So, it's funny, scrollgirl just yesterday did that icon meme which includes the questions "How many icons do you have total?" and "If you could buy space for more, would you?" and this morning my flist is abuzz with Loyalty Userpics.
Loyalty Userpics are extra userpics awarded to users as a reward for their paid account history with the site. You recieve one userpic for every three months of paid time you've bought for your account, and one userpic for every continuous 12 months of paid time your account has held. This is in addition to the minimum number of userpics allotted to your account.Edit: news posted with further info (plus new holiday gift options; bets on the popularity of virtual beer over virtual chocolate?) at 11:44am PST.
Gifts of paid time from other users also count towards your Loyalty Userpic count. Additionally, permanent account holders will always have the maximum amount of Loyalty Userpics offered to date; currently, this is 32 userpics.
These userpics will be active as long as you have a Paid Account. When your Paid Account expires, your Loyalty Userpics will be marked as inactive. Loyalty Userpics are added to your account as soon as you purchase paid time.
For example, if you buy twelve months of paid time, you will receive five Loyalty Userpics: four for each three-month interval, as well as one for the entire twelve-month interval.
If you buy six months of paid time, you will receive two Loyalty Userpics; if you purchase another six months of paid time before the previous amount expires, you will receive three more Loyalty Userpics (two for the three-month intervals, and one because you will have held a paid account for a twelve-month period.)
Loyalty Userpic amounts are cumulative, and will never decrease, even if your paid account expires. When you renew your paid account, you will have the same amount of Loyalty Userpics as you had before, along with any additional userpics you earn from your purchase.