The latest rage over in Russian segment of the Internet (or blogosphere, if you will) is the sale of LiveJournal to company known as SUP. There’s a ton of announcements on various web sites (just google ’em), but what’s interesting is that most russian-speaking members of LiveJournal are enraged over the trade. Now words like “Kremlin propaganda”, “KGB” and “Putin’s censorship” are flying left and right. As funny as it may be – most likely neither Kremlin nor it’s Glorious One and the Only Fearless and Never Mistaken Leader Mr. Putin have anything to do with the sale – although it comes really just in time for next-year Presidential election in Russia.
Most likely the whole issue is that LiveJournal is obviously a thing of the past. I mean – look at MySpace, Facebook, Ning or any other social networking site. They have blogs, but there’s much more fun going on then just blogs. And for LJ – you must be a paid member to upload pictures. Think 1997, Yahoo! charging 25 bucks for POP3 access to their e-mail. Obviously, there is no fun in LJ, at least not for western population. We’re all about social networking, exchanging pictures, podcasts, creating MySpace layouts (even selling them) and so on. By the way – have you ever tried to change design in LiveJournal? Have you ever succeeded? Thought so.
So, to my best understanding, 6Apart sold the business that was taking necessary resources from Vox.com, TypePad and other projects to people who can capitalize on the only audience that already there – russian-speaking bloggers who stuck to LiveJournal “because everybody else is there”. Gee, I even have a blog there myself – precisely for that reason. So there is no politics of any kind involved in a decision of sale, just pure business sense and realization that LiveJournal platform is way obsolete. But, as the saying goes, one man’s trash another man’s treasure. Sit back, relax and watch how LiveJournal will quadruple it’s value in a next couple of years.
As to the censorship – no sane regime likes when some independent creative type stars getting too smart. Having a leash in a way of a local company (the one that’s abiding by local laws) is much better then having to deal with formal disputes. Of course, certain countries have a old and long going tradition of lawsuits and other cumbersome measures. Other countries have, sort of, grown-up methods – like teams of masked SWAT commandos taking over typing geeks and nerds and their servers. Things get done much faster this way.