Hawk (merhawk) wrote,

Letter to LJ

On Mon, 12 Nov 2007, LiveJournal wrote:

:Your LiveJournal paid account for user "merhawk" is expiring in 12 days,
:at which time it'll revert to its previous status.

:To keep using all the cool features of your paid account, you have two
:options to renew:
:If you have any questions or requests, please contact us by replying to
:this email. We want to keep you happy. :)

Dear Livejournal,

If I truly believed you wanted to keep me - and by extension your
customers - happy, I would not have spent the last few months making my
account "basic level" friendly.

I've been on LJ for just over 4.5 years. While Six Apart has, on the
whole, made the platform more stable, there's very little other good that
I can say at this moment. You have a history of deciding that something
is the Next! Best! Feature! and forcefeed it on all your accounts. For

A) LJ Talk - when you enabled that for all accounts, you just placed
everyone's LJ email address on their profile, without warning them, and
without taking any pains to keep it private. I went from getting no spam
to getting 20-40 a day. My ISP doesn't spamblock any forwarded mail, so I
do know that all this spam came from the lj email address. This caused me
to have to disable the lj email address that comes with my paid account,
as your system doesn't do any spam filtering.

B) The Navigation bar - I find this a very annoying feature, though I
understand how LJ likes it from a marketing point of view. You default
put it on for all accounts, and when comments were made that perhaps you
shouldn't have defaulted it on for all accounts, I was told that you don't
like to tell people how they should design their journals. Except, in
this case, it was a "feature" that you turned on for everyone without
their knowledge, forcing people to deselect this.

C) Snap.com - You choose Snap for Vox, and then decided to spread it over
to LJ. This is one of your worst "upgrades" yet. You default turn it on
for everyone, without even considering that there is a lot of not safe for
work content on journals or how problematic little Java programs like this
can be on the average computer, and - even worse - you do not give people
the opportunity to turn it off everywhere on the site, if they're logged
in. Instead, you make it so that individual users can force people to see
these things because THEY want to use them, and then tell us "Oh, but you
can accept a cookie that will turn it off on your computer!" As a
consumer, I refuse to accept cookies from a site that I did not want to
have anything to do with in the first place, just so they can not
sell/show me a product. Thankfully, I have found instructions on how to
completely block your opt-out marketing from Snap from all the computers I

In addition, it seems you have still not learned your lessons from the
entire Strikethrough debacle. Where are these policy clarifications that
you were going to put out? Where is the consistency that you were going
to use to enforce your TOS?

$30/year is nothing for me. It's not even worth my thought to decide if
I'll renew a service that costs me so little. However, when I've had to
go out of my way to make your system useable - blocking the LJ email
address, finding explicit instructions on how to block snap.com without a
cookie, etc - why should I pay for your service? Polls? I only use them
because they're there. Userpics? I'm positive I can survive on only 6.
Styles? *shrug* If my current style isn't supported for a basic account,
I'll switch to one that is. Scrapbook? It kept randomly eating my

I do not reward companies by paying for services that they do not properly
provide. If you want to see revenue from me again, you need to actually
become customer focused, rather than just claiming to be customer focused.
Look at things from the consumer side, not just "How much money can we get
from this opt-out marketing that we're putting on our system?" There have
been online journaling sites before you - OpenDiary comes to mind - and
there are plenty of blogging sites to succeed you. Livejournal is not the
only fish in the sea, and it will continue to become less and less
relevant to users if you continue to make the same bad corporate decisions
time and again.


Tags: letters, lj

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