we can migrate everyone’s content)

$10 will be the basic blogging teir, if you pay $10 you get the functionality to post blogs, one ‘profile’ picture. also you migrate all your vestigial titles, and blog archive. you must pay for additional addons, storage. embeding is limited to one picture/entity per entry.

$15  advanced design. here you get to add far more customization options including tracks to play in the back ground, advertising, ability to upload background images, and capacity to customize emoticons. image library gets to have 3 images. embedding allows two things per entry, and one as the background.

$20 picture perfect.  advanced blogging + unlimited* photo hosting for the first year. embeding is limited to 10 pictures per entry. you get to upgrade one user other than yourself to your teir for 1 month, or invite 3 people to basic blogging. this capacity returns in 1 month’s time.

$25 visual prefect. basic blogging+ unlimited photo, video, and audio hosting for the year. unlimited pictures per entry. you get to upgrade 5 people from basic membership to picture perfect. making this a great family teir.

$35 maker’s delight.  unlimited amount of mod data, and public/comercial content. ability to use of proportionate class-lease material (like the premium membership), to what you contribute if you make a font, a publicly-available-background, and a  polling app; you get 3 class lease rights. and you  get money from people leasing your app.

$48 will get you a premium membership for one year, with all above rewards. all addons/mods and everything else which otherwise requires a microtransaction- are free. that means you get the processing fee procured when people use your app/mod just once. you get to invite 1 non-user person every 3 months to a full year of free advanced blogging, or sponsor 5 bloggers up to maker’s delight.

$1000, the founders teir. this is “life” for version 2.0, you get the title ‘founder’ and you will have membership for as long as the xanga 2.0 is viable. if xanga 2.0 becomes no longer viable, and xanga team aren’t planning further use of the brand, you get shared ownership of the brand with the other founders.

custom plans (once the site is up):

once you see a plan you like, you will want to buy upgrades.

there are two types of upgrades, class-terminal (ephemeral) and lease:

class-lease means you rent/lease the overarching upgrade to your account. in otehrwords if you like having a custom back ground but don’t want the image storage because you use a different site. then you can rent the background customization. back ground customization at $0.50 an alteration or capped at $3/year for unlimited spacing and location customization, means you will be able to make your site really represent you. another lease thing you might want is basic blogging with addon functions. in this you get to have as many addons as you want, all for free per one beyond credit your account with it.

terminal-lease is by comparison the opposite path. with class lease, there is an ambiguous class of features/applications/mods beyond the normal teiring structure, the rights of which you add to your account.  with lease, you lease or buy a single right to a single modification, depending on how the author/content-creator labels it. so rather than upgrading the number of pictures to unlimited, while ignoring the advanced bloging features- you can rent additional individual slots for photos. similarly rather than buying on community (class lease) side free use of all mods (via the premium membership). you can rent/buy use or site enabling of one specific mod on your site, like buying a single poll (perhaps with an experation date) to be attached into a single blog for $0.25.

to reprise:

class-lease is renting generic/global scale rights to a feature, and adding it to your annual account bill

terminal-lease is buying or renting either a single feature with one-time use. or renting a specific addon type from a mod author. the money from renting from mod authors go to the mod author, while onetime use sales are just a data management fee.

again terminal-lease can be mitigated by class-lease, and class lease can be mitigated always by premium membership (and often by lower tier packages). the community is everything.

what the style i suggested does, is shift people towards higher teirs of membership, leverage the community’s individuals a bit, but most importantly it leverages the community as a whole to work together to whatever degree they can. and it auto shifts people upward through the teirs as they donate their mods with limited scope and get

but that isn’t “it”, that is just a premise people will buy.

the ‘it’ stage is adding on further functionality by puting the busisness’ apps/mods out first. starting with the capacity to display alternate and integrated feeds from:

  • rss,
  • blogger.com,
  • wordpress.com
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • google+

you already have paying customers, who have already given you their credit card info. make features that make them want to stay. make it so they can easily stay in touch (both by reading and being able to comment and rate)  those who don’t cough up money.

you need to have everything in. because if you get this stuff in at least, so a wordpress.com person can be invited to temporarily try out the basic blogging or better without needing to provide financial stuff or to even register an email. then you have the capacity to have a natural user driven influx of ‘paying’ users.

some of this stuff just doesn’t seem believable to be done a different way.

1 comment
  1. M said:

    I like what you suggested about the different paying tiers. I’ve mentioned something similar too but not as in depth.

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