Tag: sixapart

TypePad Users Beware!

With the news yesterday that company VideoEgg is buying and absorbing SixApart into a new tech advertising firm called SAY Media, there is concern that their new focus on advertising and the business user will lead to alienation and exile of the “fun bloggers” who use their TypePad and MovableType products.

Although there’s nothing out there right now about how long SAY Media plans to continue to support their TypePad product for regular users, they have already made statements to the effect that they plan to lose some of the blogging community to WordPress over their business moves.

If I were a TypePad user right now, I’d start considering moving to another platform (or at least have a backup planned) in case they pull another “Vox Eviction” over on TypePad. It can’t hurt to have a backup elsewhere, and now’s the time to do it.

Exporting from TypePad to another platform is difficult. With tools already in place to export from Vox to WordPress, Posterous, and Blogger, I’d highly recommend anyone who only exported to TypePad consider also exporting to one of these other blogging platforms. Even if you don’t use your backup right now, it will be good to have on-hand if SAY Media gives TypePad users the old heave-ho in a few months, when it “turns out” that hosting bloggers doesn’t fit into the new advertising business model.

As for SAY media – I don’t see this as a good move for either company.  Yes, there is a lot of money to be made in advertising out there, but I don’t know that either infrastructure is going to provide enough leverage to give them an edge over one of the existing advertising consortiums out there (i.e. Google).  They’re saying that their media presence in the industry will give them an audience of 345 million people.  Since advertisers are known to inflate their numbers to those POTENTIALLY viewing ads instead of those who actually do view the ads, I tend to view these numbers with a bit of incredulity.  They DO have some quality products that, if leveraged correctly, could keep a captive audience for their advertising dollars.  However, the statements they’re making right now and the lack of consideration they seem to be showing towards the average “fun blogger” seems indicative of a mass exodus of non-business users from their blogging platform and possibly a loss of a large chunk of their so-called 345 million pairs of eyes (and future revenues).


Goodbye Vox??? (aka How to Pack Your Bags and Regroup)

NOTE: This was a post over on Vox that I’ve exported over since the service is shutting down.

Edit: Upon re-reading my post, I realize I sounded a little bitter and accusatory of SixApart.  I am sure their decision to scrap Vox and move everyone out is not one they made easily or without consideration for the dedicated members of the Vox community.  The efforts they have gone through to provide export tools to TypePad and Flickr shows that they do care about the people that made Vox great, and they hope that those folks will have enough faith in them to follow them over to the platform that they DO plan to focus their attentions on.  I’m revising my post below to be a little less negative and try to focus more on what people can do to keep their content, wherever they decide to go from here.

I’ve been away from Vox for quite some time now, for work reasons and family commitments.  In fact, I probably wouldn’t even be posting this today if it wasn’t for the announcement that Vox has decided to close its doors and bulldoze the community that has been slipping away quietly in dribs and drabs as people became dissatisfied with what in the recent years has become a sort of pariah of the SixApart group.  As support for the Vox platform declined, so did the number of users who cared to deal with the idiosyncrasies of the tools, poor server loads, and influx of spam comments.  But now even those who stuck around through it all will need to make a decision.  The word is out folks, and it’s time to pack your bags hit the road.  Luckily, there’s a lot of handy tools and helpful instructions out there to insure that you don’t lose your content, and can hopefully transition on to bigger and better things on another blogging platform.

SixApart’s primary suggestion is that you transition your Vox blog to TypePad, another one of their blogging products, and one which, based on Steve’s recent post and comments below, looks to have A LOT of good people and support behind it to make it a fun and worthwhile product.  Although I have not used it (and thus really can’t express an opinion on it), I do recommend you give their Export to TypePad tool a chance and see what all the hooplah is about.  If you don’t like it, there are other export options that you can do that I’ll go into more detail about.

Right now, your options to export your Vox blog are as follows:

1) Export your blog (posts, photos, and audio) to a free TypePad blog
2) Export your photos and videos to a Flickr account (free or paid Pro)
3) Export your blog (posts, photos) to an alternative service such as WordPress or Posterous

Note: These are not mutually exclusive – you can export your blog + photos and audio to TypePad, and then export your photos + videos to flickr, and do another export of your blog to WordPress or the like)

Vox has #1 and #2 covered in pretty good detail – while logged in, go to www.vox.com and read the info there to see the links to export to TypePad or Flickr.  Also, more info can be found at closing.vox.com – including details of when you’ll not be allowed to post anymore, and when you’ll not be allowed to get your data any more.

As for #3, my suggestion?  Export to a WordPress blog.  Even if you don’t think you’re going to use WordPress, they will automatically import your Vox blog (posts and pictures – sorry, it still doesn’t do video or music) using their import tool.  Once there, you can easily export your entire blog contents to a single file that can be imported to almost any of the big named blogging platforms out there (there’s either direct import or conversion tools).  Plus, your pictures will be hosted by WordPress until you can find somewhere else that you want to host them.

Please note that you can either do a WordPress.com blog (i.e. they host it there) or a self-hosted installation of WordPress on your own site.  If you want to import to a self-hosted wordpress blog without any intervening steps, follow the instructions here to install the import plugins on your self-hosted installation and go to it.

If you’re not a WordPress fan and don’t want to try TypePad, you can also check out Posterous.  Vox has details and the link to export to Posterous here.  There are also tools that will allow you to import a WordPress blog into Blogger, if that’s more of your thing – just export to WP and then use one of those tools to transfer over.

I’d love for my Vox neighborhood to leave me comments to this post for where I can best keep in touch with you.  Just because I’ve been absent from Vox doesn’t mean I want to lose touch with those folks I used to converse with regularly.  It’s still going to be a little bit before I’m back in the office and around a computer all day (and thus have time to start posting again) but I’m not giving up on blogging and don’t want to stop reading everyone else’s funny, insightful, and entertaining blogs just because SixApart decided to nix Vox.

If you guys want to find me, I’ll be porting my blog over to http://rossotron.com .  I’ll transfer over any comments from this post, too, so if you want to use this as a reference for where to find people, you can check for the related post over on that site to see where people think they’ll end up, at least in the interim.

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Another One Bites the Dust?

So yet another of my Vox neighbors has decided that the crap Vox and SixApart has forced us all to deal with lately for the last 6 months or so is not worth the benefits of sticking with the Vox community.  He's going to be missed, but at least he'll be blogging elsewhere, so you can keep up with his posts, if you are so inclined.

One of the main reasons I first joined up with Vox was for the community aspects.  I had heard interesting things about the varying privacy levels of posts, photos, and media, and when I came and checked it out and saw all the connections and communication that were driven by the Vox neighborhoods, dashboards, etc., I jumped on board.  I got a great kick out of being able to quickly and easily take a look at all of my neighbors' posts, comments, photos, etc., and join in on some conversations and easily share my own posts with others in my neighborhood.  However, as the number of folks in my neighborhood grew, the means of interacting with them through Vox's interfaces seemed to shrink, until now I find it a pain to try to keep abreast of even the most prolific writers in my neighborhood unless I read their posts in my RSS reader.  Only occasionally do I venture onto the site and navigate the blank screens and laggy loads to seek out the neighborhood-only posts from those I haven't heard from in a while.

For the moment, I'm still sticking around here.  I haven't posted a lot recently because of my busy work/home schedules, but that also has the quasi-beneficial side effect of not allowing me to get too pissed off with Vox (yet) to want to ditch the buggy servers for another service (or my own personally-hosted site).  I can see such a move coming, however, if things don't improve here when I do end up having more time to write.

I'm still working on my Vox export tool to allow someone to back up (export) their entire public blog archive to an .xml file that can be imported into a WordPress/Blogger blog.  I doubt it'll be the web tool that will cause a full-scale diaspora of Vox users to other utilities, but hopefully it'll be useful for the more-than-a-few folks who are abandoning ship for another service that appears a bit more stable and still appears to be trying to innovate, rather than just grab all the advertising money it can while it's still afloat.

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Twitter != Tech

Dear Vox and 6A,

I like that you try to auto-allocate people's posts into one of the 5 categories for your Explore module (at least, I'm assuming you're not doing it by hand!)  It's neat to subscribe to the technology RSS feed and suddenly have 30-50 posts from a random sampling of Vox users talking about different tech subjects.  And of course, on the rare occasion that the Tech Editor puts up new featured posts, I'll see that in the feed, too.  But could you tweak something for me please?  Pretty please with cherries on top?

Just because someone is using LoudTwitter or another Twitter archiving service to archive their tweets on a Vox account does NOT mean that post is tech-related.  Please change your filters so posts with the word Twitter1 in the post or title are not automatically allocated to this category.  There's nothing I like less than hitting "next" through 25 posts on this RSS feed because Joe Schmoe's twitter archive post with 12 tweets about his cat Fluffy has been lumped into the Tech category.

Thanks,
Ross

1How much do you want to bet this post gets lumped into the tech category because I mentioned Twitter?

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Everyone Else is Doing It, Why Shouldn’t I?

I'm talking, of course, about discussing the recent Vox update.  I haven't made a dedicated effort to seeking out people's opinions on the new UI changes, but every post from my neighborhood on the topic seems to be on the negative side of things.  I wonder how many, like myself, actually tried out this interface during the beta phase?  I'm blushing, because I tried it, found it pretty unusable, and switched back to the "old" UI.  But I forgot to submit feedback through the survey, and I'm wondering now if there were just not enough people who tried it out, found they didn't like it, and submitted their negative review. 

I wouldn't think Vox would go ahead with such a change for everyone if they found 90% of the people who tried it didn't like it, so I'm afraid that the majority of the survey results were from people who tried the new design and liked it and bothered enough to submit feedback.  I have to take my share of the blame for not providing feedback when it could have helped, but yet I still feel that it is better to voice my opinion, albeit a bit late.

Here's what I submitted to Vox feedback this morning:

I tried out the new design when it was a beta option, and had to stop after a couple days, because it was just so damn hard to do what I wanted to do.  This is not a knee-jerk reaction, I really gave it a chance and it came up lacking for the basic actions and ways that I used Vox.  I was happy that I was able to switch back, and I hope you provide an option to opt back to the older layout (much like Google gave Gmail users a means to switch back to the old Gmail design if they didn't like the new one).

Problems with the interface that made me switch back: I can't easily follow my neighborhood updates, comments are a pain to find, and this really breaks the entire user experience I was having and enjoying.  I don't care so much about the death of [This is Good], but I feel like my Vox homepage is a splash screen with almost zero content, where before I felt like it was a very lean, efficient means of transferring information about myself and my neighbors.  Part of my desire to come to Vox was derived from what I could glean from the Vox homepage.  That part of my involvement feels missing – I feel LESS connected with my neighbors and groups than I did before.  The new "features" section is a good idea but something about it makes me feel like I won't be using it much.

I will (probably) be staying with Vox through this new design, but I'm leaning towards getting into posting on my personal site.  I know that I won't have the community aspects that Vox has had, but when it feels so awkward to use Vox, I think I may be willing to give that up for something that feels more comfortable to use & manage.

Vox has been a great place to blog, and I have enjoyed the community aspects that have made me active, both in posting and reading other people's blogs.  I'm going to stick with Vox for a while yet, and see how things go.  But in the end, my intention for having a blog was having a place for me to write and share my thoughts and experiences, and the neighborhood aspects were secondary, only.  If a wordpress blog on my own site is what it takes to keep me feeling like I can easily get my thoughts out into a written medium, I won't hesitate to go that route.  We'll see, though.  I still have faith that the Vox admin can turn this around – I just hope that my neighbors don't all jump ship without giving them a chance.  And if you are thinking of leaving for somewhere else, PLEASE leave a forwarding address.  I want to keep track of my neighborhood, even if they are scattered to the four corners of the internet.  (And I'll be you didn't even know the internet was a quadrilateral, eh?)

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