One semi-unique feature that LiveJournal had was its advertising free account option, but as of today it seems that option will no longer be around.
Details from ReadWriteWeb say:
SUP, the Russian company that recently acquired LiveJournal, angered a substantial number of its users last week by instituting the policy before discussing it publicly and going against the advice of at least two members of the company’s new high profile advisory committee.
LJ’s pricing structure has long been unique among major social networks; none of its competitors allow users to avoid ads or pay for an ad-free and feature-rich account. It appears that the company has given up on that unique approach and chosen the ubiquitous ad-centric path to monetization, itself of questionable effectiveness in monetizing some social networking platforms.
Am I surprised that they had to go this route? Not really, as blogging software like LiveJournal is expensive to maintain, service, and update, and the staff deserves decent compensation for their work. I think they would have been better off taking a page from TypePad and WordPress.com by instituting more paid options rather than taking in more ad-supported methods to generating revenue.
What will happen to LiveJournal as it heads down this road? Will accounts already using the free with no ads version be grandfathered, or will they be exposed to ads?
If you are a LiveJournal user, please chime in, as I’d love to hear what you think of these recent developments.