Brad Fitzpatrick (brad) wrote,
Brad Fitzpatrick
brad

LiveJournal, SUP, Russia links

Good links to understand why people are concerned about the LJ/SUP deal, and to understand blogging in Russia in general:

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/10/25/opinion/edmorozov.php
(found via this post, also good)

I wish I could calm people down, but I realize the political fears/implications of this are way too big for me to make much of a difference.

But I'm a sucker for pain, so....

Let me present another point-of-view, based entirely on my own views/observations, that's a little less of a conspiracy theory:
  • The Russian Internet boom is overdue. There's a lot of money to be made.
  • Andrew Paulson is a businessman. He likes to make money. He recognizes the above.
  • Andrew Paulson sees LiveJournal is really popular in Russia, and LJ could be used to bootstrap a bunch of other Internet services (do you smell "portal"?). Imagine: LJ accounts are also XXXX accounts. Or LJ usage is a "service of SUP", so when SUP does something different, you now know/trust SUP ... "oh yeah, SUP, the LiveJournal people, they're cool! I'll try out this other SUP thing...." etc. But needs money to do it. Talks to Mamut...
  • Mamut, more than anything, likes to make money. He owns a bunch of stuff. Him investing in SUP is probably chump change. Why not do it? Sure, he's politically connected, so you can make the argument that investing in blogs is just a way to shut them down, but then how does he make money? Lay on the conspiracy theories, but I don't care... it doesn't make any sense. I believe Mamut at the end of the day wants to make money, not shut down blogging as a favor to the Kremlin. Because shutting down blogging is futile and he'd realize that.
  • SixApart recognizes how popular LJ is in Russia, but we can't make any money from it, nor can we make it much better. The service is still so slow, hosted entirely in the US. (latency of 260 ms * 20-30 requests in series.... not fast!). Even if we hosted the public images and css/js in Russia and kept the private data/databases in the US and served the private data from the US, the performance would go up a ton. It'd be one 260 ms request and 19-29 30 ms requests.... do the math. We could then compete better with Russian-hosted services which would feel faster to Russians. Also, we can't do SMS or voiceposting in Russia. And we've never successfully dealt with a credit card processor in Russia. Or Yandex Money, which only has docs in Russian. Or Russian advertising for Plus users. Working with a Russian company for this makes total sense for us. They promote LJ in Russia and sign up users for us, deal with payments, SMS/voicepost/etc ... everybody wins. We get happier users that can actually pay if they want, and they get promotion for SUP, which later will be something bigger than just LJ.
  • ...
etc.

A lot less interesting than the KGB doing a crack-down on bloggers, sure, but you can follow the money at least:

LJ promotes SUP, so SUP can be popular and make money later.
SUP promotes LJ, so LJ's both better in Russia and can also make money there.

Do I expect this post to calm people down? No. Not entirely. But I'll post more later. And the more you know, the less interesting it'll all seem.
Tags: livejournal, politics, sup
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