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SixApart Sells LiveJournal to Russian Media Company 172

Posted by Zonk
from the new-boss-same-as-old-boss dept.
molrak writes "SixApart tonight announced the sale of journal/blogging service Livejournal to Russia-based SUP. Original LJ founder Brad Fitzpatrick has chimed in on the situation: 'This is pretty cool because - They're ridiculously excited about LiveJournal, and have been for awhile (they previous purchased advertising rights in Russia, but ended up doing a bunch of Russia-specific LJ development as well). They want to throw a lot of resources at LiveJournal in terms of product development and engineers. "LiveJournal.com, Inc." now stands alone again, focusing on nothing but LJ. Sounds like I'll have more LJ influence (via new role as advisory board member) than I've had recently.'"
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SixApart Sells LiveJournal to Russian Media Company

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  • by renegadesx (977007) on Monday December 03, 2007 @12:59AM (#21557161)
    Will that mean LiveJournal will write us from now on?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      SOAB! LiveJournal has been a great source for academic researchers in NLP, social networks and data mining, mainly because they don't mind you crawling their site and users have public "friend lists", etc. I doubt if that culture is going to be retained with a Russian owner. I was at a conference earlier this year, and met a guy from SixApart. He was talking about some sort of open API for crawling multiple social networking sites, but I guess that's probably going to be history now.
    • by reporter (666905) on Monday December 03, 2007 @04:46AM (#21558237) Homepage
      The Russian election for the Duma concluded on December 2. During this process, Golos [guardian.co.uk] was instrumental in identifying voting irregularities that skewed the vote in favor of United Russia, the pro-Kremlin party. Golos is an independent organization that monitors elections and receives funding from the United States and the European Union.

      Golos and its supporters have been maintaining a blog page at LiveJournal [guardian.co.uk]. You can read either the actual blog page in Russian [livejournal.com] or the English translation of the blog page [google.com]. It contained plenty of damning evidence showing that the Kremlin had manipulated the election.

      Then, after the election concluded, a Moscow-based company acquired LiveJournal. Is the timing merely coincidence or is the Kremlin somehow connected to this business deal?

      • The announcement was made before the election concluded, it was just posted on Slashdot afterwards. Maybe your correlation is backwards - the evil neo-soviet empire rigged the elections so they could control facebook! Damn putin and his majority approval ratings! If it weren't for that damned "majority" we would have somebody else in power now.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by fellip_nectar (777092)
      In Soviet Russia: Funny the first few times, but now its like your old man telling the same joke he told you 20 years ago
  • Putinist Russia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Clay Pigeon -TPF-VS- (624050) on Monday December 03, 2007 @01:04AM (#21557185) Journal
    Does this mean that any anti-Putin blogging will be noted and passed on to the "proper" authorities?
    • Re:Putinist Russia (Score:5, Informative)

      by seasleepy (651293) <seasleepy@gmail . c om> on Monday December 03, 2007 @01:45AM (#21557451)
      You may be joking, but there appears to have been a considerable amount of concern [iht.com] about this when SUP first got involved with LJ -- Alexander Mamut, one of SUP's main investors (or possibly its owner -- I've seen both descriptions in articles), apparently has some ties to Putin. Brad had tried to assuage fears about it [livejournal.com] at the time, but I unfortunately don't really know how the situation stands on the Russian side after those initial reactions.

      As a longtime LJ user, I'm encouraged that Brad's still optimistic about SUP today, and I don't think Six Apart ever really knew exactly what to make of LJ, but I'm still having a hard time getting over a vaguely uneasy feeling about the whole thing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fm6 (162816)

        Alexander Mamut, one of SUP's main investors (or possibly its owner -- I've seen both descriptions in articles), apparently has some ties to Putin
        Nowadays, there ane two kinds of Russian businessmen: those with ties to Putin, and those that are out of business. Basically, they're back to the state running the economy.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Ilgaz (86384) *

          Alexander Mamut, one of SUP's main investors (or possibly its owner -- I've seen both descriptions in articles), apparently has some ties to Putin

          Nowadays, there ane two kinds of Russian businessmen: those with ties to Putin, and those that are out of business. Basically, they're back to the state running the economy.

          Is there a single American business guy who is fundementally against George W. Bush and successful?

          Don't give Soros example since it is clear that he is playing some "bad cop" game serving interests of USA and CIA with his "open society" (!) thing.

          Is there a single high end business guy who will hang up the phone if president of USA calls? What would happen if he does?

          I am not defending Putin, I am just saying it is how the entire planet in this economic/political system works.

          • by smurfsurf (892933)

            Nowadays, there ane two kinds of Russian businessmen: those with ties to Putin, and those that are out of business. Basically, they're back to the state running the economy.

            Is there a single American business guy who is fundementally against George W. Bush and successful?

            If you take a look at the election yesterday, it is enough to voice support for any opposition candidate to get out of business (and into prison). You seriously don't claim this to be the case in the west, do you?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Wdomburg (141264)
            Ever heard of Google? 98% of employee contributions are to Democrats, and Google's founder has been a frequent contributor to the Democratic party. I think they qualify as successful.
          • Is there a single American business guy who is fundementally against George W. Bush and successful?
            I seem to recall Donald Trump speaking pretty forcefully against Bush.
            • by fm6 (162816)
              Trump is a business man? I thought he was a reality show personality. You know, like Paris Hilton.
          • by fm6 (162816)

            Is there a single American business guy who is fundementally against George W. Bush and successful?

            There are plenty. Notice all the anti-Bush politicians running for President? All the serious ones are spending huge amounts of money on their campaigns. And where do you think they get all that money? Mostly from businesspeople who hope to have their ear when they're running the country.

            Don't give Soros example since it is clear that he is playing some "bad cop" game serving interests of USA and CIA with his "open society" (!) thing.

            Obvious to you, maybe. To me it's obvious that you can explain away any contrary evidence if you assume a big enough conspiracy. Hey, maybe the FSB is paying you to spread disinformation...

            Is there a single high end business guy who will hang up the phone if president of USA calls? What would happen if he does?

            Jeez, I'd accept a call from GW

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by encoderer (1060616)
            "Is there a single high end business guy who will hang up the phone if president of USA calls? What would happen if he does?"

            The answers are "Probably Not" and "Probably Nothing."

            But, more on point...

            I detest President Bush, but I would still take a call from the President of the United States if he were to call me. I mean, you wouldn't? And why not? Like it or not (and, in my case, it's NOT), Bush is the President. And I'm a patriot. And I'm not going to turn down any reasonable request made by our Preside
            • by KiahZero (610862)
              Warner's running for (and is going to win) John Warner's Senate seat, not President.
              • I said hew as a "speculative candidate for president"

                And he was.

                He formed an exploratory committee last year but eventually declined to enter the race after Obama, Bayh and Edwards appeared to be vying for the anti-hillary role.

                Furthermore, he's alluded in the past to Presidential ambitions and I think you'll find that a Senate seat is a temporary lay over for Warner. If a Republican wins in 08 (god forbid), I'd wager you'd see a Warner candidacy in 2012. .....But yeah, thanks for the "correction" .......
      • by makomk (752139)
        Brad has always been enthusiastic about SUP. I don't think he's ever been able to see why the Russian users are worried.
    • by Kingrames (858416)
      It'll still be more free than it would be here.
      • Re:Putinist Russia (Score:4, Insightful)

        by QuickFox (311231) on Monday December 03, 2007 @02:29AM (#21557673)

        It'll still be more free than it would be here.
        Not at all. Not by a long shot.

        The US may have sunk into becoming a harsh Big-Brother nation that is effectively ruled by two wings of a single party, but Russia is run by their local mafia.

        In the US you still have lots of TV channels and papers and forums loudly critical of the reigning system, in Russia such voices are systematically silenced. In the US your government may be shamelessly lying to you about important matters like reasons for war and reasons for what they call anti-terror measures, but dissenting voices do get heard, even if they drown in the general noise. In Russia dissent is silenced for real.

        In Russia it is too late. In the US it is not too late. Not yet. There's still time for you people to do something, should you wish to do something about it.
        • by rumith (983060)

          in Russia such voices are systematically silenced

          Have you ever been to Russia? The most vocal politicians [usually right-wing] who get lots of attention in the media [local and otherwise] are the criminal kings who devastated the country during Yeltsin's reign. You've picked the wrong word: they're not being silenced, nobody just listens to them anymore.

          • by temcat (873475)
            The media you speak of is not the federal media which matter. The attention they receive is unbalanced.
        • Re:Putinist Russia (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Inzite (472846) on Monday December 03, 2007 @04:17AM (#21558105)
          I can tell you've never been to Russia.

          I live there. It's cold.

          Yes, there are problems with the limited Russian media. However, your definition of Russia as a harsh Big-brother nation run by the local mafia is overly simple and in most cases just flat out wrong.

          The mafia don't run Russia any more. Russia is controlled and run by a few very rich corporations and individuals. The number of very rich corporations and individuals is growing on a daily basis.

          Dissenting voices do get heard. The problem is that most Russians don't care to listen. Most Russians don't give a shit about politics.

          Putin is doing wonders for the economy. Russia is one of the fastest developing countries on the planet, and will continue to grow that way for at least the next 5-10 years. The reason Russia is controlled by one party is because that one party is doing wonderful things for the average living standards of people across the country.

          In another 4-8 years, Putin's power in the Russian government will have declined, and Russia will start to move towards a true, multi-party system as all those wealthy companies and individuals step in to fill the ex-Putin void. However, in the mean time there's no reason for Russia to change, and the vast majority of Russians will be much better off if the status quo is maintained for a couple years longer.

          P.S. In Russia, Gary Kasparov is a joke. And 95% of what the New York Times writes about Russia is pure tripe.
          • by QuickFox (311231)
            I'm glad to see that you're so optimistic and see reasons for such a positive outlook. I sincerely hope that you're right and I'm wrong. I'll be overjoyed if Russia step by step becomes truly free and open and democratic.

            I'm far less optimistic than you, and deeply worried, but if you're right, this would certainly be wonderful.
          • by temcat (873475)
            Putin is doing wonders for the economy.

            Yeah, sure, buddy. Putin has this miraculous ability to drive oil prices up.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Inzite (472846)
              True, Russia's riches are largely attributable to hydrocarbons. Any administration in Russia would be getting rich off of oil right now. However, oil & gas are just a small part of the story, and they're what _made_ Russia rich, not what's keeping Russia rich (although they are making Russia _richer_).

              I'm a Putin fan because he's doing an incredible job of not wasting or misspending all those riches. The vast majority of Russia's petrodollars have gone into funding the federal budget and anything
              • by CRCulver (715279)

                Putin may have done some good things for the economy in some places, but the political centralization he has forced is doing bad things for Russia's rural regions and indigenous minorities. During the 1990s Mari people were enjoying a great deal of autonomy and development of their culture and language, but once Putin came in the situation has deteriotated thanks to the regional governer Moscow itself selected. Thousands of Mari workers have been sacked, and it don't matter how good people say the economy i

          • by Nimey (114278)
            I'm going to drop in a prophylactic Godwin and note that Herr Schickelgruber was very good for the German economy.

            Until the massive bombing raids, anyway.
          • by kalirion (728907)
            Putin is doing wonders for the economy.

            I would point out who else did great things for his country's economy, but it would invoke Godwin's Law.
          • P.S. In Russia, Gary Kasparov is a joke.
            Would it be correct to assume he's at least respected for his chess-playing skills but considered a joke for his opinions/behavior outside the chess board?
             
          • Putin is doing wonders for the economy. Russia is one of the fastest developing countries on the planet, and will continue to grow that way for at least the next 5-10 years. The reason Russia is controlled by one party is because that one party is doing wonderful things for the average living standards of people across the country.

            Yes, I've heard he really got the trains running on time.
          • by M3wThr33 (310489)
            I didn't know you could call murder of news reporters a 'wonder for the economy.'
        • I certainly agree that though the US is far from perfect, in fact it is ugly in some abuses, there is still a large public view of "the dissenting view".

          Putinist Russia is more than scary, it is downright putrid smelling with state control. The Kremlin have essentially forced EU poll monitors out of Russia [guardian.co.uk]. There were far to few to begin with, and now there's no sign of them.

          Though I am worried about the future state of Russia, I haven't given up hope on it just yet. There's still a large movement towar

      • Re:Putinist Russia (Score:5, Informative)

        by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Monday December 03, 2007 @02:53AM (#21557781) Homepage

        It'll still be more free than it would be here.

        As a linguist studying minority languages of Russia, I do field work in places where the Putin-aligned local government has had no qualms sending goons to beat women and the elderly with pipes just for speaking or singing songs in the local indigenous language, and opposition figures still get sent to psychiatric hospitals whenever they dare to challenge the ruling party. When has that last happened in the US? Certainly there are some worrying developments in civil liberties, but people can breathe a lot more freely there than in Russia, which is truly one of the scariest places I've visited.

      • Re:Putinist Russia (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ubernostrum (219442) on Monday December 03, 2007 @04:11AM (#21558091) Homepage

        It'll still be more free than it would be here.

        In the US, if you loudly criticize the government you won't be heard because a finely-tuned media machine will just shout louder. In Russia, if you loudly criticize the government you won't be heard because you'll disappear.

        In the US, the president belongs to an "old boys network" of guys who were in the same secret fraternity in their college days. In Russia, the president belongs to an "old boys network" of guys who were in the same secret police agency in the Soviet days.

        In the US, journalists who uncover serious government misconduct get yelled at by Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. In Russia, journalists who uncover serious government misconduct get injected with lethal doses of radioactive material.

        Now. You were saying?

        • by Kingrames (858416)
          In Russia, if your husband speaks out against the government, he disappears.

          In USA, if your husband speaks out against the government/fails to worship bush, the White House deliberately outs you as a CIA agent with the intention of getting you killed in action.

          So it's not quite as severe. yet.
          Russia is slightly less evil than it used to be.
          The United states in 8 years went from being the most free country in the world to the most hypocritical, rounding up suspected terrorists and sending them to rape and to
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      The current level of Access SUP (which is definitely a KGB-backed company, given the personalities involved) has to LJ already allows them to monitor and to report LJ activity. My guess is that this purchase is more of the order of psychological pressure: "Look, we can win the elections with any score we want, we can beat up and jail opposition activists and we also can buy the last independent media outlet in the country (because this is what LJ became in Russia). Got the hint?"
    • by yoprst (944706)
      You don't nead to own LJ to do it. You just need to read it. In fact, you could do it yourself
      • by Storlek (860226)
        That's only the case for public entries.

        In any event I think there would be much greater cause for concern if they expressed an interest in moving the servers to Russia. That would all but guarantee something shady going on in the background... but then again, perhaps it would give the US bloggers a bit more [perceived, at least] freedom.
        • by yoprst (944706)
          And why would they care about non-public entries?
          • by xrayspx (13127)
            Because "Freinds Only" posts fall into "non-public". So you could have a group who all friends each other and can read their subversive posts, while none of those posts are "public". LJ lets you get pretty granular with groups of friends as well. Or at least "more granular" than other sites I've seen. So you have posts that can be seen by one group of friends which can't be read by your other friends. So yeah, having ownership of the machines would let you see all that stuff, which, if there was going
            • Ah well it's 3, and I'm on the Internet, what's the worst that can happen?
              Slashdot could get bought up by some company in Soviet Russia?
    • by Ilgaz (86384) *

      Does this mean that any anti-Putin blogging will be noted and passed on to the "proper" authorities?

      Cold war is on again, now with Anti Putin junk.

      There are other "proper" guys who will care about what you write there, I don't think CCCP (!) really cares about what Americans write about Putin or not.

      If you are American you should be just careful about what you write about things happening in Iraq, Afghanistan since there are some guys who care about what you write about them living with your tax money.

      I can't stand to this neo cold war junk on Slashdot, sorry if offended.

    • by Calydor (739835)
      Very recently, all non-locked LJ entries received a new navigation button: Flag. Basically, this button will flag any entry for 'review', apparently to keep the language nice, clean and proper.

      It's not a far stretch to assume that this WILL also be used to watch out for Russian political dissidents.
    • by mapkinase (958129)
      It is not clear yet.

      SUP is controlled by Alexander Mamut - one of the powerbrokers during Eltsyn times [nytimes.com]. Right now he lives and owns businesses in Russia, which means that he is loyal to Putin.

      It is interesting that two of the top Russian bloggers [livejournal.com][Russian] officially work for SUP (Anton Nossik [livejournal.com],Roustam Agadamov [livejournal.com]).

      Politically aforementioned SUP bloggers distance themselves from support of Putin, and quite often Mr. Nossik expressed mild political opposition to Putin.

      The purchase of Livejournal is a pure formali
  • Hmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zouden (232738)
    I predict that 50% of the comments here will be thinly-veiled racial attacks on Russia.
    The other 50% will be "in soviet russia" jokes, of course...
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 03, 2007 @01:09AM (#21557223)

      I predict that 50% of the comments here will be thinly-veiled racial attacks on Russia.

      Criticizing Russia's government and corruption isn't a racial attack, unless you're criticizing the fact that they're White.
    • by Kadin2048 (468275)

      I predict that 50% of the comments here will be thinly-veiled racial attacks on Russia.
      Yeah, because if there's one problem we have here on Slashdot and the Internet in general, it's the pervasive anti-white sentiment.

    • I predict that 50% of the comments here will be thinly-veiled racial attacks on Russia.

      Is there a "Russian race"?

      If there is, that would be news to me. And I've been there a couple times. The races of those that live there aren't unique to Russia.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by marnek (932402)
        Yeah it's called "caucasian". Note that the Caucasus mountains, the origin of the word, are IN Russia.
        • by temcat (873475)
          Note that in Russia itself, ethnic hatred to various Caucasian ethnicities (Azeri, Georgian, Armenian, Dagestani etc.) is very common...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by willyhill (965620)
      Please, define a "thinly veiled racial attack" for us, so we'll know when a joke about a country becomes a racist insult, in your opinion. For example, if I make a funny about how the Swiss eat lots of cheese, would that be construed as a racial attack on all Swiss?

      I'm trying to figure out how you'd devolve a discussion into "racial attacks" on a country like Russia on a web site where the vast majority of people are likely caucasian or European descent.

      Or maybe you meant something else, like nationalis

    • Is "Russian" a race?
    • by Ilgaz (86384) *

      I predict that 50% of the comments here will be thinly-veiled racial attacks on Russia.
      The other 50% will be "in soviet russia" jokes, of course...

      Welcome back... Cold war.

      I was at HK/China just a week ago, I bought IHT Newspaper. It took 2 pages to figure the cold war trickery stories of 1980s are back and threw it to paper recycling bin. The "South China Post" was lot more informative and insightful than the IHT junk.

      (IHT:International Herald Tribune, NY Times pub.)

    • Especially since it's the HUMAN RACE. If you're going to make bad remarks about an ethnic group, you're an ethnicist, not a racist.
  • by Bieeanda (961632)
    So, um. What kind of a corporate culture are these guys bringing in? Given the readiness with which the Putin government has been putting the boots to dissension (particularly in terms of media), I have to worry (because I don't have all the information) that increasingly Draconian laws over there might spill over into how the LJ TOS is adjudicated in general.
    • by mattwarden (699984) on Monday December 03, 2007 @01:13AM (#21557263) Homepage
      In 3 months, I predict that each livejournal member's cat will be pro-Putin.
    • by nomadic (141991)
      So, um. What kind of a corporate culture are these guys bringing in? Given the readiness with which the Putin government has been putting the boots to dissension (particularly in terms of media), I have to worry (because I don't have all the information) that increasingly Draconian laws over there might spill over into how the LJ TOS is adjudicated in general.

      Interestingly, SUP is run by an American...
  • So paid account users are sending their money to... Russia?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    It seems like +85% of LJ pages are Russian anyways, so this makes sense.
  • ...now, it's Russia. Guys, the Russians are coming! These two countries are gobbling up our [American] companies fast!
    • by yoprst (944706)
      A fat share of Russian IT market is controlled by foreigners (Europeans, mostly). And now one American IT company(which were serving Russian market anyway - Wikipedia says 45% of LJ entries are in Russian) is owned by Russians. It sure looks like Russia is gobbling up American companies...
    • by rednip (186217) <rednip@gmail.cLIONom minus cat> on Monday December 03, 2007 @02:33AM (#21557699) Journal

      First it was China...now, it's Russia. Guys, the Russians are coming! These two countries are gobbling up our [American] companies fast!

      Welcome to the weak dollar. Newly rich former adversaries are buying into our economy, both Germany and Japan did the same thing in the 80's. Might be a good thing for our (American) economy, might be (another) problem, however fresh capital is rarely a bad thing.

      • by hachete (473378)
        Look on the bright side, at least *someone* likes America. Funny or sad, who knows
  • by Macgrrl (762836) on Monday December 03, 2007 @01:24AM (#21557321)

    What will be interesting to see is whether the filtering and censorship of LJ will be more or less stringent than it was previously.

    Earlier this year we had uproar due to fanfic heavy accounts being blocked and assorted accusations regarding slashfic being porn and potentially kiddie porn in the case of Harry Potter fic.

    I wonder if moving out of the US juristriction for the 'publisher' will affect the degree in which copyright violations are pursued.

    • by tetromino (807969) on Monday December 03, 2007 @02:44AM (#21557749)
      If you look at the backstory for the rise of SUP, the whole thing started when the abuse team tried to apply American standards to Russian bloggers. You see, the Russian internets culture is different. You post whatever you want to post. For example, if you feel that you want to personally execute every member of [insert group of people here], burn the corpses in a fire, and piss in the ashes, then you should definitely blog about it. Self-censorship is for wimps and politicians. A few years ago, American lj abuse members attempted to ban some Russian bloggers (for posting something about murdering NATO soldiers, iirc). The Russian blogosphere exploded in indignation, and the lj management decided that the only way to sort out what was going on with its Russian-speaking users was to offload them to a Russian company. Hence, SUP, which acquired the rights to the Russian-speaking part of lj last year - and now, has bought the whole service.

      If the behavior that SUP has found acceptable in its segment of lj is anything to go by, lj filtering and censorship may be set to disappear entirely.
      • But LJ, Inc. will still be an American company - which means it will still be bound by American child pornography laws, right? Which is exactly what the latest uproar was about - could LJ itself get in legal trouble for hosting drawings of Snape and Harry doing it? The answer to that question doesn't change (or become any less muddy) if LJ, Inc.'s owners live in another country but the company itself is still here. (Btw, I think they've decided that drawings of fictional minors *don't* count legally as chil
      • Wow. I could only dream about all the _INSERT FASCIST HERE_ I would like to urge others to destroy and remove them like the cancer they are.
        Of course, after about a month of everyone, probably saying the same thing about the same people _INSERT YOU KNOW WHO HERE_ we'd all kind of sit around wondering why the world was exactly the same as before the ranting, and also bemoan the lack of creativity we have about insinuating that someone kill that _INSERT EXPLETIVE HERE_ flea bag _INSERT GENDER HERE_ of a mothe
    • by Khyber (864651)
      They're already filtering. Not the day before they announced the sale of LJ they implemented a new flagging system, and reset everyone's accounts to start warning people that they may be viewing a journal which contains 'adult concepts'. The backlash of the new system caused a nice outrage, similar to the Strikethrough of 2007.

      What I find interesting is their TOS, which states:

      "All Content posted to LiveJournal in any way, is the responsibility and property of the author. LiveJournal is committed to m
  • Totally my personal experience when I proclaim there are extremely talented software engineers in Russia that are under-utilized in the global market. I will definitely be watching closely. Maybe some others can share their experiences?
  • To those of us in the United States, this opens up a whole new experience...while most of the world uses widespread blogging sites and social interaction sites based here in America, for once OUR denizens will be reading their friends lists and syndicated feeds, and writing their thoughts, impressions, and pictures of their drunken selves regurgitating in public (sorry, that's facebook) on servers hosted in another country. All of a sudden we will be forced to *gasp* interact with the world around us.

    This
  • I went to high School with Brad, and I developed the first Mac version of the LJ client. It's crazy to see where it's gone.
  • ....expect odd charges apearing in 3,2,1...
  • by TheNarrator (200498) on Monday December 03, 2007 @02:30AM (#21557681)
    So I'm sure a lot of American Slashdotters are thinking: "What? A Russian Company buying an American Company? Where did they get the dough?"

    From : http://www.econstats.com/weo/V012.htm [econstats.com]
    Share of World Economy %

    country 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
    United States 21.68 21.34 21.13 20.97 20.85 20.71 20.57
    Russia 2.36 2.42 2.46 2.55 2.60 2.66 2.69
    Italy 3.22 3.20 3.12 3.01 2.91 2.84 2.79
    France 3.34 3.33 3.27 3.17 3.10 3.04 2.98
    Spain 1.81 1.82 1.81 1.78 1.75 1.72 1.70
    China 10.92 11.47 12.07 12.68 13.18 13.59 13.99
    India 5.45 5.54 5.65 5.83 5.91 6.05 6.17

    I wish this chart went back further to really accentuate how much has changed over the past 15 years. The point being... Slowly but surely the world economy is getting more evenly distributed around the globe.
    • Umm, from that site's data, Russia's share has _fallen_ over the last 26 years; from a high of almost 5% to today's 2.69%.... And USA has been flat at around 21% the entire time; China grew from 3% to 14%, India from 3% to 6%... And France, Spain and Italy have taken minor falls from 4-ish percent to 3-ish percent over that time... How does that equate to "getting more evenly distributed"?
  • Here's some of the dirt on SUP:

    http://community.livejournal.com/no_lj_ads/tag/sup [livejournal.com]

    This is basically going to mean that LJ, which was in a good position as an unincorporated open source project and a somewhat uncared for and misunderstood position under Six Apart, is being sold to a shoddy and inconsistent company an ocean away from half of its userbase. There is no guarantee that LiveJournal's new owners will take as good care of the seven years of information (ranging from useless to invaluable) its users h
    • by makomk (752139)
      My personal favourites are:

      (a) the careless handling of users' LiveJournal login credentials (Livejournal itself stores them in plain text, so make sure you're not using the same password for anything else)

      (b) the amount of time it took them to fix the XSS hole on Livejournal.ru that, amongst other things, leaked every Livejournal user's identity - and therefore their journal URL - to any website that cared to obtain it. (Livejournal.ru automatically obtained it from Livejournal via OpenID - it was glo
  • by Ilgaz (86384) *
    JWZ will have to write blog in Russian now?

    http://jwz.livejournal.com/ [livejournal.com]
  • (Troll hat on)

    Well it's not like the Russian mafia could be any worse at customer relations than Six Apart anyhow.

  • Very nice, very nice.
    How much ?
  • Just remember, there's been a lot of malware coming out of Russia lately, particularly from the Russian Business Network [wikipedia.org]. Will LiveJournal's new owners start giving us free popups and keyloggers as surprise gifts? Too early to know for certain, but this deal moves them a bit closer to RBN's arena, and zombifying LJ's userbase would be a big feather in their cap.

    Block your Flash and Javascript, just in case. 'Course, that's good advice no matter where you surf.
  • by migstradamus (472166) * on Monday December 03, 2007 @05:14AM (#21558339) Homepage
    Came to this late, so not sure if anyone who actually knows anything about LiveJournal in Russia or the Russian media has posted above. LiveJournal IS blogging in Russia, almost literally. Its acronym ZheZhe, for ZhivoiZhurnal, is what blogs are called generically. It has also proven relatively influential in a country where the television and major print media are under strict Kremlin control. Not as in the old Pravda days of one message one source, but with set themes to promote (temnyki), blacklists, and a long list of unmentionable topics.

    Less than 20% of the Russian population is online, but outbreaks of support for otherwise ignored cases on LiveJournal have actually made it to mainstream prominence. Liberal groups (and others) have used it for organizing. All this was more than enough to set off the alarm bells of the Kremlin media masters. There have already been many cases of direct repression of bloggers and other web presences online (not just on ) using the broad extremism act. The Kremlin is wary of broader action because they don't want to make enemies of the active Russian internet community.

    That's not the Putin model anyway, while what just happened to LiveJournal is exactly that. The annoying and/or potentially useful media entity is acquired by someone with tight Kremlin connections. Disloyal staff are replaced. Slowly or quickly, negative content about Putin and his administration disappears. Discussion is allowed as long as it doesn't cross the invisible line. The Putin regime has raised this to an art form, studying how the authoritarian governments of Serbia, Georgia, and Ukraine were toppled (all with a similar blueprint) and taking preventative action. The internet wasn't really much of a factor in those cases but with the increased penetration these days the Kremlin isn't taking any chances. They won't care about blogs not in Russian. Intimidation and a chilling effect is the point. The best repression is the kind you don't have to back up.

    Despite its overwhelming control, the Putin power structure is brittle and they have to figure out how to transition this power monopoly come the March 2, 2008 presidential elections. It's no coincidence that this move "against" LiveJournal comes now. It was a potential loose end that can now be bullied, or snipped off if necessary. Notices go out to all publishers/editors/reporters/users telling them they must comply with all laws, including the extremely vague act against extremism the regime uses to confiscate materials and harass critics across the country.

    The internet in Russia is in a precarious state. If it were more widespread and more heavily used as alternative media it would attract the Kremlin attention it has largely escaped so far. Other than the DDOS attacks opposition sites are hit by on a regular basis. (A la the Estonian sites during their diplomatic row with Russia. Our Russian sites kasparov.ru and namarsh.ru get hammered regularly.)

    The optimists and Putin apologists inside and outside of Russia have been proven wrong again and again. Of course he won't... and he does. He doesn't care how something looks to the West as long as it doesn't affect his bottom line and the grasp on power. They have a huge amount of money at stake, the only thing he and his gang really care about. LiveJournal is just another piece in the game.

    Saludos, Mig Greengard

    Editor, http://theotherrussia.org/ [theotherrussia.org]
    • by tetromino (807969) on Monday December 03, 2007 @07:06AM (#21558749)
      If (when?) SUP starts actively censoring livejournal (thus far, its moves have been restricted to wordfiltering dpni), all the interesting people will simply migrate to any one of dozens of lj clones, and the less-interesting people will gradually follow. The internet interprets censorship as damage etc. It's not like television, where the opposition eventually ran out of channels. The only real way for Putin to restrict the freedom of blogging is with a China-style filtering setup - and AFAIK, no Russian official has mentioned any plans to do anything of the sort. So far.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by eulernet (1132389)
        Don't forget that they have access to all the IP logs.
        Since they are able to locate people from their IP, they will be able to find the people behind the blogs (I'll let you guess what they do to their opponents).

        It's a known manipulation technique used by Scientologists: never defend, always attack.
        When you cannot shut your opponents, keep attacking them. If you have more resources, the opponent will eventually break or stop.

        It's a sad day for Russia's democracy, and democracy in general.
  • Prominent Russian bloggers are already leaving LJ - or at least opening their blogs elsewhere (greatestjournal, blogspot etc.)

"Look! There! Evil!.. pure and simple, total evil from the Eighth Dimension!" -- Buckaroo Banzai

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