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by Tony Chang
tony@ponderer.org

All opinions on this site are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

Creative Commons Attribution License

LJ is sold!

Jan 05, 2005, 11:49pm EST

 

 

The rumors are true: Six Apart has acquired LiveJournal (or more specifically, Danga Interactive). Six Apart also has an FAQ about the acquisition.

To quote danah, ah, shit. I’m not sure how this benefits LiveJournal. From Brad’s news post, it sounds like the main benefit is that they will receive non-engineering support for things like management and PR. Although Brad says, “they’ve [Ben and Mena] already shown that they’ll defer to me on issues of community,” I’m a bit skeptical.

I’ve seen a couple comments comparing it to Yahoo!’s acquisition of Geocities many years ago. That particular acquisition seems to represent the bad sides of a large company acquiring a small company: community destroyed and ads placed on all pages. Granted, this is a bit different since Six Apart isn’t really a large company like Yahoo!, but similar fears exist.

I admit that these fears are a bit irrational. The logic is that Six Apart doesn’t seem to provide anything that benefits LiveJournal users so any change that they make to LiveJournal will be for the worse. I admit that that’s a very pessimistic outlook on things, but Six Apart doesn’t seem to hold the ideological high ground that LiveJournal has with regards to free (open source and cost). I fear that future LiveJournal functionality will only be available to paying members.

I can relate to Brad’s desire to focus on technology, the fun stuff, but part of the desire comes from the sense that you’re helping a larger community of users. I hope Six Apart realizes the importance of this to the developers of LiveJournal and that serving the needs of a community is what makes LiveJournal the close knit community site it is today.

One could argue that Google’s acquisition of Blogger a couple years ago might have rasied similar concerns but hasn’t led to significant changes to users of Blogger (that I know of). But I think it’s a bit different, Blogger wasn’t as much of a community site as LiveJournal and Google didn’t have a similar product to get in the way.

On a related note, I’m happy to hear that LiveJournal will be getting TrackBack support.