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LiveJournal: Russia's Unlikely Internet Giant (bbc.co.uk)
39 points by J3L2404 1955 days ago | hide | past | web | 14 comments | favorite

I still use Livejournal. I've sadly not managed to find a better blogging site that has decent security options on it.

The threaded comments are better than almost any other discussion forum, and the level of control you have over comments and visibility are very high.

It's just a shame that the owners couldn't make money that way, and seem to be focussed on an entirely different demographic.

I'm "AndrewDucker" over there, by the way. Feel free to add, if you like lots of links to things.

Yeah. A lot of my friends ditched LJ when G+ came out... The promptly ran screaming from that because a lot of them prefer to use "fake" names on the Internet.

And very few came back to LJ. I still use it but it feels more and more like I'm talking to myself there. Some super hardcore users among my friends just... stopped... writing longform blog stuff when they abandoned LJ.

I still think LJ really nailed the social/privacy stuff in a way Facebook, and everyone trying to improve on Facebook, has really failed to do.

>It's just a shame that the owners couldn't make money that way, and seem to be focussed on an entirely different demographic.

Maybe it was when Six Apart owned them, but for a really long time it looked like LJ had given up on trying to improve on features on the site or fixing bugs, and instead focused on cheap and dirty ways to monetize the site like e-gifts.

It may have gotten them some up-front cash but you risk causing long-time users to stop renewing their paid accounts and go elsewhere.

Yeah, that's exactly what happened to me. I was a longtime LJ user (missed out on the special "early adopter" account by a few months), and I bought a paid account every year. And within a year or so after SA bought them, I gave up. Most of my LJ friends disappeared around the same time or a little later, and the communities I used to follow pretty much dried up too. It really was a shame; they did do a lot of things right initially that FB et al. either took awhile to figure out or never did.

I kept a paid account there from 2002 until late last year. My circle of friends was pretty active on LJ and didn't bail out to Facebook until 2009-2010.

One thing I remember about when LJ was independent was that they intentionally kept a feature disparity between paid & free users to steer people into paying.

And I remember in 2002-2004ish if you were at all an active user you definitely had to have paid -- they had more demand than server capacity, and they configured their load balancer to prioritize paid users. If you didn't pay you'd wait 30 seconds for a page to come up.

Since then they've closed the feature gap, and even if my friends were all to come back right now and post like they used to, I still don't see a need to pay. I couldn't care less about more photo hosting or user avatars.

Using LiveJournal too, since 2001. I think LJ technological base is great - for discussing random stuff, it's one of the best platforms I've used. Much better than the most other blog hosting engines. The russian-language community there is remarkable, both by the size and the quality - many prominent writers, political and public figures, journalists, scientists, celebrities are actively engaging in the community - it is a very interesting place, and much more fit for maintaining an engaged community than, say, Facebook.

However, since SUP bought the platform, the management was nothing short of disaster. The great success in community building in Livejournal is evenly matched by the failure of current administration in the technical site building. Technically, it is plagued with DOSes, screwups, breakdowns, security breaches and UI changes that nobody asked for and that make it annoying to use. Moderation is chaotic and voluntaristic, and prone to abuse by interested parties. They do not seem to have any plan of how to develop the site and so far almost all the improvements they made seem to make the platform worse, not better. The people in the management also have very openly disdainful attitude towards the users, publicly calling users complaining about their policies idiots, freaks, assholes, etc. Of course sharing any plans about site development with the community or, God forbid, let the community have a voice in it - are out of the question completely.

Their monetization efforts also seem to lack any coherent direction. They have paid accounts, and I have been paid user for many years. However, now I am considering switching back to the free option, since the feeling that I'm getting something for my money - better service, better options, etc. - is disappearing fast. Many paid options are useless for me - such as ability of having 200 userpics or 500 links in my homepage - but the main factor is that I don't feel the management of the site knows what they are doing. They bought a great platform and a great community, but my feeling is they are squandering it away.

Just curious, what do you think is the best alternative to LiveJournal for blogging? Do you see yourself moving to that alternative any time soon?

I'd probably go with heavily customized standalone wordpress setup. But that requires time to set up and tune and tweak, which I do not have... So for now I'm waiting till inapt LJ management pisses me off enough that I finally make time for it and move. Or that somebody develops a good blogging platform with same strengths in community building as LJ, but for the last 10 years it didn't happen, so I'm not very optimistic.

nothing is mentioned in the article that LJ was sold to Russian Media company "SUP" few years ago by Six Apart

Huh? It's right there. Quote:

  The Russian-language pages were licensed to the Russian company SUP media, founded
  by US entrepreneur Andrew Paulson and a Russian banker thought to be close to the
  Kremlin, Alexander Mamut. Just over a year later, SUP bought LiveJournal.

I think Tumblr could pickup where LiveJournal left off if comments were enabled.

Tumblr already has a lot of the userbase that LiveJournal used to have, even without comments, but it lacks LiveJournal's useful privacy controls.

The article is very outdated (02/29/12)

a three-month old article on a 10+ year old site is hardly outdated.

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