It's a sad day for the old internet. Xanga — which has long tagged behind LiveJournal as a journaling platform — is running out of time: in a blog post, the team behind it said they'll be forced to shut the site down if they can't raise $60,000 by July 15th. "The status quo is no longer possible," says the team, revealing that the "expensive" lease on its network facility is almost up. And while the team could try to revamp the site or sell to a larger platform, they're realistic about their prospects. "The thing is, it's really hard to grow a social site that has fallen from previous heights. MySpace, Friendster, LiveJournal... lots of people have tried to resurrect these sites, and it has rarely, if ever, worked."
"Lots of people have tried to resurrect these sites, and it has rarely, if ever, worked."
The $60,000, Xanga's developers say, wouldn't be used to keep the site in its current form. Instead, it would pay for a new, cheaper data center and a webmaster, who would port Xanga's existing journals to an open-source blogging platform like WordPress. If it survives, Xanga won't be free for bloggers: the company's crowdfunding page will grant a one-year membership for $48, or $4 a month. Accounts for non-writing users will be free, allowing people to leave comments or follow others.
If the goal is reached by July 15th, "Xanga 2.0" will launch soon after, with all existing accounts migrated; otherwise, users will be given time to download posts before they're deleted. Some new features will be thrown in to sweeten the deal for paying writers, including group blogs, threaded comments, and better moderation tools. The main goal is clearly to keep the site open for dedicated community members, turning it from a business effort to a safe haven kept mostly afloat by volunteers. Unfortunately for users, even the Xanga team doesn't seem terribly optimistic about its future. This could be Xanga's chance to rally its supporters, but somewhere, my teenage self is crying.