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LJ tarts itself up, puts on high heels...
April 19, 2006 6:31 AM   Subscribe

LiveJournal adopts banner ads. SixApart has broken a longstanding promise/agreed-upon principle (recently deleted) and is adding banner ads to the service, which will be visible to the general public and approximately 95% of their users. Last year's April Fool's joke suddenly not very amusing anymore. Is SixApart's bubble a bit overinflated?
posted by insomnia_lj (131 comments total)

 
Whether you are a paid user, a permanent user, an early-adopter, or a free user, there are numerous reasons to dislike this ad plan:

1> When you give potentially hundreds of thousands of people access to many of the paid features, you are putting a much greater server burden on those features... many of which don't work reliably even now. For instance, one of the paid features that are planned for ad-sponsored accounts are directory searches, but simple directory searches such as find all users in Little Rock Arkansas interested in football often take minutes, with slow image loading.

Likewise, you can expect that images hosted on LJ will take longer to load, and that other paid features will potentially lag more. It's quite possible that server load on these kinds of paid features will double in short order. That could easily make the difference between something not working all that well and something not working at all.

2> Paid features that you might currently take for granted, such as the ability to link to your LJ-hosted images on sites other than LJ, might be taken away in the future because they are being made available to anyone willing to accept ads on their journals. Potentially, people can use LJ's image service to host a full gigabyte of images without even having an active account. This free, unpaid for service would be publically available to all spammers, adult site owners, pedophiles, and basically anyone on the Internet who wants free, anonymous image hosting. This could greatly increase the burden on the image hosting service, and could also lead to censorship, as LiveJournal users who post images intended for a select group of LiveJournal users find their pictures deleted or accounts flagged for hosting images, in the same way that users of many other image hosting sites are.

3> While free users don't have to view ads on their journals, they *WILL* have to view ads on the journals of ad-sponsored accounts. The truth is, free users will routinely be exposed to ads on LiveJournal.

4> LiveJournal is targeting these ads based on the interests listed by users, but the use of this kind of data for delivering ads is prone to considerable error. You could be interested in vegetarianism and restaurants and get ads for "Outback Steakhouse". You could be interested in "Iraq" and "nonviolence" and get Army recruitment ads. Is this really what you want, or what you want to expose your friends to?

5> SixApart says that they will not give away personal information except "with our service providers and vendors in connection with the operation of the service and our business, where we think it is appropriate . . . or if the business is being sold or reorganized." How is this in any way a promise to protect our personal information at all, either now or in the future? Isn't providing a user's interests to an advertiser giving away personal (and often valuable) information, if not specifically about that user, then at least in aggregate? Can a user "opt out" of providing their personal or aggregate information in any form that might eventually be used by advertisers, data miners, or other unwanted entities?

6> If you get rid of rules against ads, expect ads on many other journals. In fact, SixApart has already mentioned that there are plans for encouraging an ad-driven plan for paid users, too. (Some people will do anything for a few extra user pics, I guess.)

7> If you're a paid user, you won't see whether or not there is an ad on any given LiveJournal site, but if you link others to that site, they'll see it. Do you really want to do that?

8> It further balkanizes and diminishes the site's sense of community. LiveJournal is rapidly becoming a closed, gated community of "friends only" journals. Creating a whole community of ad-supporting users would cause further balkanization and seperation, with some users and communities choosing not to associate with ad-supporting users.

9> It sets a bad precident. SixApart previously agreed to "avoid banner advertisements" because LiveJournals existing business model made them "unnecessary." We must ask them this... why did they change this policy? What prevents them from changing any other supposed "principles" they hold in the future? What new circumstances exist which makes this policy absolutely necessary for LiveJournal users, to such an extent that SixApart can no longer avoid serving us ads?

10> It's potentially bad for business. I was there when LiveJournal hosted banner ads before briefly, back when the site only had about 15,000 members. While the banner ads did raise a *VERY* small amount of money (we're talking only a few bucks...) they also decreased site growth by approximately 30%. People opted to use other services, because their first impression of LiveJournal was seeing someone's site with a banner ad on it. LiveJournal's history of success is based upon a "free, but paid" business model, specifically intended to promote growth, because site growth allows the site to scale and for overhead to decrease, allowing LiveJournal to spend more of its money on doing what you really want them to do -- improving the site. Adding a large influx of business reps, marketing personnel, and ad execs does very little to improve your LiveJournal experience, and often creates a self-perpetuating bureaucracy... so why would you want to pay for it? Remember, LiveJournal is *still* a pre-IPO startup that could go bust. Shouldn't you desperately want them to be lean, mean, and focused on profitability instead?

11> It simply isn't necessary, and SixApart has done nothing to show that there is any need to violate their pledge to "avoid banner ads". In fact, I suspect that SixApart's new ad scheme is largely a waste of money. According to LiveJournal's own statistics, there are currently only 1,301,145 users who have updated in the past 30 days. These users are only about 8% of the total user base, but they probably make up over 90% of the site's traffic. If you subtract paid users from this total, you're left with about 1,000,000 users as a viable target market for ad-supported journals. Of that total, it would be optimistic if one-in-eight of those users opted in for ads, or approximately 150,000 users, whose journals are soon going to be a helluva lot less popular with other LJ users in the future. How SixApart intends to use such a low number of ad-bearing accounts to reliably pay the salaries of the third-party, tracker-installing biz people and the "ad people" that SixApart have hired who "don't necessarily understand LiveJournal users yet" is far from clear.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:39 AM on April 19, 2006


That's quite a screed.
posted by trey at 6:42 AM on April 19, 2006


If you don't like the ads, pay for your account.
posted by wakko at 6:44 AM on April 19, 2006


But, but, but Mena said that sixapart was a shiny happy company:
In reading some of the feedback to Om's post, I've seen LiveJournalers worried that we're going to turn around and start charging, close the LiveJournal source, own the content on LiveJournals, force the users to use TypePad/Movable Type and plaster their sites with advertisements. (We're not going to do this).
(God, I love LJ drama.)
posted by smackfu at 6:45 AM on April 19, 2006


Mena pwn0rz joo!
posted by Fezboy! at 6:48 AM on April 19, 2006


Where can I get more such bulletted manifestos for the other issues about which I am completely unable to form my own opinion?
posted by scottreynen at 6:49 AM on April 19, 2006 [2 favorites]


Blogger whines about blogging; Blog at eleven.
posted by loquacious at 6:54 AM on April 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


SixApart seem to specialise in driving users up the wall - wasn't there a massive hullaballo when they started having paid licenses for Movable Type?
posted by jack_mo at 6:55 AM on April 19, 2006


Mena and Ben sure know how to market themselves as home-grown-but-serious web folks who care more about principles than profit. Let's see them try to justify this one.

My guess - they won't. I mean, they are breaking a very clear promise they made to some very commited and passionate users. That's gotta be pretty hard to spin.
posted by lemur at 6:57 AM on April 19, 2006


GYOFLJ
posted by fet at 7:00 AM on April 19, 2006


You could be interested in "Iraq" and "nonviolence" and get Army recruitment ads. Is this really what you want, or what you want to expose your friends to?

Holy shit, no! I'd rather have hot salted chili oil poured into gaping fleshwounds than risk seeing an advert for something I didn't want to buy.

If you're a paid user, you won't see whether or not there is an ad on any given LiveJournal site, but if you link others to that site, they'll see it. Do you really want to do that?

I honestly can't imagine anything I'd want to do less.

The truth is, free users will routinely be exposed to ads self-pity on LiveJournal.
posted by nylon at 7:04 AM on April 19, 2006


insomnia, it probably would have been better to save that comment for later, after the thread developed some. As is, you've both made the post AND framed the discussion.

Sort of a GYOB move, in my opinion. The news was interesting... the screed, not so much.
posted by Malor at 7:07 AM on April 19, 2006


Yeah, Six Apart are clearly interested in nothing at this point except its profits (didn't we all realise that like a year ago?) Any continuing loyalty to them comes from a bunch of fools who don't want to believe they've been had.
posted by reklaw at 7:08 AM on April 19, 2006


So let me get this straight: they haven't altered the free or paid levels at all, just added a level inbetween? Yeah... not seeing what the big deal is.

And ads aren't the pariah you think they are. Just look at the success of MySpace and FaceBook. Perhaps (perhaps) the internet just isn't the same place since LJ last tried this experiment.
posted by sbutler at 7:08 AM on April 19, 2006


sbutler: they have altered the free level by making free users see ads on sponsored-level users' journals.
posted by rxrfrx at 7:10 AM on April 19, 2006


From the "person who helped create LiveJournal", I wonder if this isn't as much legitimate umbrage as personal axe.

Or, by "helped create LiveJournal," did you mean somehow affiliated with SixApart? If so, a little disclosure of conflict of interest would be nice...
posted by pineapple at 7:10 AM on April 19, 2006


And in some metafisical [sic] way is this not a self-link? Sorta?
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:13 AM on April 19, 2006


rxrfrx: incorrect. The blog owner has altered what the free level sees. SixApart just offered any easy option.
posted by sbutler at 7:15 AM on April 19, 2006


Maybe (and this is a truly wild thought) you should talk to a site owner about his/her uses of ads, instead of the hosting company.
posted by sbutler at 7:15 AM on April 19, 2006


LJ tarts itself up, puts on high heels...

What's that old saw about a pig in lipstick? "A pig in lipstick is still endless pages of unreadable and tedious crap, often with truly scary delusions of cultural importance, lasting or otherwise"? Something like that?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:19 AM on April 19, 2006


I think Insomnia_lj makes some valid points, they originally promised not to do anything like this. They will be sharing people's interests with outside parties to target ads at them. As of now, the move isn't especially malacious but it can have huge negative consequences especially when many (for completely unknown to me reasons) are moving to myspace.
posted by drezdn at 7:26 AM on April 19, 2006


LiveJournal is like yesterday's MySpace which will be something else's LiveJournal soon.

It is the cosmic circle of cyberlife.
posted by fenriq at 7:26 AM on April 19, 2006


This is a really lame misleading post/personal screed against some old self-righteous LJ manifesto that used to be on their site. You should have linked to Brad explaining it -- they're starting a new level where you get paid features for free, if you agree to display ads. Current free users that stick with free features and current paid users will not have ads.

That doesn't mean "adding banner ads to the service, which will be visible to the general public and approximately 95% of their users." Where do you get the 95% number, aside from pulling it out of your ass?
posted by mathowie at 7:28 AM on April 19, 2006


I pay for an account on LJ. The change surprised me but I don't really begrudge them this. I've been in IT for years, long enough to have an acquisition of a company I worked for culminate in my being laid off. This sort of thing happens in acquisitions. Deal with it.

Besides, Google (which we all love and worship) has been doing this sort of content aggregation and targeted marketing for years, and still we all love and worship them.

Don't we?
posted by kalessin at 7:30 AM on April 19, 2006


Livejournalism School : LJ - 304 -- Pulling Facts and Figures From Your Ass. Instructor, TBA. 3 credits.
posted by crunchland at 7:35 AM on April 19, 2006


Here is Brad explaining it, which I read a week or so ago and didn't come away from it thinking 95% of users would see ads.
posted by mathowie at 7:35 AM on April 19, 2006


From the web archive link:

As it's one of our larger pet peeves, we have avoided putting banner advertisements on the site. Although our Terms of Service permits us to change our policy in the future, we've found throughout the past few years that our "paid accounts" business model has, so far, made banners ads unnecessary.

Boy howdy, as principles go, that one's a real nut kicker. I mean, it's so strong and forceful, how can they possibly be going back on it now? I mean, other than the fact that they say right within the statement of principle that they might?
posted by jacquilynne at 7:39 AM on April 19, 2006


"Their principles are so weak that it doesn't matter that they went back on them. Go LJ!"
posted by smackfu at 7:41 AM on April 19, 2006


"If you don't like the ads, pay for your account."

I have a permanent account. (A couple, actually.)

"by "helped create LiveJournal," did you mean somehow affiliated with SixApart?"

No. I oversaw the non-development end of the site, for several years, from about 15,000 users to about 800,000 or so. I still contribute to several LJ-related projects to this day, and oversee several of the larger communities.

I created many of LJ's ideas (such as communities), got the original banner ads removed (they slowed growth, made little $$), helped shift the site to a member-supported open source project, and helped evangelize and recruit many of LJ's staff, oversee support & abuse personnel, etc.

Truth is, I think that LiveJournal is a good, still improving, yet slowly dying site. Why dying, when it has over 11M users and growing? Because, the total number of users do not matter. The number of active users do.

LiveJournal had 1153683 users posting in the last 30 days back in June 2004, 1512152 posting in the last 30 days back in March 2005, and 1301145 today. That's not much of a testament to Six Apart's management of the site since the acquisition.

When LiveJournal was bought by Six Apart, it was small, lean, and entirely profitable. Six Apart, however, was anything but. They burned through $10M of VC money last year, and now have another $12M, but what no one has seen is any sign of profitability on their end. I hear they've doubled their profit. Too bad they've quadrupled their staff.

Given the number of people who rely on their services, you'd think that would be important to more people.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:42 AM on April 19, 2006


Well, if you look at their archived social contract, it says:

Our Promise to You... We at LiveJournal try to ensure that our service is as pleasant as possible for each user, so we've assembled a list of promises we will keep...

Stay advertisement free. It may be because it's one of our biggest pet peeves, or it may be because they don't garner a lot of money, but nonetheless, we promise to never offer advertising space in our service or on our pages.


We *promise* to *never*. Can't get much stronger than that.
posted by reklaw at 7:44 AM on April 19, 2006


Neat, the current "principles" delete that part. Wonder which part will be deleted next?
posted by smackfu at 7:48 AM on April 19, 2006


"Here is Brad explaining it, which I read a week or so ago and didn't come away from it thinking 95% of users would see ads."

Certainly, all people who opt for ads will see them, as will all free users of the site who visit those users pages. That's approximately 95% of the total membership. Perhaps a tad more.

LiveJournal has traditionally had a "paid, but free" business model, which worked very well for them. Sure, a small percentage of the userbase paid for everybody else, but that small percentage did so willingly, happily, and affordably, and they got some pretty nice extra features for it, too.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:48 AM on April 19, 2006


"Their principles are so weak that it doesn't matter that they went back on them. Go LJ!"

I just think calling them out as some kind of hypocrites for changing a policty statement is lame, given that they stated right up front that it wasn't set in stone.

Are there potential issues with the use of ads on LJ? I have no doubt there are, but the post (at least the part on the front page) casts it as an ethical violation more than a bad technical or business decision. And while I'm willing to be convinced of the latter two, the ethical argument seems like little more than hand waving freakoutery to me.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:50 AM on April 19, 2006


Certainly, all people who opt for ads will see them, as will all free users of the site who visit those users pages. That's approximately 95% of the total membership. Perhaps a tad more.

Dude, you are pulling that number out of your ass again. You have no idea how many free users might opt in for the sponsored level, and you have no idea how many users will select the sponsored level for their new LJ tomorrow. Paid users certainly account for more than 5% of total membership. You claim that you are sure that more than 95% of LJ sites will have ads but there is absolutely no data at this moment to back that up. I strongly doubt the ad-supported user base ever gets that far.

You're just speculating. Just admit it. You really should work at a tabloid the way you stretch truthiness to meet your needs.
posted by mathowie at 7:57 AM on April 19, 2006


Thanks for the reminder that most LiveJournalers are totally insane. I'd nearly forgot.
posted by I Love Tacos at 8:00 AM on April 19, 2006


They should follow metafilter's model, and only show ads to non-logged in users. That cuts the complaints WAY down, because complainer's don't have a voice. Brilliant!
posted by smackfu at 8:07 AM on April 19, 2006


well, smackfu, at least that's what they're doing for the main, non-journal pages.
posted by rxrfrx at 8:11 AM on April 19, 2006


insomnia_lj : "Certainly, all people who opt for ads will see them, as will all free users of the site who visit those users pages. That's approximately 95% of the total membership."

If the problem is that there are so many people that will opt for ads that they, and the free users who visit their pages, make up 95% of total membership, then doesn't it seem like the assholes are all these people opting for these ads, more than LJ themselves?
posted by Bugbread at 8:12 AM on April 19, 2006


The blog owner has altered what the free level sees. SixApart just offered any easy option.

Fair enough. This is all pretty moot anyway because ADBLOCK PLUS!
posted by rxrfrx at 8:12 AM on April 19, 2006


...but what no one has seen is any sign of profitability on their end. I hear they've doubled their profit. Too bad they've quadrupled their staff.

Huh? I'm not sure I understand this - no one has seen any sign of profitability, but you've heard they've doubled their profits? That seems like a contradiction.
posted by mullacc at 8:13 AM on April 19, 2006


Besides which, everyone knows that it's established fact that only 17.4% of people will see these ads.
posted by Bugbread at 8:14 AM on April 19, 2006


Ads on the internet, huh? I'm stunned. Next, marketers will be calling my house while I'm eating dinner.
posted by notmydesk at 8:18 AM on April 19, 2006


notmydesk : "Next, marketers will be calling my house while I'm eating dinner."

Random trivia: There are almost no marketing callers in Japan. I've gotten 4 or 5 marketing calls in the last 10 years here, and they were all for long distance companies. When I told them I used a callback service, they all said things to the effect of: "Ah, I see. Well, yes, that is cheaper than us. Sorry to have taken your time."
posted by Bugbread at 8:23 AM on April 19, 2006


oh gosh, mathowie jumps in to defend his A-lister friends; who'da thunk it.

if we keep up up the vitriol, matbe Anil or Mena will pop by with a reply on how metafilter is full of riff-raff these days, etc, etc.
posted by keswick at 8:25 AM on April 19, 2006


"Dude, you are pulling that number out of your ass again."

No, dude, I'm not.

Paid users for LJ are the only ones who aren't going to see ads, right? Well, they are less than 5% of total users. LJ doesn't list that stat on their stats page any more, but it hasn't changed much since it was listed in the past. Look it up on archive.org yourself.

As far as adoption rates of new features on LJ (which is essentially what this is) I actually *DO* have a fairly good knowledge of such things, Matt. I was there for feature rollouts in the past after all, and know how quickly people adopt new features, esp. those which are "opt in" by nature.

The answer? Not very quickly. If LiveJournal gets 12% of their "active in the last 30 days" userbase to sign up, that's only about 100K journals with ads. Not a lot, really. And 12% within a year, IMHO, is optimistic, when established features like syndication have a rather small amount of users, even after years!

The incentives for switching really aren't that great, or even necessary. Most people who want to post images already have LJ memberships or free image hosts. Many of the people who want post-by-phone (a rather underused feature) already know about 3rd party services that do the same thing, and integrate with LJ. The most attractive new feature for most will be the nine extra userpics. Whether that's worth ads and possible disapproval from other friends, I don't know.

New users will actually be a more captive audience for these feature changes. Many LiveJournal users use software clients or visit bookmarks to post and don't even regularly visit the front page! Many others simply skip past it, and most have notifications from LJ turned off. I know this because I worked there and oversaw such things regularly. Did you?

Really, Matt, I certainly credit you for what you do know, but sometimes your level of certainty about things you know nothing about astounds me.

LJ isn't like MeFi. It's a big, balkanized mess o' decentralization, with 3% of users in the know and the rest happily ignorant about all that stuff, posting to their friends about what they had for lunch.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:32 AM on April 19, 2006


I know insomnia was told to stop posting lj blog posts, so how about lj-fueled screeds too? Because this sucks balls.
posted by puke & cry at 8:36 AM on April 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


"no one has seen any sign of profitability, but you've heard they've doubled their profits?"

To be clear, I should say doubled their total revenue, not profitability.

It was posted awhile back on one of the local VC weblogs, based on something optimistic that a VC person heard/was told. It could be good news, if true, but it still doesn't mean that they're growing actual income faster than they're growing themselves.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:43 AM on April 19, 2006


I had tuna on challah bread!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:44 AM on April 19, 2006


If only 12% of users even start carrying ads, how will 95% of users see them? Are the journals really that heavily cross-linked? I mean, I read about 20 people's journal (actually, I read about 20 people's journal entries on my friends list), so if none of them add ads, I shouldn't ever, or only on rare occasions when I follow a link, see them, right?
posted by jacquilynne at 8:50 AM on April 19, 2006


insomnia_lj : "Paid users for LJ are the only ones who aren't going to see ads, right?"

From what I understand, no, that isn't right. They are the only ones who are guaranteed not to see ads.

If it helps to parse, an example:

Let's say that 75% of Americans are non-white, non-Christian. That means that 75% of Americans are guaranteed not to attend Ku Klux Klan rallys. However, it is not therefore valid to say that, therefore, 25% of Americans will attend Ku Klux Klan rallies.

So 5% definitely won't see ads. Some part of the remaining 95% will see ads. Unless you have some evidence that they will all see ads, declaring that they all will is, if not pulling a number out of your ass, using a number to represent something else using justifications from your ass.
posted by Bugbread at 8:51 AM on April 19, 2006


I'm shocked that even 0.000000000001% of LiveJournal users pay, but then the 100% of LJers who, um, use LiveJournal surprises me.
Never really got the whole phenomenom.
Anyhoo, despite the shiny happy promises, if they put a backdoor in the boilerplate, there's not much to discuss.

When push comes to shove, anything writtern in type larger than 10 points doesn't count for shit.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:54 AM on April 19, 2006


"LiveJournal is rapidly becoming a closed, gated community of "friends only" journals."

You mean like when they had invite codes?

"Certainly, all people who opt for ads will see them, as will all free users of the site who visit those users pages. That's approximately 95% of the total membership. Perhaps a tad more."

Bzzzzt. To have the 95% hold up, you'd have to show that 95% of users visit journals that will adopt this model.

"Paid users for LJ are the only ones who aren't going to see ads, right?"

Wrong. Free users who don't gambol across any of the "sponsored" pages won't see any of the ads.

"The answer? Not very quickly. If LiveJournal gets 12% of their "active in the last 30 days" userbase to sign up, that's only about 100K journals with ads. Not a lot, really. And 12% within a year, IMHO, is optimistic, when established features like syndication have a rather small amount of users, even after years! "

So... not a big problem then, spazz.

"Really, Matt, I certainly credit you for what you do know, but sometimes your level of certainty about things you know nothing about astounds me."

Maybe it's because he doesn't sit around breathing his own fumes and looking for something to be outraged about all day.
posted by klangklangston at 8:55 AM on April 19, 2006


(Amazing how throwing out dodgy statistics can completely derail your argument. That's why I appeal to heart, dammit!)
posted by smackfu at 8:56 AM on April 19, 2006


Paid users for LJ are the only ones who aren't going to see ads, right?

False. Every free LJ account that doesn't upgrade by the owner's choice will also be ad free. You are assuming a full 100% of all free users will pick ads.
posted by mathowie at 8:56 AM on April 19, 2006


yeah keswick, this is just about me defending my friends, not the 2k word screed filled with misleading info posted to mefi by a former employee.
posted by mathowie at 8:57 AM on April 19, 2006


Also, this is cross-posted on his lj. geez.
posted by puke & cry at 9:02 AM on April 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


I don't get it - with all the alternatives to Live Journal (including getting your own URL) why are banner ads on LJ such an apocalyptic development? People who find the ads offensive should start their own blog community.
posted by slatternus at 9:03 AM on April 19, 2006


"Paid users certainly account for more than 5% of total membership."

Or not. It was 2.3% as of July 2004, and only 1.6% in March '05. Compare that to 3.8% in 2002. Really, the incentive for membership decreased, in part because the site became more corporate and less member-supported, volunteer-oriented. Lots of open source people supported the site because they used to release al their code.

Note that I didn't say that 98% of LJers will have to deal with ads. I could've, but I didn't, because I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. I also stand by my assertion that a 12% ad adoption rate would be generous.

The current stats, incidentally, no longer show the percent of LJ users who pay for their accounts.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:03 AM on April 19, 2006


Matt, let's make this constructive. Point out each piece of misleading information. I would be glad to address them.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:04 AM on April 19, 2006


insomnia_lj,

Several people have pointed out that saying "5% of LJers pay. X% of LJers will use the use the ad model. Y% won't. Z% will visit pages that use the ad model. Z+X =95%" is misleading.
posted by Bugbread at 9:08 AM on April 19, 2006


Point out each piece of misleading information.

The 95% figure is made up. You are assuming that 100% of all free users will opt-in to ads. Then you say only 12% at most will, which is much less than 95% of the userbase.

So which is it? Do you assume all 100% of free users will take on ads overnight? Because if you don't, your 95% figure is meaningless and made up.
posted by mathowie at 9:09 AM on April 19, 2006


I think you're looking at Six Apart trying to figure out how to get a business model out of their three blogging software packages.

But look at their competition, at least for the individual blogger:
Blogger/Blogspot (free + free hosting w/ ads), Wordpress (open source), Blosxom (open source), etc.

You see a problem? The blogging software market is now so low cost that blogging platforms are fungible. The main cost is the hosting (or free with ads for Blogspot).

And here are the current costs of the three 6A products:
Livejournal (free w/ ads, $24/year otherwise)
MovableType (free for one user)
Typepad ($50/year)

Typepad will always struggle to justify paying $50 over $0 for Blogger. MovableType has turned its aim towards commerical sales (helped in part by Wordpress still having buggy support for multiple blogs) but is seeing some pushback (e.g. the Seattle P-I dropped them for a in-house blogging system). That leaves LiveJournal. And I wouldn't want to hang my 300 person company's business model on LJ.

Going to ads really seems desperate. And I think it's only a matter of months before that free w/o ads account stops being offered.

Oh, and I still use MT for my personal blog. I paid for the software (after being a beta tester and getting stuck with MT 3.0... grr). I'm going to suck all the value out of it like the pimento out of an olive until I can't suck anymore. Mmm, salty olive brine....
posted by dw at 9:12 AM on April 19, 2006


sorry, matt; I forgot how you intervene every time somebody posts a long screed with misleading info.
posted by keswick at 9:13 AM on April 19, 2006


I forgot how you intervene every time somebody posts a long screed with misleading info.

You're right, that is unfair because clearly I know everything about everything and am equipped to comment every time, not just a few subjects like normal people.
posted by mathowie at 9:20 AM on April 19, 2006


"Note that I didn't say that 98% of LJers will have to deal with ads. I could've, but I didn't, because I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt. I also stand by my assertion that a 12% ad adoption rate would be generous."

Either a lot of people will adopt the model, in which case it could conceivably have some effect, or not many will, in which case it would not. If only 12% are adopting and 3% can't see them, that means what? Far less than 95%, genius.

I reiterate— not a big deal. Don't be such a spazz.

(And as far as why I'll never ever ever pay for my LJ, I got suspended because someone claimed that a picture of myself was something they owned copyright for, and LJ wouldn't reinstate me until I deleted it. Fuck them. That process, with their retarded kowtowing to someone who had decided that he didn't like me because I knew someone that he wanted to date at some point, made me go from willing to pay for a decent service to having no loyalty to them whatsoever).
posted by klangklangston at 9:31 AM on April 19, 2006


"The 95% figure is made up. You are assuming that 100% of all free users will opt-in to ads."

You misunderstood me.

Every free user and every ad-sponsored user will see the ads. That said, the ads will *NOT* be on the actual journals of free users, but only on the journals of those who are ad-sponsored.

So, what I'm saying is ~12% + 83%= 95% of the userbase will be exposed to the ads. Infact, those 83% of users would be the primary audience for the ads on the journals of the other 12%.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:36 AM on April 19, 2006


I don't get it - with all the alternatives to Live Journal (including getting your own URL) why are banner ads on LJ such an apocalyptic development?

There's an ease of use with livejournal that doesn't exist with having your own domain. What happens is, if I have a blog (which I have), it's hard to get friends to visit it when with livejournal they can just view their friends page. Sure, you can do the same thing with RSS feeds, but the average internet user doesn't know how RSS works. So, it's either, try to force your friends to read your blog, or else switch over to Livejournal so you can keep in touch.
posted by dial-tone at 9:36 AM on April 19, 2006


"Every free user and every ad-sponsored user will see the ads. "

BULLSHIT. WILL YOU STOP SPEWING BULLSHIT?
posted by klangklangston at 9:38 AM on April 19, 2006


insomnia_lj, you're conflating traffic to livejournal pages on the corporate LJ site, stuff that isn't a journal, with all free journals. You are really saying that 95% of LJ users have the potential to see ads if they cruise around www.livejournal.com, but not when looking at any tom.livejournal.com, dick.livejournal.com, or harry.livejournal.com.

I seriously doubt the www.livejournal.com pages get much traffic aside from a user's own posting page, and who knows if the posting page will have ads on it (I doubt it).
posted by mathowie at 9:43 AM on April 19, 2006


mathowie : "The 95% figure is made up. You are assuming that 100% of all free users will opt-in to ads. Then you say only 12% at most will, which is much less than 95% of the userbase."

That's not quite what he's assuming. The "opt-in" is for the displayer, not the viewer. So he's assuming that 100% of all free users will visit pages run by opt-inners. Still an unfounded assumption.

insomnia_lj : "Every free user and every ad-sponsored user will see the ads."

No, every free user will have the possibility of seeing the ads, and every ad-sponsored user who looks at their own page will see the ads. Someone having the possibility of something ≠ someone doing it, or I'll go become a millionaire right now by playing the lottery. After all, by that logic, if I have the possibility of winning the lottery, that means I will.

insomnia_lj : "So, what I'm saying is ~12% + 83%= 95% of the userbase will be exposed to the ads."

Yes, but what is your justification of "~12% + 83%= 95%" = "~12% + X%= 95%" ∴ X=83?
posted by Bugbread at 9:45 AM on April 19, 2006


I don't get it - with all the alternatives to Live Journal (including getting your own URL) why are banner ads on LJ such an apocalyptic development?

The big thing with LiveJournal is friends-only posts. You can bitch about work and not get fired for it. To replace it, you need to find an alternative that has that AND get all your friends to switch to it.
posted by smackfu at 10:00 AM on April 19, 2006


Wait, bad math there. Obviously, for any "~12% + X%= 95%", X =~85. I should have asked:
What is your justification of "~12% + X%= Y%" = "~12% + 83%= 95%" ∴ X=83 and Y=95?
posted by Bugbread at 10:02 AM on April 19, 2006


"BULLSHIT. WILL YOU STOP SPEWING BULLSHIT?"

Chill. Take a look at the second table on the main page of LiveJournal. It says that the following people will see ads on ad-supported journals:

- Logged out users or visitors who don't have an LJ account
- Free/Early Adopter users
- Sponsored+ users
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:04 AM on April 19, 2006


insomnia_lj : "It says that the following people will see ads on ad-supported journals:"

Yes. Finally. Ok, NOW I think we are all on the same page.
posted by Bugbread at 10:24 AM on April 19, 2006


Thank god for blink. This conversation has been so convoluted that I couldn't even understand what the fuss was about. Even with the screed.

I will say this, many webpages have a short half-life, the internet is faddish. Making assumptions about what reliably drives internet traffic gets you a cockbucket load of assumptions, but no real authority.
posted by OmieWise at 10:30 AM on April 19, 2006


Probably not much point in me jumping in given mark's threadmodding here, but I didn't want to disappoint keswick. I love it when people I've never met call me out!

"And here are the current costs of the three 6A products:
Livejournal (free w/ ads, $24/year otherwise)
MovableType (free for one user)
Typepad ($50/year)"

LiveJournal is free without ads, free *with* ads now, or paid. Movable Type is free for personal use, paid for personal use by more than one author, and paid for commercial users. TypePad has a few different paid subscription levels, and then we have a number of other ancillary lines of business.

Here's an alternate version of the same post, if it were written by someone who hasn't had a public ax to grind with LiveJournal for some years now.

"LiveJournal, one of the longest-running services to combine social networking and blogging, has made a new option for users to get features formerly reserved for paying customers. How do you get 'em? By opting-in to ads. Surprising that it's taken this long to have an ad-supported level, given that dozens of other sites have proven people are willing to view ads on a site in exchange for features. Has any other siteever given this level of control to members about how and when they can see ads?"
posted by anildash at 10:41 AM on April 19, 2006


Oh god. I might see ads on Livejournal. *crumbles into dust*

Call me when it gets to the level of myspace because then I might bitch a little bit.

I have the feeling that 50% of the free users (yes, I did pull that stat out of my ass, thankyouverymuch!) will simply block the ads using one of the many available ad-blocking tools.

And the rest of them will simply go on with their lives because after all, it's just a website. Who knows, maybe some users will say "Dude, this blows goats!" and will delete their livejournals and will go outside to play some football.
In fact, I think I'm going to delete my livejournal in protest and then I'm going to go grill up some cheeseburgers. :-P
posted by drstein at 10:47 AM on April 19, 2006


O.k. That reads as a press release.

There's gotta be a middle ground somewhere, though I guess it would have to come from someone who didn't use to work for livejournal or who doesn't work for them now.
posted by justgary at 10:49 AM on April 19, 2006


"Has any other site ever given this level of control to members about how and when they can see ads?"

Why? Are you allowing free users and early adopters to opt out of seeing the ads your company said you wouldn't plaster sites with? I think not.

"we would like to assure you that the guided missiles currently converging with your ship are part of a special service we extend to all of our most enthusiastic clients, and the fully armed nuclear warheads are of course merely a courtesy detail."
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:18 AM on April 19, 2006


""Chill. Take a look at the second table on the main page of LiveJournal. It says that the following people will see ads on ad-supported journals:"

Yeah, and the fucking Amish might run across them when they're sneaking peaks at community.livejournal.com/showyourpussy. But until we account for the population of Madeupistan, we'll never know the true impact.

Stop being retarded. The internet has enough retards.
posted by klangklangston at 11:19 AM on April 19, 2006


17. b. Employing and/or providing software programs, browser scripts, or other technologies that serve to block or substantially impair the display of advertisements on LiveJournal pages.

I've been trying to parse this bit on the updated TOS, and no matter how I read it, it seems to me that they don't even want you using software/plugins/etc on our own computer to block ads (a. explains not to use CSS or anything to cover them on your LJ) ... which seems a little crazy. Anyone else read that differently? I have a bunch of LJ using friends who are going nuts over that sentence right now, though how they would track if someone is blocking ads or not, I don't know. Maybe they can.
posted by Orb at 11:21 AM on April 19, 2006


justgary : "There's gotta be a middle ground somewhere, though I guess it would have to come from someone who didn't use to work for livejournal or who doesn't work for them now."

Ok, I'll give it a shot:
LiveJournal has been ambivalent in the past to advertising. In [link here]some parts of the site[/link here], they have indicated that they would never run advertising. In [link here]other parts[/link], they have indicated that advertising hasn't been used simply because it wasn't deemed necessary, and annoyed the LiveJournal owners. That ambivalence has been resolved by the decision to establish a [link here]new tier[/link] of service, which provides some features previously only available to paid users to free users, provided that they agree to run advertising. The impact of this is under debate, as [link to insomnia_lj's page]some people[/link] predict this will mean that most free users of LiveJournal will see these ads, while [link to opposing view]others[/link] think the amount of LJ users that opt in will be low, and thus the number of viewers of advertising will be commensurately low.
Of course, if it were me, I'd skip the "point/counterpoint" at the end, unless someone said some pretty kick-ass stuff, but I know some MeFi users like the multiple-viewpoints in addition to dry facts stuff, so that would be for them.
posted by Bugbread at 11:28 AM on April 19, 2006


Orb, I read that as saying don't install something on your page that blocks the ads. As in, don't upgrade and then run a script on your page which blocks the ads for anyone who might see them.
posted by cell divide at 11:33 AM on April 19, 2006


I <3 bugbread.
posted by Fezboy! at 11:36 AM on April 19, 2006


I don't necessarily approve or disapprove of this. But I am a free LJ user who will not be affected by this.

That's because I use LJ as a way to keep in touch with a select group of internet friends as an alternative to the internet "place" that we first met each other as teenagers. (For the curious, an AOL forum--now that we're grown-ups with our own computers and real ISPs, that doesn't work for us anymore). My own journal is almost entirely friends-only, and I only read the journals of my friends through my own friends page.

There's no real point, other than to say that I am one example of a LJ user that will neither pay nor view ads.
posted by lampoil at 11:45 AM on April 19, 2006


"My own journal is almost entirely friends-only, and I only read the journals of my friends through my own friends page."

Then if that very limited amount of people is all that you read, you should be free of the ads unless one of your friends opts for the ad deal, in which case you'd see them if you visited their journal or left comments.
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:07 PM on April 19, 2006


Yep. So that's 95% - 1 user. Now all we need to do is count all the other users that are like lampoil, and we'll know how completely idiotic the 95% number was in the first place.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:13 PM on April 19, 2006


I said the ads "will be visible to the general public and approximately 95% of (LiveJournal's) users".

That, however, doesn't mean that I ever suggested that every single LiveJournal user (or for that matter, every single member of the general public) will see them.

How is that an incorrect statement?
posted by insomnia_lj at 12:35 PM on April 19, 2006


klangklangston writes "Stop being retarded. The internet has enough retards."

The word "retard" is derogatory, sir. Please keep that in mind in the future. But that was a damn funny statement and deserves to be immortalized somewhere.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:37 PM on April 19, 2006


I agree with caution live frogs.
posted by kalessin at 12:47 PM on April 19, 2006


How is that an incorrect statement?

Oh come on, now you're redefining what you meant?

You wrote "adding banner ads to the service, which will be visible to the general public and approximately 95% of their users" in the original post to make it sound like almost everyone looking at a livejournal page will see advertising soon. I said that is totally misleading, considering we have no idea how many users will opt into ad-supported features.

What you meant to say was this:

"adding banner ads to the service, which will be visible to the general public and approximately 95% of their users on the small subset of journals that opt for the new ad-supported feature tier"

but that doesn't sound nearly as bombastic, and doesn't go with your screed that followed it.
posted by mathowie at 12:49 PM on April 19, 2006


insomnia_lj writes "How is that an incorrect statement?"

Oh give it up already. You made hysterical assertions, you were called to the mat on them, you cannot defend them, and you should retreat already to a position which is defensible. I know this is just about lj, but you should realize at some point that you do your causes a disservice when your rhetoric is hyperbolic and hysterical.
posted by OmieWise at 12:49 PM on April 19, 2006 [1 favorite]


I think Anil should take over for McLellan. Nice spin.
posted by smackfu at 12:55 PM on April 19, 2006


I said the ads "will be visible to the general public and approximately 95% of (LiveJournal's) users". That, however, doesn't mean that I ever suggested that every single LiveJournal user (or for that matter, every single member of the general public) will see them.

Ahem.
Certainly, all people who opt for ads will see them, as will all free users of the site who visit those users pages. That's approximately 95% of the total membership. Perhaps a tad more.
Also:
Paid users for LJ are the only ones who aren't going to see ads, right?
So, um. "No." Here, I'll use crayon:
  1. 95% of LJ users might see ads.
  2. 95% of LJ users will see ads.
(1) is true. You said (2). Clear?
posted by cribcage at 1:16 PM on April 19, 2006


My penis is clearly visible1

1: To anyone who enters the shower while I'm in it
posted by Bugbread at 1:17 PM on April 19, 2006


Cribcage, just give up and stop posting.
posted by smackfu at 1:19 PM on April 19, 2006


(Not that you're wrong, but it's getting boring and tedious to read both of your posts.)
posted by smackfu at 1:20 PM on April 19, 2006


Yeah, and the fucking Amish might run across them when they're sneaking peaks at community.livejournal.com/showyourpussy.
posted by klangklangston

damn, that URL totally didn't have what I was hoping it would.

that being, pictures of kitty cats.
posted by todbot at 1:22 PM on April 19, 2006


Perhaps the correct phrasing is that 95% of LiveJournal users will be able to see ads. That doesn't mean they will see them, but they have the ability to see them. Which means that 95% of LJ users could stumble across an ad. It doesn't mean they must, but they might.

Thanks to dial-tone for explaining why I still have a LiveJournal, too.
posted by etoile at 1:25 PM on April 19, 2006


Oh damn, cribcage beat me to it. Nevermind.
posted by etoile at 1:27 PM on April 19, 2006


Cribcage, just give up and stop posting.

I assume this is the set-up for a joke, wherein I reply, "Hey, pal, I posted exactly once into this thread," and you retort, "Ha, ha, now you've posted twice. Got ya!"

Otherwise, learn to read. Illiterate callouts are boring and tedious.
posted by cribcage at 1:37 PM on April 19, 2006


I don't see the problem here. It's run for profit. They are going to grind every dollar out of the userbase they can. That's what companies do.

Don't like it? Start your own free service. And figure out a way to pay for it. Good luck with that.

So the free lunch of some LJ people is over. This is hardly worth a huge screed on mefi.
posted by beth at 1:38 PM on April 19, 2006


"My own journal is almost entirely friends-only, and I only read the journals of my friends through my own friends page."

Then if that very limited amount of people is all that you read, you should be free of the ads unless one of your friends opts for the ad deal, in which case you'd see them if you visited their journal or left comments.


Exactly. I did take into account that were my friends to adopt the ad option, I'd see ads when I click through (very rare) or comment (much less rare). I didn't add that that's highly unlikely, because those of my friends who are interested in the extra features have already acquired paid accounts. I myself am such a casual user that the features of a paid/sponsored account are of little interest to me. And as my friends list is a pretty core established group dating back almost a decade, it's unlikely I'd have any newcomers to my friends list in the future, seduced by the sponsored option. If for some reason I were using LJ to read someone's journal that I don't want to read mine (eliminating the option of adding them as a friend), well honestly that's a whole other kettle of fish. This may seem "very limited," but that's how I use the service, and have for the past five years. While it sucks that LJ has gone back on its promise, it's also kind of cool that they've created a way to do so with such a small effect on my (and, I assume, some unknown number of others') experience.
posted by lampoil at 1:47 PM on April 19, 2006


The obvious problem with the proposal is that, by opting-in to the ads, you're not opting-in for yourself only (ie. I want premium features, I see ads). Instead, you're inflicting the ads on everyone who reads that journal, apart from paid users.

Look at the original phrasing:

...adding banner ads to the service, which will be visible to the general public and approximately 95% of their users

Where 95% = the free users. His point is that the public and free users can see the ads (hence "will be visible to"), while the paid users can't. It's a pretty simple point.

justgary (to anildash): That reads as a press release.

Anil (and everyone else who works for Six Apart) seem only to talk in PR-speak nowadays. Sad.

And I have to say that I lose a little respect for mathowie every time we have to read his defences of one of his A-list bloggerbuddies.
posted by reklaw at 1:48 PM on April 19, 2006


This thread needs more SCIENCE.

And less LiveJournal
posted by loquacious at 1:50 PM on April 19, 2006


Ha, ha, now you've posted twice. Got ya!
posted by smackfu at 1:50 PM on April 19, 2006


Insomnia, your original 11 points are bullshit. Eight of them are slippery slope if/could arguments that are classic Internet-style fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Your original premise is flawed, your evidence is a crock, your rebuttals are disingenuous, and your conclusions are without merit.
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:51 PM on April 19, 2006


Nobody's explained yet just what's so god-fucking-awful about ads on Livejournal in the first place.

I'm this close to whipping out the waahhhmbulance gif, people.
posted by Zozo at 1:57 PM on April 19, 2006


They've never had ads, they've been strident about having no ads, and they've been around a LONG time with those policies.
posted by smackfu at 2:19 PM on April 19, 2006


I don't see the problem here. It's run for profit. They are going to grind every dollar out of the userbase they can. That's what companies do.

Exactly. It's a cut throat business, and no matter what they say today if a change tomorrow will bring in more money they'll do it and worry about the spin later, I don't care how cute the trotts are in photographs. That's what every business does. Doesn't matter if it's right or wrong, good or bad.

And yes, there is a certain segment of long time bloggers that would sooner kick their dogs than even hint at criticism or disagreement with each other, and that's sad.
posted by justgary at 2:31 PM on April 19, 2006


And yes, there is a certain segment of long time bloggers that would sooner kick their dogs than even hint at criticism or disagreement with each other, and that's sad.

If this is directed at me, my defense of LJ isn't about ben or mena or anil -- I read the post by Brad a week ago and thought "huh, that's a big change but sounds pretty minor in the end" and I woke up today to insomnia_lj saying the sky is falling because LJ is cramming ads down everyone's throats and there is nothing we can do about it (I'm paraphrasing). It seemed inaccurate, and I called him on it.

I agree that it is kind of messed up that LJ just pulled parts of their anti-advertising manifestos without any warning or link to previous versions, but even with that, ad-supported free accounts on LJ doesn't seem like a big deal and this sounds like someone making a mountain out of a molehill.
posted by mathowie at 2:49 PM on April 19, 2006


I live in Japan. Somebody writes something about Japan, I have a higher than average likelihood to post a comment. Matt runs a blog. Somebody writes something about a blog, Matt has a higher than average likelihood to post a comment. Seems straightforward to me.
posted by Bugbread at 3:05 PM on April 19, 2006


If this is directed at me, my defense of LJ isn't about ben or mena or anil

It wasn't matt. It was more in regards to how many long time bloggers now work in the field (sixapart, flickr, etc) which cripples some of the insight they use to bring into certain discussions.

I also think it's nonsense to dismiss someone's opinion simply because they know the people involved. I was too lazy to write that part, however.
posted by justgary at 3:15 PM on April 19, 2006


Oh no. Who cares.
posted by cellphone at 3:46 PM on April 19, 2006


What I mean by that, is LJ has always been a mostly disposable service where your content is always stamped by the scarlet LJ URL, and this only further adds stigma to it. If you think what you write has some sort of worth, stop letting it reside under the LJ name (and now banner) and "publish" it yourself. Unless you're in it for the community, in which case this change shouldn't really matter.
posted by cellphone at 3:49 PM on April 19, 2006


bugbread rules!
posted by anildash at 3:51 PM on April 19, 2006


...Speaking as someone who uses LJ for throwing the verbal crap at the wall. Which it is highly useful for!
posted by cellphone at 3:54 PM on April 19, 2006


"Anil (and everyone else who works for Six Apart) seem only to talk in PR-speak nowadays. Sad."

Every time somebody says this, I genuinely ask for evidence, because I hate to think it's true, but I'm definitely open to the idea that it is. I think the actual fact is that I have always talked in a pretentious, stilted manner, especially on MeFi. CONSISTENCY!

Seriously, though, do you think I'm so smart and conniving that I began my secret PR campaign six years ago by joining MeFi in the hopes that I could start spamming people here today? Wish I were that smart. Could just be that I'm stating my honest opinion.

"And yes, there is a certain segment of long time bloggers that would sooner kick their dogs than even hint at criticism or disagreement with each other, and that's sad."

That's just not even close to true. I've had some of my closest friends publicly call me out (either personally or by inference) for the decisions we've made, either on their blogs or onstage at events. And I've gotten into screaming disagreements a few times with the long-time blogger friends of mine who happen to be my employers. Just because most of us have the good taste to not have our fights in public doesn't mean they don't happen. It just means they go on in our private LiveJournals so that they don't get throw in our faces in one of the regular threads like this one. What I don't understand is why you feel you're entitled to seeing me fight with my friends. That's sad.
posted by anildash at 4:02 PM on April 19, 2006


Anil always gets away with everything.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:04 PM on April 19, 2006


Clearly this whole thing is viral marketing. Insomnia_lj is working hand-in-hand with Anil to win LJ more subscribers...

Here's how it works
1. Livejournal starts allowing ads.
2. Insomnia_LJ calls them out on it in various forums.
3. Some people defend the new policy.
4. ????
5. Profit!
posted by dial-tone at 4:08 PM on April 19, 2006


anildash : "Seriously, though, do you think I'm so smart and conniving that I began my secret PR campaign six years ago by joining MeFi in the hopes that I could start spamming people here today?"

PR, not marketing. I'm not saying I agree with the initial statement, but when someone says that someone else sounds like a PR person, they are usually referring to the way things are phrased, spin put on decisions, etc., not on intentional marketing and promotion.
posted by Bugbread at 4:17 PM on April 19, 2006


Me: than even hint at criticism or disagreement with each other.

Anil: why you feel you're entitled to seeing me fight with my friends.

Not at all what i said, but I'm sure you're well aware of that.
posted by justgary at 4:57 PM on April 19, 2006


I think that the notion that people will see ads they don't want to be exposed to can be negated by using a combination of Firefox, the Adblocker plugin, and Proxomitron. Like I do. Which is why I never see ads on Metafilter, be I logged in or out. Infact I can't remember the last time I saw an ad on the internet since I've set up my config files in such a way that even if I go to a new website, the ads are already blocked.

Admittedly, this doesn't change the fact that LJ apparently broke a promise, and that it's a shit idea, and that a lot of ordinary internet users won't understand how to operate tools like Proxomitron. Maybe it's time to educate them... if you care enough about that particular aspect of this new development in Livejournal Land.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:06 PM on April 19, 2006


I live in Japan. Somebody writes something about Japan [...] Matt runs a blog. Somebody writes something about a blog [...]

This analogy would have been better if you'd said "Matt lives in a blog."
posted by whir at 8:56 PM on April 19, 2006


This thread reminds me; I need to get that journal-backup doohickie and download local copies of the 2,500 entries I've made over the past 5 years. Because livejournal, at some point, may become unprofitable and be sold (like, the servers; in such a way as to go offline) or otherwise shut-down. It's been integral to my life for so long that I never even consider that as a possibility.

That said, whoo-hoo! Permanent account, baby. No ads for me!

I wish I could have the cool insomnia of my early days on lj back*. The chicken little version over here on mefi is rather grating at times. I'm glad we straightened out the bad math/misconceptualizing, though. Because the 12% (or 8%, I thought) expected to adopt the ads will need to be friends with every free user for 95% to make sense. More likely, the Sponsored+ users will primarily be friends with other icon/style-whores (you said this yourself in #8). Internet = circle jerk, just remember.

Matt, you fucking rock. Thank you for handling the piss-take on this one so well. Bugbread, too.

Other things:
1. I thought paid users were on a separate server array/queue for their requests.
4. Then you can switch the ads off.
9. I can see where you're going, wrt the precedent on livejournal. However, lj is not setting the precedent on the Internet (in fact, they've come up with a novel way to implement it that actually impressed me). I'd rather have lj stay in business because I'm rather attached to it.
10+11. I gathered from Brad that it's an experiment. If no one does it/it doesn't make them money, it may actually go away.

*I also miss genders and leora
posted by Eideteker at 9:12 PM on April 19, 2006


justgary, you're right, i was being unfair there... i just get more than a little defensive on these things because it's just, well, weird how often I have people basically talk about me like i'm not present when they know i am.

it's probably even more off-topic to go into some of the dynamics of who-knows-who and how that affects what they write, but suffice to say there is probably more courtesy extended between those of us that can sympathize about being semi-public figures in this one tiny, self-obsessed corner of the online world.

and bugbread, i do think what i say can sound like spin sometimes, but sometimes it's just perspective... i like playing devil's advocate. in this case, i honestly think it's weird that google can do something totally crap with ads on the same day livejournal can do something that actually gives somebody a choice about how ads are part of their experience, but the whole thing becomes a digression about mark's math instead of about the more interesting discussions of community and commercialism and private media. score one for fanatical, biased hysteria. at least a bunch more teenage girls can post their phone calls on the internet now.
posted by anildash at 11:28 PM on April 19, 2006


That was fun. Like old times 'round here for a while, everbody gettin' all NO WAY! YES WAY! about weblogging.

No megnut calling us names or nothin', though, so that was a bit of a letdown.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:34 PM on April 19, 2006


Fucking bloggers. You're such a bunch of whiney fucks.
posted by bouncebounce at 5:10 AM on April 20, 2006


/. takes a different approach.
posted by Eideteker at 6:25 AM on April 20, 2006


What's this 'live journal' thing?

Ads on the internet: something I almost never notice*. Apart from wasting bandwidth (an issue in my current location, where they count the bytes, and the megabytes arrive via container ship on alternate Tuesdays), what's the big deal?

The attempts at targeting ads, and the we'll share anything we decide is appropriate is a way to obfuscate that they share whatever they please, and maybe they'll use restraint, if they're not pressed for time (or just ask the third party to be discreet about it).

Of course savvy folks (most MeFites, I'm sure) know, anything on the internet is likely to escape to the wild. Wouldn't it be clever if they just flat out stated it was all at-your-own-risk? Perhaps that's the difference between the real, and the over-hyped fad of a bygone year.

*Pay me enough, I'll explain what makes me notice ads. I'll negotiate a price with all comers who deposit 10k Euros (no-refundable earnest fee) to my Isle of Man account.
posted by Goofyy at 6:34 AM on April 20, 2006


justgary, you're right, i was being unfair there... i just get more than a little defensive on these things because it's just, well, weird how often I have people basically talk about me like i'm not present when they know i am.

it's probably even more off-topic to go into some of the dynamics of who-knows-who and how that affects what they write, but suffice to say there is probably more courtesy extended between those of us that can sympathize about being semi-public figures in this one tiny, self-obsessed corner of the online world.


Fair enough. I understand what you're saying, and I wasn't calling out matt or you or anyone else in the thread. Basically, I was referring to this type of thing. And I understand that's neither good or bad, but necessary.
posted by justgary at 10:01 PM on April 20, 2006


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