Another technology company VOX announced last week that they are closing down their blogging platform and leaving their users without a home for their content on the 30th September 2010. Unlike a number of recent closures Vox appear to have been proactive in providing solutions to help users migrate unlike most other platforms that just close taking the content with them. The VOX announcement was sent out via email and a visit to their site showed the same message with details on how the platform will be closing in stages and what VOX users should be doing if they want to keep all the content they have built up over the years. To get around the issue of not building data portability into their platform VOX has added new export features for their platform. The VOX content export features allow their users to easily move blog articles from Vox to TypePad and their photo & videos to Flickr it seems some of the other platforms like WordPress & Posterous have some technical limitations so you should read their guidelines.
Vox closing time frame
2nd September - no longer accepting new user registrations
15th September - no longer be able to create new posts on Vox or upload new photos or videos
30th September - your blog will no longer be available at Vox.com
Vox has done the right thing by their users by making it free and easy as possible to transition their data off Vox to other platforms such as:interview with David Coallier. The second part of this post seeks to explore the companies that just close down the product not allowing consumers to export it or sell off their data to the highest bidder. After all think how much market research firms would pay Facebook for your personal or business data on an open market. When a company is bought out, goes bankrupt or is closed down what happens with all that data?This issue has raised its head several times in 2009 and also in 2010 as the failing economy broke many web 2.0 properties business models, who didn't build in the ability to make more money than they were spending via advertising or licensing deals. The issue of closed ventures and failed projects, was not unique to small start-ups but reached right up the food chain to shake the shareholders of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft who announced the closure of several hosted products leaving their existing users out in the cold. Obviously most companies don't build a product with aims to shut it down but the problem is that without data portability built into the platform your consumers can't export their data and continue to use it on another platform.Exporting and downloading data doesn't provide much benefit to consumers as how do they deal with sharing and visualising it? Most exported data will just sit on the users hard-drive until sometime in the future where a new platform can import it or it finally just gets deleted. As more platforms continue to build unique platforms with proprietary database architecture and they continue to amass data some steps need to be taken to ensure they look at some more open sourced solutions or APIs for data. As remember when your free web 2.0 product no longer suits their business model or they get bored the platform can be turned off at anytime leaving you stranded.Ask announced they will also be shutting their RSS platform Bloglines on the 1st of October due to the strength of Twitter & Facebook for dominating real-time information. It's interesting that some of the more basic functions are starting to feel the impact of social media on how people consumer information and Bloglines will be the first of many who will be closing up shop. They are offering a 3 week period to export your feeds to another service with a simple 4 step process:
- click on the feeds tab
- scroll past your feeds to the bottom pane
- Click on "Export Subscriptions"
- Save the file to a selected folder