you don’t know you’re born: a baby squirrels special

These days, I find 07refugees over at insanejournal a quicker way of keeping up with livejournal wank than wading through infinite cat macros at news, but this doesn’t stop me occasionally wishing to give the contributors a smack upside the head.

Oh noes! livejournal has sneakily turned on autopay so they can steal your moneys! OK, I want you to imagine this scenario: livejournal says they’re having a sale on paid accounts so they cost $10. When you get to the checkout they have this shady ‘credits’ system that lets you purchase $15 units only. So you buy the credits and — get this — they tell you they’re not giving you the extra $5 back because they ‘don’t do refunds’. That’s what stealing your money looks like. LJ know perfectly well they couldn’t get away with that kind of manoeuvre. Unfortunately, wordpress.com can.

(If I had a personal blog here, I’d have left there and then. As it is, the wank from that incident is worth $5. Also, of course, I’m never buying anything from them again, so ultimately they lost more than they gained.)

Oh noes! livejournal is screening comments on news! You think that’s censorship? Please. I can’t remember the last time I got a comment past the Great Firewall of Matt on our news blog.

Oh noes! livejournal is tracking visitors to your journal! Yeah, except livejournal is only tracking 5% of journals and has given you the option to opt out. Wanna see my footer?

lovelyfooter.gif

I don’t seem to recall anyone telling me about that, let alone letting me turn it off. Not to mention the Google Analytics shit in the header.


_uacct = "UA-52447-2";

_udn = "wordpress.com";
urchinTracker();

Oh noes! livejournal is inflicting snap previews on every link in your journal! Honey, wordpress.com was doing that months ago. And they didn’t even have the grace to make it an opt-in feature for existing users. We had to seek out the option to turn it off ourselves.

Oh noes! our ToS is vague and keeps changing and we don’t know what will get us deleted! and we is being censored from posting porns! Try not having a terms of service sometime. Then maybe try being hidden from all public listings if your content isn’t PG-13. Try blogging on a host where they can delete you without notice for having a link they don’t like the look of. Or a host where they rewrite the FAQ to allow them to requisition your username at any time without your permission. How do you like them apples?

Back on lj… Oh noes! livejournal won’t let me hide its stupid ugly navbar for evermore and never have to look at it again! At least they let you hide the navbar on your own journal. And if you can’t deal with their tasteful, grey, customisable creation then how would you like something fat and blue and Bloggery instead? (I take that back. Blogger also give you a choice of colours, and their blue is less visually offensive.) If I want to take the navbar off my blog that’s a) going to cost me money, because they charge you here to edit your CSS, and b) get my blog deleted.

And oh noes! livejournal reneged on their promise to never ever put ads on the site! Well, at least they told you the policy was changing. And, again, they gave you the option to opt out. We had ads implemented by stealth and they only owned up when a bunch of people informed them that the lack of ads was their favourite feature. Even now, the existence of ads is hidden away in the FAQ and right at the bottom of the ‘features’ page (and we had to lobby quite hard to get that much). Many people remain unaware of them, because Automattic are smart enough to show them only to non-logged-in users. As for opting out, you’d have to give them money. Yes, even if you’re already paying for other upgrades. And that’s an unofficial workaround which I can’t promise wouldn’t get your blog deleted. The official no-ads upgrade is vaporware.

Yes, livejournal gets a lot of stuff wrong, but guess which site I’m willing to trust with my personal blog? (Here’s a clue: the idea of random angst juxtaposed with compulsory ads and ugly navbars is of extremely limited appeal to me.)

9 Comments »

  1. drmiketemp said

    Can you find a post over there where they dumped a moderator position on some poor smuck without asking, booted his ass for some unknown reason that they still refuse to tell him about after two months, post lies and insults about him every chance they get, and refuse to answer any of his question about the whole thing?

    Seriously asking actually. You seem to be in tune with LJ as well.

    By the way, that’s one of the reasons why I started pointing folks to the list on Andrew’s wpmu hosting blog. As much as wp.com tries not promote the fact, there are other wordpress multiuser hosts on the net. Some of them are very well run and very well supported.

  2. I don’t know that much about LJ support, just that it’s very organised. All the answers are copy-and-paste references to the FAQ (not unlike the system timethief’s evolved for herself, actually), and volunteers rise through the ranks by accumulating points for resolved issues. Once you’ve been doing it a few years you’ll generally get rewarded with a permanent account (monetary value about $150, but of course the kudos is the main thing) and some of them have even made it onto staff.

    The idea of somebody getting the power to move or close threads without having been around for a while and shown willingness to take on extra responsibilities is laughable. It just wouldn’t happen.

  3. options said

    hate to break it, but, alas, since LJ acquisition by 6A and Brad’s departure (as a last straw/guarantor) I can’t trust my *personal* blog with it anymore as well (it can be used for the another misc. purposes pretty well, though).

    since about July 2005 there’s an ongoing exodus, specially in some (rather large) parts where it’s been outsourced (read moved into local jurisdiction from the US one).

    however, thanks Brad, 6A has to do “that things like giving our* software away as open source”, and via OpenID (thanks Brad again) LJ.com users are able to post their *identified* comments on the quite a few of LJ.org clones. some of them allow new-comers claim the username they used to have on LJ.com (verification is required).

    .
    *) Automattic’s or yet .org community’s one, Toni?

  4. Picture Improvement said

    The blatant profiteering at LJ (v-gifts, anyone?) leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, personally. I used to feel guilty when my paid account lapsed, but not any more. The complainers’ histrionics are hilarious.

    re: opting out, I wonder how much the WPcom situation is influenced by Matt’s obsession with keeping “confusing” configuration options hidden away.

  5. V2 said

    Off topic:
    TGA, will you make a post about matt buying gravatar?

  6. Andrea said

    Oh wow, that was a very well done comparison. And you didn’t even have to touch Nipplegate or the latest fanfic issues.😀

  7. Andrew said

    V2, that’s what I was here looking for. I suspect that we’ll see it the Gravamattic post here soon…

  8. engtech said

    Here’s neomeme’s post on gravatar:

    http://www.neomeme.net/2007/10/17/automatticgravatar-and-the-elusive-unified-identity/

  9. drmiketemp said

    Damn, I just spent all that money removing Akismet from our servers since it was proven to be unrelyable. Now we’re going to have to do the same with the avatars.

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