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LiveJournal: So much for "No Advertising, Ever"
photogeek
crschmidt
(LiveJournal today turned off the ability to create a Basic Account, the limited-feature, no-ads account that anyone was, until today, able to sign up for. Brad Fitzpatrick commented, speaking as an Advisory Board member, on how he advised against this, but apparently his advice wasn't taken into account.)

A big part of my life has been related to LiveJournal: The people I know best now, spend the most of my time with, and consider my closest friends were met on this site. I met my wife as a result of LiveJournal, and almost every significant long-term friendship I hold at this point is at least tangentially related to LiveJournal.

I'm disappointed in LiveJournal's choice to remove the option to have a "Basic" account with no advertising.

Three years ago, I would have been furious. Now, as a permanent account holder, I'm for the most part not directly affected. (There are some exceptions: that hideous popup-in-window link shit I sometimes bump into when reading others journals bugs the crap out of me though.) In addition, although my life is still largely attached to LiveJournal, it's much less so: my relationships now take place much more in my local community.

I'm sure that people will continue to find new places to build relationships like the ones I built thorugh LiveJournal, but it's disappointing to see that what used to be a viable communication forum without commercialism now forces commercialism down all users throats: either ads or money. Nothing in life is free. Under that kind of situation, I think it may be harder, going forward, to establish meaningful relationships between users. Perhaps this is a bit overly dramatic, but reading about someone's heartbreak, in a friends only entry, and having some ad for who-knows-what staring me in the face, seems to get rid of some of the personal nature that has always made LiveJournal home for me.

I don't see any real reason for me to leave: at this point, I'm reasonably settled in life, and the relationships I'm likely to build going forward are far more likely to be professional ones built via services like LinkedIn than personal ones built via sites like LiveJournal. I would encourage younger users to go out and find someplace new to build their relationships going forward. This doesn't mean Facebook: Facebook has never been about building relationships. Maintaining them, possibly. Capitalizing based on them, absolutely, but not building them. A small, close-knit community is the ideal way to make friends: you can make that anywhere, but it's always easier to be close-knit without the threat of ever-increasing commercialism taking a role in your decision making process. It's just a shame that those communities can't really be built anymore on LiveJournal.

At one point, the LiveJournal social contract talked about never having ads on the website. Those days are long gone, and have been for a while. However, I'm surprised they went this far, and, as I said, somewhat disappointed. I am, however, thankful that LiveJournal has helped me build the relationships I have, and I look forward to continuing to maintain those relationships through LiveJournal (at least in part).

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(Deleted comment)
It sounds dramatic, but they're really betraying their users here. I'm kinda pissed off, since now I can't even deny them money by not buying a paid account; I'll see ads everywhere, and I'm really ready to leave LJ altogether.

Someone commented on the news post that new communities will be hugely affected by this. They're being made all the time, and the majority by current users. Way to piss everyone off, LJ.

I did something that wiped out the popup stuff here, I don't see it. I run Privoxy as an ad filter and it will eat javascript if asked.

D

Most of my LJ reading is at work, and I switch between four different computers for doing it: given the relative infrequency with which I see the stuff, I can' be arsed to do much about it, much less replicate the steps I take across multiple computers.

From work I tend to browse via an ssh tunnel to home so having a proxy there is convenient and means I get the same ad-filtering benefits here that I do at home. It helps that the PC I use at work sits on my desk and is normally only used by me. Setting it up for a left-handed person helps achieve that exclusive use :-)

D

I use Firefox and Adblock. But not only do you not do that, you should not do that, as it involves not loading certain things from certain sites, and doesn't give you a full view of how your things look to an end user if necessary.

*nods* similar situation. I'm not leaving, though I'm going to be doing a lot of fuming and social networking in protest. but. . . yeah. I don't have a reason to leave.

Brilliant post.

(Anonymous)
omg.. good work, brother

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