March 19th, 2008

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(no subject)

In last week’s announcements we aimed to bring you up to speed on the progress we had made in the first 100 days, and describe how the user elections to our Advisory Board will be managed. Much has happened since the last update we made to the LiveJournal community last Friday.

Since the launch of LiveJournal, Inc., we have been working on creating the best approach to develop the platform and, in particular, communicate with users about how to include you in this process.

The policy we have decided on is simple: first, proposals affecting overall user experience will be posted for comments; then, a final document will be distributed after a period of discussion with final decisions being based on feedback from the Advisory Board and you.

This approach is exactly the one which we took two weeks ago when we published in draft the new LiveJournal Abuse policies and procedures. This document has already gathered around 1700 comments and informal discussions with the Advisory Board have already begun in advance of final publication at the end of May.

The announcement last Wednesday was a mistake in regards to Basic accounts, as the change was not clearly stated, it did not allow for you to provide feedback, and went into effect immediately. Many of you have pointed out that the decision worried you less than the way it was communicated. You should have been given a voice, and you were not; we didn’t follow our own rules, and we apologize.

At this point we are working on a solution to enable existing LiveJournal users to create new Basic accounts as so many of you have requested. Nothing has been decided yet, but we are considering options which would allow existing users to continue to create new Basic accounts.

This post was originally planned to mark the end of the first 100 days and to set out our top development priorities for 2008. We will carefully consider your comments and together with Advisory Board post the final plan after the user elections in May.

Development priorities for 2008

Service performance

  • Speed and performance – Improve LiveJournal speed to ensure that the site delivers pages across the globe to industry standards
  • Back-up – Extend our support and disaster recovery capacity and co-located in Western Europe
  • Search – Enhance LiveJournal’s internal search engine to improve relevance and usability

Product development

  • Engage new users – Devise a guide for new users to encounter and embrace all that is good in LiveJournal
  • Audio-visual – Upgrade the post editor to ensure photo, video and audio posting is effectively supported
  • Community platforms – Promote OpenID with leading community platforms to make LiveJournal even more accessible
  • Statistics – Provide users with in-depth statistics on the popularity of communities and diaries
  • Development center - Launch LJ Labs – the home of new ideas and experiments for alpha testing
  • Account structure – Review structure and develop incentives to upgrade to new account
  • Editorial – Introduce new means to discovering communities and users with shared interests

Global development

  • Translations – Support the existing translation communities to ensure ongoing localization of LiveJournal worldwide
  • Local partnerships – Stimulate growth in LiveJournal communities around the world and develop local services

Open questions

  • Revenue sharing - Should users be rewarded for their content and contributions?
  • Advertising – What are the best ways of integrating commercial opportunities (for both users and brands) into LiveJournal?
  • Subscriptions – Should moderators be able to charge for access to closed communities?