March 12 on, it's see ads or pay up:Basic Account is an option available to accounts which were created before March 12, 2008. No account created after this date can be turned into a Basic Account. Basic Accounts will not have any advertising displayed on their accounts, but will have fewer benefits and features.
Source: FAQ 38
ETA: fix the date in my text.
ETA 2: Jason Shellen, VP of Product Development for LiveJournal" says it was to make the registration process "easier for new users to understand
" To which I say, Apparently they think their users are STUPID.
The new ones for needing it "easier" and the old ones for taking that crap.
Also, Brad says no one really asked him
. And he's on the LJ Advisory Board -- that was the whole point of the advisory board!
ETA 3: Another advisory board member and "thought leader", Esther Dyson, says that no one talked to her either
. And that the person who emailed her can quote her on that.