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It seems that it doesn’t seem to matter who is running LiveJournal (LJ), they inevitably do something to anger their user base.
Under the Six Apart ownership, you had the deletion of accounts without mercy and the removal of “pornography”. They finally sold off the blogging site to a Russian company named SUP in December of 2007, with promises of not many changes, and adding the founder, Bra Fitzpatrick to an advisory board. All seemed well, but four months on and here comes the first issue.
how LJ has eliminated their “Basic” membership which was a severely pared down version of an account, but it also allowed you to use the site ad-free. People that had the account before now may keep using it as-is, but no new users will be allowed to sign-up for it.
While the new owners are certainly within their rights, they did it without any warning and did not consult two members of their advisory board, one of them being the afore mentioned Mr. Fitzpatrick. Both he and the other member who spoke out, Danah Boyd, both spoke in LJ entries (Fitzpatrick’s here, Boyd’s here) about the delicate ecosystem that is a site such as LJ, an all users are needed, even if they aren’t paying or viewing ads. Why should most people produce content if no one is reading it? True, I have said before you can blog just for yourself, but lets be honest, most people like to have readers.
What’s disturbing is that once again changes were made to LJ without any warning to the users, just as in the two other occasions I mentioned above that were under Six Apart’s ownership. Add in not even consulting their advisory board (why have it if you don’t talk to them?), and it would seem things will not be changing for the betterment of the users any time soon.
So, at what point is it time to finally just leave the site? I used to pay for an account there, but now I can’t even stomach to go by for free. The total lack of customer service does nothing to endear me to them, so I figure why help their stats? There are plenty of free blog hosts out there for you to choose from, and you can always set up a WordPress blog of your own at a web host, but I think it’s come time to just give up on LJ. It was nice while it lasted, but last one out, please remember to turn off the lights.