March 12th, 2008


No more Basic Accounts

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:

"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

Random Poll

Possibly-inebriated people at dinner just requested I post a poll:

Which is better?

Sliced Bread
AIDS vaccine

(Seriously, don't even ask me how they got there.)

Update: The drunk people are not happy with the current 5-13 results in favor of an AIDS vaccine and would like to remind you that:
  • sliced bread includes toast
  • bagels were inspired from sliced bread (and are, in fact, bread that is sliced)
  • and that you may change your vote