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Brad Fitzpatrick

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No more Basic Accounts [Mar. 12th, 2008|05:26 pm]
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I'm on SUP's LiveJournal Advisory Board. Apparently SUP just killed the Basic ("Free") accounts. Before my commentary, some history of LJ account levels:

When I started LiveJournal, there were two account levels:
  • Free Account -- no ads, no cost, but minimal features.
  • Paid Account -- no ads, costs money, get everything.
The paid users, while minimal, paid enough to keep the site running, and brought in enough revenue to keep growing the site, and paid our salaries. The free users, while not paying, were extremely valuable because they produced the content that the paying users were there to consume. You know, the whole network effect thing? Anyway....

When SixApart wanted to do advertising, they made a new account level in the middle that users could choose, and also renamed "Free Account" to "Basic Account" to disambiguate what "Free" meant. Now we had:
  • Basic Account -- no ads, no cost, but minimal features. (the old "Free Account")
  • Plus Account -- ads, no cost, medium feature set.
  • Paid Account -- no ads, costs money, get everything.
I was happy with this, because it was optional and ads would only be on their journals, and paid users would never see them. In theory. In practice, ads started leaking all over the site and paid users would see them whenever they logged in because they no longer had their cookies saying they were paid. The day SixApart decided that the site itself (not user's journals, but the chrome of the site itself) would have ads was a sad day for me... I cried a little tear.

And today, SUP has apparently removed Basic accounts altogether:

http://www.livejournal.com/support/faqbrowse.bml?faqid=38&view=full
...

"Basic Account is an option available to accounts which were created before March 12, 2008. No account created after this date can be turned into a Basic Account."

...
I advised against this (when I heard a rumor about it awhile back). I hadn't heard anything recently about it. Perhaps they interpreted my advice as "well, okay, then maybe we'll at least grandfather the existing Basic users, and not convert them all to Plus..."

In any case, SUP apparently sees no value in freeloaders not looking at ads, not paying, and oh wait... producing most the content for other members to read, other members who are looking at ads and paying for their accounts.

Let's hope my permanent account is grandfathered.

Yours truly,

Brad Fitzpatrick
LiveJournal Advisory Board Member
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Comments:
From: coyl
2008-03-14 03:18 am (UTC)

Re: Why upgrade?

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Yes, there are custom groups... hidden deep inside the profile, not just two clicks away as in gmail or uTorrent, for instance.

Look, it's immpossible in LJ to select an object (person in our case) and tell the system with a couple of clicks "move him to group A" or "assign him tag B". Instead one has to look through the menus, get to groups editing, then select the right group, then scroll to the right person (so one has to remember the name), then click the arrows button, then click "Save"... And then one should return to the place he was before.

7 actions totally. Isn't it too many?
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[User Picture]From: summercomfort
2008-03-14 06:22 am (UTC)

Re: Why upgrade?

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That's true. I guess that's what happens when things are designed pre-tagging.
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[User Picture]From: admiralmemo
2008-03-14 08:54 am (UTC)

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Yes, there are custom groups... hidden deep inside the profile, not just two clicks away as in gmail or uTorrent, for instance.

This is why I use SeMagic for LJ. Much easier to find stuff.
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[User Picture]From: ithinkitisayit
2008-03-14 08:46 pm (UTC)

Re: Why upgrade?

(Link)

That's why I use Dystopia. Much easier to find using that layout.
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