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LiveJournal flogged to Russians

Blogging problem child sent to gulag

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San Francisco blogware firm Six Apart has offloaded LiveJournal, the fiesty community it bought only two years ago, to the Russian media group SUP.

LiveJournal already beats Google's Blogger and others for the title of Russia's most popular blogging site. It claims more than 14 million registered users worldwide. It makes no claim on how many of these have updated their blog in the last six months.

SUP is owned by the oligarch Aleksandr Mamut. He is one of the few billionaires to profit in the Yeltsin era and avoid Putin's ire as the President's grip on the country tightens. The group has established a company in the US to continue to run the site from San Francisco.

Six Apart has had plenty of headaches from LiveJournal since it bought it from its founder Brad Fitzpatrick in 2005. Users have repeatedly criticised its content policies, which have included banning pictures of breastfeeding, and a blanket shutdown of support groups for victims of sexual abuse because the site assumed listing something in your interests is the same as being in favour of it.

It'll be interesting to see what effect, if any, Russia's maverick approach to freedom of speech, particularly when it comes to criticising the Kremlin, has on LiveJournal. Some Russian commentators have called the blogosphere the last refuge of independent media in the country.

Fitzpatrick's take on the deal is here.

Financial details have been kept secret. Six Apart retains ownership of the Moveable Type blogging software, as well as TypePad and Vox - yet more blogging sites. ®

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