When SUP bought LiveJournal from SixApart, I'm sure the Russian company understood the financial details and the technological nuances, but I'm not sure it understood that the customer base is about one thing and one thing only — drama. At least, that's the impression I get from Anton Nosik in a recent interview with Izbrannoe, commenting on the March 12 move by the company to no longer offer free accounts (translated by russianswinga):
They endlessly, during the entire existence of LJ promote initiatives, whose only purpouse is to bring harm to LJ, its founders, their goal is to criticize, destablilize and ruin our reputation.More charmingly honest observations from Nosik after the jump.
On whether threats to harass advertisers by incensed emos are serious:
Of course not. Where will you find such idiots that will call serious companies? It's one thing to call a newspaper in hope that they will give you 15 minutes of fame on their page. But a proper firm? The first thing you'll get asked is "so who exactly are you trying to reach? What is this about and why the hell should we care?"Nosik is under the impression that the Internet is a place where services are rendered for a nominal fee in order to support a viable business:
Izbrannoe: Let's say I want to start a blog in LJ, but I hate advertising as a concept in our lives and I have no money for a paid account. I can't?And if the interview starts to go off the rails, subtly threaten the journalist with violence, and then state wildly unfounded assumptions as common sense business savvy:
Nosik: Today you will not be able to start a blog in LJ. As you would not, for example, on mail.ru, google, yahoo... There no longer exists an entity on the web, which, without specifically being a charity, would refise to make money - be it from users or from advertising. This is normal, you don't walk into a store and ask for free products.
Let's say, I say to you, mr. Journalist, "I think you put an extra comma here". Your natural reaction is "Oh, you're right" or "Let's ask the editor". But if I come to you and say "Take away the comma or I will beat you." Will you really go checking your spelling after that?In the distance, I think I can hear a peal of laughter from the Six Apart offices in SoMa, followed by a long sigh while management collectively wonders, "Why didn't we think of that?" (Photo Izbrannoe)
In a situation where people are trying to scare and blackmail us, threatening to destroy our business, there are business reasons for not rewarding such behaviour. This is not just human psychology, which retaliates more the more it is pressed. Problem is that there's never been a successful company whose success was based on bowing to collective resistant forces. No decision — no matter how correct — should be based on pressure.