I agree with raventhon that LJ charges too cheaply for the permanent accounts. However, I would not raise the price of a permanent account if they're only going to sell them sporadically and with almost no prior notice.
What I would do is offer permanent accounts as a regular paid account option--available all the time--but I would make the permanent account price be the price of a paid account plus 50 user icons for ten years--$350. Or one could even increase this to paying for 20 years--$700, if LJ really wants permanent accounts to be a very rare thing.
This way, LJ would lose less revenue over time than it does from the current permanent accounts, which are priced at $100. If I had a well-paying job, I would actually be willing to spend as much as $700 in the interest of LJ not losing money. I enjoy my LJ accounts very much, and I plan to be a long-term user.
Why would I not increase the permanent account price for the sporadic offerings? Because, while $350 might be tolerated by most people interested in buying a permanent account during a surprise sale, I don't think $700 would be. Most people can't scrape together that kind of cash on short notice, and most people would decide that an LJ account isn't worth that much, just for a sale. Only if it were offered as a regular paid account option, so people could save up for one over time, could such a high price be charged.
Now, what they could do is sell permanent accounts at $700 regularly, but then have unannounced sporadic sales of a limited quantity at $350. That way, LiveJournal would at least get paid for ten years worth of use, instead of less than four. But I would have such sales be rare--held only on an as needed basis and not annually.
I know bradfitz would like to reserve permanent accounts as special gifts for volunteers who have put in a lot of work for LJ. But I think the LJ administration should also consider the fact that customers want permanent accounts--or else this topic would not come up every few months. Surely some sort of compromise could be reached?
Discussion of Permanent LJ Accounts
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