As suggested before, Six Apart, the San Francisco blogging company, has officially announced that it’s buying online journal company LiveJournal in a cash and stock deal (no terms released). The deal allows Six Apart, whose products to this point were Movable Type and TypePad, to scale up to better compete against the likes of Google, Microsoft and AOL, three deep-pocket companies with their own blogging services. We talked with Six Apart co-founder Mena Trott and company CEO Barak Berkowitz about the deal, which raised the eyebrows of many LiveJournal fans and users. Since its inception six years ago, LiveJournal has created a large and loyal user base who viewed the service more as a vibrant, volunteer-based community and less as a company that could be sold. LiveJournal users are afraid that Six Apart will change that. Trott and Berkowitz address the concerns and explain the logic behind the acqusition. We recorded our phone interview and have posted abridged audio files of the chat. (links below)
Some technical notes…Mena and Barak were on a speaker phone, so the audio is not great. The sound on their end does improve, however, about a fourth of the way in. When we exported this file (recorded with an iPod), to mp3 format, it sounded lousy. So we’re posting a .wav file and an .AIFF file.
Some excerpts from the chat:
“I think the core thing to say here is we’re buying LiveJournal for LiveJournal. We’re not buying it to turn it into something else. We know what LiveJournal is. The fact that we come from the community should make people convinced that we’re not so naive that we don’t know exactly what the community is…The net is, users will question us, and users will be suspicious until they see what we do in real life in real action over a series of months, and we’ll have to prove ourselves to them. And we knew that when we got into this deal…We do understand community, we do understand what we’re doing and we do understand what the blogging world is about.”
“We believe in communication. We’re doing this because we think LiveJournal has something that’s really strong with the community. We feel that that’s one of things we are lacking.”
Berkowitz on LiveJournal founder Brad Fitzpatrick, who will join Six Apart:
“Brad loves building technology, and he got really tired of spending most of his time dealing with the business, some lawyers and press and most of this stuff that he doesn’t enjoy doing. And he saw that in a partnership with us, he can do the kinds of the things he enjoys doing….and he can get back to writing great technology.”