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t3knomanser's Fustian Deposits

Dear LJ: How about a nice big glass of STFU?

How Random Babbling Becomes Corporate Policy

run the fuck away

Mad science gone horribly, horribly wrong(or right).

Dear LJ: How about a nice big glass of STFU?

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johnny cash
What the hell, people? There's sixteen kinds of idiocy floating around my friends page, and it starts here. I haven't been following the Basic account drama, but seeing stuff floating around my friends page lead me to follow up on it.

The new owners of LJ no longer offer Basic accounts. You either have ads, or you pay money. There's no completely free ride anymore- unless you already have a Basic account. Wow, that sounds kinda reasonable really. I mean, Basic accounts don't make LJ any money unless the Basic users are enticed into subscribing or paying for add-ons. And many don't. So, after reviewing the business model of their new purchase, the new owners of LJ decide to stop allowing new Basic accounts. That's pretty reasonable, actually.

In fact, they're pretty nice about it- if you already have a Basic account, you get to keep it. No forced transition to a Plus or a paid account. They have no obligation to do that. They could just shove the entire Basic account legion into the Plus bracket, throw some ads up and make some money. They decided that would alienate their users.

So the people who have always gotten things for free continue to get things for free, but newbies have to pay or get hit with ads.

Seriously folks, this gets your panties in a knot? Grow up, get over it.

Oh, not everyone got in a twist about that. See, some pointy-hair gets interviewed, and, like me, thinks this boycott thing is a pile of stupid. And he has the temerity to say so out loud.

Heaven forfend!

Let's look at the Q&A shall we? When I read through it, I don't see him being particularly offensive to the users. He seems to think the boycott is stupid (it is), he thinks people are upset over nothing (they are), and he's pissed that a pack of whiners who aren't even effected by this change are trying to force him into running his business how they want (who wouldn't be, in his position?).

I've taken the liberty of summing up the interview in my own words:


Q: People seem cheesed off that no new freeloader accounts are allowed. They're planning a boycott.
A: Nobody I know is. It's fucking stupid. Maybe they're going to call our advertisers and whine to them or something.

Q: You think they've called the advertisers?
A: Fuck no. They're too busy whining on LJ about it. I mean, seriously, "Hi, I'm lj-user Fluttershine42, and I think LJ's a bunch of big weenies for canceling the free accounts. You should cancel your ads with them!" Knock knock, the real world doesn't work that way.

Q: So there's no boycott?
A: Who cares? It's fucking stupid.

Q: So, you think there's no reason to be upset.
A: Fuck no! Look, free accounts were great when this was a little thing in somebody's garage. But bandwidth isn't free. We need a revenue stream. Why the hell do you think we bought LJ? So we could pay out the ass hosting some idiot's rants about how their parents don't understand them? We're trying to pay the bills and make some money here! You realize that, once upon a time, paying for LJ was an optional donation that got you jack shit? Come along into the 21st century. The Basic account is shit.

Q: What about people who hate advertising, but don't want to pay you.
A: What? What the fuck are you talking about? Why the hell should I care what they think? They can't do shit online without paying for it or watching an ad. Why should we be any different?

Q: So you're the last people in the world giving away stuff for free?
A: Dude, the Basic account community is turning into a ghetto. Basic is only 10% of our new signups, and out of that, a big chunk is sock puppets and spammers. Everyone that has a Basic account keeps it, but we aren't making any new ones because it's not worth it to us or our users.

Q: So you don't think people deserve to have free shit?
A: We Russians overthrew Communism before most of our users were born. Fuck that.

Q: When are all the decisions about how this is going to work be made?
A: When they do. We've got these fucking whiners crawling up our butts and trying to threaten us with boycotts. Our hands are tied.

Q: Why?
A: Because, man, we can't reward bad behavior. They're going to be shitheads, we'll be shitheads right back. This isn't America, where "The customer is always right". I don't know where people got that shitty idea, but it's wrong.

Q: You think these idiots stand a chance?
A: Our user base has doubled since we took over. Most people don't care about minor changes to our business model, because most users are sensible, rational people.


So, to sum up: all existing Basic accounts remain Basic, no new ones are allowed; only 10% of new signups are Basic, and most of them are for existing users; you can still have a free LJ, but you need to deal with ads; the big-boss of LJ thinks it's stupid and isn't afraid to say so.

Yeah, that's horrible. Seriously kids, this is idiotic. The Basic account change makes sense and doesn't affect existing users. The big-boss has every right to be short with idiot customers. The customer isn't always right, and the employees don't have to kiss their asses.
  • What I wouldn't give for more American businesses to start behaving like this:

    Cuntstomer> Irrational rant unrealistic complaint I'm taking my business elsewhere!
    Business> Okay. Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

    Their business, their terms, and they're not being assholes about it. What's a boycott going to do, save LJ some money on hosting expenses for a day? Vote with your dollar: take your business elsewhere- for good, if you can stand blogging about how mean your parents are somewhere else- and STFU with the whining that doesn't do anyone any good.
    • But these folks aren't using dollars to vote with anyway. The only people affected by this specific decision aren't even customers to begin with!
  • e

    One of the beauties of this more or less free market is I can leave one service for its competition for any reason I please. In this case, it's because I came to LJ because it was a particular kind of environment, and the new management are explicitly saying they're phasing out/freezing out that kind of environment. That's their business, and finding a service that suits me better is mine.

    Also, I'm in agreement that the customer is not always right. I don't think that's the issue here. At issue is the general tone of hostility and rudeness whenever perfectly folk pointed out things like, "Um, your new adult content policies seem to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater."

    I tend to think the strike is silly. What good can it do, being only a "show of force" - a force inadequate to make a big difference in their profits even if every striker were to leave for good. It's part of our culture's general silliness over "protesting" and "civil disobedience." We're too chickenshit and lazy to do it for real, and yet so melodramatic and narcissistic that we delight in making a show of shamming it.
    • Re: e

      The adult content policies were not instituted by the current management, they're a legacy from Six-Apart. SUP hasn't repealed them, but they just got here. In either case, the adult content policies are idiotic and a viable gripe.

      Phasing out Basic accounts is not. And I don't see how it changes the environment for existing users. How many new users have you gotten signed up as basic accounts recently? No new basic accounts effects no one but potential users.

      And I don't think he was rude, at least not for a European. I don't think I would have responded much differently to the questions in his position. But I don't do PR- and neither does he. He's a pointy-hair, and coddling the customers isn't his job.
  • (no subject) - jeramey
    • I'm not so sure that they're going to nuke basic accounts ever.

      First, they do realize that they'd really upset a big chunk of the community. This no-new-Basics only effects people who aren't yet customers, and I think they're a bit surprised at the backlash.

      Second, yes- the existing Basic accounts do cost them money, but the will get proportionally cheaper over time. They're aggressively pursuing new signups. With a fixed pool of Basics, the new signups will offset the cost of the existing basics. But the population of Basics won't remain static- it'll decrease thanks to attrition. Oh, sure- the accounts will still exist, but without active use, mere storage and maintenance are negligible.
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