[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.


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.

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

Date: 2009-01-05 02:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aerynvala.livejournal.com
god, my stomach is roiling :(

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Date: 2009-01-05 02:25 am (UTC)
shalom: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shalom
Craig Singer used a FanLib member's original idea to launch his new career? I need a stronger stomach.

Indeed. He's like a remora, living off the side of a bigger fish.

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From: [personal profile] shalom - Date: 2009-01-05 02:32 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2009-01-05 02:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quietus-x.livejournal.com
Is it bad that I don't think it's even that bad, now that Disney's raked through it? It's less exploiting fandom and more... Like roofies. It's not really fanfiction or whatever anymore.

Now, they're giving a slightly better incentive -- it's not writing fic anymore, it's more like making a collaborative web show while Disney's got its claws in you and are leeching you for your advertising value.

It offers something in a slightly different sphere of influence. They're offering something that fic writers don't have -- visuals, and actors to play with. At the same time, they're missing out on what fic writers do have, which is freedom.

Date: 2009-01-05 02:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quietus-x.livejournal.com

:< I thought the script and such was entirely dictated by the fans, but after poking around a little, I see it's just as retarded as before, without giving fans the power to create the storyline or anything.

...But if they had that kind of power, and it was really like, "we've got these 6 actors, you guys get to determine everything else, here is the kind of story setting we're hoping for", that would have been cool.

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Date: 2009-01-05 02:46 am (UTC)
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] branchandroot
Yes, I think this demonstrates the real danger of fandom's increasing profile: not persecution but takeover, corruption, corporate parasitism. And the profile isn't really lower-able, I mean the web is the web, and I like being able to find fellow fans. But this highlights the new dangers we have to start being aware of. I'm not sure it's entirely possible, even with the web, to reach out enough to our newcomers and warn them to check their shiny prize-candy for poison and razor blades, but it seems like a worthwhile thing to start trying anyway.

I am also darkly amused that Syn hit the nail on the head, even though she was talking about LJ not Fanlib: it isn't IPO these people are after, it's sell-off. They don't care that the product is trash, they just want to make a wad of cash before the 2.0 bubble bursts. I can't help but think this is going to serve Disney right in another few years when it all goes kablooey.

Date: 2009-01-05 02:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quietus-x.livejournal.com
Well, it's obviously not meant to be targeted at fic writers, because most decent fic-writers, especially the LJ ones, are too mature to be lured in by all the stupid graphics and stuff on the site.

So now the question is: is this better or worse than the tweens who are writing fic on Quizilla? Can we consider this a stepping stone between fannishness and fic-writing, for younger writers?

Because let's be honest here, a lot of fandoms can be pretty hostile (or even just passively unwelcoming) towards shitty writers, even if they're new or whatever.

I mean, it sucks that they're exploiting fandom, but if this is the way they're going, there's no way they'll appeal to the bulk of fandom.

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Date: 2009-01-05 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] modillian.livejournal.com
Thanks for all the sources. I'm still wtf-ing over the Disney buyout.

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Date: 2009-01-05 04:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] troubleinchina.livejournal.com
Did any of the people involved in making this horror film get paid? Like, the person who pitched the film in the first place?

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Date: 2009-01-05 04:55 am (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
So I should go back to the library and get back out that copy of Scott Westerfeld's Specials and either remove or graffiti on the back page advertising Fanlib? Normally I very strongly oppose damaging books, but this would be in a good cause.

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From: [personal profile] alexseanchai - Date: 2009-01-05 05:14 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2009-01-05 05:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ravenesque.livejournal.com
These snake oil peddlers will always be around. They'll exploit and get some money out of their slights of hand, and try to make it seem like the second coming.

But in the end fanboys are not about to change the world. The fact alone that the hefty contribution of fangirls is pretty much ignored is enough to guarantee that. And I think the natural cynicism of true fans will take care of the rest.

So much fail, it's not even funny.

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Date: 2009-01-05 05:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] angiepen.livejournal.com
I think this is one of the better possible outcomes, actually. Take180 looks like a very specialized project, with a very narrow focus which has nothing to do with fanfic. Cool. They can sit in their little niche, with whatever participants they can attract, and do their own thing and fanfic fandom can go back to doing our thing with no one trying to pick our pockets.

About the kid who came up with the idea Singer made into a movie, if the entry docs for whatever the event was said that submissions would become the property of Fanlib or whoever, and he decided to enter anyway? Oh, well. If they gave him everything they said they were going to give him as the winner, then there you go. He played, he won, he got his prize. If he knew in advance that his idea would become their property and he entered anyway, then there's really nothing for anyone to complain about. And if he didn't read the entry docs before submitting, well, maybe he will next time. And if he's really twelve then he has plenty of time to come up with better ideas, and develop them himself. I'll bet this was a great learning experience, and if he gets a part in the movie then that'll be fun too. If he comes out of this having learned to read everything before you enter/submit/sign/whatever, and to be cynical as hell, then IMO that's worth more than any check they might've given him.

Because seriously, if all fans were as cynical as you and me and the other people who slammed FanLib with facts, and threw their own statements back in their faces with notes and analyses, then it wouldn't matter what anyone did because fandom wouldn't be vulnerable to this crap.

I'm just as happy to have the site Disnified. It's not likely to attract any significant number of fanfic writers in its current incarnation. If it attracts Disney fans who are happy playing in the Disney sandbox with rides of about Teacup-intensity, good for them. I hope they have fun. Just as long as they're leaving me and mine alone, they can do what they like.

Edited Date: 2009-01-05 05:50 am (UTC)

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Date: 2009-01-05 06:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eternalslacker.livejournal.com
Hi, I got linked to your write-up of this whole thing from Fandom Wank, and I want to thank you for putting this thing together, since I had no idea about the details of this until I read your write up.

I did want to note that I'm a Disney Stockholder, and as soon as I get my yearly report and financial report this month, I'd be happy to give you details as well as scans, especially if they make a big deal out of it in the book they alway send out with it.

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Date: 2009-01-05 07:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skuf.livejournal.com
Thank you for the post - I can only imagine that Disney would have made silence a part of their deal!

I'm not quite sure what they got: the idea? The user accounts? Not the fic, I assume?

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Date: 2009-01-05 09:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ankaret.livejournal.com
Fanlib lives on as a server at least - the fugly streamed video on Take180 seems to be coming from fanlib.httpsvc.vitalstreamcdn.com.

I'm sure someone somewhere is very proud.

Date: 2009-01-05 02:26 pm (UTC)
yourlibrarian: Angel and Lindsey (Default)
From: [personal profile] yourlibrarian
presumably to gain the young male demographic FanLib slavered after

Who are apparently more easily motivated by money than interest in the source. I was surprised when watching the last episode of Leverage to see an attempt at fansite building for it, offering a substantial cash prize to people who played a Leverage game online. Up until now these network marketing efforts seem to have focused on access to extra material or chats with actors.

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Date: 2009-01-15 03:23 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
"Perhaps the FanLib founders feared their members would join Take180 and make a wreck of its forums, sullying its Disney purity."

I can say right away that this speculation is not true. If it had been, they would not have invited several FanLib members to the beta test of Take180 (which started out a while before they announced FanLib would close).

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Date: 2011-11-01 03:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kegafi.livejournal.com
My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!


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