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15 posts from September 2010

Vox FAIL - Blogging Platform Shutting as of September 30th - But what about the SEO?

voxlogo.jpgThere's a fundamental challenge in using a hosted platform for any kind of service:


Not just in terms of availability (i.e. uptime versus downtime), but also that the hosting platform will be around for a long time - or that you will be able to easily move to another platform.

We've reached that state of trust with hosted email servers and hosted web servers - those are now "commodities" and we can choose from zillions of providers. We embrace "the Internet Way" of "distributed and decentralized" systems... the data is very portable (web pages, email messages). Yes, it's a major pain, but it can be done.

Blog platform providers are a bit different, though. Sure, fundamentally they are just a hosted web server running a content management system (CMS)... but there are specific tools and ways that they work that you get used to and come to rely on. You build up a community of readers and other blogs you read... sure, you can move to another provider, but will they carry over all your links with all the SEO value they have? (not likely)


The many users of the blogging platform woke up yesterday to discover that their home is shutting down and going away effective September 30th:

On Thursday September 30th, your blog will no longer be available at, and you will no longer be able to sign in to Vox.


All the content you wrote... gone. Offline. Removed from the online world.

To the credit of SixApart, they have provided a site,, that has instructions about how to move your blog to TypePad, to WordPress or to Posterous - and how to move your pictures and videos over to Flickr. However, if you read the comments on this post it would seem that all is not happy in Vox land and that the migration is not smooth and painless.

Largely because I am a paying TypePad customer and already had a blogging platform, I never used Vox beyond setting up an experimental page back in 2006 when the service came out. So the impact of the Vox closing to me personally is minimal.


Here's where I would be worried, though, if I did use Vox more... what is going to happen to the "search value" of all those blog posts that have been written over the years?

All of the links in search engine results to those posts will FAIL.

There was this comment left by SixApart executive Michael Sippey:

If you do move your blog to TypePad, we'll redirect any requests for URLs on your Vox account to the home page of your new blog on TypePad.

But note the emphasis I added... your old blog posts will NOT redirect to your new blog posts! The links will instead go to the home page of your new blog, leaving visitors to somehow attempt to find the content that was previously linked to.

Way to kill search value. :-(

Another user asked this specific question and the response was to put a link on your new home page to the specific post that gets a lot of traffic.

Not scalable - or desirable.

But it is what is is... you are not in control of your own platform. You were locked-in to the tools and systems of the vendor.

The WordPress Option?

If I were to counsel bloggers on what to do next, my personal suggestion would be not to migrate to TypePad, or even to Posterous, but rather over to Why?


With TypePad, you are back using SixApart's hosted proprietary blogging platform. Sure, it's essentialy hosted Movable Type, but it has evolved, and you then need to think about where you can host your site on MT. Posterous is a startup and is using whatever they are using... I'm not sure what they're using, but it's not clear to me that if THEY went away I'd be able to move my content. (In fairness, I don't know.)

I do know, though, that uses the free and open source WordPress software - and if you don't like hosting it at, you can migrate your site to any of a zillion other WordPress hosting providers - or run it on your own server. Odds are that if you use your own domain name on, you should be able to migrate your content from to another WP site with all the URLs intact!

You are in control.

Definitely something to think about when you evaluate any cloud provider - what happens if they go away? Can you move your content?

Best wishes to the folks who had accounts at I do not envy them the task of migration.

Did you have an account at Vox? Which provider did you choose to migrate to?

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Google Wave to rise from the ashes in open source form?


Ever since the announced demise of Google Wave, I think we've all been wondering what would be next and how much of the code Google would make available. Today, they've taken a step in that direction with this post:

Wave open source next steps: "Wave in a Box"

In the post, they say that they will make available as open source:

  • an application bundle including a server and web client supporting real-time collaboration using the same structured conversations as the Google Wave system
  • a fast and fully-featured wave panel in the web client with complete support for threaded conversations
  • a persistent wave store and search implementation for the server (building on contributed patches to implement a MongoDB store)
  • refinements to the client-server protocols
  • gadget, robot and data API support
  • support for importing wave data from
  • the ability to federate across other Wave in a Box instances, with some additional configuration

If they follow through on all this, it should be quite a good offering.  As they note:

This project will not have the full functionality of Google Wave as you know it today. However, we intend to give developers and enterprising users an opportunity to run wave servers and host waves on their own hardware.

After Google announced Wave back at that famous Google I/O presentation, I've been intrigued by it (and written about it) but what has most intrigued me is the possibility to move collaboration to a "distributed and decentralized" model in a way similar to email and web servers.  Distributed and decentralized is, after all, "The Internet Way", as I wrote about at great length in the past.

Let's see what happens... and I, for one, will definitely be watching to see what they make available.

What do you think?  Can Wave re-emerge as something useful?

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TypePad users: How to Re-Enable Twitter Sharing After the OAuth Change

As a TypePad user, I discovered today that any new posts I made on this blog or Disruptive Telephony were NOT being shared on Twitter after I published them.  It turns out to be that the connection to my Twitter account needed to be fixed... presumably related to Twitter's OAuth authentication change.  I'm guessing that I set up the linkage to my Twitter account back when TypePad first provided the capability - and undoubtedly provided my Twitter account name and password.  That kind of authentication to Twitter was no longer allowed as of August 31st.

If you find yourself in this same situation, here's what you need to do.  First, go into your overall TypePad account settings and go to the "Other Accounts" page.  If you have a problem, you'll see some text in red that says something like "Action Required" (unfortunately I didn't take a screenshot of it) in the area shown in this screenshot next to your Twitter account name:


If you do not see any red text, and just see green checkmarks like are in the screenshot, you are all set - your Twitter sharing should be working perfectly fine.

If you do see the red text, it's a click-able link that will take you to the Twitter OAuth authentication page where you can approve TypePad's access to your Twitter account.

Next, you need to go to EACH of your blogs where you want to share your posts out to Twitter and check the box next to your Twitter account again.  It seems that when your Twitter account is disconnected, the connection is removed from each of your blogs.

To get to the Sharing screen shown in the screenshot below, you need to go into the Dashboard for each blog, click on the "Settings" tab on the top and then the "Sharing" tab on the left side. Then you can check off that you want to share posts on Twitter:


Unfortunately I found you do have to do it for every blog that you have on TypePad. Not a huge deal for me, since only 4 of my blogs are on TypePad, but it could be more of a pain for others.  In the end, though, all my blogs are now once again sharing blog posts out to Twitter.

Hope this helps some of you...

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Apple's Ping to Connect with Facebook? (iTunes 10 screenshot...)

With the announcement of Apple's Ping "social network for music" yesterday, I naturally had to download iTunes 10 and check it out.  Outside of finding that so far pretty much zero of the older artists I follow are on Ping, I was intrigued by this screen:

iTunes10-facebook.jpgOthers have noticed this, of course, and a Cult of Mac article about it has comments from folks who were able to link to Facebook to see if their FB friends are on Ping.

It's just curious, given the lack of Facebook mention in Steve Jobs' keynote yesterday and then Kara Swisher's All Things D article:  'Steve Jobs on Why Facebook Is Not Part of Apple’s New Ping Music Social Network: “Onerous Terms”' (And I'm somehow not surprised that Facebook had "onerous terms"...)

It would be logical if they did allow that connection... it's annoying to enter a new social network and have to, yet again, go through the process of connecting to people on the network.  This is why data portability matters, as I've written about over the years, and why we need projects like the DataPortability Project to succeed.  Upon entering a new network like Ping, I want to connect with my "tribe" very simply and easily...

Meanwhile, given that the bands I like, such as the Scorpions, AC/DC, Rush, etc., (or even Nickelback!) all don't seem to be on Ping yet, I'll just look at my blank page and wait for a few friends to show up on the service... perhaps I can find some newer music ;-)

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Podcamp Boston 5 coming up Sept 25-26 - sign up now! #pcb5


Do you want to learn more about social media, online content creation, marketing, PR and so much more?  Do you want to meet people who are changing the online world?

If so, registration is now open for Podcamp Boston 5 taking place at Microsoft's New England R&D Center on the weekend of September 25-26, 2010.  It's hard to believe that it's been 5 years since Chris Brogan, Christopher Penn and company kicked off the Podcamp world in "Beantown"... but it has been that long... and in looking at the list of people already registered, this year's event should be outstanding!  You can register directly at:

or learn more about what will be going on at:

I've attended and spoken at Podcamp's before, and they are well worth the time!  Great people, great information... it's all good!

P.S. My own schedule won't work for me to make the drive southwest due to some family and school events, but I'm looking forward to hearing all about it and seeing the news and posts coming out of the show.

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