Don't Call It a Comeback

No Emo! LiveJournal Starts Deleting Some Inactive Accounts Before Its American Comeback Tour

Orders from LiveJournal's Russian oligarch: Out with the old communities and in with the new.
screen shot 2012 01 26 at 11 56 08 pm e1327640960167 No Emo! LiveJournal Starts Deleting Some Inactive Accounts Before Its American Comeback Tour

Oh No They Didn't and its disconcerting new interface.

Break out the “Bright Eyes,” over-sharers! LiveJournal, the no. 1 blogging platform of choice for navel-gazers in the early aughts is sending out notices this week that, “LiveJournal is planning to start deleting inactive empty accounts.” A reader who received the email yesterday sent us a copy, but from the  chatter on the site, it seems they’re not the only one.

Don’t dig a digital grave next to your Friendster testimonials and MySpace spam just yet, however. The purge, which LiveJournal has instituted at various times before, looks to be part of a recent attempt to win back American hearts and minds.

As Fast Company recently reported, LiveJournal, which since 2007 has been the de facto Russian WordPress and province of Singapore’s Etsy-esque “blogshop” owners, wants to make a triumphant return stateside. Internet history buffs will recall that LiveJournal creator Brad Fitzpatrick sold his service to Six Apart, makers of Movable Type, back in 2005. Two years after that, Six Apart turned around and sold LiveJournal to SUP, a Russian online media company run by Alexander Mamut, one of the lesser-known Russian Internet oligarchs who first caught the public’s eye during a money-laundering scandal with the Russian presidency when he earned the nickname “the Yeltsin family banker.

Under its new owners, the company, which is still popular with a loyal, niche group of “fan fiction writers, gamers, and various other Internet denizens,” for its social networking functionality, is emphasizing community with makeovers for popular sites like Oh No They Didn’t and AnythingDisney that include, “custom widgets to highlight frequent commenters,” “new metric tracking and analysis systems,” and “new, community-driven interface seemingly designed to deemphasize blog content.”

They’re even offering the carrot that most thriving Internet subcultures crave: pseudonymity.

“According to LiveJournal general manager Anjelika Petrochenko, LiveJournal’s planning a major 2012 push based around attracting new users to community sites. Petrochenko told Fast Company that the blogging service was planning between 10-50 new community sites by the end of 2012. These new community sites will offer organizers and admins highly detailed metrics and statistics on user activity that appear to be more detailed than Facebook. Petrochenko also stressed that LiveJournal accounts do not have to be tied to a real name/identity and offered greater anonymity than other social networks. However, LiveJournal has been involved in numerous censorship controversies in the past.”

The one community that’s not biting is the 10 million monthly uniques who currently visit LiveJournal in the U.S., like “Game of Thrones” creator and active online diarist George R.R. Martin.

As commenter Ardath Rekha wrote in response to the Fast Company piece:

“I don’t know why a company thinks that the way to repair more than four years of neglect and discourtesy is by giving the site a face-lift.  Especially when said face-lift is aesthetically unappealing, W3C-noncompliant, ADA-noncompliant, known to give users migraines, and ugly as sin to boot.  But it’s nice to get confirmation about who they’ve actually been trying to please while they’ve been busy shafting us.

Rest assured, LJ’s comeback in America is already as dead in the water as the Costa Concordia.”

Timely digs! See, those LiveJournalers still got it!

As for the rest of you “inactive empty” bloggers who never managed to fill your LiveJournal with all your angst and dreams, you’ve still got a couple weeks, according to the email notice: “Pursuant to our housekeeping policy, your LiveJournal account [REDACTED] l is scheduled to be deleted in 15 days. If you wish to reactivate your account to avoid deleting, please visit http://www.livejournal.com and log in within 15 days of this notification.”

Follow Nitasha Tiku on Twitter or via RSS. ntiku@observer.com