Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace a few years back. He likes to make money out of stupid people. His official biographer summarises his opinion of the site and its users:
I don’t think that’s true. I think it is—if you’re on MySpace now, you’re a [expletive] cretin. And you’re not only a [expletive] cretin, but you’re poor. Nobody who has beyond an 8th grade level of education is on MySpace. It is for backwards people.
Which, in slightly less fragrent terms, is what I've read about the demographics of MySpace use as opposed to Facebook use (Livejournal demographics are a subset of the Facebook demographic, Facebook is used by educated people, LJ is used by educated goths, geeks and weirdoes). All of this via the excellent [ profile] jleach, who is The Independent's digital media editor.

I was planning on doing a whole "LJ has grown up and poached The Independent from Six Apart" post, but I haven't. So here we go. LJ has poached the Indy and is working on others. They were using the execrable TypePad service for their blogs, now they're on here. And promoting LJ to their readers and website users. So there's a big influx of slightly confused new users with the 'Independent Minds' logo as their default userpic. If you see it, be nice, a lot of them are all confused.

Oh, and my 'Livejournal is doomed' posts that used to be fairly regular aren't any more—the new owners, it seems, definitely 'get' what the site could be, and are working towards it. For the first time in years, we're back above a million active users per month now. That's awesome.

LJ is competing with the big boys of blogging now. And it looks like it could be winning.
By the way, Barak has resigned, 6A has a new CEO, more discussion and links at [ profile] no_lj_ads.

Blame the awful pun on [ profile] snapesbabe, I mentioned it to her on the phone...
Briefly, for obvious reasons I've been busy and not following too closely last few days, but on the most recent news I concur win [ profile] demiurgent (Eric Burns of [ profile] websnark). I've said a few times here and elsewhere that while the law itself in the US is fairly clear, there are grey areas that will need a test case; where does the boundary lie? One thing I'm sure of, Eric:
Six Apart doesn't want this to be a test case. But I promise you fanfiction communities really don't want this as a test case.
Because while 6A may have broken Californian consumer law (really, not my field), doing this:
They stated that they had received a number of complaints, and that they were contacting Six Apart to try and act as a liason between the unhappy consumers and the company. He did say that he would be contacting me, should Six Apart fail to respond, and that they may need me to provide further information "for legal action against this company by our office on behalf of the consumers".
Almost certainly going to cause more trouble than it solves. Legal spotlight, front and centre, on Lj & 6A. Therefore to include child porn allegations, copyright infringements, etc. The CA AG may not go that way, but it'll get publicity, and other lawyers.

Read the comments of that IJ post; the person who's started it has NO IDEA that this could cause other issues. Houston? We have a problem...

Lovely lunch now finished, back to work...
I got my renewal notice from LJ a few days back, and managed to actually compose my reply-the below has just been sent to Accounts @ LJ:
FAO Livejournal/Six Apart senior management,

I've turned off automatic payments, here's why )
Renwal date 22nd August. I'm torn. I still hate that LJ has an ad supported level, ir destroys the effective business model and removes part of my impetus to actually pay them money. In addition, the presence of these very adverts was a specific cause for 6A to overreact and mess up in the initial strikethrough debacle.

But now, the main reason to continue paying is to not see the damn things (I don't use adblocking software--the web does need to be paid for). Secondary reasons include access to userpics (I've sort of got used to having 110 of the things), easy syndication of other blogs, post pages in my style (which while it's not finished I'm still uite happy with), etc.

But can I, in all conscience, continue to give money to an organisaton that is as incompetent as this one blatantly is? Is it possible to continue to support the site (which I love) without supporting the current management style (which is crap)?

I may go for a monthly renewal or similar, or I might just suck it up and pay the tenner it'll take. But I did feel I had to express my opinion to them, so thought I'd share the letter openly.
At the beginning of last year during the Bantown cracking incident, I posted about the sucky LJ customer relations. For those wondering why I, and a lot of other unaffected people, are pissed of this time, [ profile] liz_marcs has done a very similar explanation, thus saving me the effort. Summary:
  • The fans who posted the pics were idiots
  • LJ/6A still haven't clarified their policies
  • The policies have been implemented badly, in a very cack-handed manner
  • The Powers that be still haven't managed to understand the way the LJ fen can and will network and react
Key point:
However, LJ/6A continues to treat us (the customers) with contempt, or like we were drama queens with entitlement issues. To be fair, some people are acting like drama queens with entitlement issues, but it's not good customer service for LJ/6A to lump everyone into the same drama queen category. It's really bad customer service to act like that's the case. It's horrendous customer service to not respond to questions and repeated requests for clarification or to respond with vague statements that could be interpreted any number of ways.
I have other posts planned, on real world meaty issues. But I'm reading my new books, and wrestling with install scripts, and screaming at idiots. So they can wait until I'm in the mood.
Right, The Herald has given us links to this years virtual gifts gimmicky attempt to get you to pay 6A more money for something of no value. They're, um, interesting...

[Poll #922852]

I mean, why? Just...

Or am I being too jaded and cynical (again)?
  1. has an interview with the Six Apart CEO
    • [ profile] foxfirefey gives it a good fisking[1], and goes through a whole load of useful numbers [2]. Seriously, go read.
    • Given the factual innacuracies in the article, I emailed the author. Despite the 6A spin, he admits that the mistakes are his. He says he'll fix it [3].
  2. My good friend [ profile] draich_goch is having problems with his garage.
    • Remember this idea from June?
    • We decided to do Blears and [ profile] mapp, but never got around to setting it up.
    • Let's do it

Setting up those Google Bombs

Right, there were going to be two, but in order to assist Jason and get some petty revenge, I'm adding a third. Feel free to do one, two, or three of them. Theoretically, it only takes a week or so to work, but this'll be the first one I'm aware of entirely via Livejournal.


Links, guidelines, and a copy past post )
which should give an output something like:
I'm participating in [ profile] matgb's attempt at the first proper Livejournal Google Bomb. We have decided to promote a cowardly genius, denigrate an insubstantial careerist and point out to the world a bunch of lying bastards. For more information go here.
The links list entries are the most important, as Google really likes to index front-page links, but also picks up links from sub pages as well.

Footnotes and added commentary )
Hey, guess what? You'll never get it. Six Apart are useless! Oh, wait, you've heard that one? Ah, well, here are the new details of this one anyway. Y'see, they've managed to mess up a perfectly good idea by a really badly timed and poorly worded announcement, and they've got a bunch of sockpuppets plugging a new film.

So, short version. Funny version. Long version )

It made Slashdot. It even made Making Light. Damage control, but  ) don't think Brad liked going in to post stuff on his day off.

Things are looking up? More damage control, some rollbacks, and some changes )

What do we learn from this? )
Now, sponsored Comms, that show up at the top of an interest search for basic/plus users? Run by marketing people and LJ staff? Could be great. Um, could also, well, be absolutely awful. Don't believe me? Look at [ profile] scienceofsleep. Any of those posts look like they come from real people?

Where's the fangirling?

I'm told that one of the male actors is hot. LJ + new film + hot actor = fangirling. Always. Analysis and ego stroking )To which [ profile] firefoxfey responded:
I think you're right.
Of course I am, I'm me. [ profile] uniquewonders:
they need to hire someone who can write these posts
Yup. I'd volunteer, but don't really feel like moving over there. Even if it is San Francisco.

Plug This post brought to you with the aid of [ profile] the_lj_herald. Friend it.
Entry #5003 in the ongoing 6 Apart are useless series to be found on this journal. This time, courtesy of an unusual source:
Apparently comma-separated lists are too complicated now, so we give you checkboxes to ask if you're interested in emo or snowboarding:


Also note the lack of <label> tags.


Typical LJer whinging about how Emo is a popular interest? Well, only if by typical you include the founder of the whole thing [ profile] brad. FFS, interest searches worked badly in the first place, then they added in the userpic disply thing making it dial up unfriendly, now they're actively promoting the most popular interests so that there will be even more users with them. Ye gods, will they never learn?

[ profile] brad's also not happy with the way it's coded, and is apparently no longer in charge. So, the solution? It appears to be a dynamic list of interests (I mean, who would select emo as a promotional tool for the site?). So, um, join the checkbox tyranny resistance by adding it to your interests? 'Falsifying statistics' is another good one as well, that's been going for ages though.

In fact, tell your friends. Tell all your friends. Meh, things continue going downhill.

Wonder when the venture capital runs out and the company gets split up as the loss making mess it is? Ah, wait, LJ is the only profit arm, ergo LJ'll be bought by someone like Murduch. We're screwed. Here's hoping [ profile] firefoxfey's [ profile] lj2wordpress project works off, so you can have all the utility of LJ but hosted on your own space and not relying on a datacenter built over one of the most famous earthquake zones in the world...
OK, it's that time of year. My paid LJ account expires in 12 days. I like livejournal, I like the community, I like the functions, I like the filtering and the privacy options.

I strongly dislike the management and owners, who, it seems, don't actually like Livejournal, and most certainly don't "get" it. So, should I give them more of my hard earned? Should I switch back to Sponsored? Should I go all FreeBasic?

I'm tempted to pay for a 3 month renewal, but, well, I'm not at all sure. It's the old ethical market consumer in me, I don't like giving money to companies I disapprove of. But I really love the product. Opinions?

Oh, Circus types and a few others would probably be very interested in this post on [ profile] livejournal_uk...
OK, [ profile] lithium_doll sent me an invite, so I thought I'd spend the evening playing around. Make that less than an hour playing around.

First impressions? It sucks. Supposedly, it's easy to use ("turnkey" in the ad blurb, aimed exclusively at a US audience obviously). Well, maybe it is.

Making the layout look not-ugly (pretty isn't an option) )

I then tried to make a post. Now, this appears to be easy, and idiot proof. Except it's rich text only, using clunky icons that are similar to standards but, well, look wrong.

Making posts - idiot proof, but only good for idiots )

Six apart remain rubbish, but there are some good points )

But, overall, for a company that owns a succesful platform that could easily have a turnkey interface bolted on to set up a different, competing, inferior platform is just daft. If they implemented the good bits from Vox into LJ, then they'd be spending less money and making a better product. Ah well.

Guess what I did this weekend? That's right, I did nothing. Wonderful. I need to get some energy back and break the apathy attack
Wondering Exeter this morning with [ profile] faeriecween and [ profile] markslut (great to see you again Mark), my 'net addiction kicked in and I turned on Opera Mini to check my email (C was heading towards another clothes shop to get a top more suited to the weather). Top of my inbox? A comment notification from [ profile] anildash. Who he? Well, he's a bit of an arse, and was apologising for, on occasions, being one. But, well, he's also a Vice-President of Six Apart.
[ profile] matgb: From what I can tell, he's an arse. I may be wrong.

[ profile] anildash: I am, sometimes. Other times I'm not so bad... but I figure I've got a better chance at not being an arse if I'm at least out there trying to talk to people. Most of the folks who've IMed/phoned seem to think I'm being reasonable, so I should probably just do a better job of not posting comments when I'm frustrated by people.
Spun me out a little is all. I've still seen more negative comments from him than constructive, but, well, maybe there's still hope? On the subject of hope...

Important: Dodgy malware in advert on LJ

A very suspect company managed to trick LJ and run an advert that used Flash to create a pop-up and install some dodgy software (Errorsafe/Winfixer). More info here. If you're a free or Sponsored+ user, especially if you're not running Flashblock, run the necessary checks as per normal.
Can someone with a free (ie not sponsored+) account test something? Apparently, Sponsored+ can now post polls. Apparently, you can switch to sponsored+, posta poll, then switch back to free, losing nothing, having ads for the 5 minutes it takes to post the poll, and then not seeing them again.

Sounds like a plan to me; can somoene try it?

(And I need a 6-apart suck icon...)
[ profile] flemco has a new book coming out.

This is (probably) a good thing. Admittedly, I'm still barely a third of the way through his first one (borrowed from [ profile] nadriel). Hmm...

6 Apart has launched a new service, called Vox. It's, um, Livejournal with a different name aimed at old people. Um, why? You bought Livejournal, and now you're launching a different version? Why not market the one you've got better?

I decided not to take part in the whole delete your journal in protest at the nipplegate thing. 24 hours switched off may have put across a message, I hope that 6A listen to sense and back down/apologise/sort out a proper Abuse team, but, at the end of the day, I just don't care enough, those kicking up a fuss were being just as obtuse as those causing the original problem. I did think about it a lot. I nearly put up a poll as well.

Oh, weather reports. Top "hours of sunshine" and temperatures last few days. Torquay. Where do I live? Torquay. What do I hate the most? Hot weather. Still, got a letter from teh council, someone has complained about downstairs' music. I think I might be backing up that one, she's got it on again, it's loud, crap and she's shouting her head off as well. Everyone OK out there?
Firstly, [ profile] azurelunatic brings the funny. Next, [ profile] alexlucard polls it good. [ profile] demiurgent brings a sense of perspective.
The vast majority of folks who pay for Paid do it for A) convenience (say, for the e-mail address) or B) because they want to support Livejournal. A smaller subsection want the extra userpics. Six Apart apparently believes that they can get as much money in advertising revenues to make up for people deciding they don't want to do the public television model of support.
At the end of the day, I use LJ to keep in touch with my friends, 90% of whom are now on here or syndicated. I'll be staying. I don't, actually, mind ads that much (I use them to pay bills on my sites, right?), I just dislike the way they've, effectively, broken a promise.

Although, they are doing it in a fairly cool way, and even when logged out and looking for them, it's not MySpace. For the record, I now cannot load most myspace profiles, my dial up simply gives up. That is one really badly put together site, but hey, Murdoch is paying for the bandwidth.

Given that it's Thursday, I really should have gotten around to doing my "I had a great weekend" post like wot I meant to on Tuesday. Suffice to say, I had a great weekend. Two people I'm close to had birthdays, and seeing either of them always cheers me up. Also, free chocolate.

Tomorrow, I go to [ profile] draich_goch's to play Kingmaker and sleep, then first thing he's taking us toa coach meeting point; we're off to London for Salute.
OK, the [ profile] news post went live a few hours back, I've been reading and messing around. [ profile] matbowles exists, currently, just so I can mess around with different advert settings. I may also use it just to see how ugly I can get a default layout, but that'll be a side project.

They haven't announced it, but there are new Terms of Service and a new Privacy Policy. (both via [ profile] no_lj_ads). [ profile] daweaver has written up an analysis of the changes in LJ's Social Contract, but my principle concern is the impact on the business model.

LJ used to be a Public Commons; free to all, and those that wished to support it financially did so and got extra perks, but we were mostly paying to support the site overall. Now, the site has adverts (and boy are they annoying; log out and trawl around the main site to see them), so I'm not paying to support the site and the services it provides to all, I'm just getting my perks.

So, from now on, I am merely buying a service from them, not supporting a site. So, I switch into annoyed consumer mode rather than site supporter. They've taken away the model that made LJ a great community, and turned it into just another revenue stream. Still, at least free users only see the ads on "sponsored+" journals and not the main site. Paid users (while logged in), never see them anywhere. So at least there is a reason to keep paying that I can see the point of.

/geekery - everyone have a good weekend?
Livejournal will now be selling adverts. Only to those who want extra features for free and don't mind adverts, but they're still going to be selling adverts. [ profile] daweaver isn't at all impressed, and I'm, well, confused.

Y'see, the LJ business model made sense to me. There are free riders and paid users. Those of us that pay do so because we value the service so much we pay for our account, thus subsidising the free riders. The benefits of a paid account are strong (although not as strong as they were), but we also acknowledge that we're supporting LJ, keeping it ad free, and encouraging others to use it in the knowledge that some of them will like it so much that they will also pay, thus keeping LJ going. The Rational Choice theorist in me respects this business model.

Now? We are to have another level of user, that disrupts the business model. No longer does my contribution support the rest, ads are sold to support the company, the free riders aren't just supported by the paid users. I don't know how to react to that. Still, it will give me another decision to make in August, free, paid or ads? Thing is, the ad revenue isn't mine. It's LJs. Given we have Open ID, I may switch away completely and just use my typekey open id login. Get all the benefits of LJ friends pages without the drawbacks of the Six Apart business model. We'll see.

Summary. Oh yeah, they want feedback. Go give it.

You are not worthy... )Yup, I had to clean that code up something chronic, it'll work without cleaning but still...

However, you note that Quixilla now has an auto-insert button for MySpace users so they don't need to copy/paste? MySpace is that stupid that an auto insert is needed for some of the more obtuse?

Which does, of course, lead me to this meta of this post:Cut for a few paragraphs of amusing anti MySpace/Geocitiesparallels ) Samy remains a hero, but beyond that...

I dislike the way SixApart is taking LJ, but, well, no matter how bad it gets, it'll still be better than MySpace.
Hey everyone, guess what? Yup, you've got to log in (again) and are probably going to encounter some more problems for a bit longer. It appears that putting [ profile] news, [ profile] lj_dev and [ profile] lj_maintenance on your main friends page is currently an esential plan.

Great. You see, the thing is, from what I can tell, they could've predicted some of these problems, they could have warned us, they could have... You get the picture.

So, here's how to deal with this sort of thing and not piss off your paying customers. A list of what they should have done )
Here's what Livejournal have instead done:The list of what they did do )
Yup, I'm pissed. Keeping your paying customers happy is something that businesses need to do. I love LJ, I like the flexibility, the utility, the community. But the management and PR people suck. I effectively work in marketing/PR (it's a significant part of my job), and I know pissing people off by not keeping them informed is a bad idea. When the people you piss off most are the paying customers that your business model relies on heavily? Clusterfuck.

Short version: log in (again). Oh yeah, one good thing, Manage your login sessions (if they get it working...)
So, confused by all the stuff happening with LJ over the last few days? Well, [ profile] azurelunatic has put up a great summary, which was funny enough to be metaquoted, but I got to it via a comment in [ profile] daweaver, and it's being linked to everywhere. So, for the benefit of those who don't read [ profile] nearly_everyone, I thought I'd link it.

But, of perhaps more use, why secure passwords are essential for everyone and why they can't just log you out if you get it wrong a few times. My password was the same as that for one of my domains. That was, well, stupid. Especially since I'd been using it for various sites for years.

I'm pretty much over the cold now, but the finances are still screwed, so I'll be doing cheap things that don't require travelling for a bit longer I suspect.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015


Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats.

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