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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Sad, but true... [Jan. 23rd, 2007|07:29 am]
Brad Fitzpatrick
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[Current Mood |sadsad]

czircon writes:
LiveJournal is really going to shit lately. The "sponsored communities" are bad enough; now we have to put up with ads on the front page as well? And not just banner ads, but ads with Flash and fake forms to fill out because they think it's more likely to trick you into clicking on it? Ugh. Unfortunately I'm pretty much stuck here.
*sigh* I feel ya on the ads. (Not necessarily on sponsored communities, if done right...)

You don't know how much I've fought against ads on the homepage. I'm all for ads when users want them, can tolerate them, and tell us so by choosing the advertising level. If ads are a better deal for them than paying money, great!

But ads on the front page affect paid users and "Basic" users who don't want ads because they have to see them when they're logging in. It also taints the image of the site in the eyes of new users who wouldn't otherwise know LiveJournal is different. Flashing Flash ads on the front page? Sure, we're different.

Any short-term revenue gains don't make up for the long-term losses (interrelated: users, paid accounts, advertising volume) due to loss of "cool" image and jacking with long-time users, IMO.

[User Picture]From: insomnia
2007-01-27 11:47 am (UTC)
"I'm sure short-term revenue went up ... I'm not debating that. They probably get a lot of money for that ad, and more than they do for regular ads. The question is how you quantify the cost of the long-term bleeding."

Stop sounding like me, or you may wind up losing your job.

I mean, really... how can you of all people really complain? You opted in for this new reality of longterm bleeding, profited nicely by it, and will continue to do so, especially if and when the company goes public or gets acquired.

And longterm bleeding is a reality. The site has been shrinking considerably for awhile now when it comes to what really matters to users -- reading posts from and interacting with their friends.

I understand your justifications for doing what you did, but I still think your behavior has been rather shortsighted and Bradcentric when it comes to the really important decisions involving LJ. Craig Newmark strikes me personally as a catty metrosexual egotist, but when it comes to making enlightened decisions mixed with considerable business acumen, Craig Newmark you ain't.

The "coolness" factor of LJ has long since worn down to the nub, and the general level of loyalty people have for the site has been significantly damaged. If you don't see this frequently, then perhaps you're surrounded by people who still have enthusiasm to spare. (That's not a bad thing, mind you, but it's not the larger reality.)

If you really don't think this state of affairs is a good one for the users, and think it is hurting the overall user experience and the site as a whole, you can always cash out at some point and use the money to create another LJ that everyone can migrate their accounts to.

Of course, LJ doesn't really support seamless syndication of both entries and comments from other LJ sites, so seamless migration is kind of a moot point. People will stay as long as enough of their friends do, and, barring a significant turnaround in policies on 6A/LJ's part, the site will continue its slow death spiral to the bitter end.

If you think that another potential longterm reality for LJ is possible from a business standpoint at this point, I'd love to hear it. Chances are I won't believe it a particularly likely story, however.

    The Goose Who Laid The Golden Eggs

Once upon a time there lived an old woman who had a number of hens, ducks, and geese. She used to send her little daughter to the meadow every day to take care of the ducks and geese.

But she had one goose that she never allowed with the others. This one had a little house and yard of its own. It was such a wonderful goose that the old woman was afraid of losing it.

Each day this goose laid a large golden egg. The woman could hardly wait for the new day to come, she was so eager to get the golden egg.

At last she said to herself, "I will kill the goose and get the gold all at once."

But when she had killed the goose she found that it was just like all the other geese.

In her haste to become rich, she had become poor.

Moral: Greed destroys the source of good.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2007-01-27 06:09 pm (UTC)

I've said it a dozen times, but let me say it once more: at the time I sold LiveJournal, I was going fucking crazy. I'd been threatening to just quit and close it. There's no way LiveJournal would've continued to exist with me in charge, and the thought of CEO-hunting was just as stressful and potentially terrible (if I chose wrong) as selling it. (I'd actually talked to people about going down that path, but there aren't good leaders just sitting around to be plucked super easily...)

So of the dozen companies interested (which came at just the right time of my loss of sanity), I tried to choose the least evil one. I made a third of what I could have, had I chosen a big and/or evil company. Big companies were furious (knowing the details of 6a's deal), that I could choose 6A over their much better offer. But their offers included fucking the site for sure, as opposed to 6A's fucking the site maybe. But at least at 6A I'd have _some_ influence, as opposed to none at other places.

So, that's that.

I know it's probably easier for you to think I made off with a bag of cash as I laughed at the stupid users who were going to get ads everywhere, but that's not the case. I did and still care for the site a ton.
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