Six Apart has sold its LiveJournal blogging service and its 14 million user accounts to a Moscow company called SUP, which currently runs LiveJournal’s Russian operation. SUP (short for “single user portal”) has launched an American company, LiveJournal, Inc., to manage and operate LiveJournal globally. There don’t appear to be any immediate plans to change the LJ infrastructure.
Six Apart, which created the Movable Type blogging software and also runs the TypePad and Vox blogging services, bought LiveJournal in 2005. One of the drivers in Six Apart’s purchase was LiveJournal’s experience scaling a Perl-based hosting architecture to maximize revenue-per-server. At the time, Six Apart was having performance problems in getting TypePad to scale as it grew quickly. But recently Six Apart has been focused on growing TypePad and Vox and reviving Movable Type, which had languished while many bloggers shifted to the open source WordPress.
“We have been impressed by the expertise and enthusiasm that SUP has brought to LiveJournal in Russia,” said Chris Alden, CEO and Chairman of Six Apart. “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.”
SUP has launched a community site called LJ2008 to outline its plans for the service and address user questions. The site includes a 100-day plan to improve LiveJournal’s navigation, user-friendliness and registration process. “SUP believes that LJ is one of the web’s strongest communities,” the FAQ says. “SUP also believes in the business opportunity LJ offers. As the role of social networking and blogs becomes more significant in society, SUP feels that a service with a history as rich as that of LJ has a very bright future.”