Six Apart Buys LiveJournal

In a continuing bid to own more market share, Six Apart—the makers of Movable Type—have bought Danga Interactive—the owners of LiveJournal. Danga is right here in Portland, Oregon so this one hits close to home (and Danga's Brad Fitzpatrick has already said they are moving to San Francisco). The combined user base is estimated at 6.5 million, so it's hardly a minor acquisition.

We'll see what happens with TypePad and LiveJournal after this merger. So far the indications are that they will continue as separate products. I don't use either so I'm not really concerned. I am a Movable Type customer, though (I actually paid for it, which shocks some people).

Six Apart's press release is here, with a Q&A here. Mena Trott wrote a lot more from a personal sense, and explains the acquisition:

Brad's initial question—an expected one—was “why does Six Apart want to acquire Danga (LiveJournal)?” The answer was simple: “Many of our weaknesses are LiveJournal's strengths and many of LiveJournal's weaknesses are our strengths.”
There's the infrastructure that LiveJournal knows how to build, the talent of Brad and his crew, and the community that we can learn a lot from. Yes, LiveJournal also has a large user base and joining companies make us stronger.
And of course we're doing this deal because we believe it will increase the value of Six Apart. We're a company and don't make apologies for that.

There's some of the standard answer there. “We each fill holes in the other company and it's expected that efficiencies from the merger will be accretive to earnings.” Everyone says that.

The fact is, webloggers and LiveJournalers are in essence doing the same thing: they are posting their thoughts to people who are important to them.

Always good to articulate a core value.

I've seen LiveJournalers worried that we're going to turn around and start charging, close the LiveJournal source, own the content on LiveJournals, force the users to use TypePad/Movable Type and plaster their sites with advertisements. (We're not going to do this).

Attack fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) early and often. It will certainly be spread by agitators and competitors. Most of the posting is about allaying the fear of change, something I'm pretty familiar with.

What disappoints me is the move of Danga employees to California. This is the Internet age. Why can't those employees work from here? Why can't they be in Belize? Is it really that critical to move them?

Brad's entry is a lote more like LiveJournal's style. Down to Earth, more nuts and bolts. He points out that he doesn't like to run a business but didn't trust anyone else to run LiveJournal. He trusts Six Apart.

And, finally, LiveJournal will get Trackback support, just in time for fighting Trackback spammers! With Jay Allen of MT-Blacklist in Six Apart's team, though, I expect the spam problem to get a lot of attention.

Josh Poulson

Posted Thursday, Jan 6 2005 11:37 AM

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