Six Apart Sells LiveJournal to Russia's SUP
Blogging software maker Six Apart Dec. 3 said it has sold social networking software maker LiveJournal to Russian online media company SUP for an undisclosed sum.
SUP said in a statement it has launched the namesake LiveJournal service in San Francisco to help LiveJournal become a major worldwide brand.
LiveJournal is credited with bringing friends lists and privacy controls to the mainstream social networking world, which is ruled by sites such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others that boast millions of users.
Like most sectors in high tech, the social media market has been experiencing considerable consolidation; startups are joining larger vendors to survive or thrive in the competitive market for user-generated media.
Earlier this year, Google grabbed YouTube for $1.65 billion, eBay bought StumbleUpon for $75 million while MySpace (purchased by News Corp. for $580 million in 2005) acquired PhotoBucket.
Six Apart acquired LiveJournal in January 2005 from its founder, Brad Fitzpatrick, who went on to join Google as its social networking guru.
While at Six Apart, LiveJournal accounts boomed from 5 million to more than 14 million. Moreover, Six Apart added an e-mail, instant message and Web notification system; LJTalk, an open-source IM platform; user-to-user messaging; and features to enable LiveJournal software on mobile devices.
Despite this success, Six Apart CEO Chris Alden said shedding LiveJournal will enable SixApart to focus on its core assets, including the Movable Type Publishing Platform, the TypePad hosted blogging service and its Vox blogging service.
SUP is no stranger to LiveJournal; the Moscow-based company has been managing LiveJournal in Russia, where it is extremely popular, since October 2006. Russia comprises 28 percent of LiveJournal's monthly audience, SUP claims.
LiveJournal has put together a 100-day development plan to focus on service performance, usability, and socialization and discovery features.
Under the terms of the deal, SUP and Six Apart will work together to transfer operations to LiveJournal. The team that worked exclusively on LiveJournal at Six Apart has moved to LiveJournal Inc., where new general manager, marketing and sales teams will be recruited.
LiveJournal has also formed an advisory board, which includes founder Fitzpatrick, to oversee issues relating to privacy, user policy and security.
Six Apart will continue its investment in and promotion of the open-source technologies created by the LiveJournal team, including Memcached, Mogile, Perlbal and OpenID. Six Apart also said it will continue to represent LiveJournal to advertisers and sponsors for the next twelve months.