theljstaff (theljstaff) wrote in lj_2008,

Basic Accounts Decision

In March this year, we removed the option for new users to create new Basic Accounts. Basic Account users today represent the significant majority of our users, and we recognize their value to the LiveJournal community. Unfortunately, at this point we can no longer afford the expense of investing in our services (given the size to which we have grown and the new product features and enhancements we want to deliver as we outlined in our Update to Development Priorities) while at the same time supporting Basic Accounts as they were.

In the recent entry to the lj_2008 community we outlined several advertising options we were considering in order to bring the Basic Account option back for all users. As a reminder, these were the three proposals:

  • Proposal 1: Advertising would be displayed to visitors who are not logged in to LiveJournal at the time when they are looking at Basic Account journals and communities.
  • Proposal 2: Advertising would be displayed to logged-in Basic Account users when viewing application pages - pages which are not part of a community, a user's journal, profile or friends page (e.g. Update page, Edit Entries page, Manage Tags page).
  • Proposal 3a: Advertising would be shown to logged-in Basic Account users when viewing a journal which they have not friended or community they are not watching (e.g. if you friend a Basic journal, you do not see advertising; mutual friending is not required to avoid advertising).
  • Proposal 3b: Advertising would be shown to logged-in Basic Account users when viewing a journal of which they are not a mutual friend or a community of which they are not a member (e.g. if you friend a journal and they do not friend you, or if you watch a community but are not a member, you will see advertising; if you do become mutual friends or a member of a community, then you will no longer see advertising in that journal or community).

We received some great comments on our proposals as well as feedback and suggestions on different ways we could continue the level of investments we were making in LiveJournal, its users and communities. To that end, in order to accomplish our stated goals, we are going to implement the following for all current and new Basic Accounts:

  • We will not be reinstating the option to register a new Basic Account, but we will instead offer the ability to downgrade to a Basic Account, via the Manage Account page, as of August 28, 2008. This will also apply to communities.
  • Based on your feedback and after consultations with the Advisory Board, we decided to implement advertising Proposal 1, which means that advertising will be displayed to visitors who are not logged in to LiveJournal at the time when they are looking at Basic Account journals and communities. Users who are logged in to their account will not be shown advertising on any Basic journals or communities.
  • In addition, because of your feedback and concerns about the advertising shown on LiveJournal, we’re working to devise an improved ad feedback mechanism.
  • For the month of September, we will offer a 20% off sale on Paid accounts. Details of the sale will be posted on our next news update, August 28th.
  • As some of you suggested, we have decided to hold a Permanent Account sale in November.
  • As some of you further suggested, we will offer a la carte purchases of userpics in November. We know this is of great interest to many of you, and we’ll come back to you in October with additional details.
We'll continue to explore different (and we hope) creative methods of generating additional income going forward. As always, we want to hear back from you with your ideas, comments, and suggestions.

Finally, we wanted to try to clear up a recurrent misunderstanding regarding what the difference will be between a Basic Account and a Plus Account after these changes are implemented.

  • Plus accounts will always display ads to all viewers except logged-in Paid and Permanent account holders. This means you will see ads on your own Plus journal anytime you view it, in addition to seeing ads on any other Plus journal you view. In exchange for the display of ads, Plus accounts have access to more features and services than Basic accounts.

  • With a Basic Account, on the other hand, you will not see ads on any Basic journal or community you view (including your own) while you are logged in. However, as before, Basic accounts have less functionality as well as fewer features than a Plus account.
We plan to continue working with you and incorporating your feedback as much as possible to help LiveJournal continue being the dynamic and fun place we all enjoy. Like you, we want LiveJournal to be around for a long time, and we need your help to make that hope a reality.
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