Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Sorry I couldn't say anything before, but the rumors are true. Six Apart has acquired Danga, the company that runs LiveJournal.

See the press release, the FAQ, Mena's Corner and Brad's post for more info. So I guess I better clean learn bml and make my LJ look a bit better.


Hi... maybe you can also have them tweak the FAQ to reflect that we are not all teenagers at LJ. I know personally I haven't been one for quite a while, and there are many people there who take our LJ's and the community seriously.


Unless you're going to be writing code, which I didn't think you did much of, you don't want BML. What you do want to learn is S2, possibly the most complex templating system known to man.

(It's basically a full programming language, except all the features you want to use are prohibited.)

All the cool kids use S2!

Of course, your blog is already syndicated on LJ, which is how I've been reading it for a long time:

You probably already know this, though.

Oh, and user styles aren't done in BML. LJ has two style systems, S1 and S2. S1 is the original template-like system, and S2 is closer to a programming language. S2 is much more powerful (it's also used for their photo hosting service), but tricker to get started with. The FAQ, manuals, etc. have more information, and I'm sure the support volunteers would be honored to help you if you have any problems. :)

Ro: You need to talk to Brad about that. I'm not a teenager either. ;-)

Karl: Yeah. Thanks. I had my blog syndication in my friends for awhile, but I just removed it because I realized it was redundant. Is there a way to see who has included that syndication in their friends?

Oh. I thought I had to learn BML. I guess I'll rtfm before I say something else stupid.

I'm slightly confused, is 6A buying Danga itself or just LJ? I keep seeing references to 6A buys "LJ," but then once in a while I'll see 6A buys Danga.

Yes, maybe it's a bit confusing. The press release, which I assume is the most "official" says: "Six Apart, makers of the highly acclaimed Movable Type publishing platform and TypePad personal weblogging service, today announced that it has acquired Danga Interactive, Inc., the operators of the popular service LiveJournal, for an undisclosed amount of stock and cash."

I am definitely NOT a teenager, But I AM VERY worried about the user interface the LJ has, There are a lot of us that are blind and we need the simple text interface that LJ has, Is this going to change?????
I have a paid account and even have bought Lj clothing!
I love my LJ and am really worried!!!


So how much did Sixapart pay for Livejournal?

Now that the deal is done, I think it's legitimate for the "money man" behind it to talk about the vision here, and not to rely on the nonsense being spat out by the so-called mainstream press. (Like "The New York Times" blog.)

What they're saying is the two outfits are incompatible, that LiveJournal is about simple tools for kids, and SixApart is about complex tools for grownups.

That's nonsense. There has to be synergy or the deal makes no sense. And Joi Ito doesn't do things that don't make sense.

So, what is it?

Pure speculation here. MT gives LJ a migration path, and LJ gives MT a user base. Confirmation of that might make markets feel better about the deal.

All the best...

The details of the deal are undisclosed, sorry Jim.

Dana, actually, believe it or not, I did not mastermind this deal. This was the Six Apart folks talking directly to Brad. I was the one who wanted Ben and Mena to take our money at the very beginning, but I'm less involved these days in their operations. My responsibilities are mostly focused on making Japan successful. Of course I'm an active cheerleader, but I think Mena's post on Mena's Corner is probably the best view of what Six Apart's plans are.

This is great. LJ and MT do have a LOT to learn from each other. As a long time user of both, I must say it is a great thing. Now, if either can become as simple as blogger, someone will rule.

As a longtime user of LJ in various pursuits, none of which involved being a teenager or posting only meaningless details of my life, my hope is that 6A's purchase of LJ will help to legitimize the vast breadth of usership of LJ. The press, both mainstream and others in the blogging world, continually stereotype and underestimate the LJ community. Apart from a few flaws, and the fact that as the community has grown it's been harder to keep everyone happy, LJ is one of the most customizable and flexible and feature-rich blogging tools available. I'd like to see people talking about this deal start taking LJ seriously.

Joi, you can view the number of readers of your blog's syndication feed on its user info page, same as if it were a regular LJ user journal. It doesn't, however, show the names of the users. As of right now, there's 29. Personally I rarely use the LJ syndication to read non-LJ blogs since I prefer seeing blogs in their home environment, and to keep my LJ life separate from the rest of my online life.

Outside Observations:

Six Apart sells a piece of software called Movable Type, with a license which makes outlandish claims that insult the common sense of software users. There are a handful of paying users, but most have found that it isn't worth paying for. One instance of MT will bring a server to it's knees when some jerk runs a spam script against it, and the TypeKey authorization service has been widely panned by anyone who knows anything about privacy. From an outside perspective, it definitely seems more than likely that Six Apart is deep in debt to their VCs, while their charge-lots-for-crap software model has alienated many users and doesn't look like it's going to pan out.

The 6A investors certainly won't just throw up their arms and walk away, so instead they have 6A use some of their borrowed money to buy a profitable company with a web-scale codebase and 5.5million users who don't call it "blogging". LJ doesn't sell software, doesn't have spam problems, and actually makes a profit from the less-than-4% of their users who pay them money. They give away their software under a free license, and they give away their service to most of the people who use it.

Wiretapped: Interesting theory... although it's wrong.

Wrong and also good for a laugh in a "moon landing was staged" kind of way. :-)

Six Apart are purchasing an already established (and profitable) user base. They are purchasing 5.5M users. There is only one slight 'hitch' as I see it in the plan. MT/TP people and LJ people are two very different and distinct communities and merging them in some sort of fashion will be very messy and probably take a very long time (if possible at all).

6A paid for LJ to expand its own brand and base. So in the long run, what happens to LJ? The main mission for 6A (if they make it public or not) would be to have LJ users merge to become TP users - or to use the existing Livejournal free service as a 'run up' to the paid Typepad service (which is much more expensive than the LJ paid service).

One thing that I noticed in the press release is that 6A employs 70 people! I cant help to think that this is a bit too many. A previous company of mine developed, maintained and supported an online software product that requires much more infrastructure than TP and probably had more users with only 15 people and an outsourced help desk. It takes a lot of $8 subscriptions to pay 70 salaries, 3 offices and still send a handsome reward back to the investors.

Regardless, best of luck to 6A - you have just purchased 5.5M users who are resistant to change.

Thanks. ;-) You have to remember that Six Apart operates in Europe and Japan too. These offices have to support massive corporate users who have licensed TypePad for millions of users. It takes a lot of people support these sorts of sales and support systems.

Joi and the 6-Apart Team. Congratulations! I am excited for you all!

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