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23 Oct 2006

Vox has opened up unlimited invites

filed under: journal  :: blogging  :: sixpapart  :: vox

(A post that's been sitting around here for a week due to site tinkering...)

I have been using Vox for some time now. It's a great low-pressure casual blogging platform. It's a lot like Live Journal, but much prettier, and with different features. It makes me wonder what SixApart intends to do with LiveJournal, but I'm sure a lot more qualified pundits can speculate in a more informed way about this.

The good things about Vox:

  • the pretty interface
  • the ease of uploading, or linking to, images, books, photos, videos and music, and inserting these into blog posts
  • the QOTD (Question of the Day) thing and the Vox Hunt (photo scavenger) thing foster a sense of community or something
  • per-post privacy settings. You can set posts to be visible to anyone, just your "neighbors" (these are usually people you got to know on Vox), friends, family, or a combination of these groups.

The bad things about Vox:

  • you can't really customize your page - you must use one of their designs. They recently had a design contest, so there are a lot of nice ones with new ones being added frequently, but your site look is not branded as "you" - it's branded as Vox. Many of the designs have a very similar look and feel to them, even the user submitted ones. (This has had an interesting side effect though. Since selecting a new page design is just a couple of clicks away, a lot of people, myself included, change their designs frequently, choosing from the selection available every few days or weeks.)
  • All Amazon links go to amazon.com only (I cannot insert a book from Amazon Japan for instance) and have the SixApart affiliate link on them. I don't know if they intend to change this to allow individual affiliate links.
  • Even though it's still in preview, I already experience some slowdowns trying to post to it.

What Vox offers is quite similar to what Wordpress.com offers at the moment - but to me the Vox selection of designs are much nicer. I also don't think Wordpress.com has the per-post privacy settings (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Vox is clearly not intended for, nor it is really suitable for, a business or professional blog, but it can be a good introduction at the least to low-stress blogging for the uninitiated. I also hope that 6A does not run into the server overload problems they've had with their other products like Typepad (one of the reasons why I finally took Just Hungry off of Typepad a couple of months ago was the unbelievable slowness of rebuilds), once they go out of beta or alpha or preview or whatever it is.

I've been using Vox mainly to talk about things that don't fit here or on Just Hungry. This post about my Tim Gunn bobblehead doll is pretty typical. I haven't really been using the privacy feature much (I don't really feel comfortable blogging on someone else's server about things really private) but a lot of people love it.

Anyway, Vox has now allowed unlimited invites to be sent out by current users, so if you want to give it a try and don't want to wait until you get an invite from Vox itself (you can sign up for one on their home page) say so in the comments, and don't forget to put in a valid email address. (Or use the contact form instead if you're shy.)

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