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No more Basic Accounts - No more Basic Accounts - brad's life Page 7 — LiveJournal [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Brad Fitzpatrick

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No more Basic Accounts [Mar. 12th, 2008|05:26 pm]
Brad Fitzpatrick
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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
LinkReply

Comments:
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From: void_lj
2008-03-13 06:46 pm (UTC)
Maybe you will start another LJ-like service and save us all from ..? :-)
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[User Picture]From: maria_gorynceva
2008-03-13 07:36 pm (UTC)
No preduprezhdayem: u nas dlinnye ruki!
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[User Picture]From: abba_ueban
2008-03-13 06:49 pm (UTC)
Why the fuck did you give LJ to the Russians in the first place?
Didn't you know that SUP = KGB??? Hell, Russia is KGB!
Everything in Russia is censored, manipulated and fucked-up!
Russians, in their majority, are medieval, narrow-minded and spiteful assholes. And now they think they control your ass through this stupid blog. Just wait and see what's next!
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[User Picture]From: deadmanru
2008-03-13 07:16 pm (UTC)
>Didn't you know that SUP = KGB??? Hell, Russia is KGB!

No. SUP=Israel...

>Russians, in their majority, are medieval, narrow-minded and spiteful assholes.
Shut up noob. SUP jewish organization has no attitude to any russian.
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[User Picture]From: arkanoid
2008-03-13 06:54 pm (UTC)
For me Plus accounts were evil as well, as they did not provide extra features for *watching* ads but for *presenting* those. The same evil business model as Rapidshare et al.
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[User Picture]From: mjb
2008-03-13 08:03 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: sanityz_remedy
2008-03-13 10:57 pm (UTC)
You called it.
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From: ibear
2008-03-13 08:27 pm (UTC)
Bad... Very bad...
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[User Picture]From: naoe_riki
2008-03-13 08:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks.

I really hope they return Basic accounts. That's what LiveJournal was in the beginning and the reason why many people came here: it was free.
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[User Picture]From: neatfires
2008-03-13 09:33 pm (UTC)
In Soviet Russia, SUP eats YOU!
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[User Picture]From: admiralmemo
2008-03-14 06:48 am (UTC)
But I'm not IN Russia, and they're STILL eating me...
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[User Picture]From: clipdude
2008-03-13 10:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you for creating LiveJournal. For a number of years--almost an eternity in Internet terms--this was a very special place where principles took precedence to profits, and proved that a company could have both.

All those people who are upset that you sold LiveJournal need to put themselves in your shoes. As awesome as LJ was, I can completely understand why you might want to do other things with your life.

I hope that you can convince the current owners of LiveJournal to reverse course. LiveJournal won't survive if it becomes just another ad-infested social networking site--Facebook already owns that niche. LiveJournal can remain profitable if it returns to the principles you upheld when you were in charge. I don't see any other way. If I'm going to be squeezed like a turnip for every possible advertising dollar, then why shouldn't I do it where I can at least play Scrabble?

But if you can't get LiveJournal's owners to see reason, it's not the end of the world. At least we got a good half-decade or more of enjoyment out of this site before it turned sour. That's amazing for any web site. I think we can be happy about that.
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From: loqia
2008-03-13 11:18 pm (UTC)
I just love that LiveJournal's most excellent feature -- it's XML-RPC interface -- has stayed true (and free) since forever. Other sites might be fancier, more Web 2.0, more Ajax, more buzzwords... but no-one else allows me to mirror content from my private blog so easily. And that's what's kept me coming back for the last nine years.

Well, that and the community. I think I'm right in saying that LJ is the longest running continually successful social networking site on the whole internet; that's a damn big deal. Friendsters and MySpaces come and go, but LJ stands eternal.

SUP just might wanna be careful they're not missing the forest for the trees on this one...
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From: mandolin13
2008-03-13 11:23 pm (UTC)
I don't know if anyone here can answer this, but my main concern as a basic user with lots of friends that are paid is whether or not an account that was once paid will morph into a basic or become a sponsored account if they choose not to pay any longer.

I personally have never really wanted all the "extras" because I never use them. Some of my friends list has come to the same conclusion that while having a ton of icons is nice, they only ever use one. At the same time, none of us want to deal with the ads.
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[User Picture]From: admiralmemo
2008-03-14 06:51 am (UTC)
From what I've read, the current answer to that is that if you have ever had Basic status on your account at any point in the past, you will be able to revert to Basic status at any time in the future.

Whether that policy will change, I don't know.
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[User Picture]From: somnomania
2008-03-14 02:16 am (UTC)
I for one find the ads a huge huge turn-off. I only put up with them for the additional icons, and don't even bother to set preferences for the ads on newer journals I make. To force ads on all the new users is an incredibly bad move, and one that may make a lot of users move elsewhere. I really hope this gets corrected in some way.
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[User Picture]From: stickykeys633
2008-03-14 02:35 am (UTC)
Thanks for this post Brad. I'm glad we have someone on the "advisory" board that understands the concept of the networking culture. That users who give are just as important as those who are taking. What's the point of paying for content if there's no one there to share it with? Whatevs, thanks for the post babe.
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[User Picture]From: dossy
2008-03-14 03:29 am (UTC)
How SUP is destroying LJ is so pathetically sad, it doesn't even deserve an "In Soviet Russia ..." gag.

I'm really starting to regret having paid for a Permanent Account, myself. :-(
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[User Picture]From: admiralmemo
2008-03-14 06:52 am (UTC)
At least you paid 6A for your account, and not SUP. Whether they were better is a matter of opinion.
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[User Picture]From: crowjake
2008-03-14 03:31 am (UTC)
It has become such a sacred thing to be able to have an ad-free homebase on the internet for free. It's special. And it was kindness and a gesture of proof to users of a human relationship.

They've mentioned a whole load of new features... I've not used any... they're continuing to put money into these things, and then making us pay for them when we don't have a choice. I think the thing is, with the basic account, it proves that people don't want more features on something they love, because if they wanted more ads and more options they'd chose premium. But of course, there MUST be something wrong with the usability, mustn't there! People can't POSSIBLY want no ads and be perfectly happy with basic features, can they? really?... that's not what consumerism encourages is it?

All this is just bigger flow of cash; they're spending more money, which is a great reason to say they must raise more money, and in the process shoving the bigger overheads into their filthy pockets.

Their latest word is that LJ is a business and always have been... but obviously being a business doesn't mean you have to do these things... otherwise "LJ the business" would have done it whenever they actually became that.

I'm fed up of ads telling me to buy things, i pay for my internet, i spend time creating stuff that people want to read, when i can afford it i donate to sites... but thankfully when i can't afford it, I'm aloud to benefit because of the mutual contributions of management and users. If this was impossible, if the current decision "had" to be made, then it would already have been made.

Why do I have to put up with a site I use, constantly trying to up it's cash flow, AND the ads for other companies trying to do the same, when I have to put up with the very same on numerous sites i'm still pained to revisit after what has become of them. I can only assume they DON'T like LJ the way it is, why else would they decided we'd be so much happier with so-called "improvements"... I'd rather use a site half the speed, than be given ads on my page.

Now they've just taken away that choice, and opted into the much loved consumerist society, and removed the options in which people are actually happier... I don't know what to say about people who'd rather I not be happy.

Also it must be noted, a large number of paying users don't do it necessarily for the extra features... they do it because they believe in LJ, they want to support it... if they lose faith in it the subscriptions will drop...

I think it's cruel to put people in this situation. If people keep up paid subscriptions it'll be board members patting themselves on the back going "Ahh yess, that's all our money coming from the folks who want to avoid our compulsory ads, lets put more in!"

... or if they don't, it'll be "Ohh no, everyone is dropping out, we're losing money, we'll need more from the advertisers, lets put more in"...

Dropping numbers of users, will force you to commercialise, draw in new crowds, the kind of people who don't blog, but will be here for your newly developed features... consumers, and what will they provide... a good caliber of content? Is that what you believe in? You're just losing money from one place putting it somewhere else... losing users and replacing them with other ones... but in the process making people a lot less happier... you can't put that in a graph and it's something more than business. it's humanity.

If they reversed this decision it'd be amazing, people would talk about it for years, it'd be used as an example for how sometimes things CAN go right. Sometimes modern business can go well, companies CAN make these decisions, it isn't inevitable.
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[User Picture]From: kanaetkassad
2008-03-15 03:26 pm (UTC)

you raise a good point

"I think it's cruel to put people in this situation. If people keep up paid subscriptions it'll be board members patting themselves on the back going "Ahh yess, that's all our money coming from the folks who want to avoid our compulsory ads, lets put more in!"

... or if they don't, it'll be "Ohh no, everyone is dropping out, we're losing money, we'll need more from the advertisers, lets put more in"..."
http://brad.livejournal.com/2368071.html?page=5#comments

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[User Picture]From: ladylynx
2008-03-14 07:39 am (UTC)
I use WordPress and plugin called Category Access. With that, I can make certain categories filtered. When my RSS feed is shown, the public entries show and the private entries have nothing but a title.
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