To Russia With Love: Six Apart Casts Off LiveJournal
Six Apart, has sold the LiveJournal blogging platform to Russian media company, SUP. Although SUP is based in Russia, LiveJournal development will remain in San Francisco with the majority of the LiveJournal team at Six Apart staying on board.
This isn’t the first deal between Six Apart and SUP, the two companies had previously signed a licensing agreement to let SUP to manage LiveJournal in Russia – the largest LiveJournal community outside the U.S.
Six Apart, probably best known for Movable Type, Typepad and Vox, acquired LiveJournal almost three years ago, apparently intending to use it as a means to dive into the ad-supported publishing realm, but the idea proved very unpopular with LiveJournal users.
In selling off LiveJournal, Six Apart now finds itself free to concentrate on its homegrown efforts and can finally escape the wrath of the cantankerous LiveJournal community. LiveJournal users never really warmed to Six Apart – early attempts at integrating ads prompted angry LiveJournal users to flood then-Six Apart CEO Barak Berkowitz’s account with hundreds of virtual “gifts” of Diet Pepsi Max icons.
Will LiveJournal users fare better under Russian control? As you would expect of LiveJournal users conspiracy theories and backlash are currently raging across the site, but at least in the short term, most of these concerns seem misplaced.
And for those who would dismiss LiveJournal as a has been, bear in mind that the service boasts an impressive 14 million users. However, according to comScore, traffic on the site has been almost flat in the last year, which isn’t surprising since the service is looking a bit long in the tooth and lacks many of the features available in today’s blogging tools and social networking sites.
But even those who never understood the appeal of LiveJournal recognize that many technologies spun out from Brad Fitzpartrick’s brainchild – most notably memcashed – have been a huge boon to web developers everywhere. And Six Apart says that it plans to remain involved with the promotion of open source tools gleaned from LiveJournal.