What Vox’s closure says about the state of blogging


I was a little sad to hear about the closure of blogging service Vox last week. Not especially because of losing my own Vox blog, but because Six Apart, the company that created Vox, deserved better. Over the years many blogs I have been involved with have used Six Apart platforms. I had my Paul on the Damascus Road experience with Typepad and developed Shiny on the platform before upgrading to Movable Type.

As any Shiny writer can tell you there have been issues with MT, but I think many of these stem from Shiny’s under investment in technology rather than the platform itself.

Vox was a bold attempt to invent a social networking platform with the emphasis on blogging, rather than shorter updates like Facebook and eventually Twitter. It probably didn’t work out because ultimately bloggers already had established blogs on platforms like Typepad and WordPress and Vox was never going to be able to compete with Facebook and Twitter for new users.

Where Six Apart missed a trick was by not making blogging ultra simple (like Posterous) or ultra pretty and image focussed (like Tumblr). Maybe Vox was a result of the company following other people’s agendas and not setting its own.

Six Apart is apparently in merger talks with Videoegg http://techcrunch.com/2010/09/03/six-apart-and-vox%E2%80%94how-promise-gets-s… which probably forced the closure. There is a feeling though that the once very promising start up may have missed the boat a little.

According to Techcrunch

Back in 2007 when Six Apart sold off LiveJournal and named Chris Alden CEO, the mantra was the company was finally going to focus. There’s a fine line between healthy diversification and doing too much to do anything well. Six Apart has always had an Intuit problem—they had several valuable properties but they didn’t necessarily add up to one big consumer Internet brand in the golden age of huge consumer Internet brands.

I think it is true that if you have one hero brand you become more desirable.

This is something that also rings true for many of the blog networks that sprung up in 2004-6. They could boast about having lots of traffic, but not one flasgship brand. It is something Shiny was acutely aware of a few years back, but never acted upon.

So goodbye Vox. I doubt if you’l be missed too much. And if you want to read people’s Vox’s blogs I’ll bet you’ll find a lot of them, on Posterous very soon.

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