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LiveJournal Introduces "Sponsored Content" 98

Posted by kdawson
from the slipping-down-that-slope dept.
piphil writes, "LiveJournal.com has just announced via their Business Discussions journal that they are introducing 'sponsored communities and features.' This has lead to an outcry from those who watch this community, who accuse LiveJournal of starting down the 'slippery slope' towards placing advertising on users' journals — some of which users already pay for the privilege of not having to see ads on the site. Read more below."


Interestingly, a few years ago — before LiveJournal's takeover by SixApart.com — the management released a "Social Contract" stating that LiveJournal would remain advertisement-free. Unfortunately it is impossible to link to this page at LiveJournal, as it has been silently deleted. However, we can read a copy of the document on the Internet Archive.

The user outcry has so far been limited to those who actively watch the lj_biz community. However, users are employing their own "viral marketing" techniques to spread the word across the user base. Many are worried about a MySpace-like descent into user-targeted advertising.

All this comes after the user base resisted introduction of advertising-supported user accounts, which swapped paying for extra features for seeing "targeted" banner adverts on the site.

These events raise prickly issue of user rights on such websites, and the validity of "user contracts" that can be changed at will by the provider with no subsequent compensation to affected users.
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LiveJournal Introduces "Sponsored Content"

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  • Oddly enough (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spazntwich (208070) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @03:24PM (#16260047)
    So has Slashdot, as evidenced by this "article."

    At least LJ is admitting to it.
  • by Valacosa (863657) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @03:26PM (#16260067)
    When the buyout happened, I remember reading the statement that the service wouldn't change much, that there wouldn't be ads on the site. I remember thinking to myself, "Bullshit. Why would sixapart buy it if they didn't want to wring as much money out of it as possible?" And sadly, "wringing money out of" usually involves "plastering ads all over."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by superflyguy (910550)
      But they're not forcing ads on their users; only doing all they can to convince their users to accept ads themselves and force them on non-users. I still don't see any ads on livejournal. When I do, I'll take the archives that I save periodically with the scrapbook firefox extension and move somewhere else if they annoy me. But if I'm not forced to see ads, I don't care if others decide to see ads. As long as it remains voluntary, even to new users, it's not a problem.
      • Thank you! That's my thought exactly. I haven't seen any ads anyplace and don't expect to any time soon. I never understood what the big deal with giving people the option to see ads was. If I didn't have a paid account I'd love to have ads as a trade for more features. I'd do that on a lot of sites if given the chance... Though actually, I've been meaning to go track down an account with ads just out of curiousity to see how bad they are.
      • Doesn't LJ's terms of use indicate you've already signed your copyright over to them?
        • The author retains all patent, trademark, and copyright to all Content posted within available fields You license the right to publish your copyrighted material, but you don't sign the copyright over.
  • by truthsearch (249536) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @03:31PM (#16260097) Homepage Journal
    Many web site owners already know that it's usually considered bad practice to add advertising to a well established site. People who blog about blogging usually tell people to put adsense up right away to a new site rather than add it later. Regular visitors seem to take the later addition of advertising as a bit of an insult. But they're more inclined to accept the site with its advertising features present from the start. Any significantly intrusive changes to a site will cause problems. Even more so if it's purely done for profit.
  • ...and? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NitsujTPU (19263) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @03:48PM (#16260213)
    It's not like LiveJournal is strapping their users to chairs and tattooing advertisement on their foreheads. If you're that vehemently against this, you could

    1) Use facebook to social network
    2) Use blogger
    3) User the facebook notes feature to aggregate your blog in (if blogger is supported... if it isn't you could use the facebook API)

    Of course, facebook uses ads on their site...

    Also, it's not a step towards ads embedded in your LJ. If you want all of the features, you either pony up some cash or get ads embedded (I don't think that the "sponsored" level gets as much as the paid level).

    Who cares? Start a similar service. There's no patent preventing you from doing so to the best of my knowledge.
    • Hmmmm.... (Score:3, Funny)

      by truthsearch (249536)
      It's not like LiveJournal is strapping their users to chairs and tattooing advertisement on their foreheads.

      What's your email address? We'd like to discuss this idea with you further.

      Thanks.

      - SixApart
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Nevermind that to see the ads, you actually have to go and search them out, since the banners are in the community pages themselves, or you get them if you decide to use those newfangled features. It's all opt-in.

      There was also an uproar when they introduced Plus accounts, which were also introduced as opt-in, and have so far remained that way. I don't see anyone complaining about those now, and even though I have a few friends with Plus accounts I've yet to see a single ad from them.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Opt-in for existing users, opt-out for new users.
      • by mdwh2 (535323)
        There was also an uproar when they introduced Plus accounts, which were also introduced as opt-in, and have so far remained that way.

        The accounts are opt-in, but seeing ads most certainly isn't: A free user (or non-LJ user) will see ads on the sponsored account, even though this user hasn't ever opted in. Only paid users don't ever see ads.
    • by RPoet (20693)
      I'd like to add a an item to your list of suggestions:

      4) It's free software. Set up your own damn LJ (with blackjack, and hookers. In fact, forget the LJ!).
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by g-doo (714869)
      Who cares? Start a similar service. There's no patent preventing you from doing so to the best of my knowledge.

      Well, let's replace Blogger with the LiveJournal example. If you built up several years of posts and comments at Blogger, with years' worth of sites linking back to your own, wouldn't you be a bit hesitant to abruptly drop Blogger and essentially start over at another service?
    • by AdamHaun (43173)
      1) Use facebook to social network

      LJ and Facebook are completely different sites. I don't use LJ to "social network", I use it as a diary that my friends can read. For that matter, I don't use Facebook to "social network", I use it to see what people from high school and college are up to now -- in other words, I'm on it for the profiles. I have no interest in blogging, or saying anything to the internet at large. I wish people would stop assuming that the only use for web services is whatever trendy marketi
      • by NitsujTPU (19263)
        Social networking isn't just a trendy marketing buzzword. Theorists are actually interested in models that are based on social networks, IE, the karate club graph, the Milgram experiment, and people looking at the graphs produced by facebook and other social networking sites.

        By setting up profiles that link you to your other friends, you are helping to produce such a graph, whether you like it or not. I used the term "social network" to capture the larger picture of what the site is and does, not to sound
        • by AdamHaun (43173)
          Yeah, I know that social networking is an actual field. I was objecting to your use of it as a verb. "Social networking" is a high-level description that ignores the fact that two services which feature it may not be interchangeable at all. Case in point -- many modern video games, as part of their multiplayer feature, allow you to label other users as friends, see when they're online, and send messages. Can I replace Facebook with Half-Life 2? Of course not. Nor can I replace Facebook with del.icio.us, or
          • by NitsujTPU (19263)
            But at that point you're using the social networking functionality of the site because you can jump to your friends page, and those friends pages of your friends, and so on and so forth, walking around the graph looking at the friends pages of your friends.

            Even if you didn't want it, it's there... any complete solution to the problem of duplicating LJ's functionality would require supplementing this functionality. That's all that I was saying.
  • Adblock (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Meneth (872868)
    You know, they could just install Adblock and forget about it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Using Adblock is against LJ's TOS.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RLiegh (247921) *
        ...and they enforce this how, exactly?
      • by Korin43 (881732)
        Looking at the comment below, it looks like Adblock isn't against the ToS, since it doesn't use html or css to obscure the ads..
    • by Sporkinum (655143)
      ADVERTISEMENTS AND PROMOTIONS

      You understand and agree that some or all of the Service may include advertisements and that these advertisements are necessary for LiveJournal to provide the Service. You also understand and agree that you will not obscure any advertisements from general view via HTML/CSS or any other means.


      I would say that means the people with live journal pages cant embed things to make the advertising go away. If you are reading a page they couldn't do anything about that.

      That being said
      • by makomk (752139)
        Yeah - IIRC they changed the TOS and got rid of the bit prohibiting users from using AdBlock after a load of people kicked up a fuss...
    • by robdavy (850571)
      Except this article (if you'd have read it and the link), is about Sponsored Profiles and such - profiles you have to choose to visit. This is not about banner ads or Google ads or what-not...
  • Scandal! (Score:2, Funny)

    by RealGrouchy (943109)
    My, goodness, this is an outrage!

    I will continue to...not...use...livejournal...

    - RG>
  • Surprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nbannerman (974715) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @04:02PM (#16260315)
    Yep, adverts are going to kill LJ; just look at Myspace, they've got ads everywhere and no-one uses that site at all... oh, wait..
    • MySpace is different - you know you're going to see ads when you visit it. LJ had claimed over and over again that there would never be ads. The site probably won't die, but there's going to be a massive shift in their userbase if they go through with this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      Interesting you should compare them to MySpace. When LJ started, it seemed to be full of emo teens. Since MySpace started, it seems like the signal to noise ratio of LJ has shot up...
      • by Belgand (14099)
        When LJ started it was filled with University of Washington college students. I should know, I joined back in April of 2000 (user number 2008 for reference) when I was a college freshman myself (albeit at a different school). The only reason I even found the site was because there was a piece of software of up on Freshmeat called "Loser Jabber" which sounded interesting. Turns out it was the Linux client for LJ.

        I told some friends about the site and a few people moved there, but for a while it seemed pretty
    • by geek (5680)
      I don't think any reasonable person thinks LJ would suddenly close shop from lack of users. I believe the argument to be that the quality will go down reducing it to the quality level of MySpace. These are subjective criteria with which to judge and compare so drawing a line claiming they are either right or wrong would be foolish.

      My personal opinion is that both sites are crap. While most people I know have a MySpace account, very few I know actually use it in any real manner.

      Both sites could go swirling d
  • That a social contract is worth exactly as much as the paper it's printed on.

    As a user of Adblock Plus (mit Filterset.G!), I'm not really concerned about any advertisements that LJ puts out. As an occasional LJ user, I really have no problem going through my few posts, copying them to local storage and moving them to a new service in the event that it descends into the puddle of diarrhea that Myspace currently has a lock on.

  • Need I say more?
  • LiveJournal already has an option to put ads on your LJ, it's their Free+ Option that puts ads onto your journal and gives you more room and services (not as much as the paid accounts people but close) for your various thingies. If this is news than its very late.
    • You're thinking of LJ's Plus accounts (originally called Sponsored accounts), that see Google ads in return for a few extra features. This is something new and completely different - sponsored communities and content for companies, music artists and movies to promote themselves - just like what MySpace has. In return for having to put up with these, LJ users get to enter contests to win things. How exciting and gratifying! Not.
      • by VTMarik (880085)
        Wow yeah, what a burden. Ads and corporate content, on the internet no less. *gasp* Is there no place sacred anymore? And MySpace parallels, oh no. That means there'll be emo kids and people who can't spell joining with the LJ-Elite. What will we ever do? To quote Ahhnold, "Stop whining!"
        • 'Is there no place sacred anymore?' That's exactly what LiveJournal users are asking. LJ used to be a haven from ads.
  • If you checked the internet archive link for LJ's social contract... don't they have any responsibility for something like that? Quoted: "we promise to never offer advertising space in our service or on our pages." They may not have a legal responsibility, but what about a moral responsibility? I dream of a world where people are held accountable for the things they say.
    • by joe 155 (937621)
      so you think people should be able to permantently bind themselves and a company to one course of action eternally and that that is a sign of someone with moral responsibility? Can people not change their mind>

      I think that this would be different if MS suddenly decided to GPL windows because now they think freedom and open source is important. Similarly if the RIAA continued to force people out to pay up on dubious claims based on legal might... I wonder if you would say that they have "a moral resp
      • by Da3vid (926771)
        Maybe my point is that LJ shouldn't have been so shortsighted when they wrote they'd never have ads ever anywhere.
      • by vertinox (846076)
        People change their minds, sometimes it's for the best, others it's not... it's not a bad thing

        So if I decide to change my mind on the practice of "eating of small children" it isn't a bad thing?

        But I think the point of the matter was that these people said they would not change their minds. Which is still lying.

        If they had said... Right now we aren't going to use ads, but later we may do so then they broke no promise.

        And yes... When you break a promise, it is a bad thing.

        Unless of course that promise was t
    • Ah, yes, the business world, that pinnacle of morality. captcha: illusion
    • See here: http://www.livejournal.com/legal/principles.bml [livejournal.com]

      Notice how "Stay Advertisement Free... we promise to never offer advertising space in our service or on our pages..." changed to the much more formal and significantly less friendly "Avoid Spam... when you sign up for the Service, we understand that to mean you want to communicate with us and hear from us about our products and services..."

      Slippery slope indeed. Livejournal, take a look back up that slope to where you started. It's a nice plac
  • I read the linked announcement thread and browsed through the replies. I don't think i've ever seen such a bunch of drama queens since last time I got lost in Blackpool with a cargo of wigs. It's like all their collective dogs got shot.'Corporate bullshit' was an oft used phrase. In which case what are they doing putting all their boring crap on some corporate site? Go get some parchment and head for the hills instead folks!
    • by mdwh2 (535323)
      I don't think i've ever seen such a bunch of drama queens since last time I got lost in Blackpool with a cargo of wigs.

      Are you new here?

      (Slashdot far outdoes LiveJournal in terms of complaining about what company X has done.)
  • I'm a long-term user of Livejournal and the whole thing, on paper at least, reads pretty badly. Little company with nice OSS policies get bought by a bigger group, suddenly start introducing ads on the site (I don't care if they're only viewed by people who opt-in, they're still there) and introducing crap like corporate sponsoring, like pages for movies where you can watch trailers. I know sites like YouTube and Myspace do all the corporate tie-in crap, with smarter companies doing the whole viral marketin
  • Two parts to ads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Todd Knarr (15451) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @04:31PM (#16260559) Homepage

    I see two parts to the ads: sponsored communities and sponsored features.

    The sponsored community part I don't see a problem with the ads in. Those would be communities created by a company, and the company gets to put their ads in the community. The company can already do that by an ad in a floating entry at the top of the community, all this is doing is making it official and giving LJ a cut. And it's their community in a sense, if they want ads in it it's them paying the bills. If users find the ads too obtrusive they'll avoid that community and that company and the company'll drop the community as a waste of money.

    The sponsored features part I'll reserve judgement on for the moment. The statement seems to imply the ads will be on pages related to features not currently part of LJ's feature set and that'd be too expensive to offer at all without the ads. I want to see how they actually intend to implement it, because it could vary from quite acceptable to quite annoying depending on implementation.

    Nowhere in LJ's announcement do I see any plans for ads popping up in ordinary user journals for paying subscribers.

    • Sponsored communities are bad because they look just like ordinary communties until you go look at them. I didn't pay to look at advertising. If someone on my friends page links to the stupid sponsored community, I'll end up going there and looking at the advertising. I pay LJ. I pay cold hard cash. I have a lot of data on their site. I have a big investment in them. It really annoys me that now there will be advertising there I can stumble across. I would never have started a blog on a site with ad

    • by Piazzola (965798)
      The problem with the sponsored communities is that you wind up with potential conflicts. For example, what happens to a LiveJournal community based around fanworks? Can the corporate sponsor pressure LiveJournal's staff to have the fan community banned? What about an anti-[fill in the company] community? If I start a "We Hate Walmart" community, can Walmart make LJ ban me? These are the sorts of concerns people are having about sponsored communities.

      Also, there are concerns about not being able to
    • by mdwh2 (535323)
      The sponsored community part I don't see a problem with the ads in. Those would be communities created by a company, and the company gets to put their ads in the community. The company can already do that by an ad in a floating entry at the top of the community, all this is doing is making it official and giving LJ a cut.

      Actually, that might be against the TOS:

      You agree to NOT use the Service to: Engage in commercial activities within LiveJournal or on behalf of LiveJournal without prior approval. This incl
      • by Todd Knarr (15451)

        I'm presuming that sponsored communities won't have the same TOS as paid individual users. And as far as I can tell, if you're logged in as a paid user you do not get the sponsored-community promo on the main page or search results. Those are strictly shown to free users.

        • by mdwh2 (535323)
          I'm presuming that sponsored communities won't have the same TOS as paid individual users.

          Well sponsored communities will be allowed under the current TOS, as it's with "prior approval". But I presumed you were referring to doing it via normal communities, by saying it can already be done.

          And as far as I can tell, if you're logged in as a paid user you do not get the sponsored-community promo on the main page or search results. Those are strictly shown to free users.

          Yes, that's what I said.
  • While I agree this is not good, it is in the Terms of Service everyone agreed to!

    ADVERTISEMENTS AND PROMOTIONS

    LiveJournal.com has decided to remove all banner advertisements and promotions on LiveJournal.com journals. However, LiveJournal.com reserves the right to run advertisements and promotions on the LiveJournal.com service in the future. By using LiveJournal.com, you agree that LiveJournal.com has the right to run such advertisements and promotions with or without prior notice, and without recompens

    • by bakawally (637407)
      I made my LJ in 2001. I didn't agree to that.
      • Actually, you did. The first entry in the Wayback Machine for the TOS page in 2001 (Jan. 18th to be exact) includes that very text. See http://web.archive.org/web/20010126132600/www.live journal.com/legal/tos.bml [archive.org].
        • I've been an LJ user since 2000 and I can guarantee you I didn't agree to anything like that. I don't care what the Wayback Machine says about Jan 18, 2001.

          I've been a paid user for 5yrs. The whole reason I got sucked into this community was because of their stance against ads and sponsers and anyone doing anything to control them. At the time, it was Brad and a few others struggling with servers and outages and there were less than 50,000 of us and it felt like a real community.

          Now it's over 10 million
          • Wow, it's amazing to find someone that actually read the TOS when they signed up. It does seem like it was something added after you joined, though -- nothing before my link even indicates a TOS of that sort that I can see. W

            I've been a paid member for quite some time (though not as long as you -- I started at LJ in 2002) myself, and I agree that it is unfortunate that they are going down this road. Given what I saw back in 2000 (I had a couple friends on the service back then), it was a community like
            • You should read insomnia's journal entry [livejournal.com] on what Six Apart thinks of LiveJournal... this is what really tipped the tide for me...

              When I started with LJ, there wasn't a great deal of teenage drama. In fact, I'd say that 90% of the users were in their mid-to-late twenties... Now Six-Apart is telling me that I'm a teenager to be exploited...

              Brad had said several times that the small percentage of paid users and permanent accounts were plenty to cover their costs and pay their salaries and have a little left
              • Mmm. So, they bought the company without knowing anything about its subscriber base, and never bothered to learn after the fact. Nice. I guess my decision to back up was a good one. Businesses without a profit are never good for longevitiy.

                Oh well, all things change in time, and I suppose I can always get a DeadJournal...
  • I'll admit I'm irritated at this. Frankly, more irritated than the news itself deserves. The features themselves are (both) things that could be nice, but both have the potential to mostly just irritate me. And judging by lj's recent history, I judge the latter more likely than the former.

    Ever since Six Apart bought lj, they've been adding features, and shoving them down the throats of the users without paying much attention to their complaints. Or any. There was the Sponsored+ account (which, incide

    • Exactly. I like LiveJournal because it's NOT a MySpace clone. And in my opinion, it has a long way to go before it gets there. Not that that's stopping SixApart from trying. Oh well. *goes back to his paid account and makes faces at all the people who see ads*
    • by Todd Knarr (15451)

      And what's the problem with free users seeing ads on Sponsored+ journals? From a practical standpoint, that's the only way to make Sponsored+ work. From a principles perspective, it's reasonable. A free user (Sponsored+ or not) isn't paying for their access in money. Having to see ads in journals of people who've opted to allow them doesn't seem unreasonable to me, it's the trade-off you make for having a journal without having to pay money. If you don't want to see those ads, write LJ a check for a paid ac

      • by acherusia (995492)
        Sorry, I wasn't clear with that. I don't have a problem with it. I was just seeing a lot of comments that implied that they thought only people who opted in to see advertising (Sponsored+) would see advertising, and I wanted to correct that impression. Especially since a number of people have had free journals since well before they put in advertising, when lj was still promising no ads whatsoever, and thus in no sense ever agreed to see advertising.
      • by mdwh2 (535323)
        It's not necessarily a problem, but I disliked the way it was implied that free users wouldn't see adverts, and the only people seeing ads are those who want to, and opt into the system. See the original post at http://community.livejournal.com/lj_biz/236361.htm l [livejournal.com] . Although the details of the post point out that free users will see ads, the table earlier claimed they wouldn't, and the general tone of the post was "it's okay to let people see ads if they want to". Also "Well, we're not forcing it on users.
  • over reacting... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gsn (989808) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @05:21PM (#16260921)
    I'm no fan of LJ but really RTFA once in a blue moon...


    Both of them are completely optional. You don't have to use sponsored features, and you don't have to join sponsored communities. We think they're going to be worth it for you guys -- I personally can't wait for the SMS stuff, especially since we've had people asking for it for literally years. But if you don't want to see it, you don't have to.

    We want to give you guys options. One of those options is more features; one of them is the choice of seeing whether or not you want to listen to what companies have to say and offer about their products. But it's your choice -- you can also choose to completely ignore it if you want.


    The only time you see sponsorship information if you are a paid user is on the sponsored community/features pager - neither of which you have to use. There are always going to be problems with viral marketing - atleast here you will be able to see clearly which communities are sponsored and which are not. There will doubtless still be viral marketing with comapnies making communities that look like they are grassroots stuff but just like lonelygirl the lesson is learn to use discretion. Or don't join them at all.
  • whatever (Score:3, Informative)

    by Peganthyrus (713645) on Saturday September 30, 2006 @05:41PM (#16261057) Homepage
    paid users won't see sponsored stuff -- ignore the previous post. paid users won't ever see ads. that's why you paid, and we're not in the business of pissing off paid users. (just in the business of writing misleading posts to paid users, apparently... *sigh*)


    -Brad, creator of LJ, in what is now the top post on lj_biz, citing miscommunication between coding and advertising folks.
    • That's partly why I, and many of my peers, still stick with Livejournal. No matter how much more control is gained over there by marketdroids, the people who originally made LJ, and continue to make it work, actually in general seem to be of the "do no evil" philosophy (LJA excluded--they suck, hard) and continue to make most of LJ open source, etc, etc. In other words, the people who have direct control over the situation--the people who make the site work in the first place--aren't out to get anyone.
  • It's the doublespeak ("these aren't ads, even though you send email to lj_ads to buy them" and "these are not advertisements"). And, perhaps most importantly, the silent alteration of a user agreement. A company that makes a promise and then breaks it is not a trustworthy company.

    We know, now, that they will change their minds and break promises if they feel the "need", defined very loosely. You cannot rely on a statement that LJ will do, or not do, a given thing; even if it's in writing, they can just d
    • This is the thing I don't understand here. The Slashdot write-up says:

      These events raise prickly issue of user rights on such websites, and the validity of "user contracts" that can be changed at will by the provider with no subsequent compensation to affected users.

      A contract, fundamentally, is a two-sided deal. There must be something in for both parties, or there is no contract. Any promise made to you by a business that has nothing in it for them is not a promise you should ever trust.

      I will nev

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by seebs (15766)
        The agreement where, when you sign up, they tell you what their service is, and what their terms are, and post things like a "social contract" saying "WE WILL NEVER HAVE ADS".

        It's not that they just by COINCIDENCE didn't have ads. It's that they said, in writing, "we will never, ever, have ads".
        • It's not that they just by COINCIDENCE didn't have ads. It's that they said, in writing, "we will never, ever, have ads".

          Which is a promise worth about the paper it's printed on if you're not paying (or otherwise compensating them) for their service. That's exactly my point. You're not dealing with a person who has a conscience, subscribes to personal ethics, or lives by a code of honour. You're dealing with a business, whose primary job is to make money, and which is probably under no legal obligation

          • by acherusia (995492)

            Except lj, in my experience, has always had an extraordinary number of people with paid accounts. I used to have a paid account (that I let expire, and haven't bothered renewing at the rate they're irritating me). I'd estimate half of the people I talk to on lj have paid accounts. I watch a very large roleplay where almost every single player has at least one paid account, and some have up to six paid account, because they're playing just that many characters. (Yes, granted, they're almost certainly ins

          • Well, I think a huge part of the issue is that a lot of us did, and continue to, pay for the site in a very real way. Their entire business model up until being bought by 6A was having people pay them money in return for better service on the site, and they were paid money based on their original social contract.

            I will go so far as to say that I wouldn't have bought my account if they hadn't committed themselves to never showing ads on the site. I was supporting the philosophy as much as I was getting mor
          • by seebs (15766)
            It may not be legally binding, but there do exist companies which keep promises even when a court couldn't hold them to those promises.

            LJ is now known to be a company you should not trust with anything you don't feel you could cost-effectively litigate and win. You cannot rely on them to keep promises. If they decide to sell a book with your blog entries in it, the question is not "does their policy allow this", but "if they change their policy to allow this, do I feel I could afford the necessary litigat
  • "Breaking news! LiveJournal will show you ads if you want them to - and give you a few extra features in exchange. More on this and spontaneous combustion at 11." This was a big hubub in LJ lang months ago. The short and sweet of it is that unless you browse specifically to someone's journal who OPTED into ads - you won't be seeing them. It's that simple. People have to opt into the sponsored content. If you don't want them you won't be seeing them on your journal or friend's list - it's that simple. I rea
    • by mdwh2 (535323)
      The short and sweet of it is that unless you browse specifically to someone's journal who OPTED into ads - you won't be seeing them.

      I believe that this also means they appear if you go to read/post comments on someone's journal - so yes, if someone else opts-in, free users will see the ads.

      I'm not saying there's anything wrong with this system, but it's ridiculous that people keep claiming that seeing ads is "opt in".
  • I know Six Apart is a corporate entity, and I don't expect them to engage in any non-profit behavior, so I'm not too terribly distraught by these changes - I knew this kind of thing was coming after the sale. However the dedicated LJ users started when it was just a fun user-supported community - the free users were supported by the paid user class, and both benefitted. I think the paid users have lots of reason to complain, although if they had read the old TOS it mentioned that although the site was ad-
  • Brad posted an entry called "Sponsored Confusion" to explain things and unruffle feathers: http://community.livejournal.com/lj_biz/237699.htm l [livejournal.com]
  • At various times, I have had a free LJ account, a paid account, and now a Plus account. The paid one gave me no advantage over free, so no surprise I stopped paying for it.

    I and most of my 15 or so LJ friends have moved to the "Plus" account with paid ads inserted into our journals. We like the enhanced features.

    Most importantly, we have all gotten so used to the adsense model and similar advertising placement that we simply don't "see" the ads any more. Ignoring the LJ ads is no harder than ignoring an
  • So, wait, a free content-hosting company is starting to act like a free web host [cexx.org] (1999)? The shock!

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