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6A sells LJ to SUP
December 3, 2007 12:20 AM   Subscribe

Six Apart Announces New Home for LiveJournal: Russia
posted by finite (84 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is this the point where everyone panics?
posted by zabuni at 12:28 AM on December 3, 2007


Might as well get it over with... In Russia, Live Journals YOU.
posted by wendell at 12:30 AM on December 3, 2007 [6 favorites]


So what exactly was the point of 6A buying LJ in the first place?
posted by cmgonzalez at 12:31 AM on December 3, 2007


Moscow's SUP, which stands for single user portal, will start a San Francisco company

Well, not really in Russia.
posted by Arturus at 12:36 AM on December 3, 2007


Firefox News beat you to it, wendell.
posted by mykescipark at 12:36 AM on December 3, 2007


So what exactly was the point of 6A buying LJ in the first place?

Anil's a Russian spy working for Putin. It's all part of a four-step secret plan:

1. Rule Russia with iron fist
2. Make the backgrounds of all websites white
3.
4. Profit!
posted by dw at 12:37 AM on December 3, 2007 [8 favorites]


More links, including a translation-from-PR-speak of 6A's press release
[via comments in brad's journal, which is linked in the fpp]
posted by finite at 12:41 AM on December 3, 2007


Beaten to the joke by "Firefox News"? My corporate masters at msnbc.com are not gonna be happy with that.

I think anildash is going to be spending way too much of his valuable time here today. Maybe he can answer your question, cmgonzalez, or at least try to.

Maybe he can also address the rumor that there was another bidder for the company from Venezuela, but when 6A saw that Putin was winning his election but Chavez was losing, they went with the winners.

And how many people today are going to send emails to old-school blogger Doc Searls, just to ask him: "What's SUP, Doc?"
posted by wendell at 12:42 AM on December 3, 2007


SixApart is fast becoming the evil little empire that could. Every time I hear Anil or Mina talk, all I hear is PR wonkery; and in the case of Anil, he's sometimes just a jerk. Ah, well. I moved all my shit to WordPress ages ago, and when I stopped listening to Death Cab for Cutie I stopped using LiveJournal.
posted by littlerobothead at 12:50 AM on December 3, 2007 [5 favorites]


Many Russian LJ users are panicking because they are very mistrustful of SUP (and the timing is grand).
posted by parudox at 12:51 AM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


From that translation finite linked to:

"OMG, it's been two years and more and the LJ users will not shut up. They hate us. We give up; we're gonna go back to playing with toys that weren't created for highly opinionated geeks who know the core code better than we do. We need to cut our losses and find something that makes money."

Sums things up pretty well, I think.
posted by cmgonzalez at 12:52 AM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


SixApart is fast becoming the evil little empire that could.

No, just the opposite. LJ was an acquisition that never fully made sense considering 6A had a similar product in TypePad. And then they launched Vox, which was effectively a knockoff of LJ. But now, they've jettisoned LJ. They are basically back to being a software company, with three flavors of the same product.

If you were, say, a large company that wanted to bootstrap your way into the whole Web 2.0 social media hypefest, then 6A is the perfect acquisition. Plus, built-in corporate and personal users.

I think it's also a decent target for Yahoo, if they're still willing to spend the money. It would integrate perfectly with their other acquisitions. I'd think MSFT might sniff around it (even if they already have Live doing the same thing). Ditto Adobe. Maybe even Amazon.

In other words, 6A is grooming itself for a buyout. It's not empire building, it's the end of empire.

We need to cut our losses and find something that makes money.

Except that they have a pretty decent revenue stream from MovableType and Typepad. It's LJ that was the redheaded stepchild.
posted by dw at 1:14 AM on December 3, 2007


So the usual suspects will make the usual Loud Noises and threats to leave, a fraction will actually follow through and a majority of them will be back within a month when they realize no one's reading them.

In other words, just another week on LiveJournal.
posted by dantsea at 1:27 AM on December 3, 2007 [7 favorites]


Moving forward, Six Apart will continue to synergistically blend paradigm-redefining community-centred content delivery systems for its core targets!

God, I hate how they communicate.

Russian mafia spamhouse might be a step up.
posted by blacklite at 1:40 AM on December 3, 2007 [3 favorites]


Encyclopedia Dramatica's take.

My prediction: epic lulz.
posted by grouse at 2:21 AM on December 3, 2007


Oh yeah, for those of you unfamiliar with Encyclopedia Dramatica, much of it is NSFW, although that particular page is not so bad at the moment.
posted by grouse at 2:23 AM on December 3, 2007


I wish my name was Anil Dash. It's the perfect name. Sexy, dynamic and transgressive, all at the same time.

Instead, I'm stuck with boring old Harry Owen, a name that'll be the death of me....
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:35 AM on December 3, 2007


It can also be represented as A∅—
posted by grouse at 2:51 AM on December 3, 2007 [5 favorites]


My prediction: epic lulz.

This is always a sound prediction.
posted by anildash at 3:11 AM on December 3, 2007


I do not think there is a 100x100 pixel animated icon that suitably reflects how I feel about this. I'm pretty sure it needs Johnny Depp and a kitten in a toy airplane, but I'm not sure what else.

plz helps me kthx
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:12 AM on December 3, 2007 [4 favorites]


I can see bloggers chained to desks in the Kremlin, typing at gunpoint... posting images of Putin with his shirt off over and over and over and...
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:29 AM on December 3, 2007


Six Apart will continue to synergistically blend paradigm-redefining community-centred content delivery systems for its core targets!

In pink shirts! With microphones!
posted by Horken Bazooka at 3:46 AM on December 3, 2007


ARGGHHHHHH. LiveJournal now owned by Swarthy Foreigners. ARRGHHHH.
posted by seanyboy at 3:55 AM on December 3, 2007


And so it begins.
posted by fandango_matt at 4:01 AM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Shit, where am I gonna host my Garry Kasparov slash now?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:30 AM on December 3, 2007 [4 favorites]


In pink shirts! With microphones!

I still can't believe that people don't get that the photo is supposed to be ridiculous. Oh, well.
posted by anildash at 5:06 AM on December 3, 2007


What's the current state of LJ backup utilities? I'm not leaving, but shit does occasionally happen. I figure this is a better place than 5000-comment lj threads to get this question answered.
posted by Eideteker at 5:10 AM on December 3, 2007


Current Mood: What a country! Eh Eh Eh!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:14 AM on December 3, 2007


America's richest natural resource of weepy goth poetry must stay in American control!
posted by ardgedee at 5:22 AM on December 3, 2007 [3 favorites]


Eid: Check out LJBook (http://www.ljbook.com/). It'll create a PDF version of your posts and comments on them (including embedded images, comments etc), ready for printing via Lulu if you want to start a coffee-table empire.
posted by subbes at 5:24 AM on December 3, 2007


Addendum: it will require your password if you want to archive F-only or Private entries, so practice password hygiene.
posted by subbes at 5:28 AM on December 3, 2007


Some days I miss the LJ that was, back from 2000 to 2002. There were thousands of smart, creative users with interesting lives and nary a furry or slash writer among them. Then the semi-literate fourteen year olds discovered it, and lj_insomnia was somehow given administrative privileges and proceeded to change the tone of the LJ community from friendly anarchism to top down authoritarianism. Soon the people who made LJ a great place to socialize left in droves for personal domains and parts unknown while the drama whore teenagers eventually abandoned their "non_ugly" communities for the greener pastures of Myspace. Now all that's left are the Russian users who seem to be compelling and the English speaking users who seem to think that Harry Potter books are really hot porn and animals are things to draw yourself having sex with.
posted by bunnytricks at 5:35 AM on December 3, 2007 [7 favorites]


Is this something I would need an internet to understand?
posted by DU at 5:51 AM on December 3, 2007


I thought at the time that terminating my LiveJournal account and using LJBook to grab all of my LJ data (because the backup facility sucks trucks) was a smart idea. Now it looks like genius.
posted by tommasz at 5:55 AM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Note to the author of the PR: It remained unclear to me at the end of the press release that 6A was selling LJ, rather than being bought by SUP.
posted by lodurr at 6:19 AM on December 3, 2007


The only time I ever hear of Six Apart is when they do something that will "upset the blogosphere". It's been years and years since they did anything that makes the world of blogging excited or even just happy about their products. Why are they even still around? Why are they always talked about when a company like EllisLabs, which makes great products and constantly improves the products they do offer, is so little known? I can only assume it's 'cause they're cute. Utterly baffling.
posted by dobbs at 6:21 AM on December 3, 2007


All I know about LJ is Toothpaste for dinner's LJ photo feed. (NSFW.. sometimes)

Click on the photo to go to the user page.
They all seem so be Russian accounts anyway.

All this means is less caricatures of Putin in the future.
posted by Balisong at 6:22 AM on December 3, 2007


Hmm, I've seen LJ Book. I was thinking more of a month-by-month extensible archive. If I want to periodically update my backup, I have to generate a whole new LJ book. And while it's mostly text with few images, I'd hate to think of the size of the PDF of everything I've written since The Year 2000.
posted by Eideteker at 6:29 AM on December 3, 2007


DA!! We own U nao!

The only LiveJournal (Живой Журнал) blogs I read are Russian, primarily Avva, run by Anatoly Vorobei, who's thinking of leaving LJ/ЖЖ (he used to be involved in running the Russian-language part) but is waiting to see how things turn out and suggesting that people not dismiss views they disagree with as hysterical, idiotic, etc. He points out that there is good reason to doubt that a Russian-owned company will demonstrate genuine concern for the privacy of its users. I guess I'll wait and see what he thinks and then think the same thing, since I have no personal stake in it.
posted by languagehat at 6:47 AM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


I finally won't have to use anything 6A makes!
posted by drezdn at 6:49 AM on December 3, 2007


Eideteker: I've seen this recommended for a backup, though I haven't used it myself.
posted by sugarfish at 6:53 AM on December 3, 2007


So what exactly was the point of 6A buying LJ in the first place?

To get the LJ code, so they could build Vox. And now they can jettison the entire unwieldly mess and never again have to deal with furry pedo-raptor fiction.

Well played, Trotts. Well played.
posted by solistrato at 7:10 AM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Will we all start saying ЖЖ?

ЖЖ is HUGE for Former USSR bloggers...
posted by k8t at 7:39 AM on December 3, 2007


I don't even know how to say ЖЖ.
posted by smackfu at 7:44 AM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Will we all start saying ЖЖ?

I hope so -- Ж is my favorite letter.

I must admit being a little shocked to see the widespread usage of LJ in Russia, but it ends up making a lot of sense, particularly when you think about the metered downloads outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg. The last thing you want is some ad-and-image heavy heap like MySpace downloading someone's awful music choice at 7 rubles/megabyte.
posted by fake at 7:45 AM on December 3, 2007


ЖЖ = "djuh dujh"
posted by k8t at 7:58 AM on December 3, 2007


Six Apart will continue to synergistically blend paradigm-redefining community-centred content delivery systems for its core targets!

In pink shirts! With microphones!

I still can't believe that people don't get that the photo is supposed to be ridiculous. Oh, well.


Was the verbiage supposed to be ridiculous too?
posted by chlorus at 8:07 AM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


> So what exactly was the point of 6A buying LJ in the first place?
To get the LJ code, so they could build Vox.


LJ is open-source and has been since it was Brad Fitzgerald's hobby. 6A bought a lot of maintenance and customer support baggage for no reason at all if they only wanted the code.
posted by ardgedee at 8:13 AM on December 3, 2007


bunnytricks, that sounds like the downfall of digg. At first it was something like slashdot on steroids, then Joe LCD moved in and nows its "hilarious" lists and photos, like my mom used to email out from her AOL account. Then the Ron Paulies and Ubuntites moved in and its been unreadable since. Although nothing screams class and intelligentsia like "Mac Girl of the Month" as the top rated item with comments that make YouTube users sound like Noam friggin Chomsky.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:24 AM on December 3, 2007 [5 favorites]


The one interesting part of LJ is the private networks: friends writing posts for friends, that are only visible to friends. This is also the least public part. I'm a bit surprised Facebook hasn't made a major attempt at this functionality.
posted by smackfu at 8:30 AM on December 3, 2007 [2 favorites]


Ron Paulies and the Ubuntites

Was that a late 50s rock quartet?
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:30 AM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Stuff like this makes me wonder why anyone (including me) bothers trying to figure out why companies do anything. I remember thinking "This is huge, but what the hell?" when 6A bought LiveJournal.

If it was all some kind of weird ploy to get unactionable right of way to do whatever the hell they wanted with some new service offering, and now that they've got that they're just going to throw away the property....well, what the hell?

(I'm frankly amazed that no one has yet insinuated that SUP showed up at the Trott's house with its hair slicked-back and a suitcase full of Benjamins in one hand and a grenade in the other.)
posted by lodurr at 8:30 AM on December 3, 2007


All this means is less caricatures of Putin in the future.

But I love my userpic!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:31 AM on December 3, 2007


Whatever gets us out of Six Apart's hands, really. 6A had no fucking clue what to do with Livejournal, and it was as if they were holding monthly employee contests to come up with ideas that would piss off LJ's userbase. Short of coming to user's houses and beating them up, I'm not sure how Six Apart could have fucked up their ownership of LJ more badly.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:35 AM on December 3, 2007 [7 favorites]


Vox : LiveJournal :: Facebook : MySpace.
posted by danb at 8:57 AM on December 3, 2007


This seems to be a stunning example of the world gone awry.
posted by ND¢ at 9:19 AM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


All I know about LJ is Toothpaste for dinner's LJ photo feed. (NSFW.. sometimes)

How about Превед! (as previously featured on Mefi)?
posted by tapeguy at 9:55 AM on December 3, 2007


danb, I wouldn't compare Vox to LJ in that manner. Sure there's some similar ideas, but it's more "social networky" than "bloggy"... LJ is, IMO, the perfect blend of both. Everytime I look at a different service, none of them end up having the same features I'm looking for, which pisses me off (certainly during 6A's reign... we'll see how the Russians run things).

I have hope that, since Brad is on the advisory board, that there may be some "NO"s being said. I'm still skeptical, though.

I really wish I read Russian, so I could see what the Russian speakers think. I knew of the anger over Mamut, but haven't heard how service has ended up being since he took over.

We'll wait and see, I guess. I'd really like a p2p/distributed version of LJ.
posted by symbioid at 10:01 AM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


ЖЖ = "djuh dujh"

Not "zheh zheh"? Been a while since I was in Russian class, I suppose.
posted by statolith at 10:03 AM on December 3, 2007


Oh, I meant to comment regarding backups. I've used LJArchive, and it worked for me. I've also made the LJBook. I can't recall whether LJArchive lets you do selective backups (i.e. month to month -- or last archived to now), however LJ's codebase does have a "lastsync" option that makes that easy to do, in theory (I'm still trying to figure all that out).

If you're on a Mac, I hear that the X-Journal client has that capability built in. There's also various scripts (perl, python, etc...) that do that as well, but I think LJArchive is the best bet for Windows users.
posted by symbioid at 10:05 AM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd really like a p2p/distributed version of LJ.

We'd be sacrificing functionality- that beautiful social functionality that means I will probably never leave LJ- without a central server of some sort.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:11 AM on December 3, 2007


Wired saw this coming two years ago.

"The reason (the deal) is so suspicious for us, is that some oligarch is willing to pay so much for something that is not worth so much," says Yaroslav Grekov, the Russian LiveJournal blogger known as "moska," who is one of the biggest critics of the deal.

"That's why I am thinking that Sup's goal is not to earn, but rather to spend money for some very important reason ... the destruction of our LiveJournal community, which is very organized and even dangerous to the government."

posted by grabbingsand at 10:20 AM on December 3, 2007


One year and one month ago, actually.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:20 AM on December 3, 2007


Quote:

Ж is pronounced like a French "J." It sounds like the "s" in "leisure", and if you think "zh" it's easy to pronounce.
posted by vertriebskonzept at 10:22 AM on December 3, 2007


Fitzpatrick, not Fitzgerald. Guh.
posted by ardgedee at 11:37 AM on December 3, 2007


ЖЖ = "djuh dujh"

Not "zheh zheh"? Been a while since I was in Russian class, I suppose.


No, you're right, it's "zheh zheh." The quoted poster was providing false information.
posted by languagehat at 11:41 AM on December 3, 2007


I was never able to grok what Vox was supposed to do for me. It is 2nd only to Twitter in the "wtf is this good for" bucket.

Was it really just a differently skinned LJ replacement?
posted by Ynoxas at 12:23 PM on December 3, 2007


shit:crap :: poop:dung
posted by tehloki at 12:37 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Was it really just a differently skinned LJ replacement?

Yes, but with questions of the day.
posted by chunking express at 12:48 PM on December 3, 2007


Why are they [SixApart] even still around?

My feeling is that it's because of Movable Type, and to a lesser extent TypePad. Those are the cash cows.

Everything else they've done, including Vox and the purchase and now sale of LJ, have largely been an attempt to recreate the success of MT (which drove TypePad, since TypePad is basically just hosted MT). But so far they haven't done it.

I think it's important to give them credit where it's due -- Movable Type was a very slick product when it came out, and I think it was responsible for the rise of blogs in large part -- but they're definitely looking like a one trick pony.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:11 PM on December 3, 2007


Horken Bazooka writes "In pink shirts! With microphones!"

quonsar? Is that you?
posted by chiababe at 1:23 PM on December 3, 2007


TypePad remains an excellent service (reasonably priced considering ease of setup and default aesthetics), and Movable Type an excellent product. Don't lets overcriticize 6A here. This seems like a sound move for them, assuming the $30 million figure is correct; I suspect it will be bad for LiveJournal in the long run, though I find it hard to imagine 6A being stupid or venal enough to sell LJ to a company that would simply cut its balls off. Then again I don't understand why the hell anyone uses Vox either, so what do I know? Nothing! Nothing at all.

Plus I'm overweight, balding, and hairy - the four cornerstones of the Blog kingdom, boom boom boom boom.

Well this was fun.
posted by waxbanks at 1:33 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have a bad feeling about this... it figures that I just paid for a permanant account.
posted by blaneyphoto at 1:45 PM on December 3, 2007


My feeling is that it's because of Movable Type, and to a lesser extent TypePad. Those are the cash cows.

Given the big entertainment conglomerates that are running blogs on TypePad, I'd say that it's the cash cow as well as a hook into that thing that pointy-headed business types like to call "synergy."

I find it hard to imagine 6A being stupid or venal enough to sell LJ to a company that would simply cut its balls off.

Every interaction from 6A down to the LJ userbase has shown contempt for them (and common sense) so I don't see why anyone would presume that anyone gives a damn about LJ and the people who use it, or what happens to them once they're off the 6A radar. History speaks for itself.
posted by Dreama at 2:10 PM on December 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


Why are they [SixApart] even still around?

I've been happily paying 6A for Typepad since Day 1. Sure, I could futz with installing WordPress and join the cool kids, but I'd rather spend my time doing other stuff.

I have a Vox account but don't really use it but I can see how the model makes sense and it's more mainstream in look/feel/appeal than LJ.

I use LJ daily owing simply to my tribe of people who post "friends only" . . . the whole Russian angle on the LJ purchase makes me a tad nervous. I felt much better knowing my data was in the hands of SF geeks. Color me paranoid.
posted by donovan at 2:54 PM on December 3, 2007


All I know about LJ is Toothpaste for dinner's LJ photo feed. (NSFW.. sometimes)

Thanks a lot man. I could have gone my whole life without seeing this image. My whole life...

although the girl with the poodle almost looks like a fine art photo.
posted by damn dirty ape at 2:58 PM on December 3, 2007


Every interaction from 6A down to the LJ userbase has shown contempt for them (and common sense) so I don't see why anyone would presume that anyone gives a damn about LJ and the people who use it, or what happens to them once they're off the 6A radar. History speaks for itself.
Well you say 'contempt for [the LJ userbase],' I say (now that I'm drunk) 'trouble figuring out how to make money from an insular group of self-selecting exclusionists who hate change qua change.' I mean let's give these people credit, they give away the source code to the most flexible blogging platform what am, and have ably handled administration of TypePad (a big deal) for several years now. Contempt for customers? Again, the 'they're not that stupid' theory should be in play here. They might not know how to handle this business sector but that's merely a business matter; blogging made the Trotts their living, and LiveJournal might be insular and (mind-bogglingly) ugly but the Trotts wouldn't piss on 10+ million users addicted to their product.

Also Anil favorited my last comment which is, like, practically corporate sponsorship and shit.
posted by waxbanks at 7:12 PM on December 3, 2007


Every interaction from 6A down to the LJ userbase has shown contempt for them

Agreed.

I find it comical this idea that sixapart somehow cared to put livejournal in good hands. They're no different than any other company no matter how cute their founders. They bought the company, made mistake after mistake, never acted like they had any idea why they bought it in the first place, and then dumped it for as much money as they could make. Nothing wrong with that, but let's not spin it any other way.

Personal websites fled MoveableType long ago. and after the initial vox excitement it seems as if every other one is abandoned. So concentrating on less is probably in their best interest.

Also Anil favorited my last comment which is, like, practically corporate sponsorship and shit.

He favored it because it so closely resembled the normal brain dead corporate whoring he does so well. Sixapart could replace anil dash with a Chatty Cathy doll and save some money. *Pull* "We love our users!" *Pull* "We love livejournal!" *Pull* "Have you tried Movabletype?" It rocks!...
posted by gtr at 7:59 PM on December 3, 2007 [3 favorites]


Yes, but with questions of the day.
And more Javascript than Gmail and Backpack combined. Seriously, that thing seems to use gallons of script juice for no visible effect.
posted by bonaldi at 9:33 PM on December 3, 2007


I like Movable Type, despite the fact that I've still got an unresolved bug with the new and overall spiffy version that continues to annoy me.

That is all.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:28 PM on December 3, 2007


So do you think this will make it so that LJ isn't blocked in China anymore? Because it still is, and it's pretty shitty that it is.
posted by saysthis at 11:47 PM on December 3, 2007


waxbanks: I mean let's give these people credit, they give away the source code to the most flexible blogging platform what am

... and as I recall, they basically had to be arm-twisted into that by negative word-of-mouth from bleeding edge blogospericals.

I mean, let's give this company credit for their silliness as well as anything they've done that's smart: At one time (and for a long time), their software license prohibited purchasers from doing MoveableType consulting for pay. That's as though Microsoft's license for Word said that you could use word, but you couldn't accept money for teaching anyone else how to use its change-tracking feature.

That spoke to me of incredible arrogance -- of wanting to have the positive opinion and "eyes on the code" benefits of open-source, but being unwilling to deal with the inherent risk that somebody might be better at making money with it than they were.
posted by lodurr at 3:22 AM on December 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


The one interesting part of LJ is the private networks: friends writing posts for friends, that are only visible to friends.

Yep. And this is the only reason I have one. I have uh, several, wordpress accounts for blogging various crap, but anything about my personal life is under friends-lock in an LJ account. I haven't found a way around it. Since I've been only LJ since... 2001?... well, I have a lot of friends that I've made that I really need to the connection of LJ to keep in touch with. Most of these friends also have locked personal journals - sometimes with separate public blogs.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:22 PM on December 4, 2007


> I do not think there is a 100x100 pixel animated icon that suitably reflects how I feel about this. I'm pretty sure it needs Johnny Depp and a kitten in a toy airplane, but I'm not sure what else.

plz helps me kthx


How's this? (featuring my friend Ian's new kitten, Young Master Bruce... per community guidelines, here is the Flickr page)
posted by kabuki0420 at 3:54 PM on December 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


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