After 14 years of blogging with MovableType, Andy Baio has relaunched Waxy.org on WordPress. Baio’s media and technology blog has been a continual source of original content about life on the internet and how it affects our culture. The migration includes 472 posts and 15,891 entries from his sideblog Waxy Links.
Waxy.org played a small part in WordPress.org’s early history. In 2005 Baio broke the story about WordPress quietly hosting search engine spam articles in order to help cover some of the site’s expenses. The exposure and subsequent removal of the articles temporarily decimated WordPress.org’s pagerank but Matt Mullenweg’s response to the situation brought more transparency to how the open source project was being funded. Baio interviewed Mullenweg for the piece and considered it his first foray into serious journalism.
In his post about the site’s redesign Baio concedes that blogs are “not really part of the cultural conversation anymore” but said he thinks there’s still potential in the medium.
“There a few reasons why I’m sad about the decline of independent blogging, and why I think they’re still worth fighting for,” Baio said. “Ultimately, it comes down to two things: ownership and control.”
Baio explained why it’s important for him to control his own space on the web, as opposed to putting content at the mercy of third-party platforms whose futures are not guaranteed:
Last week, Twitter announced they’re shutting down Vine. Twitter, itself, may be acquired and changed in some terrible way. It’s not hard to imagine a post-Verizon Yahoo selling off Tumblr. Medium keeps pivoting, trying to find a successful revenue model. There’s no guarantee any of these platforms will be around in their current state in a year, let alone ten years from now.
Here, I control my words. Nobody can shut this site down, run annoying ads on it, or sell it to a phone company. Nobody can tell me what I can or can’t say, and I have complete control over the way it’s displayed. Nobody except me can change the URL structure, breaking 14 years of links to content on the web.
Waxy.org is now responsive and uses a custom theme built using Automattic’s Components starter-theme generator. Baio will continue exploring odd corners of the internet on his blog and plans to share his thoughts about the challenges of navigating the ecosystem of independent publishers.