[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] life_wo_fanlib
Another news article 1 about FanLib partner Craig Singer's newest venture casually mentions FanLib has become Disney's Take180.

This is the second article 2 confirming Disney bought FanLib; I assume the information appears in a Disney financial report. Any Disney stockholders out there? The financial report may state the price paid for FanLib.

Take180 is visually ugly, and laden with "challenges" and prizes. It looks exactly the way you would expect FanLib to look after a quick re-do to serve Disney's interests. It is also riddled with the celebrity brown-nosing rampant at FanLib. The pitch (Be part of a creative community. Get in the spotlight. Prizes happen.) is nearly indistinguishable from Chris Williams's promotion of FanLib in July, 2007. 3

The men who owned FanLib (brothers Chris and David Williams) did not have the balls 4 to tell the 25,000 members of the sell-out. They have said nothing publicly on the subject (according to my daily news webcrawl since June, 2008). At the time of the closure, I speculated the only confirmation might be a FanLib-like product from Disney. 5 Now we have it. FanLib closed on August 4, 2008. 6 Take180 opened around August 29, 2008. 7

I had the lowest possible expectations of the Williams brothers, but even I didn't expect them to lie about matters of importance — not when the lies would inevitably be exposed. Apparently they thought lying was the better trade-off: better to lie and cowardly escape the reaction of fandom, even though they would be exposed later as liars.

Perhaps the FanLib founders feared their members would join Take180 and make a wreck of its forums, sullying its Disney purity. Perhaps they feared FanLib's failure 8 would foul Take180 before it was out of the dock. Or perhaps Disney publicists, reviewing the Williams brothers' track record 9 in communicating with fans, ordered them to be silent.

Five months have gone by since FanLib closed. Its members are scattered; articles about FanLib have dwindled. If nothing else, the lies bought time.

There's more. Craig Singer's current venture, the film Perkins' 14, came about this way:

"A year and a half ago, Singer was sorting through hundreds of one-paragraph ideas submitted through his Web site, FanLib [...]. The 10 fan finalists were then asked to create a 'video pitch' for their idea. It was a fan in North Carolina who came up with the premise of 'Perkins 14' [sic]— about a town that has suffered 14 child abductions, and the obsessed cop [...] who finds that the kids have been turned into zombified killing machines." 10

Craig Singer used a FanLib member's original idea to launch his new career? 11 I need a stronger stomach. Edit: Jeremy Donaldson's idea was submitted through massify.com in association with FanLib. 12

Another thing: numerous people in fandom (and outside of it) distrusted the Disney buyout rumor because it was farfetched Disney would believe a fanfiction website could be profitable (especially after FanLib's example). But Disney had no such foolish belief. Fanfiction appears at Take180 only as an interest in member profiles.

Take180 is built from FanLib's corpse, using a single limb added in October, 2007, vid hosting. 13 (Edit: Turns out this is literally true. Take180 URLs indicate it lives on FanLib's former servers.) Instead of the female dominated world of fanfiction, Take180 goes after amateur film makers — a fandom YouTube; you can imagine the corporate orgasm the concept would induce — presumably to gain the young male demographic FanLib slavered after. 14

Just one more thing. Confirmation of the Disney buyout means we must reconsider FanLib.

As a fanfiction archive and as a fandom community, FanLib was a disaster. 15 But as a money-making venture for a small group of wealthy white businessmen, it was a success: with $100 million 16 to spend on acquisitions, Disney probably paid quite a bit more for FanLib than its initial investment of $3 million in venture capital. 17

This is bad news for fandom; it will encourage future greedy and destructive corporate interference with fan creations.

Sources

1. Filmmaker from North Jersey put fans in charge by Jim Beckerman, January 4 2009.

2. Pay-TV Best Practice in Times of TV 3.0 by Guy Bisson, October 31 2008.

3. Chris Williams Responds to Our Questions about FanLib by Henry Jenkins, May 25 2007.

4. FanLib bought by Disney? Too good to be true... by partly_bouncy at Fanthropology, June 4 2008.

5. The Disney buyout rumor just won't die by Stewardess, August 9 2008.

6. FanLib Shuts Down, SoCalTech, July 29 2008.

7. Take180 FAQ, August 29 2008.

8. What businesses learned in 2007 about the digital race by Steve Cody and Sam Ford, December 28 2007.

9. Mimbo (Chris Williams) opens a dialogue with fans in Telesilla's livejournal, May 17 2008.

10. Filmmaker from North Jersey put fans in charge by Jim Beckerman, January 4 2009.

11. Craig Singer Looks to the Internet for Perkins' 14 by Kyle Rupprecht, October 21 2008.

12. Perkins' 14 in Post Production in NYC by Joseph B. Mauceri, August 18 2008.

13. FanLib: One Year Later by partly_bouncy at Fanthropology, March 26 2008.

14. Internet Goes Nova Over Showtime, Starz, Moonves Partnered FanLib.com by Mary McNamara, May 28 2007.

15. A FanLib Retrospective by Stewardess, July 25 2008.

16. Disney Investing up to $100MM in New Worlds, Virtual World News, January 2 2008.

17.
Storytelling Social Net FanLib Launches With $3 Million In Funding by David Kaplan, May 18 2007.

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