(Note: I have a paid account.)
The main thing that Livejournal can provide over other blogging services is friends-locking. If I have to say something that I don't want my boss (or boss's wife: hello Lucy!) to read, I can friends-lock it, and Livejournal will make sure that only the people I've marked as friends can read it. If I host my own blog, I'd have to create my own login system, then persuade all my friends to register to get the same effect, and that's both technically and socially difficult. Up until now, I didn't feel too bad telling friends who wanted to read my locked posts to create a free livejournal account. But I do not feel comfortable telling them to get an ad-supported account just to read what I have to say. I'm not paying a subscription to Livejournal just so they can use me to force adverts on people.
Where to now? (Hint: NOT FACEBOOK) Are there any good systems that let you publish stuff, let people comment on it, let you restrict some stuff only to people you know, don't have adverts (or at least don't have adverts out of your control), provide an RSS feed (including the restricted stuff so long as the user is authenticated) and preferably aren't a huge burden to readers? I am willing to pay, and a fair bit more than I pay for Livejournal.
- Blogger. Owned by Google. Allows privacy at the blog level: all public or all restricted. Readers need Google accounts, which I think quite a lot of people have.
- Wordpress. Allows privacy at the blog level, or per-post passwords, although these sound a bit useless. Readers need Wordpress accounts, which I doubt anyone would have already.
I couldn't quickly find out if these sites are ad-supported, or indeed what revenue model they have at all. I looked at Vox and Xanga and they seem to force adverts on all users, so I'm ignoring them. Can anybody recommend anything else or tell me more about either of these?