Six Apart and Live Journal

I’m a little late to this, but the word is that Six Apart is buying LiveJournal. Congrats to the 6A and LJ teams! Big news, however you cut it. However, the question is: what exactly are they buying? LiveJournal has about 5.6 million accounts, but only about 2.4 million of these are active. That’s still pretty nice though, considering I imagine it’s about 24x what Typepad/Movable Type have now. Is it the technology? That’s already open source so they would have access to that anyway, and it’s Perl (which is 6A’s core competency) so I’m sure they could find they way around. (I wonder what will happen to the Open Source project after the dust has settled though?) That leads me to think it must be the people and engineers at LJ that 6A is after. Is this enough to position them against Microsoft and Google, as many have been suggesting?

98.6% of LiveJournal users don’t pay a thing, but that still gives 6A ~93,000 accounts paying $25/year. That revenue will be nice, especially since 6A has so many employees, but I don’t think it’s the coup most people are expecting. Remember the people who invested $10M in Six Apart are expecting it to be a quarter of a billion dollar business. It’ll be interesting to hear what the official word is on this, if and when an official word comes out. I’m probably missing something obvious. (And where is Yahoo in all of this? They better hurry up and buy someone too.)

20 thoughts on “Six Apart and Live Journal

  1. Who’s left to buy? I don’t see it as a great of a move by 6A; you’re not gonna beat Google or MS. Especially with the spam and speed/bandwidth issues they have.

  2. LiveJournal has excellent spam detection and blocking tools, which have worked extremely well for them over the past 6 months or so they’ve been in place. Given that this will give 6A+LJ about 3 times the size of any other closer service (that I can find) I don’t see that anyone else is even close to as big.

    Just because nobody talks about LJ doesnt’ mean much in terms of how much potential is there…

  3. As much as I love LJ, I just don’t think it’s a great business opportunity. And, perhaps part of the reason I like LJ so much is that it never seemed to have “business” in mind. It appears to be completely community driven. As for Six Apart expecting to be a quarter of a billion dollar business… where the heck did that come from? Pretty wishful thinking.

  4. I think that there’s a lot more business potential in LJ than almost anyone sees, however, it would mean completely changing the way that LiveJournal works and making it run more as a business. The real question, then, is whether with a few new features, LJ can continue to bring in the people it has. For a while, LiveJournal was approaching 10% of active users being paid: to have that now would mean approximately 250,000 accounts, at $25/year, which starts to look like awfully big money to my little eyes.

    I don’t know what’s going to happen exactly: my point is that something *could* happen which would increase LiveJournal’s business returns significantly. I’m just not sure it can be done without taking some major risks, and possibly losing.

  5. Goodbye to diversity. Looks like by the end of the year, there will be only a few blog giants left, with the blog dwarves fighting over the crumbs. Seems to be the way of business. What a pity!

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  9. They are buying three things –
    a) Profitable business.
    b) Profitibale business with a great coders circle that’s only a fraction of SA’s size.
    c) Brad.

    Essentially they need less “prolific bloggers” and more “programmers” on their staff. Obviously they cant accomplish that themselves so they get yahoo about it.

  10. Please keep the comments polite folks! any further comments that make personal jabs at 6A will be deleted. Quarter of a billion may be a bit high, but when VCs typically invest they want many times their investment back. I’m not saying it’s not doable, they certainly have the right people there.

  11. This could be a really, really good move for MT. Don’t forget that one difference between MT and Blogger is that MT wants to be a publishing platform, not simply blogging software. They already sell commercial licenses to corporate clients and, if anything, I would expect them to target those more aggressively; creating more software specifically tuned for the needs of those users. To do that effectively, however, would take some serious knowledge and experience with cooperative environments without sacrificing MT’s distinction from other collaborative products.

    So, I agree that they are after the human resources as you suggest, but I also wonder if they want that talent to move beyond personal publishing.

  12. I don’t think there can ever be a monopoly in the blogging buisness. I don’t think Blogger and MSN would merge, but even if they did there would always be a few 3rd Party people like the WordPress folk.

    As for moving beyond personal publishing, I really hope that 6A will see this oppurtunity.