I sure hope you're not considering removing some of these features!
For me this is a message center, and it's very important that things stay mostly the same. I have a paid account and then have several free accounts that family members use to access and read my account since this allows me to have a password protected journal.
I have been paid for so long I didnt realize some of these are paid-only features. To me the stability of being able to have it and not have it change all the time at the whim of the service provider has been reason enough to pay for the service.
As others have pointed out, the title of the poll and the poll are asking two entirely different things.
What motivated me to get a paid account in the first place was wanting to use LJ at all. I had a couple of friends on LJ and back when I joined up, it was either get an invite code from a friend, or pony up some dough. My friends had given out all of their codes, so I was stuck paying. I maintained a paid account for a while, but let it lapse due to finances.
Currently, the two biggest draws for me renewing a paid account would be more userpics and comment editing. However, the number of bonus userpics on a paid account is not really worth the cost per month, and comment editing isn't really worth it either. Polls? Post by phone? Nice, but not features I would use more than a couple of times anyway. Again, not worth paying for.
You should do one for perm members as well, and why people who had paid accounts no longer do.
I'm in a weird boat, I had two paid, and one unpaid freebie. Now, I have one perm, and two freebie. (My one paid went back to free)
I just wanted to note that I selected more userpics as the single biggest reason I have a paid account because I consider satisfaction with the policies and management to be more of a precondition for purchasing than a reason for it. If I like LJ and how it's being run, I'm happy to get a paid account-- mainly for the extra userpics but for other reasons too. I'm also willing to go without if I find the concept of supporting LJ monetarily to be offensive, such as in the aftermath of all the drama and discontent from 2007. Since then, paying for my account to support the service (and as a means of showing satisfaction) has risen in importance to me, but I can admit it's still not the main reason I do it.
(I will also admit that even if a la carte userpics were offered, I'd rather have a paid account for the other features like Scrapbook, editing comments, and e mailed comments that I make)
Edited at 2009-03-19 08:11 pm (UTC)
Maybe while you are at it, you should poll just paid members about why they haven't paid for a permanent membership.
I'll start with my own answer. Ever since Brad sold LJ to 6A, management has shown me that while I can buy a "permanent" membership, there is no commitment on the part of ownership not to make that membership worthless in the future. Now, offer permanent memberships with a permanent 100% satisfaction guaranty and I'll think about it.
forgot to mention, the ability to make RSS/syndicated content was a big sway point for me.
I like LJ. I've been here since 2001. Not always happy with the changes, but I'm not leaving. Ever.
Using Firefox with adblocker means I don't get ads but as I signed up pre-ads and was actually given my first sub as a gift for more customization and userpics, that is also why I have stayed a paid member. Some of the stuff that has come since is bonus, others not so much.
I'm another of the many who started with a paid account before LJ had ads and many of the other features (and dramas). I signed up because I wanted to support the service. However I answered the poll based on why I continue to pay which basically comes down to:
Scrapbook: "you haz my data". I initially used the space when I started putting up galleries because I was already paying for it. Moving that gig-and-a-something of content is not going to be a trivial exercise.
However since there have been no real improvements to Scrapbook in ages (and I can fully understand just supporting embedding from the many superior services out there rather than continuing to develop your own) I've found a better service and now I use (and pay for) that.
Friends page: "you haz their content". I started blogging on LJ because this is where a lot of my friends blogged and still do. There is not a non-trivial solution to being able to see their friends-only posts and let them see my filtered posts if I move to another blogging service.
So while my reason for signing up was "I just like Live Journal and am happy to pay for it" my reason for paying now is closest to "I've had a Paid account for long time and am used to it".
Polls are nice, more userpics are nice, editing comments is wonderful but like many above I forget that isn't available to everyone.
In truth I probably wouldn't use LJ if I had to deal with the ads, and wouldn't have used LJ for long enough to have decided that it was worth paying for in the first place if I'd had to deal with the ads. On the occasions I visit journals using a browser I'm not logged in with they are usually a nasty garish shock to the system.
Edited at 2009-03-19 08:15 pm (UTC)
In truth I probably wouldn't use LJ if I had to deal with the ads.
Ads have never bothered me. I use Firefox. :)
I got my Paid account because I practically live in LJ. =P I use it so much to comment on friend´s post and to participate in comms that I thought I needed to upgrade to get the maximun benefits.
However, let me tell you something, I´ve studying for my thesis the whole LJ advertising fiasco (in its different stages) and some of the things I´ve discovered is that users don´t like to be deceived and that free users get way too much stuff for free.
One of the benefits of having a Paid account was not seeing ads, but you tried to pull a fast one on Paid users, saying that sponsorship was not like ads, therefore Paid users had to see it. You need to treat your Paid users with more respect.
Also, Paid users feel that Plus users get too much stuff for free just for putting up with ads. Paid accounts are not perceived as that valuable anymore, since it seems the only thing they are good for is for not seeing ads.
I understand that LJ is a commercial enterprise, and that you need to make money, but you pissed off your customers several times with the censorship incidents and undermined the community sense, that´s what made flee hundreds of paying users.
In order to get more paying users, you need to make Paid accounts more valuable, give them more options, and treat your whole userbase with respect. That way users will feel more motivated to pay, because they´ll enjoy more the LJ experience.
i bought a paid account because i like that you can customize the look of your journal more. not having to look at those eyesores you call plus accounts is also a good thing.
i voted for more userpics (among other things) in the first poll even though i never use more than four at a time. i guess i like that the option to upload 30+ is there, even though i'll never use that many. lmao.
i'm not a paid user anymore, but i was one from 2002 to 2008 so i filled the poll out anyway.
a better question to ask is why i stopped paying.
I'm with the people who think you should have a poll as to why some of us chose not to renew our paid accounts.