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.
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.
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.