LiveJournal's "Paid Accounts" model
January 8, 2001 7:04 AM   Subscribe

LiveJournal's "Paid Accounts" model might be the route that Pyra wants to take with Blogger. I don't know much about LiveJournal's features as compared with Blogger, but they certainly have thought out their revenue model. Does anyone know anything about LiveJournal?
posted by jmcnally (9 comments total)
I went to random Live Journal site and saw the following post:

"Why is LJ [Live Journal] still screwed up? I thought it moved to the new servers the other day, and everything was supposed to be fine now?"

Sound familiar? :P

There's no quality of service quarantee anywhere on their site. Again, you pay your money and take your chances. Also, the same team who handled the site at low volumes may or may not be able to deal with high-usage scenarios, so whatever trust you've built up to date may not be well placed. Still, if you've got the coin to spare, trust away!

posted by Calebos at 9:34 AM on January 8, 2001

$12 hardly seems like much "coin to spare"... I poked around on it, too, and discovered a kinda cool feature: it supports a dedicated GUI client on Windows, Mac OS, BeOS and Linux as well as a Tcl client and one for mIRC (!), in addition to the web-based entry form. The Windows version will run as a SysTray item, so you have quick access to "jot down" thoughts, I guess. THAT said: the one that comes up with a remote Palm OS client (doesn't HAVE to be wireless, just store and forward capable) gets MY "coin to spare"!
posted by m.polo at 11:46 AM on January 8, 2001

I'd never go to LiveJournal from Blogger. While Blogger may be painfully slow from time to time, I've never gotten a message that it's just too busy and can't accept more visitors.

I have a bunch of friends who have Live Journals and I run into that stupid error message all the time when trying to check in on them.

I don't think that you can host your LiveJournal on your own webspace either... it's always So when the LiveJournal servers are overwhelmed, visitors to your journal often can't get to it at all - it's not a matter of it just being a pain to update...

I have experienced some LiveJournal envy re: the community fostering features inherent in the service... but I can't get past the fact that you never have your entries on your own site with LJ...
posted by champignon at 2:15 PM on January 8, 2001

Oops, I forgot to add this:

But yes, the paid-account model would be a good thing for Blogger to implement... I wonder exactly what Blogger Pro will bring.
posted by champignon at 2:17 PM on January 8, 2001

What would the point of a dedicated GUI app be if you can post via a browser?
(besides the obvious benefit of wireless)
posted by internook at 2:24 PM on January 8, 2001

Plus I just got this:

Likely reasons you're seeing this:

Server's too busy. (we have the new servers ... they go into the colo place sometime during the first week of Jan.)
I'm working on the site and messed something up.
In any case, I'm as angry about this error occuring as you are. Once the servers are installed, this won't even be an issue. Have patience. I'm sorry.
UPDATE: The new servers get installed 3:00pm PST, Monday, Jan 8th. It'll probably take an hour or so to get them setup, then I'll flip the switch sometime between 4:00pm and midnight and things will be fast and reliable. That's the plan, anyway. :-)

posted by internook at 2:51 PM on January 8, 2001

A funny thing about the comment about them having thought out their revenue model: they actually tacked this one on apparently as an afterthought a little while ago, it wasn't planned from the beginning. It happens to seem to work okay since they didn't give their users much to start with (even tripod gives subdomains now for free), but I wonder if early adopters are morely to pay than later, more casual users will be.

Either way, their current method has raised 17 grand in 3 months or so, whereas Blogger has raised 8 or 9 in a week right? Blogger seems to have about twice as many users or so, so I think their models are both even right now (if you count the server fund as a model, which I do. Maybe some people don't count it since it wasn't planned, but for the sake of conversation..). Neither seems to be enough on their own to cover an employee or two, much less equipment costs, etc, but each seem to be good sources of revenue.

So will it work in the long run? Hard to tell, I don't really consider either a good test since the sample sizes are so small. I'd like to see a community with a few million people give some sort of subscription model a go before making any big decision on what works and what doesn't on the web in general (as opposed to for a certain site's specific audience). I'd also love to see these models tried out on a site without the relation being made between people giving money and the server performance improving, since a community can't really do that on a prolonged basis. I'm not saying that the server problems thing influenced the donations, I'd be curious to know if it did or not though.
posted by beefula at 8:14 PM on January 8, 2001

Server problems didn't influence me since I don't use Blogger. The call for assistance from Pyra, and the community in general, is what caught my eye. It wasn't couched in business model rhetoric or smarmy excuses. It simply said, "we need help." I can comprehend that.
posted by netbros at 9:24 PM on January 8, 2001

LiveJournal did have a few issues to deal with in order to scale, many of them involving bugfixes in the Open Source software we use to run the site. Fortunately, we have resolved all of those issues recently, and things have been solid since. We're at about 125,000 users, doubling in size approximately every 75 days.

Although we do have a few special "membership only" features, membership isn't required for using LiveJournal. Still, we've raised over $60,000 in the past 7 months, just off of a membership base of around 2 1/4% of our users. We find most people become members because they like what we make and want to help out, not because we have features we're trying to sell them. This has allowed us to support a permanent staff of three people so far.

Regarding a few of the technical questions posed, LiveJournal is going to support external weblogs within the next few months that will tie in seamlessly with our community features. For the person who was interested, we now have a PalmOS client avaiable that meets all your requirements. We also released a generic, non-branded version of our LiveJournal server software which should allow anyone to set up and customize their own LiveJournal-based community.

As far as whether our revenue model will scale, I'm almost certain about it. We have a slight surplus currently, and we expect that to grow significantly as we increase our user base. By open sourcing our software, we have found numerous ways to boost performance, which should reduce the burden on our servers and lower the cost per user of running the site. We also find that expanding the number of people using the site increases the economy of scale, hardware wise.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

posted by markkraft at 3:07 PM on May 7, 2001

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