Why the demise of Jux is good news for Tumblr
What’s the best alternative to Tumblr? As recently as a few days ago I would have pointed you to Jux.
What’s Jux? Jux was an image-rich Tumblr alternative, set up by the founders of file-sharing service Limewire.
Unfortunately a lack of investment means that Jux is closing everyone’s blogs at the end of August. Now, when it comes to highly visual - and free - blogging platforms, I think Yahoo!’s recent $1 billion acquisition has the field to itself.
Jux acquired users attracted by quality of the experience and the content. Sadly, it didn’t acquire enough. Being free, it also didn’t make any money, and so I guess ran out of it with VCs being unwilling to put any more in.
I recommend you take a look while there is still something to look at. It is visually stunning.
I used Jux for a number of work projects, and from my experience the company founders were super responsive to all requests for help and new features - one big advantage when you work with the second tier of social networks.
I also had my own Jux site, one which collected Instagram images I took during the London Olympics and Paralympics. So, I’ve used myself as a case-study as I’ve had to hunt around for alternatives.
That search took me right back to Tumblr.
First of all, the bad news for anyone with a Jux blog. While in theory it allows you to download your content, all you are really downloading are images, that in a lot of cases you will already have elsewhere.
All posts and captions need to be started again from scratch.
Having seen that this was the case, I then looked at where I could recreate all my old content. The alternatives seemed to be as follows:
1 - First of all there are the traditional blogging platforms, such as blogger and wordpress. Both offer themes allowing you to customise your blog. Just like with Tumblr, you can buy a range of premium wordpress themes.
However, there is a good reason why my old blog is a (self-hosted) wordpress one and my new one (this one) a Tumblr one. I’ve found Tumblr to be more intuitive than wordpress, and also much more social.
2 - Then I looked at Soup. I’ve seen Soup described as akin to the older, more basic Tumblr. Which is not really what I’m after. I also didn’t find the process of setting up a Soup site that straight-forward and the design didn’t grab me.
3 - I’ve heard good things about Squarespace. But it costs money, from $10 a month if you are billed monthly. Not a lot, but not an option for a blog that was about London 2012, and so essentially dormant.
4 - Backspaces, a network that allows you to create narratives using a series of images and words, is winning a lot of favour among mobile photo enthusiasts. Sadly, I think I am looking to recreate too many posts to make it a practical option.
5 - From @jas I heard about an upcoming blogging platform called ‘Ghost.’ It’s raised far more money than it needs to, but it is still at Kickstarter stage
There are others. Fotojournal costs $9 a month. I’ve seen platforms such as Floost being mentioned, but I am not sure they won’t go the way of Jux. Hosting data (which is what a blog amounts to) for free costs money after all.
So, back to Tumblr. Tumblr will house your blog for nothing, and that will continue, for the moment at least, under Yahoo! ownership.
Indeed, the way Yahoo! boss Marissa Meyer has treated Flickr, points to this hopefully being a more benign takeover than Facebook’s purchase of Instagram.
There are plenty of free Tumblr themes, but for any level of customisation you need a premium theme.
I spent $19 on Suave and then it took me a few hours to manually recreate my old Jux site - including backdating all posts to August and September 2012. The old site is here (until 31/8). The new one is here.
There are plenty of examples in social media where high end alternatives sit alongside mass-market leaders.
Vimeo vs YouTube is one. And photo networks Tadaa, EyeEm and Flickr are starting to take that positioning vs Instagram. I do think there is room for a network to occupy that space vs Tumblr. Sadly, barring some kind of last minute reprieve, it’s not going to be Jux