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January 5th, 2005
04:04 pm
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Whoah ... the Livejournal buyout rumors are *true*
From the Associated Press wire today:

Blogging pioneers unite as online journals become serious business
By Michael Liedtke, AP Business Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — In another sign the online journals known as blogs are maturing from a quirky craze to serious business, two startups that helped spread the phenomenon are joining forces to create a more diversified company.
San Francisco-based Six Apart, the host of a widely used blogging service called TypePad, is buying Portland, Ore.-based Danga Interactive Inc., which operates LiveJournal, a youthful blogging community. The financial specifics of the cash-and-stock deal announced Thursday weren't disclosed.
The combination weds two blogging pioneers with different strengths.
Six Apart, formed in 2001 by the husband-and-wife team of Ben and Mena Trott, caters to bloggers with more sophisticated software demands. Besides TypePad, Six Apart makes a Web publishing software called Movable Type that has been sold to several large customers, including About.com, Walt Disney Co., Nokia and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Danga's LiveJournal, launched in 1999 by Brad Fitzpatrick while he was still a teenager, runs on a simpler, open-source software platform that has helped give it more widespread appeal. Most of LiveJournal's 5.6 million users are teens and people in their 20s, a hip demographic that piqued Six Apart's interest.
"This was a match made in heaven," Six Apart CEO Barak Berkowitz said Wednesday.
Together, Six Apart and LiveJournal will have more than 6.5 million users — an audience that represents a major chunk of the so-called "blogosphere." Six Apart plans to operate LiveJournal as a separate division, but LiveJournal's 10 employees, including Fitzpatrick, will move from Oregon to San Francisco.
Blogs — shorthand for Web logs — have evolved from self-absorbed diaries into influential information hubs that have circumvented traditional communications channels to deliver news and political messages that are resonating with an ever-widening audience.
In the United States, 27 percent of adults with online access read blogs, according to a November survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The same survey found that 7 percent of online Americans now write blogs — a figure that seems likely to rise in the months ahead. About 23,000 new blogs are created daily, according to Technorati, a Web research firm.
Fitzpatrick began his blog when he was just 19. Mena Trott, a 27-year-old born six days apart from her husband, began musing about her life at dollarshort.org during the dot-com bust, laying the foundation for company that now has about 70 employees scattered in San Francisco, Paris and Tokyo.
Venture capitalists, the financiers who have bankrolled many of the technology industry's biggest breakthroughs, still haven't flocked to blogs. Six Apart is among the handful of blogging companies to entice venture capitalists, raising $11.5 million so far.
The blogging phenomenon has captured the attention of software giant Microsoft Corp., which last month introduced blogging software called "MSN Spaces." Another technology powerhouse, Google Inc., also has owned a major blogging software supplier since 2003.
Berkowitz, a technology industry veteran, said Six Apart acquisition didn't feel compelled to fortify itself against looming competitive threats. "There is no brilliant master plan here," he said. "We just want to be the leading company in blogging."

Current Mood: surprisedsurprised
Current Music: Shakira, "Te Dejo Madrid"

(8 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:January 6th, 2005 12:15 am (UTC)
What's comforting, though, is that current staff will be retained and they're keeping the sections, for now, separate. So there's a good chance that most of the community will remain as-is.

What I'd expect to change:

1. Reliability will probably increase.
2. The Abuse Team will no longer exist as volunteers; it will all be paid staff.
3. The Support Team may meet the same fate...

It's only the last one that would suck, because I like helping in spr0t. (As you might recall, I answered one of your requests...)
[User Picture]
Date:January 6th, 2005 12:21 am (UTC)
If they're smart, #3 won't even cross their minds -- after all, trying to handle a 5+-million userbase's problems with nothing but paid staff would just doom them to suckitude.

IIRC, the Movable Type site has a very similar set of forums where users answer each other's questions, so hopefully Six Apart's come to the same realization already.
[User Picture]
Date:January 6th, 2005 01:18 am (UTC)
Yahoo! GeoCities did do away with their volunteer program, though.. the whole place lost the community feel that it used to have.
[User Picture]
Date:January 6th, 2005 12:24 am (UTC)
Oh, my... this is going to be fun to watch.
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Date:January 6th, 2005 12:32 am (UTC)
I'm also taking comfort in knowing they're keeping the employees on-board. I am seriously hoping they know they have a good thing and won't fuck it up.
[User Picture]
Date:January 6th, 2005 12:35 am (UTC)
I've seen mention of this elsewhere as well, confirming the rumors. The only public link I've seen thus far that confirms rumor is: http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1748489,00.asp
Date:January 6th, 2005 12:47 am (UTC)
Well, thank god they're keeping the employees. I'd be seriously pissed at them otherwise, considering one of my close friends works there. I wonder what he thinks about San Fransisco, though. =P
Date:January 6th, 2005 04:10 am (UTC)

Somehow, I don't think this is a good thing.

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