theljstaff (theljstaff) wrote in news,

MARCH 2008: In Like a Lion... Out Like a Lamb

The past few weeks at LiveJournal have not been without incident. Last week we updated you on our plans for 2008, including our policy and development priorities, and we've been working fervently on those plans already. During this busy time, we've also brought on new colleagues, and moved into our new San Francisco office. We've also been able to roll out a few things we hope will make your life on LJ a little better.

Less Spam. More Books.
We are now using a new CAPTCHA from reCAPTCHA during the registration process for new accounts. Not only will this help to significantly decrease the amount of spam accounts that are created, we love that reCAPTCHA is helping improve the process of digitizing books by sending words that cannot be read by computers to the web in the form of CAPTCHAs for humans to decipher. In short, reCAPTCHA is helping to digitize books one word at a time, all while eliminating spam.

Get Inspired
As you know, we post a new Writer's Block prompt every day of the week. The questions are meant to inspire you to post, but clearly not every question is going to inspire every single person, which is why we've created the Writer's Block Archive. Located next to the "Suggestions" link in the Writer's Block module, you'll find a link to an archive of the last 30 days of Writer's Block prompts. Don't feel like sharing with the world what you're most neurotic about? No worries... Just check out the archives and find a question you DO want to answer. Do you have a great idea for a Writer's Block? We'd love to hear it!

News from Russia
We made a commitment to keep you abreast of important LiveJournal developments and we want to honor that commitment and let you know about a new feature we are going to test in Russia: Paid Accounts Supported by Sponsors.

The concept is simple, really. Essentially it’s a paid account, but someone else picks up the bill.

Here's how it works: Users will be offered paid accounts that are supported by sponsors. Users will be able to choose accounts from a range of brands supporting this program. Should the sponsor stop supporting this arrangement, the account will revert back to its previous type.

The accounts will have a specially designed journal style with modest branding from the sponsor; these will be designed by our creative department and approved by the sponsors. There will also be a banner in the profile page. The owners of paid/sponsored accounts will not see advertisements in other people's journals, while existing paid users will not see banners in a sponsored users' profiles. The branded styles will respect ?style=mine, which will allow paid users to avoid seeing branded styles if they wish to do so.

This new feature will soon be available for testing by Russian-speaking users. They will test the functionality of new accounts and provide us with feedback. Based on this feedback and agreements with global advertisers, we may eventually extend this new functionality to LJ users around the world. 

Design It With Style: Enter the HP "What Do You Have to Say?" Theme Design Contest
One of the first things people notice when they're checking out your journal is the theme you've chosen to represent yourself and your content. Whether you've chosen one of our themes, or a custom theme you've designed yourself, the way your journal looks really does provide readers a hint about your personality and style. Not to mention, a great looking theme can also inspire creativity and motivate us to post to our own journals.

Which is why we're so excited to announce the HP "What Do You Have to Say?" Theme Design Contest.

All you have to do to enter is design a theme that showcases your personal style and creativity. The winning theme will be made available to millions of bloggers on LiveJournal, TypePad and Vox. Plus, if your theme is chosen as the winner, you'll win some really cool prizes from HP:

First Place: $1000 gift certificate from Hewlett Packard
Second Place: $500 gift certificate from Hewlett Packard
Third Place: $300 gift certificate from Hewlett Packard

Visit the contest homepage to learn how to submit your theme, as well as VOTE on your favorite themes.

All entries must be submitted by April 4, 2008, at 5:00 p.m. PDT.

We can't wait to see what you create. And remember, this is a contest, so be sure to tell your friends and family to vote for your design!

Need Some Inspiration?
No one brings ideas to life quite like Gwen Stefani. With awesome personal style, and a true understanding of what it means to be creative, Gwen is a true inspiration for the designer in all of us. And now, for a limited time only, you can add a custom theme from Gwen Stefani and HP to your journal.

L to R: HP Love, HP Lovers Plug In, HP Lovers Rock, HP Music, HP Plug In

New V-Gifts
It wouldn't be a release without a few new V-Gifts. Throw someone a bone, send them a carnation, or let them know they're "the one" with a rubber ducky.

L to R: Peach Carnation, Purple Carnation, Smoothie Blender, Milk Tea Boba, Green Tea Boba, Frank Punching Bag, More Cowbell, DogBone, Rubber Ducky, Evil Ducky

Moving On
Jason Shellen, our VP of product development, decided to resign from his position at LiveJournal, Inc. at the beginning of the week. His decision was for family and personal reasons. We wish him the best for the future.

And Last, But Not Least...
We added a few other small things in this release... You can get all the details for this release (and all the releases) in lj_releases .

Finally... as we mentioned in the subject line, we realize we came into March a bit like a lion... So we hope you won't mind if we stay true to the old saying and go out more like a lamb. Or a goat. Whichever.

Happy Spring Everyone!
Tags: 2008, hp, news, r26, v-gifts, writer's block

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