pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

As you may know, Danah Boyd is also on the Advisory Board.

She's also posting an entry on her take on the recent changes. Executive summary: she wasn't consulted (or rather, she was asked what she thought a while back and said why she thought it was a bad idea and thought that was the end of it).

She also made the point that without a lot of readers, she wouldn't be motivated to produce content, in which case why bother keeping up her paid account. So even if Basic Account users only read but rarely write, they can still indirectly affect the choice of Paid Account holders to stay and to keep renewing their accounts. It's all an ecology, and you can't look at people as individuals, because their decisions depend on many other people and not just what's in it for them.


There's also a new entry in [livejournal.com profile] news in reaction to the whole thing.

I've read over it twice, but I still can't find the bit where they say, "We're sorry for not telling you in advance". Perhaps someone can point it out to me. The closest I could find was, Overnight you also raised legitimate concerns about how this change was unveiled - message received, loud and clear. We're still working out how to strike just the right tone when communicating with such a diverse and complex collection of communities.

I also can't find the bit where they say, "We were less than direct [or: we're sorry we lied to you] when we told your our motives for this change, when we said it was about reducing confusion for users signing up for the site". What they say is, Over the past 24 hours many of you have asked whether the changes to the account structure (removing the option of creating new basic accounts) is a business decision. It is, emphatically.

And finally, they talk a lot about how they'll be building on LiveJournal's heritage and asking for the support of their users without going into details such as what influence the Advisory Board's input will have on their decisions (or whether they'll even be consulted). Go read [livejournal.com profile] leora's comment on the entry.


And see also this comment on the recent [livejournal.com profile] news entry for someone else's take. Funny reading, though it'd be funnier if it didn't sound so true.


An interesting entry from [livejournal.com profile] rho comparing the SUP approach with a cartoon villain's. Go read that one, too.

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

As [livejournal.com profile] subbes said,

The community base, the friends, colleagues, [etc.] I've got here is the one main selling point of LJ. And it's the hardest to replicate anywhere else.

(Yes, I have a GJ, IJ and a Blurty account, plus a Vox. I have an RSS feed aggregator. They're not the same. RSS feeds are public, LJ f-list includes custom securities.)

Or, as someone else put it, "the fact that everybody and their pet rock has a LiveJournal" is part of the appeal. That kind of goes away if the place is a less desirable place for "freeloaders", because it'll no longer be the place with all my friends or with my community or with interesting and diverse content. (Though that depends to some extent on how people feel about the ads.)

And also:

There's five year's worth of evidence that proves that LJ users react worse when changes are snuck past them than if you warn them in advance.

which is the point I forget to make when people say "Ooh, a company trying to make money rather than go out of business; film at 11".

No small part of the reaction is due to how this business change was communicated (or rather, not communicated); if things had been, "we needs moar munny, u can has ads now kthxbye" people would still have been miffed, but differently, and most likely less.

pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

Do you read [livejournal.com profile] news? (If not, you should.)

Did you read in the recent entry that it will not be able to create new Basic Accounts in the future? It says it right there: Other changes you may have noticed are the logged-out homepage and registration process for new users. We streamlined and simplified things so that now it’s faster and easier than ever to create a LiveJournal account.

Oh? It doesn't say anything about Basic Accounts there? You're right, it doesn't -- you have to learn about that from word of mouth or from reading comments on the entry by Jason Shellen, VP of Product Development for LiveJournal.

Anyway. Users who signed up before the magic date (12 March 2008) (or, equivalently, have a userid less than 15136000) will be able to convert back and forth between Basic and Plus, but newer accounts will have to be either Plus or Paid. Because three account levels when signing up for a new account too confusing, and two is much better.

(And I believe the Advisory Board was asked for, and provided, advice, which was apparently ignored.)

So now you have users mad about the whole "Basic Accounts are going away" thing — and more users mad at not being told this, in advance, in an obvious place. (Such as a [livejournal.com profile] news announcement. On the other hand, apparently, [livejournal.com profile] news is for existing users, and this change only affects new users. Because nobody ever creates a secondary account or invites other people to LiveJournal.)

[livejournal.com profile] brad made a very interesting comment about the economic value of Basic Account holders: The free users, while not paying, were extremely valuable because they produced the content that the paying users were there to consume. You know, the whole network effect thing?

(I do wish people wouldn't tell him he should not have sold, though. I think he's said often enough that it was getting too much for him and that had he stayed at the top, he might have simply imploded eventually and deleted the entire thing. Though I suppose some might argue that that would have been better than the status quo...


Edit: See also several other entries elsewhere.

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Philip Newton

June 2015

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