OK, really not the place, so summary.
Brad hated running a company, and didn't have investment capitol to expand it. I don't know if you use it, but Facebook is in many ways built on a similar idea to LJ, and in some respects is much better, in others nowhere near as good (friends groups and filters spring to mind). I'm utterly convinced that LJ could have been the success that Facebook now is
, but the ball was dropped.
LJ was a social network site before social network sites were invented; look at botht he big tow, they both steal ideas from LJ and build on them. So not Brad's fault as such, but the death rattle started on his watch; without growth, the site dies, and usage is slowly dropping away from the figures I've seen.
6A made some great decisions, some OK decisions, some really poor decisions and presented some of the good things incredibly badly. Biggest individual mistake to my mind was launching Vox as a "personal blogging platform". Vox only has one competitor that offers similar services and privacy features. LJ. 6A has launched a product, at great expense, whose principle competitor within the marketplace is a 6A product.
If instead they'd launched it as LJ-lite, and made it interoperable from the start, well then it would have taken off a lot better and been very useful; it is a LOT easier to use than LJ and perfect for the core audience of less tech-savvy adults (I'd have signed my mother up, for example).
SUP offered 6A money, Brad negotiated the deal, and the rest is a bit sketchy; it affects the Russian/cyrillic userbase, and I'm not part of it, so I follow it out of interest only.
For awhile I went through a period of writing about 6A mistakes
, and I'm at times fairly active in no_lj_ads
(Which is constructively opposed to the advertising policies) and lj2wordpress
(which is working on alternatives).
Ultimately, LJ is slowly (very slowly) dying, and the perpetual PR disasters over various issues aren't helping this—it's over-reliant on fandom support, and if you annoy fandom, even if the annoyance is wrong or irrational, you lose business, not just to GJ but to other places or simply to abandonement. They know this, and are trying to shore things up, but it doesn't always work.
Many users remain very happy, which is good, but numbers are dropping, and that's bad.