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The Internet The Almighty Buck

LiveJournal Buyout Confirmed 223

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the new-beginnings dept.
Kingfox writes "Brad Fitzpatrick, creator of LiveJournal, finally confirms the story that was posted to Slashdot yesterday. Six Apart has purchased Danga. This means that they're moving to San Francisco, LiveJournal users are finally getting the trackback feature, but the project will stay open source, and little else will change for the end user."
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LiveJournal Buyout Confirmed

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  • Changes (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tuxter (809927)
    They aren't going to raise their prices OR make any other significant changes other than "look and feel" i.e. make it prettier. I wonder how long the "No price changes" will last, I'm willing to bet not long.
    • Re:Changes (Score:2, Funny)

      by BumpyCarrot (775949)
      Actually, they were planning on never ever changing their prices, not ever. If they do, you should sue! Oh hell yes.
    • Re:Changes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by somethinghollow (530478) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:01AM (#11273432) Homepage Journal
      One thing I hope they change is getting more / faster servers. That site is really slow. Sadly, all my friends blog on it. So, I have to brave the slowness every once in awhile.

      Another thing that I hope they change, though it has no bearing on me since I don't blog there, is their theme system. It's pretty convoluted to learn. I don't know why they don't just let you use CSS. 90% of the custom themes I've seen could be done with the right HTML and some CSS. At least then after you spent hours working on your LJ page with CSS, you could use it in the "real world." After learning LJ formatting, all you can do is format LJ (AFAIK).
      • Re:Changes (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NeoChaosX (778377)
        One thing I hope they change is getting more / faster servers. That site is really slow. Sadly, all my friends blog on it. So, I have to brave the slowness every once in awhile.

        Agree here. If I had a nickel for everytime the server timed out on me or I ran into a "The document does not exist" error while surfing LJ, I'd probably have enough to keep a Paid LJ account for life. They need to get more bandwidth, faster server, or both.
      • Re:Changes (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jamie Zawinski (775)
        It's only slow if you don't have a paid account. I agree that their theme systems (both of them) are totally from hell.
        • LJ got rid of the "faster servers for paid users" almost a year ago.

          LJ added some pretty heavy duty hardware in the last year. I've been using them since Dec. 2000, and the service has never been better, even though I've been a paid user most of that time.

      • "Pretty Convoluted" isn't the half of it. It's down-right horrible. I mean it's probably perfect if you're a CS major, but I'm guessing 5.6 million users are not all CS majors.

        As for the speed; paid users get ahead in the queue and the site is quite fast.
  • by JediLow (831100) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:13AM (#11273271)
    Sure, just like they weren't being bought...
    • Nobody said they weren't being bought, at least nobody official.
    • More specifically, Six Apart purchased LiveJournal because of each companies respective strengths and weaknesses and because LiveJournals user base would complement Six Aparts business model by getting access to a younger user base. All that and the owner of LiveJournal was looking to sell. Read Mena's (President of Six Apart) blog [sixapart.com] for specifics and a handy FAQ.

  • Ads already in place (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    People are already reporting ads on LJ, even for paid users: http://www.livejournal.com/users/girlvinyl/178809. html [livejournal.com]
    • by Tink2000 (524407)
      Er, did you bother to go look at her references?

      It's quite clear (especially if you actually go look at the pages she cites) that she's been spywared.
    • The person reporting the ads seems to be the only person seeing them. Therefore, "Person" is reporting ads, not "People." And it could very well be spyware.

      The people running LiveJournal seem to be quite aware of an average user's worries about the project; hell, Brad Fitzpatrick himself seems to be one of the crowd who has chosen specifically not to sell his soul to the devil. RTFA to hear what he's actually saying. As he says, "Really you shouldn't see any negative changes." The LiveJournal operators wou
      • "The LiveJournal operators wouldn't violate this statement within moments of its being posted!"

        Right, but what I'm concerned about is their Privacy Policy. Since legally (and yes, IANAL) wouldn't the old owners have absolutely no say whatsoever what happens to the users information? Whats to stop these people from deciding one year down the line "hey, revenue is down, we need more money, lets sell our user lists to advertisers"?

        • Well, it does say that you will have the choice (starting in a few days) whether or not you want to accept the new privacy policy. They are posting in advance for you to review. If you disagree with the new policy, you have time to move somewhere else.
        • Right, but what I'm concerned about is their Privacy Policy. Since legally (and yes, IANAL) wouldn't the old owners have absolutely no say whatsoever what happens to the users information? Whats to stop these people from deciding one year down the line "hey, revenue is down, we need more money, lets sell our user lists to advertisers"?

          If you weren't aware, the original owners of LJ could do the same thing, and without notifying you?

          Keep in mind, even when you set up your slashdot accounts: Don't expect a
      • Usually even their most questionable steps eventually wind up in the bounds of smart thinking and usually good taste.
        Well, except for Something Awful..
    • Read her replies to comments in her own LJ, as well as the journals she provides links to. It's pretty obviously a hoax intended to stir up panic and knee-jerk reactions among the more gullible LJ users.

      Note that said LJ poster is also involved with the now-offline LJDrama.org and Encyclopedia Dramatica [encycloped...matica.com] (current front page NSFW). Take it all with a nice, big grain of salt.
      • (current front page NSFW)

        Ahhhh! Please SPELL OUT the important acronyms. So other people won't have the panicked clicking-to-close-windows that I just had:

        NSFW = Not Safe For work
  • by FleaPlus (6935) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:15AM (#11273281) Journal
    TrackBack [wikipedia.org] is a damned handy system, which lets you see which other blogs have linked to a particular post that you've made. It's seen in many of the more "professional" blogs, and it's a great tool for finding out about commentary on your posts. I was actually thinking of ditching LiveJournal for a service which supported TrackBack, but I guess I'll now be able to stick around.
    • Putting a giant aluminum spoiler on the back of your Honda Civic along with a set of purple lights under the body and a "Type R" sticker on the back is a damned handy modification. It's done by many of the more "professional" automotive enthusiasts and it's a great tool for making your car go faster.

      Hmm. Somehow saying that doesn't make it any more true either. Endless "trackback" listings are still the annoying Type R stickers of the Internet.

    • Trackbacks suck. Believe me, it's not worth it. I've moved from LiveJournal to my own WordPress-based blog, and trackbacks is one of the last features I'm excited about. I got tired of all the trackback spam coming my way, and I disabled trackbacks for good.

      Alternative: If you want to know who's linking to your blog -- whether or not they've trackbacked you -- you should look at Bloglines. Even if you don't use Bloglines, someone who reads your blog probably does, and Bloglines knows about which blogs are

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder whether this will affect the webmaster/abuse contacts' attitudes.

    Speaking as someone who's had inappropriate personal information and untrue claims splattered all over the board by a malicious ex, who knew many mutual friends would see it, I was less than impressed by the LiveJournal team's response when I pointed out that defamatory/illegal content was being posted. The ex in question made that post private when I sent her a rather pointed message about it, and the LiveJournal admins then claime

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:28AM (#11273329)
    So, I guess when "sources close to Brad Fitzpatrick" said that LiveJournal was not being sold... well, not so much eh?
  • Nice quote (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FleaPlus (6935) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:29AM (#11273333) Journal
    Here's [sixapart.com] an interesting blog post by Mena, President of Six Apart. I thought the following quote was interesting in the context of the typical "bloggerz sux0r" threads you see on slashdot:

    I believe that LiveJournal has, unfortunately, received a bum rap because many have considered the postings on LiveJournal to be trivial. It's sort of like a vicious circle: Journalists make fun of webloggers saying that they only post about their cats, webloggers make fun of LiveJournalers saying that they only post about high school angst and LiveJournalers make fun of webloggers saying that they are SUV-driving yuppies who think they have something important to say (and I'm generalizing). The fact is, webloggers and LiveJournalers are in essence doing the same thing: they are posting their thoughts to people who are important to them. For some webloggers, it's 100,000 people, for others it is 10. For LiveJournalers, it may be 30 people, it may be 3 (or a combination of some number).
  • by Grendel Drago (41496) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:30AM (#11273336) Homepage
    So long as the amateur porn stays in place, and I can continue to co-admin my porn community [livejournal.com], then all is well. (You need to get an account to read the community, and list a valid 18+ birthdate, and submit a join-request. This is so the community doesn't get deleted. It's a CYA maneuver by the livejournal administration to ensure that everybody who watches porn can lie about their age.)

    --grendel drago
  • I'm a paid member, so I dont see them... but I've seen members in my communities start complaining abuot banner ads on their journals now. Is this the first sign of change already?
    • I think that just means people have spyware installed on their computers which are inserting banner ads. I remember the same thing happened with my old roommate and google.
  • I don't know whether to feel happy or sad about this merger... I have the distinct feeling that support will divide by 0, prices for paid accounts with do the opposite and server uptimes will become $n-x in $n days, where x is a random integer.

    *sighs*
    • Ooh! Support will approach infinity and paid accounts will approach zero!

      Truly these are the end times.
    • I have the distinct feeling that support will divide by 0, prices for paid accounts with do the opposite

      You mean, support will increase to infinity and prices will drop to zero? :) That actually would be nice.

  • by metlin (258108) *
    Well, atleast now we've proven that Slashdot is more reliable than blogs of 13 year old girls ;)

    We atleast bother backing up our rumours with evidence (sometimes!).

    Take that, Jenny. Ahaan!
  • Correction (Score:4, Informative)

    by wankledot (712148) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @02:57AM (#11273413)
    SA is buying Livejournal fromDanga, they are not buying Danga itself.
    • Re:Correction (Score:3, Informative)

      by Apathetic1 (631198)

      I believe your post is technically correct but it's also misleading. Six Apart may not be buying Danga but the Danga employees will be moving to San Francisco, at least according to the news post:

      What happens to the Danga employees?
      We're moving to San Francisco! *ding ding*
      • Correction again. From the press release, it states they've acquired Danga Interactive, Inc., and (presumably) have 100% ownership (in exchange for a combination of cash-and-stock). They're acquiring the source code to LiveJournal, and all its infrastructure components.

        I've got a more thorough write-up on my blog:
        dmehus.blogspot.com [blogspot.com]

        I use Blogger because of its permalink and post editing abilities, but I am considering either a switch to MSN Spaces or (possibly, and I stress this word heavily) back to Li
    • Re:Correction (Score:3, Informative)

      by stephenbooth (172227) *

      Someone asked Brad directly if it was Danga or just LJ that was being sold and he stated it was all of it [livejournal.com].

      Stephen

  • I'm not completely sure I get this. I read both Brad and Mena's posts on the journal. They've talked quite a bit about preserving the Live Journal community and making it better. What I don't understand is how this helps 6 Apart make more money, which ought to be the whole idea behind the merger from the business side. I can appreciate Brad doesn't enjoy the business side of running a business, so I can see what he personally gets out of it. Can anyone familiar with this aspect of 6 Apart comment?

    It
    • You are assuming that LJ doesn't make money already.
    • by FleaPlus (6935) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:08AM (#11273455) Journal
      Perhaps we'll see livejournal being touted as a more "personal" free solution, with Movable Type touted as the more "professional" solution. I figure we'll see greater interoperability between the two, allowing LJ'ers to easily add Movable Type blogs to their friends list, and vice versa. Overall, this would lead to a greater incentive to choose LJ/MT instead of, say, Blogger.
      • In addition to the "compare and contrast" contributions we'll see, it's also this: in the next decade, it will be about a return to communities on the web. In the early 90s it was a bunch of local BBSs, and now the web is too big to be a "community" most of the time. People want to reach out to other people, and blogs, for better or for worse, often do that. (For worse, I know I've made fun of blogs as a way for people to be passive-aggressive to those they don't want to talk to in person.. :)

        I think Six A
  • by RobertTaylor (444958) <roberttaylor1234@noSpaM.gmail.com> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:00AM (#11273425) Homepage Journal
    "Why is Six Apart buying LiveJournal?
    Lots of reasons:

    Together we form super robot that's stronger than the sum of its parts.
    Super robots can fight super companies."


    Blogger.com bought up by Google...

    To think that millions of £££ venture capital will be spent over which system publishes what 14 year old Lisa's dog ate last night.
    • To think that millions of £££ venture capital will be spent over which system publishes what 14 year old Lisa's dog ate last night.

      To think that maybe venture capitalists have a better understanding of the potential of these self-publishing tools than people like us do.

      Hey, it could happen. First time for everything, even VCs having a clue.
  • by shawnywany (664241) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:04AM (#11273439)
    I tried getting my journal back on my domain for good, but I just cannot leave a couple of Livejournal's features.

    One, I keep a tightly-knit friends-list, and sadly enough, those people would not read my journal regularly if it were not on Livejournal. On LJ, it's just a matter of opening up the "friends page" and seeing all of your friends' entries at once. Handy and keeps you and your buddies close, even if you rarely have the chance to really chat or talk.

    Two, I adore the communities. When I need information on some subject, there's always a community. Not only that, but it's usually active. I prefer having a human helping hand rather than that of a search engine; both at once are even better (ha.) For example, I trust the ladies at the VaginaPagina community [livejournal.com] to relate experiences and help--especially since everyone is there to do just that.

    I used to scoff at LJ, but now that I'm there, I just can't leave.

    • One, I keep a tightly-knit friends-list, and sadly enough, those people would not read my journal regularly if it were not on Livejournal.

      Well, you could set up a WordPress blog and use LivePress [goldsmith.us] to copy the entries to your LJ.

      Also, you could try Bloglines [bloglines.com], an online RSS aggregator which is like a much improved friends page.
  • by NeuralAbyss (12335) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:05AM (#11273445) Homepage
    I wrote this script after hearing the rumours.. can also be a good thing if you just want a backup of your livejournal.

    LJExport v0.1 [homeip.net]

    Any comments are welcome.. released under the BSD license.
  • LJ has 5.6 million user accounts. 2.4 million of which are active. Far more than slashdot. However, as Brad points out, its an "inward facing" community. I'd never heard of the site until a few months ago. They sure could use better marketing. And better integration with the broader blogging world (with TrackBack). TFA repeatedly states that SixApart aren't out to destroy LJ, but they can do that even without intending to. Let's wait and see.
  • Nervous (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SmittyTheBold (14066) <[deth_bunny] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:05AM (#11273449) Homepage Journal
    Okay, being a five-year user of LJ (user number 1112 [livejournal.com], suckers) and perm-account holder, I've got a considerable stake in all this. It makes me nervous. I'm not familiar enough with Six Apart and their treatment of MT to be confident in their ability to maintain the status quo around LJ-land. I'm afraid that the business will do what all businesses do, and eventually change from being "for the people" to being "for the profit."

    There are literally hundreds of thousands of people who have put time and effort into their own little portion of the Internet, and I'm afraid that with one motion Brad's damaged their stock. The thing is - this is something Brad's been putting his life into for around six years now. If anything he's got the most to lose. (Ignoring the nice chunck of change he jsut pocketed.) Hopefully he walked into this with due diligence and maintains some official control over where LJ will head.

    I suppose that's the one question I haven't seen answered - from what Brad said, it seems like he's now just an employee. Any official power he now has is ceremonial. So I hope he made the right choice.
    • From Brad's post:

      Ever since LiveJournal got big and popular, a number of companies have been offering to buy LiveJournal. I suppose it was inevitable, but the more I talked to everybody, the less interested I became in selling. With a few exceptions, nobody seemed to "get it", and people's ideas for LiveJournal's future were generally lame. I started to realize that selling LiveJournal would mean killing LiveJournal, so I didn't. Then one day Six Apart contacts us, we start talking, and here we are. I kno
    • Re:Nervous (Score:3, Insightful)

      by idiotnot (302133)
      I haven't been on LJ nearly that long, but I share your concerns.

      I don't trust SixApart as far as I can throw them. That Brad does is all well and good, but I don't. Not after what they did with the MT license. I help maintain a community machine [757.org] shared among about 70 people. We had quite a few users who were using MT to host blogs. Mind you, this is a community machine, composed of donated hardware, run with donated power and bandwidth. SixApart refused to give us a free license for the new version.
      • In the end, we ended up doing lots of work moving people to WordPress.

        Why didn't you just stick with MT 2.6? That's what I've done on our colo. I'm tempted by WordPress, but so far I haven't found any major reason to switch.

        I understand your concerns with the big MT licensing debacle, but then SA admits it was a debacle, and they substantially changed the pricing structure as a result. Now they've seen how hard the community can bite, I'd be surprised if they'll easily tread on 6.5 million users.
        • 2.6 is still around, but what happens when someone finds yet another vuln in it? Do I just leave insecure software out there? From my reading of things, they won't be doing anything on the 2.x code branch anymore.....

          And the pricing structure is too little too late. It's still damn expensive, and when I asked about special licensing, they wouldn't even entertain it at the time.

          So, goodbye MT, goodbye SixApart.
    • You do NOT have a permanent account - you are an early adopter, which is something different entirely. :) That being said, I share your nervousness. Of course, in the blogging world in particular, "for the profit" is the same as "for the people", since a site like Livejournal is worth nothing without a large userbase, but I don't immediately trust SA to realize that and make the right decisions (or, rather, abstain from making the wrong ones). Well, we'll see what happens.
      • No, actually, I do. Follow the "my new account" link from the profile I linked to above, or the "web site" I have listed under my /. account. I created a new account when I went permanant, as it seemed like a good time for a few other changes as well.

        I was one of the first 100 people to get the perm accounts when they were offered oh-so-long ago.
        • Ah, OK. Out of curiosity, how'd you get it? ^^
          • In In the early early days of paid accounts, they started to feel the crunch of new users and the old servers just weren't handling everything well, so they needed to purchase new, bigger ones. $10,000 was determined to be a sufficient amount of money, so they sold 100 permanent accounts for $100 on a first-come first-serve basis. Being the irresponsible college student, I took them up on the offer. Since I still use LJ over four years later, I suppose my investment has just started paying off.
    • Brad becomes SixApart's Chief Architect.
      • Chief Architect...of LiveJournal. Presumably he won't have much to do with MT except where the code bases overlap. And what does that mean? Unfortunately, as a company, those who own it are still in charge. If push comes to shove, they can boot Brad whenever they feel the need. That's my problem here - supposedly Brad will keep control, but it's all ceremonial power at this point.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 06, 2005 @03:06AM (#11273451)
    I, for one, welcome our new corporate overlords.
  • After they shafted my Scout troop in the late 1990s, please tell me the Beaverton Livejournal staff is getting shitcanned
  • This move will be good for SA, because LiveJournal has some excellent thinkers and programmers. Okay, their users might tend to be a bit juvenile, but LiveJournal's architecture is pretty amazing. It's great what the team have managed to do with limited resources, they've developed some really hot technologies, like memcached [danga.com], which even Slashdot uses now.

    I just hope technology migrates from LJ to SA's products, rather than the other way round.. no TypeKey or comment spam on LJ please!
  • Mood: (Score:2, Funny)

    by rmart (834426)
    depressed :(
  • by FuzzieNorn (203503) <fuzzie.warpedgames@com> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @07:30AM (#11274088) Homepage
    They've ripped their commitment to keeping the site as Free Software out of their social contract (which they've renamed to 'guiding principles' anyway).

    Details of the change are here [livejournal.com].
  • Sale of `blog' service raises privacy concerns [thestar.com] A small bit, continued on page 4, but interesting that they're tracking the story that quickly rather than saving it for Monday's weekly @ section. (P.4 also has a picture of Hitachi's domino-sized "Mikey" 500GB drive. Cool!)
  • I use LJ and I've raised some interesting points [livejournal.com]. I hope I get a response that isn't Lawyerese for "stick this spiked dildo up your ass".
  • Oke, all the big heads at SixApart and Danga confirm that LJ, MT and TypePad will stay independent entities/business divisions.

    They also said LJ will stay opensource and there will be no crossover effect between services like TypePad and LJ in terms of functions and communities.

    Questions? Sure!

    1. Why buy a huge community that hardly makes any money? LJ is mostly for free and hardly makes big cash. Why buy the user base if you could build the technology yourself and try to get more paying customers. The o
  • Of course things aren't going to go to heck tomorrow. As the Six Apart owners points out, they just bought the place and don't want to destroy their new toy just yet. And heck, they probably get themselves a PR boost by being able to claim a massive increase in the numbers of people using services they own. Perhaps even some more business from LJ users pleased with the promised upgrades. But in the long term, what are they going to do?

    A) Keep Live Journal at its existing level of performance, providing
  • Please buy Slashdot's User Journals.

    That way, we can have some actual features.

    Signed,

    The Slashdot Journal Community [slashdot.org]

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