Acquisition of LiveJournal, creation of new operating company and investment fund by SUP promise new innovation and expansion for pioneering online community
San Francisco, CA - December 3, 2007 - Six Apart, the world's leading independent blogging software and services company, today announced that SUP, an international media company, has acquired LiveJournal (LJ), the pioneer of social networking communities online used by millions of people around the world to connect through personal journals and topic-based communities. SUP has launched an American company, LiveJournal, Inc., to manage and operate LiveJournal globally.
This agreement builds on the established and successful relationship between Six Apart and SUP, which entered into a licensing agreement in October 2006 permitting SUP to manage LiveJournal in Russia. The Russian LiveJournal community is second only to the U.S. in number of accounts, and has been influential enough in that country to make "LiveJournal" synonymous with "blogging" in Russian.
"We have a tremendous respect for the LiveJournal community, and are pleased to see that LiveJournal, Inc. will continue to build on LiveJournal's rich user experience. We have been impressed by the expertise and enthusiasm that SUP has brought to LiveJournal in Russia. They've introduced new features, nearly doubled the number of users, invested in key product enhancements, and have done justice to one of the most innovative online social networks in the world. Judging both by SUP's track record and their eagerness to create a new user advisory board to oversee the community's interests, this is clearly a good fit," stated Chris Alden, CEO and Chairman of Six Apart.
"Having gotten to know LiveJournal in Russia over the past year, we see enormous potential in developing the business worldwide; it has already shown its durability in America. We believe this is a great opportunity," said Andrew Paulson, CEO of SUP.
Six Apart acquired LiveJournal in January 2005 from its founder, Brad Fitzpatrick. From its founding, LiveJournal popularized many of the fundamental innovations of social media, such as friends lists and powerful privacy controls. Under Six Apart, the number of LiveJournal accounts nearly tripled from 5 million to over 14 million, and dozens of new features were introduced to the site, including
- a powerful email/IM/web notification system;
- LJTalk, a completely open-source Jabber-based instant messaging platform;
- user-to-user messaging and tremendous improvements in comment management and editing;
- a vastly expanded mobile feature set, including a dedicated mobile client; and
- dozens of new visual themes and a completely new, simplified site design and navigation system.
Six Apart will also continue to represent LiveJournal to advertisers and sponsors for at least the coming twelve months. Brand owners interested in advertising on LiveJournal or Six Apart's Vox may visit here.
"While we'll miss being LiveJournal's home, this is a great milestone for LiveJournal and also lets us to focus on the core products invented at Six Apart: Movable Type, TypePad, and Vox," said Alden. "We are investing heavily in the products and have substantial growth plans for 2008."
For more information about the acquisition, please visit lj_2008.
About Six Apart
Six Apart Ltd. provides award-winning blogging software and services that change the way millions of individuals, organizations, and corporations connect and communicate across the world every day. Founded in 2002 by husband and wife team Ben Trott and Mena G. Trott, Six Apart is a global company with its headquarters in San Francisco, CA, and offices in Europe and Japan. The company continues to lead in the blogging and social media industry with the Movable Type Publishing Platform, the TypePad hosted blogging service, and Vox, a free blogging service for friends and families. For more information visit the Six Apart corporate web site at http://www.sixapart.com/.
SUP acquires LiveJournal from Six Apart
New team to develop LiveJournal in U.S. and globally. Online user poll offers chance to join new Advisory Board.
SAN FRANCISCO – December 3, 2007 – SUP, an international media company based in Moscow, today announced that it has acquired LiveJournal from Six Apart, Ltd. LiveJournal is one of the world's leading global online communities, with a monthly audience of more than 18m unique visitors in nearly every country in the world. Additionally, SUP today launched a new U.S. company, LiveJournal, Inc., based in San Francisco, which will manage and operate LiveJournal. More information on the acquisition is available at lj_2008.
This deal is the second agreement between SUP and Six Apart. In October 2006, SUP concluded a licensing agreement with Six Apart to support and develop the large Russian segment of LiveJournal, which now represents 28% of its monthly audience. In the past twelve months, SUP and Six Apart have worked in close collaboration to improve LiveJournal for Russian users during which time the community has almost doubled.
"Having gotten to know LiveJournal in Russia over the past year we see enor-mous potential in developing the business worldwide; it has already showed its durability in America. We believe this is a great opportunity," said Andrew Paulson, president of SUP.
New LJ community to highlight plans launched
The new management team outlined their plans for the service in a new LiveJournal community – lj_2008 – dedicated to addressing user questions and concerns, and serving as a forum to discuss anything related to the acquisition. Also at lj_2008, users will find details about LiveJournal, Inc.'s goals over the next 100 days. These goals include planned upgrades as well as new features and services for the LiveJournal community. The team will focus on such items as service performance, usability, socialization and discovery features. LiveJournal, Inc. is encouraging users to post on the community new ideas for improving the service.
The LiveJournal community was informed of the news yesterday afternoon. SUP promised significant new investment in LiveJournal in the coming months and years. SUP also reassured the community that while subscribing to a minimalist approach in managing the site, it will establish clear and concrete policies with regard to communication and consultation on issues vital to the community.
LJ in Russia
When SUP established a licensing agreement with Six Apart to run LiveJournal in Russia in October 2006 Andrew Paulson said at the time: "LiveJournal is a very important Russian social and cultural phenomenon; our first duty is to 'do no harm,' LiveJournal is the 'blogosphere' in Russia, and being the caretaker of this service is a great privilege and a huge responsibility."
Commenting on SUP's track record in Russia since taking over the Russian segment Chris Alden, CEO and Chairman of Six Apart said, "We were very impressed with SUP's management of the Russian LiveJournal community over the past year and are confident that they will bring resources and energy to develop the product and expand the community."
LJ Management Team and Advisory Board
SUP and Six Apart will work together in the coming months to transfer operations to LiveJournal, Inc. The existing team that worked exclusively on LiveJournal at Six Apart has moved to LiveJournal, Inc., and new general manager, marketing and sales teams will be recruited.
LiveJournal, Inc has announced the formation of the LiveJournal Advisory Board, which will be comprised of both industry experts and members of the LiveJournal community. One of the key members of the Advisory Board will be LiveJournal's founder, Brad Fitzpatrick, who recently left Six Apart for Google. Positions will also be reserved for two members of the LiveJournal community on a rotating basis via an open online election process.
SUP is an international online media company with established partnerships with businesses across the globe. It was founded in the summer of 2006 by an international management team with Russian seed capital. SUP set itself the goal of building a portfolio of high-traffic-generating projects based in Moscow from which to expand worldwide.
Since its launch SUP has generated Russian-language traffic and sold advertis-ing inventory on its own sites and others inside Russia. These projects include:
- LiveJournal.ru, the most popular blogging platform and social network in Russia;
- Championat.ru, currently one of the top three sports news and entertain-ment services in the Russian internet;
- +SOL, a media sales house which is SUP's internal commercial depart-ment and also sells online advertising for a number of high-profile Russian and international Web sites (Yahoo!, Last.fm, The Times, amongst others);
- Victory S.A., a full-service online advertising agency which devises and delivers online marketing campaigns for leading Russian and international brands.
What Does This Mean?
You're probably wondering what this means for you. We realize you are going to have a lot of questions and we want to be sure to address them all.
It's been clear for some time that doing the right thing for LiveJournal would require being a lot more ambitious; it would take an even bigger investment in and commitment to this community. It would take a team dedicated exclusively to LiveJournal--one that can build on the commitment to technological innovation and invention for which LiveJournal is known. And it would take some creative thinking. It would take SUP.
SUP has a deep respect and admiration for the LiveJournal community, and their main goal in acquiring LiveJournal is to have a company (LiveJournal, Inc.) that focuses ONLY on LiveJournal. To be frank (too early for a goat pun?) we think this acquisition is going to greatly improve your LiveJournal experience. In the past year, SUP has demonstrated a passion for LiveJournal, as well as great skill in managing the service in Russia. They have invested in new features, new services, and new business partnerships, and they will continue to do so. LiveJournal, Inc. will focus on service performance, usability, socialization, and discovery features right away to ensure you're getting the most out of your LiveJournal experience.
SUP understands that LiveJournal is nothing without you, the community, so they are forming the LiveJournal Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will represent the users, offering you a voice and a forum regarding your role on LiveJournal, as well as LiveJournal's role in the online world. It will be independent of the LiveJournal, Inc. management team and will oversee issues such as honoring LiveJournal's community traditions, ensuring privacy, creating user policy and protecting security. We are thrilled that Brad Fitzpatrick, LiveJournal's founder, has agreed to become the first member of the Advisory Board. This will permit him to be much more closely involved in LiveJournal's development. The Advisory Board will also include two members from the LiveJournal community who will be elected by you (we've been inspired by the Wikipedia elections), the users. Clearly, when SUP says they want you to be involved, they mean it. You can read much more about SUP's plan for LiveJournal, Inc., as well as the role of the Advisory Board, in lj_2008.
We're also very happy to report that the Six Apart employees who worked exclusively on LiveJournal have all been transferred to LiveJournal, Inc. We (the new LiveJournal, Inc. team) remain dedicated to supporting and improving this community. While Six Apart will certainly miss being LiveJournal's home, this gives them the opportunity to focus on their core products: Movable Type, TypePad and Vox. Six Apart will continue to offer support to LiveJournal, Inc. until the transition is complete.
During the transition, SUP also wants to ensure that you are involved in the Community Policy Update if that's something that interests you. We've created a new community lj_policy, where you can participate in the decision making, and follow policy updates and processes. This new community is the first step in creating a thorough Community Policy that accurately reflects what you want and deserve from your LiveJournal experience.
We know change can be scary, even if it's a good change. We also understand how frustrating it can be to feel like you're in the dark when those changes are happening, so we're taking a number of steps to keep you in the loop. You can join the new lj_2008 community to learn about:
- The LiveJournal plan for 2008
- The FAQs about the SUP acquisition
- The Advisory Board's role
- How to ask questions and how to get answers about these changes
SUP believes in LiveJournal and we know that passion will manifest itself in both innovation and improvement. And SUP's got their priorities straight: their number one goal is to make sure all of you who are current LiveJournal users are happy, and to make LiveJournal better than ever before.
Of course, we can't do this without your feedback. You should start off by posting your comments in lj_2008. We will be getting in touch with users to follow up on their ideas in the new year, if not earlier. Also, when you join the community, you'll be able to view an invitation to a special LiveJournal party Monday night in San Francisco celebrating all of these exciting changes. We hope to see you there!
Finally, we know you're worried about how Frank's dealing with all of this, and we're pleased to report that while he's going to miss his friends at Six Apart, he's excited about the change. Plus, let's face it, as long as he's with you (and, um, chewing on something), he's a pretty happy goat.