[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
A recent editorial on the Helix/Sanders disaster brings up FanLib's founders as an example of how to totally screw things up when dealing with online fandom: Do Not Tease Nor Feed The Fans at FireFox News.

Quote: If you behave like an ass fandom will notice that you are braying.

This is at least the fourth time I've seen FanLib appear as a disaster anecdote. It seems their reputation as blunderers will be their most lasting legacy.

[identity profile] anarchicq.livejournal.com

Gee, I'd like to see life through rose coloured glasses like she does.

Thought: With the WGA strike, what if producers started pulling things like the L Word contest more frequently?
[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
I've been tracking press on FanLib since May, 2007. Most of it is mind-numbing market speak at BusinessWire, a website you pay to host your press release in hopes someone will discover it. I ignore these, because how many times do we need to hear about The L-Word fanisode?

There have been a few worthwhile bits, however. This is everything of note since October.

The Press of Atlantic City has an (unintentionally) funny article, which pompously touts FanLib as the greatest thing for aspiring writers since Wite-Out. Quotes:

Fan fiction can be traced back to ancient Greek historians modifying the classic myths with each retelling. Now, Web sites such as Fanfiction.net and Fanlib.com allow fan fiction writers all over the world to unite and share material.

Fan fiction authors also have a better chance of having their talents discovered when they post their work online. Since March, Williams has seen several Fanlib.com writers go on to find professional writing careers.

"With our 'L-Word' event one of our winners went on to get an agent," Williams said. "One of our other winners got a book deal with another major publisher. There's no question that (fan fiction) is a great training ground and a great place to get exposure."

The article does not mention the thousands of fan-operated not-for-profit fanfiction archives. Not surprisingly, it focuses on fanfiction's potential monetary worth. There isn't a single quote or anecdote supporting fanfiction as a creative end in and of itself. It's a false characterization of fanfiction writers—intentionally?

If you are not sufficiently depressed, read this Hollywood Reporter primer on how to turn everything on the Internet into a revenue stream. Includes a boggling chart that shows how fucking stupidly companies are dumping money into the "hot new trends." Quotes:

"We are interested in spaces that are driven by consumer usage," says Thomas Byrne, managing director of Peacock Equity Fund, a $250 million joint-venture investment vehicle launched earlier this year by GE Commercial Finance's Media, Communications & Entertainment business and NBC Universal. "Everywhere people congregate, especially in the digital space, is interesting for us... Where consumers go, there is the opportunity to sell advertising."

Better monetization is a phrase often used by insiders. "The Web is still less than 10% of the overall ad market, which is not in line with the time spent [online] by people," says Kim.

Kim is John Kim of H.I.G. Ventures, the VC group which invested in FanLib. Maybe FanLib can sell the fanfiction chunk of its business to SUP, cause it sure as hell ain't going to satisfy VC-style profit projections.

At least there's a refreshingly market-speak free article from MediaPost, with a revealing quote from Mimbo:

"Our commitment is to what we like to call 'participatory entertainment.' That's our sweet spot," says Chris M. Williams, cofounder and CEO of FanLib. "It's that happy medium between traditional 'professionally-generated' content and the totally user-generated content," which can veer from the racy and sophomoric to the transgressive and controversial.

Nice to see it confirmed Mimbo is officially after sanitized "marketable" fanfiction never mind that marketable fanfiction is a self-canceling phrase.

The article's tone is pleasantly snarky, pointing out FanLib's biggest success (yes, the goddamn L Word fanisode way back in 2005) still hasn't aired and isn't likely to.

In October, Missy Merlin at Firefox.org wrote an exceptionally well-informed essay on fanfiction. Quotes:

They [the powers that be] are still not entirely happy about us, but they're willing to see what we can do, and they've realized they can make more money off of us. And that's where FanLib came in. FanLib (whom we tried to reach for this article) combines corporate interests in fannish output with contacts on the inside. They package up the fanfiction by the authors on their site and promote it to advertisers as user-generated content ala Livejournal and MySpace. While claiming to be fans, they're running a business and trying to make money off fandom from the outset.

An article at the Wisconsin Technology Network starts off with the usual advertisers are drooling over social networks such as Facebook stuff, then throws an interesting curveball, particularly following the SUP Livejournal purchase:

The danger on the horizon from the ever expanding and splintering social network phenomena is that it could be reaching the stage where users are experiencing "social networking fatigue." How many general or niche sites are you willing to register with or are you willing to interact with?

Never fear, entrepreneurs are looking at this too, with people search engine sites like PeekYou, Spock, Rapleaf, and Wink that promise to go one step beyond SNS [social networking systems]. According to Heather Green at Business Week, these sites are crawling the web to aggregate information about individuals from social networking sites, photo sharing sites, video sharing sites, blogs, etc. This aggregated data offers the potential for expanded social networks as potential matches are identified. The scary part of these "people search engines" is that they also might damage an individual's reputation if incorrect or private personal data is compiled.

Finally, the mind-numbingly dull press release shite:

FanLib announces a "Before the Cylons" Battlestar Galactica fanfiction contest. Lots of rules, such as: has to be written from the viewpoint of a reporter. BORING.


Jun. 3rd, 2007 10:35 am
[identity profile] lavenderfrost.livejournal.com

Being blissfully ignorant of fanfic as a whole (besides the slash stereotypes), the fact that fanfic is a 'female space' with the associated politics and ethics has come as rather a shock. As has trying harder to wrap my head around what business would look like if the Old Boy networks of modern corporate America were missing.

If this has been posted already, then please accept my apologies.
[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
Mary McNamara's excellent article on the FanLib debacle has been linked to at slashdot.org, the world's biggest technophile website.

Commenting is lively.

I suspect an awful lot of the negative reaction comes from three factors:
1. Membership in the site would certainly have a "We own your postings." clause in the Terms of Service.
2. *And* a "We reserve the right to censor anything you post we don't like." clause.
and the cherry on top:
3. An unwritten consequence of (1) would be: "If it's really good, we'll use it to make money. Thanks suckers." clause.
And just remember, in Hollywood, "Trust us." translates to "F**k you."

Slashdot typically serves 80 million pages per month. Around 3 million pages on weekdays, and slightly less on weekends. Slashdot has precisely the market FanLib salivated about.
[identity profile] elle-dritch.livejournal.com
FanLib, and the resulting backlash, has been mentioned on the BBC Radio 5Live blogs site here, (second post down). The blogger, Chris Vallance, has apparently invited the FanLib board in for an interview. This should be interesting.

I've commented on the TOS and the irritating and fallacious "We're one of you" attitude of FanLib, but the comments are held for approval.


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