Was Ad Shyness a Factor in Six Apart Sale of LiveJournal?

Six Apart has sold blogging and community platform LiveJournal to SUP, a Russian concern that already runs LiveJournal’s Russian version and has several online ad-related businesses, including an agency and an ad network.

Let’s hope for SUP’s sake the company’s comfort with digital marketing won’t alienate LJ’s largely anti-advertising user base.

Six Apart acquired LiveJournal in 2005, only to discover many of its users don’t really dig on the whole monetization thing. Partly to cope with that reality, the company tried making its marketing incursions more oblique, offering ad-free paid accounts and sponsored communities. Its first such effort promoted the Michel Gondry flick Science of Sleep.

The official line from Six Apart is that it wants to focus on its in-house products, including MovableType, TypePad and Vox, and that may well be the case. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the ad sensitivity of those millions of users was a factor as well. SUP opened a San Francisco presence to run its new U.S.-based holding, and announced it will set up a user advisory board “to oversee the community’s interests.” So the company appears well aware of the touchiness of its new blogging constituents and eager to put anxious minds at ease.

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