is a website that hosts weblogs
, and social networking profiles
. It is operated by Xanga.com, Inc.
, based in New York City
Xanga's origins can be traced back to 1999, when it began as a site for sharing book and music reviews.It was created by Alberto and its been a one of the most creative thing Alberto has invented. It now has an estimated 40 million users worldwide. As of May 24, 2008, Alexa Internet
ranked Xanga as the 231st most visited site on the Internet.
All Xanga members receive a "Xanga Site", a web site made up of a weblog, a photoblog, a videoblog, an audioblog, a "Pulse" (mini-blog), and a social networking profile. Members also have the option of joining or making blogrings "groups".
Xanga first added weblogs to all Xanga Sites on November 5, 2000. Comments were added soon after, on December 8, 2000, along with the concept of "eProps", which a user can give to another user's entry as a sign of how much he or she has enjoyed the entry. Two "eProps" is the maximum amount that can be given. (By default, "2 eProps" is selected on the comment page.) Comment Tracking followed on January 18, 2001.
A core part of Xanga is the ability to subscribe to other Xangas. Subscriptions allow Xangans to stay up-to-date on other Xangas to whom they are "subscribed", without needing to manually visit each site. Xanga first added an email subscriptions feature on November 30, 2000. In January 2001, this was followed by the ability to subscribe to a site using a web-based reader using RSS (and the ability to display subscriptions on one's site).
Initially, Xanga allowed members to subscribe to each others' sites anonymously. Some users were troubled by anonymous subscriptions, and so during the week of July 15, 2003, support for this feature was discontinued. Since some users had been using anonymous subscriptions to try out subscriptions to other sites, on July 21, 2003, Xanga added a feature that allow members to sample a Trial Subscription to another site. This update also allowed member to hide individual subscriptions from public display.
Subscriptions were originally called "Sites I Read", so some older users sometimes refer to them as "SIR".
That said, until the spring of 2006, Xanga's photo features were focused on enabling photo uploads within weblog posts. Xanga first started offering photo uploading on May 1, 2001. Originally, photo uploading was available only to premium members, and was limited to 20 MB of storage (although this was not enforced). Then, on April 7, 2005, Xanga overhauled its photo system to increase picture quality and picture size, as well as to increase capacity for the system overall. This was followed, on August 5, 2005, with the beta release of a new Photo Manager that allowed users to more easily edit and view their photos.
On August 30, 2005, Xanga announced that all premium members would now get a gigabyte of photo storage. On September 9, 2005, web-based batch uploading of photos was added; on September 26, 2005, all Xanga Classic members were given 200 MB of free photo storage (and Premium members were increased to two gigabytes of storage). On September 28, 2005, moblogging support was added.
Xanga released its photoblog offering on April 6, 2006; the ability to comment on photoblog posts followed soon after on April 28, 2006. On May 18, 2006, Xanga introduced new tools that streamlined batch publishing to a photoblog.
Some members have also chosen to post their entries entirely with pictures and photos. This has been made possible after the introduction to photoblogging.
Xanga Videoblogs were officially launched on August 9, 2006 with a video featuring Xanga employee Chris Choi
's dog Gromit.
On September 29, 2006, Xanga launched Audio Blogs after about a month of beta testing.
On February 22, 2007, Xanga introduced "Pulse", which was described as a "carefree miniblog". A Pulse message can also be uploaded by cell phone
Xanga supported limited profiles as early as its launch in 2000. Profiles were revamped on February 1, 2004 to hold more information and offer better email security and control. Each member was allowed to upload one profile picture. On April 30, 2004, Xanga upgraded its profile image uploading to offer better quality images. Then on July 27, 2004, Xanga followed up with multiple profile pics; classic members were allowed to upload up to 3 profile pics, while Premium members were allowed to upload up to 99 profile pics. Xangans were allowed to set a default pic that would appear next to their username, as well as choose between their profile pics in each entry. Then, on November 19, 2004, Xanga extended its support of multiple profile pics to comment icons; now Xangans could choose which profile pic they wanted to appear next to each of their comments.
Then on April 6, 2006, Xanga upgraded its profiles to offer traditional social networking features - including the ability to connect with friends, to search for friends, and to fill out profile fields. On June 6, 2006, a link to each users' Profile was added to the standard Xanga navigation at the top of every Xanga site (along with Photos).
Xanga profiles also include Memories, Nudge, and a Chatboard.
Since August 17, 2006, Xanga users can send each other messages.
Users are now able to tag a post with keywords, making it searchable by subject matter.
Xanga's pages can be displayed in some languages other than English. Currently, there are Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), Spanish, Indonesian, Japanese, and Korean. Other languages might be added in the future.
Privacy and safety
Xanga supports several privacy features that allow users to restrict or control access to their sites.
- Protected Posting allow users to restrict access of each post to a list of specified friends. Xanga Classic protected lists can hold only up to 10 members; you must obtain Xanga Premium in order to get a protected list of unlimited size.
- User Blocking allows users to block certain people from commenting or subscribing to their sites.
On April 26, 2006, Xanga launched Xanga Lock, a feature that restricts access to a given site to only other Xanga members. If a casual web browser who is not logged in to a Xanga wished to view someone's Xanga, he or she would first have to log in to a registered account, or else he or she would see only a page indicating that that user has chosen to "lock" their Xanga. Xanga Lock also prevents the site from being indexed by Search Engines. Members can combine Xanga Lock with the Footprints feature to create a means of controlling and monitoring access to a given site.
On October 20, 2006, Xanga launched Friends Lock. This feature is similar to Xanga lock, but it provides even more privacy by allowing a user to lock out everyone who is not on the user's friends list. This feature is very similar to protected posting in many ways. However, unlike protected posting, a user can have as many friends as wanted without having to purchase Xanga Premium. Furthermore, a user can have friends who do not need to be on the user's Protected Post list.
With Xanga Footprints, participating Xanga users can see the usernames of signed-in visitors to their site. If visitors are not signed in, then the Country or State is shown instead. Xanga supports an opt-out for this feature.
The flagging system was first proposed on April 19, 2006, and subsequently launched on May 1, 2006.
To address the issue of clean content, Xanga has created a rating system that, among other things, limits access to age-inappropriate material. Xanga SafeBrowse, also known as Xanga Ratings, allows people to set their Xanga sites to one of five levels. A Xanga site set at the highest level (Explicit Content) can be viewed only after credit card verification. The system is modeled after the movie ratings system
On June 8, 2006, Xanga launched safety.xanga.com
, a site with links to tips for parents, youth, and law enforcement. Links to these safety tips were added to the bottom of every page on Xanga.
Reporting Inappropriate Content
A "Report Inappropriate Content" link is also found at the bottom of every page.
Xanga has two primary ways that users can control the design of their Xanga Sites: Skins; and Layouts.
Xanga Premium allows for complete customization of a user's page using its Xanga Skins feature.
A Skin is a CSS stylesheet paired with HTML and Xanga's own language. This is differentiated from the templates used by Classic users, often referred to as "layouts" (but often confused with Premium skins). There is a specific page for adding skins, and some inexperienced users mistake this for the "Custom Header" and "Website Stats" for which Classic users can access. Xanga Skins and Xanga Layouts are not interchangeable. Others have created layout sites for others to access.
In recent years, a cottage industry
of layout design community sites has emerged. The large design communities are blogring.net and createblog.com (formerly xangans.com). Submitting to either one of the above sites exposes users to constructive criticism from other experienced users. There have also been the creation of guilds (more commonly called "collaborations") where veteran designers form a team to create layouts using each member's specialty. These collaborations involve small-scale message boards where they can receive feedback and a server host to host accessories such as banners and music.
Aside from layouts, Xanga users have access to almost unlimited design capabilities. Xanga Classic users can use all HTML properties, excepting only the tag (which Xanga banned in 2004 for being associated with advertisement removal). tags is one of the tags that page transitions can be made from. At the time of the ban, page transitions were at the peak of popularity.
Xanga also offers two levels of premium subscriptions: Premium
; and Premium Plus
. Members who subscribe to either service receive additional features, including additional photo storage and monthly uploads.
The Premium plan provides 2 GB of photo storage and 100 MB of monthly uploads while the Premium Plus plan provides unlimited photo storage and 1GB of monthly uploads. Premium members on both plans may also fully customize their site using skins, post entries to their site via electronic mail, and download archives of their entries. Pages of Premium members also do not contain web banners. Some other Premium features include a higher limit on profile pictures, a custom sidebar, and specialized page skins.
Xanga Premium was first launched on May 1, 2001, largely consisting of 20 MB of photo hosting (although limits on photos were not enforced). A downloadable archive of entries and comments was added to the premium offering on May 10, 2001, while customizable Skins were added on February 15, 2002.
Payment options for Premium have grown over time. When Premium first launched on May 1, 2001, Xangans could pay for Premium only with a credit card. Support for check payments was added on April 15, 2002, while support for PayPal was added on May 13, 2002. Support for gifting of Premium was added on December 23, 2001. The Premium Plus plan was added on November 8, 2005.
Over time, several Xanga features that were originally available to Premium members have become available to Classic members as well. These features include rich text editing of weblog entries, photo uploading, user blocking, and search. Xanga's classic members have applauded these moves; meanwhile, Xanga's premium members have expressed distress that previously paid features have become available for free.
Xanga Premium now features 10GB of storage space.
Xanga is largely supported by advertising, in the form of banner ads that appear on the top of most pages on Xanga.
Sam Garland does most of the advertising for Xanga.
Xanga ads first appeared on the site on May 30, 2001. On September 21, 2005, the ads were changed to a larger leaderboard format.
The word "Xanga"
An entire vernacular
has evolved around the word "Xanga".
People will refer to their weblog as a "Xanga". The word "Xanga" is also used as a verb. (For example: "I'm going to xanga later tonight." or: "Oh, I haven't had time to xanga today.") In addition, the term "Xangaholics" will sometimes be used to refer to Xanga addicts. A yearly anniversary of one's Xanga site is called a "Xangaversary".
The FAQ section of the official site states that Xanga staff pronounce it "ZANG-uh". Other known pronunciations that have been colloquially used include the following:
- [ˈsɛŋga] (commonly used in Hong Kong, the [s] being due to the lack of [z] in Cantonese)
The CEO of Xanga, John, states in his profile that the word "Xanga" comes from a nickname he had as a child. "Xceptionally Awesome Ninja GangstA".
Timeline of Xanga
- October 1999, Xanga starts up in a form that would be barely identifiable today.
- November 1999, Xanga Alpha (not public).
- March 2000, The first alphabetical list of Xangans is formed. Go to web.archive.org and access the xanga.com archive for March 4, 2000 archive. From the archive, click "join Xanga today" then "find a member", and you will access the original Xanga membership list. * May 2000, Beta Xanga (still not public) defines itself as a site for small online entrepreneurs to become affiliates (think: Amazon.com) and to write/share views.
- November 5, 2000, First Xanga post with a link in it. (...by John, Xanga CEO-type).
- November 29, 2000, The infamous 'Bianca' ("Bianca Broussard") is conceived and created, developed for PR purposes; there are "bloggers", in addition to "Bianca", but they are now speculated as merely insiders/invited guests from the Xanga Enterprise or fictional personalities created by the corporation to shake out the testbed and to falsify a pre-public sense of community.
- December 18, 2000 - December 19, 2000, Xanga goes hugely public as the first wave of GeoCities members respond to a spam email recruitment from Bianca Broussard, a fictional PR personality of Xanga.
- December 30, 2000, Membership climbs approx. 1,595 to 1,734 from December 28 to December 29 -- incredibly it amounts to a one day increase of 9%.
- March 7, 2001, Blogrings are introduced.
- March 19, 2001, Angelfire spam recruitment is underway as Bianca returns after 1-2 month hiatus. More users are introduced.
- May 2001, Many structural changes to popularity and ranking metrics; Premium ($$) appears.
- October 22, 2001, "nfp, I think we have close to 40k members now.. that alphabetical list started to be too much of a strain on our servers."
Posted October 22, 2001 at 1:50 p.m. by john
- October 30, 2001, Genius, aka Biz Stone, the former Creative Director (and alleged creator of Bianca) leaves Xanga He eventually goes on to become part of the Blogger team at Google, and then to work at a new internet startup, Odeo.com
- Winter 2002, "Xangalympics" is aggressively marketed by Xanga to its members, with the winner to get Lifetime membership, and the winning ‘Team’ to get other prizes. Winners are never announced This is again viewed as a demonstration of the various contemptible techniques in which Xanga attempts to recruit new users, as well as a direct result of the resignation of Biz Stone, alleged creator of "Bianca", from the Xanga Enterprise.
- February 2, 2002, The first mobile blog webcam in the world is featured on Xanga. Xanga streams live video into a user's blog post while he's driving down the highway and toreibjo, a blogger from Norway, comments live: "I can see the road from the inside of a car. You the movie! This is way way cool!"
- March 5, 2002, The prolific Xanga coder, seanmeister creates a code that allows the insertion of graphical comments (i.e., pictures, avatars, animated gifs, backgrounds, etc. along with words - see associated 'code' link for examples of what it looked like) on posts. Thus begins the short-lived "Komment Revolution". Xanga would later "tighten up" the code to prevent such comments.
- June 22, 2002, Membership is estimated at 100,000 bloggers and traffic at a million hits a day.
- July 2002, Xanga Store announced (never launches, now defunct). Xanga Personals (date and mate-matching) started (defunct as of February 26, 2004).
- August 6, 2002, The first Xanga Blogchat is hosted. It finally brings assorted Xangans together for the first group interactive chat.
- August 20, 2002, Blocked Users feature is introduced for Premium users. CEO John toys with advertising Xanga's 10 Most Wanted (most often blocked) list, but the list never surfaces. Free Blocking (for non-Premium users) is made available on October 17, 2002.
- September 7, 2002, Featured Content is divided into Premium and Classic views with Premium as the default. John believes this will guarantee: "No more social propping - just stories, musings, pictures, fiction...."
- October 15, 2002, "International Xanga Meetup Day" is sniffed out and scooped before an official Xanga announcement is made. Monsur, a Xangan admin, concedes that the scoop forces their hand and so Xanga Meetups finally birth:
"Heh, John set that up a while ago, but the original date wasn't convenient, so we held off on announcing it until it was all set... I was never aware that they rescheduled it... A weekend might be better, what with all the school kids on Xanga; and a lot of the venues (at least the NYC venues) seem like over-21 places. But now that you've scooped it, it looks like we'll have to go through with it!" Posted October 15, 2002 at 1:13 p.m. by monsur
- August 25, 2003, Xanga introduces Protected Postings
- October 10, 2004, Xanga Metros launched.
- October 22, 2004, Featured Content gets filtered to bar Adult Content
- December 30, 2004, Attack of the Killer Xanga
- Various dates, 2005, Xanga bloggers start appearing in news stories with references to their blogging activities. See Notable News section above.
- August 23, 2005, Xanga finally develops a powerful Search that works. Out of a privacy concern, it lets Xangans opt out of its spidering.
- December 12, 2005, Xanga hosts an estimated 21 million blogs.
- December 22, 2005, Xanga introduces 'Xanga Dash', a new user interface that provides real-time feedback and permits statistical comparisons (for eProps, comments, subscribers, and guestbook) between one's own and Xanga's daily and weekly 'bests'.
- December 31, 2005, Lifetime Premium is withdrawn as Xanga introduces Premium Plus.
- March 2006, Xanga adds new profile features such as friends, "nudges", and chatboards that resemble Facebook.
- April 19, 2006, Feedback on new flagging system The new flagging system will potentially facilitate in reporting inappropriate content of member’s Xanga sites. These flags are categorized into three groups: fraud, offensive content, and safety.
- May 11, 2006, Xanga's servers are down from 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. EST in order to facilitate its relocation of servers to New Jersey.
- May 17, 2006, Xanga introduces visitor logging to the user feedback page, as "footprints"
- August 9, 2006, Xanga launches Xanga Video
- August 17, 2006, Xanga launches private messaging
- September 7, 2006, Xanga is fined $1,000,000 by the FTC for violations of COPPA (The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act), the stiffest penalty for a COPPA violation on record.
- September 29, 2006, Xanga launches Xanga Audio
- February 22, 2007 Xanga introduced "Pulse".
- March 2, 2007, Xanga creates new a frontpage to complement the many new features.
- April 3, 2007, Xanga Themes is launched as a beta for Premium users.
- April 16, 2007, Xanga plans to open up comments to non-Xangans, and other non-bloggers.
- April 19, 2007, Xanga add stars to posts - a new way of encouraging more props, and the alike.
- April 24, 2007, Xanga opens up comments to non-Xangans, and other non-bloggers.
- May 10, 2007, Xanga adds Photo and Video Pooling to blogrings, much like Weblog Pooling, which was added earlier.
- May 31, 2007, Due to popular demand, Xanga brings Lifetime Premium back.
- June 20, 2007, Xanga suffered from a denial-of-service attack.
- July 26, 2007, Xanga launches Featured Questions.
- August 6, 2007, Xanga launches Xanga TV. Xanga is easing into this feature, so thay are opening this up for the premium users first.
- August 15, 2007, Xanga introduces cellphone-accessible version of the website allowing more users to access xanga for longer periods of time.
- October 10, 2007, Xanga introduces Widgets.
- October 11, 2007, Xanga introduces Xanga Minis (for a limited time, all first-time premium purchases come with bonus credits).
- October 21, 2007, Xanga launches Broadcasting (Open to Premium Users only).
- October 24, 2007, Starting today, broadcasting will be available to all users.
- October 31, 2007, Xanga releases Weblog Archive Calenders for Xanga Themes.
- November 1, 2007, Javscript Support for Xanga Themes (Premium Beta).
- November 29, 2007, Albums are newly themeed & easily accessible.
- January 16, 2008, Xanga releases the new Subs page - w/ images * new Private Page Beta.
- January 21, 2008, Xanga rolls out Comment Replies.
- January 23, 2008, Xanga launches Full Language Support.
- February 11, 2008, Xanga rolls out Xanga True.
- February 29, 2008, Xanga releases Welcome Wagon.
- March 6, 2008, Usernames can now be changed (Cost: 10,000 credits).
- March 10, 2008, Xanga rolls out Online Status & Themes Tag.
- March 20, 2008, Xanga launches their Recommend feature today.
- April 7, 2008, Xanga rolls out the "Recommended Module."
- April 18, 2008, Xanga launches Photo Recommend
- April 29, 2008, Comments can now be edited or deleted (This only works for themed pages).
- May 6, 2008, Xanga rolls out New Feature: Future Posting.
- May 20, 2008, Featured Content returns on Xanga.
- May 21, 2008, Xanga is launching some sites that uses the same technology that powers the site itself.
- June 11, 2008, Xanga releases Premium Badges for the premium users.
- June 23, 2008, Xanga launches a feature called Cut Tags: an easy way to hide part of your entry behind a link.
- July 2, 2008, Xanga has an API using MetaWeblog.
- July 18, 2008, Detailed Footprints are now available. You'll get more detailed explanations about visitors who aren't signed into Xanga accounts.
- July 29, 2008, View Counts for new weblogs entries. Now you can see how many views you get on each of your new weblog entries!
- July 31, 2008, View Counts - Two Updates. Views on your own site no longer get counted & you the ability to hide the view counts.
- August 18, 2008, Check out the new ShareThis button for an easy way to share Xanga posts on sites like Digg, Technorati, Facebook and StumbleUpon . . . or even on Xanga itself!
- September 10, 2008, Premium Users: AdSense for Your Blog. Starting today, premium users will have the option to put their own Google AdSense ads on their Xanga sites.
- September 23, 2008, Xanga launches Plugz. Plugz help you discover quality content by exposing you to bloggers that are not in your friends or subscriptions lists.
Many sites have been created solely to express dislike or animosity towards others. These sites tend to attract retaliation in the form of negative or offensive comments, promoting hate-speak within Xanga. The Xanga Team has attempted to close such "hate sites" down, along with restricting members who misuse Xanga.
Although it is briefly mentioned in its About page, many users play copyrighted material without permission. It is also stated that "distribution" of copyrighted material is not allowed without permission; however, slews of Xanga users specialize in finding uploaded audio to which other users can hotlink.
Some users who have mastered basic HTML and CSS create more advanced and eye-pleasing templates for those who are less apt. These users are called "designers" or "layout coders". Xanga has not yet solved the problem of copyrighted images. Most of the designers use a generic search engine (such as Google Image Search) to find a picture of the defined theme (such as video games, music artists, athletes, etc.) and merely add text or other embellishments. The designers then stamp the image (banners, backgrounds, avatars) as their own copyrighted image.
Some Xanga pages are entirely for the use of pornography. These sites display naked pictures of the owner or others. These sites violate Xanga's Terms Of Service, and the Xanga staff try to shut down those sites, as well as "hate sites"
to customize their pages.
Server side word filtering is used to detect dangerous scripts. It is claimed that the filtering can be bypassed by escaping
the filtered text into Unicode
A series of filtering was recently implemented. Some functions, such as setTimeout()
, which many people were using to remove the advertisements, have been overridden.
Xanga users still in elementary or junior high school have been punished upon discovery of their personal pages. Usually, a threat against a teacher or classmate is made. Also, posters of Xanga may post photos of themselves, or others, performing illegal activity relative to their age (e.g., drinking, pornography).
- May 20, 2007: In Hong Kong, a 14-year-old boy is arrested after professing that he was involved in the Sun Yee On triad society gang fighting on his Xanga site.
- September 7, 2006: The Federal Trade Commission fines Xanga US$1 million for allowing children under 13 to use the service without their parents' consent, thus violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. Xanga admins close down all Xanga sites whose users signed up with birthdates that signified they were under 13, sparking much discussion among legitimate users for various reasons (for example: User was under 13 when page was created, but not any longer, the page was created for a pet, the birthdate that was given is actually an anniversary, etc.).
- February 26, 2006: A Michigan high school student faces three felony charges for allegedly taking photographs of two juveniles having sex, posting them from the Internet and linking to them from the popular Xanga web site, allegedly prompting a student in the photos to attempt suicide.
- February 8, 2006: Fifteen to twenty students at a Michigan high school face possible disciplinary action by the school after parents reported seeing Internet photos of them drinking alcohol at parties.
- January 2006: Twin sisters received probation for making death threats on their Xanga blog against some of their Newark High School, Ohio classmates.
- December 2005: Police in Dublin, Ohio, United States arrested a 14 year old boy for posting death threats on his Xanga site, threatening to kill classmates and teachers.
- December 8, 2005: Students of Taft High School of Chicago, Illinois have been suspended for posting threats about teachers and students.
- September 2005: Our Lady Of Peace Middle School in Columbus, Ohio expelled a student for insulting both teachers and students on her Xanga. Similar cases happened in Taipei American School in 2004.
- July 2005: In Lincoln, Nebraska, several students at Lincoln Southeast High School were suspended from basketball after a teacher had stumbled upon Xanga photos of the athletes drinking.
- May 17, 2005: Police used a murder victim's last Xanga entry to identify his and his sister's killer.
- May 2005: Multiple students at a Pennsylvania elementary school are suspended after their Xanga sites were reported to the principal. Only one site posted 'illegal' content, threats against teachers. That student was suspended for three days and questioned by detective. The remaining students were punished with suspensions for using profanity.
- April 2005: After a suicide of one of the students, classmates of her at the high school in Elizabethtown Area School District in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania started the spread of a rumor. The rumor was about students bring guns into school and following a hit list that was claimed to have started on Xanga. A scare was caused among the students and faculty and school was dismissed early. After the incident, Xanga users at the high school could no longer access Xanga from school property.
- April 2005: Students at Buchanan High School in Clovis, California used Xanga to insult and threaten their classmates. Cyber-bullying of classmates and family members was reported.
- March 2005: Two students at Grand Ledge High School used Xanga and MySpace to post entries that included death threats against a teacher.
- March 2005: In a posting on the online journal site Xanga.com, a pupil at Trailridge Middle School allegedly threatened to kill a teacher over a grade.
Xanga has been criticized for giving its users too much
's search page in late 2004, causing intermittent errors.