SUP buys LiveJournal

Russian (or, Russian born) company SUP acquires LiveJournal blog service from Six Apart.  The two companies have been working together for the last six month or so, with SUP “taking care” of the Russian users of LiveJournal, which are an impressive 28% chunk of population.

How do I feel about this?  Here are some points from the top of my head, that will give you an idea:

  • I have an account with LiveJournal, but I don’t use it that much myself.  There are a few blogs there that I read, but this is not by any means a vital service for my web life.
  • I think that LiveJournal is lagging behind its competitors for some time now.  It needed a “push”.
  • I don’t think that SUP will be able to “push” it.  For a number of reasons.  (Russia lags in technological development and understanding.   SUP is company established by “an international management team”, not techies.  And so on.)
  • I don’t think that SUP (or any other Russian company for that matter) has enough trust to run a blogging service.  I think that many bloggers (especially political ones) will look for alternative services.
  • I have a feeling that monetization of LiveJournal will get a bit more aggressive in the nearest future.
  • I think that it’s time for a lot of people to take a look around and learn about other excellent blogging communities, such as for example.

10 thoughts on “SUP buys LiveJournal”

  1. True story. Actually, i was sure, that sup have already bought Livejournal. Eventually, not. Russian Livejournal was a really good community. But with sup support it is becoming worse and worse. The last point was an adding a yellow flag. Scince this society of bloggers is censored, there is nothing to do there. The best option – standalone blog. Probably with OpenID support. But the engine and support do not really matter. The fact of independence is the most common.

  2. TiamaT,

    what’s wrong with the yellow flag? It’s just an easy way to report blogs which feature: “Explicit Adult Content, Offensive Content, Hate Speech, Illegal Activity,
    Nude Images of Minors”.

    You will find similar functionality on practically any blogging services. Even if you will have a standalone blog, you will be, almost certainly, prohibited to host such content by your hosting company. And even if the hosting company will allow you to, you’ll often go against the law, since most of the countries do not tolerate public display of such content.

  3. Leonid,
    It’s really hard to explain, especially in my pure English.
    At first, this is a second step of control. Before we had abuse team, which had to filter “restricted” content. But know any idiot can do it. It makes control easier and gives a gun to everyone. At second, if someone will post some minds or ideas, which are incompatible with Russian Authorities, those posts could be found and deleted easier because a lot of disagreed people will flag this blog.

    In general, my idea is “than than more control the authorities have, than less freedom i have”. And it is really doesn’t matter, who are those authorities: either management of LJ, either Government. If Livejournal were not Russian resource, i will believe in fair play with control somehow, in a part. But not in case of Russia. I lived there too much. Our government loves information wars and PR in all its instances too much. Since LJ has a Russian owner, it gives Russia one more big international field for Informational war.

    Do not tell me, that I paranoid or schizophrenic. I know it. And i do not believe “big brother” indeed.

  4. TiamaT,

    I understand your worries, but I don’t see how they are connected to the “yellow flag feature”. If someone has control over something, he can do whatever he wants with it, yellow flag or not.

    With LiveJournal in mind, I really doubt that any censorship is manual. There is way too much of data to go through. And algorithms for doing automated moderation aren’t so difficult anyway. There is a history of a diary’s popularity, full log of incoming links, full log of all the people who came in, and, then, full log of people who reported the diary. Also there is a history of the diary and previous reports too… With this, it’s trivial to ignore single reports or even flashmobs to a certain degree.

    Regarding the authorities, the only thing they can get now that they didn’t have before is private stuff. Meaning – private postings, screened comments, and IP addresses of people publishing those. Everything else they could have get easily before using RSS feeds, and “the old way” – HTML parsing.

  5. And just a random idea to entertain the discussion – Russian (or any other authorities) don’t even have to write any complex application for monitoring blogging resources and the like. They can just use Google Alerts. :)

    Those alerts can come either via RSS or email, and they are extremely easy to setup. If you want to feel like a Russian authority, here is a link for you: Google Blog Search results for anything about Putin (in Russian or in English).

  6. Leo,
    I know about all those technologies. Unfortunately, big brother is watching for you anyway. And, in addition to flags, i wanted to say, that this system is helping to locate any blog which is starting to post “wrong” post.

  7. Myself I like LJ’s minimalistic, full screen design. Other blog platforms look bloated to me.

    We’ll see if they start censoring it…

  8. hazard,

    “full screen design” is just the matter of the theme. LiveJournal has a few themes, including some of those that aren’t fulls screen. The same way as other blogging platforms offer a number of themes, both full screen and narrow.

    Regarding the bloatness… well, it’s a personal taste issue of course. But I have two points here. First of all, much of the functionality of the blog is usually controlled by the blogger. So, if he decided to put all the fancy stuff in, it’ll have all fancy stuff in… Secondly, minimalism is often good, but what LiveJournal has is beyond minimalism. They don’t support things to which bloggers of other platforms are accustomed long time now. Minimum ways of customizing the blog, no ways of reviewing visitor logs, lack of cross-browser compatibility (editor, for example, still has problems in Firefox), lack of monitization options for publishers (Google AdSense or anything else), and so on…

    For this, I do like much better. It’s far from what I (as in me, myself, and I) want it to be. But they put a lot of effort in user friendliness, usability studies, and things like that. Every month they improve the services in tiny little steps, and it shows.

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