Gil Head

Now, on the strike

So, I just posted something with real content, and I admit I intentionally saved it for today to post. It's real content, and something I wanted to put up, which is why I am posting this independently. This is more "meta-content" in all reality.

Why? Like so many others have said, I find this "content strike" a complete joke. As far as I can tell, people are striking because any new accounts which don't want to pay for service have to have ads on their pages. Folks, I challenge you to find any service nearly as large as LJ which doesn't mandate ads of some form or require payment.

Folks, bandwidth doesn't come free, and a business account pays much more for it than we do at home, as it's expected they will nearly saturate their link all of the time. It's basic business. They have to make money, and you just can't do it with expenses but no income to balance it.

If they dropped all existing free accounts or no longer gave an option for ad-sponsored accounts, I could start to see some cause for protest, but they didn't do that. I have also seen some arguments that they should have taken this to the community before making the decision. While there might be some merit to that argument, personally, I've never looked at LJ in the view that I really have any control over the system as a whole. They are a business, and they will make decisions as benefit the business.

So is Google, Yahoo, Slashdot, MySpace, FaceBook, LinkedIn, and any other large Internet provider of any sort. Their directors have a (fiduciary, in the case of public companies) responsibility to ensure their business continues. That means they have to balance keeping their customers happy, but not TOO happy. I'd be MUCH more happy if the gas station down the street would let me get my gas for free, but they clearly can't let me be that happy, or they won't survive, nor do they consult their customers when they decide to change the price.

Like any business, in the space of "Blogging" systems, competition drives pricing and policy. If LJ really does become sufficiently customer-unfriendly, their income will suffer, and it won't be a result of a strike or any big public demonstration. It will be the slow bleed-off of customers. And, in all honesty, I don't think more than a handful of people will actually leave because of this policy.

I rarely post meta-content like this, so you'll likely not see it from me again. I wanted to get this off my chest, though.

Aeto, who paid for a permanent account years ago, and hasn't regretted it yet.
While I agree, I'll also add that free accounts aren't exactly freeloaders from a business point of view. They provide free content for the paying members. LJ is effectively an MMO where all they do is maintenance work and upgrade the UI every now and then, since it's the players themselves who make the content.

Also, permanent accounts aren't openly sold to the public; chastising people for complaining about the offer while your own deal was miles better than their own is a bit iffy. :p
Actually, the free accounts are sold the the public; they tend to have an open sale once every couple years and that's how I got mine. Also, for what I paid for the permanent account, I think it would take something like 10 years of annual accounts to match that amount, so it's not like they really are a "deal" per se. (I don't remember the exact cost, but I'm thinking it was around $200.)

I also paid for a permanent account years ago, but I can see why I might have struck. My own reason would not have been that they were getting rid of an option, but that they had the audacity to try to sell it to the LJ community as "easier" and a benefit to the users rather than the real reasons which is running a business. It was insulting to think that people either wouldn't see through it or that they wouldn't have been able to reason it out through many others posting on their livejournals about it.