[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
I recently blocked partly_bouncy -- FanLib apologist, Fan History owner, and all-around bad news -- from this community. Two days later, there was an inept attempt to troll the comm by taiyoukai_nile, a partly_bouncy subscriber and Fan History member.

I then found at a Fan History blog an ungrammatical post by Nile, presumably taiyoukai_nile:

I stumbled across the article Disney purchased FanLib in May/June 2008, two months before FanLib's "closure." which basically grumbles (sounded a bit bitter at least) about FanLib was bought out by Disney two months before its announced its closing, letting the community to speculated the reasons. More. )

If you are not familiar with Fan History, it is the failed attempt by partly_bouncy to make money off fandom through despicable practices such as publishing the real names of fans. After exposure in July, 2008, by Ithiliana and others, partly_bouncy crawled under a rock, making all of her LJ entries friends-only.

But two months ago, partly_bouncy dusted off her LJ and began posting publicly again. She also commented here, which led to my banning her (I thought I had done so at the time of Ithiliana's post).

Taiyoukai_nile's Fan History blog comment is a weak derailment. But as taiyoukai_nile just "stumbled across" FanLib two and a half years after it was big news in fandom, I'm assuming her post reflects partly_bouncy's current thoughts on FanLib.

You may find it humorous that taiyoukai_nile characterized this community as a place for people to get together and mourn FanLib's passing, when we anticipated and welcomed it. But partly_bouncy is trying to rewrite the history of FanLib, and of this community, for a purpose: her rehabilitation. When partly_bouncy chides us for still being hung up on FanLib, her goal is to erase her past as a profit-seeking FanLib supporter.

She was a FanLib cheerleader because she believes in her right to profit from fan works and fan data. Her well-known hatred of the OTW and An Archive Of Our Own stems from this as well; fans creating a non-profit to accomplish what she hoped to earn money on through Fan History undermines her business model. She also hates DreamWidth, which has committed the grave error of providing a popular, ad-free service, further destroying her dream of profit. Partly_bouncy does not embrace competition.

Partly_bouncy may be through with riding FanLib's coattails, but this community exists to keep fresh the lesson of FanLib: it is not inevitable, as FanLib owners Chris and David Williams wished us to believe, that someone or something will unfairly profit from fan works. Fans can retain control of all aspects of their work -- creative, social, and publication -- rejecting mainstream commodification.

In November, 2009, Julie Levin Russo wrote, "To FanLib, the vast commons of freely exchanged fan works perhaps appeared as if it simply lacked a businessperson with the savvy to privatize it." Because of this and many other misreadings, FanLib failed to profit from fandom. It sold its marketing software and servers to Disney, and had to completely scrap the fanfiction archive.

It is bizarre partly_bouncy chose this community as an entry back into fandom. It's amazing she still believes she can make money from the thoroughly discredited Fan History site. It's repulsive she continues to use lies and disinformation to increase her bottom line. Like FanLib, she will earn only failure.
[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
Gotta love those public records. The tale of the FanLib trademark tells us bunches.


It seems Disney began acquiring FanLib in May, 2008, and completed the process in June, two months before FanLib announced it was "closing."

I base this on the trademark records "Attorney Revoked And/Or Appointed" dated 5/28/2008, and "Automatic Update Of Assignment Of Ownership" on 6/11/2008. The first rumor of the buyout appeared June 3, 2008 -- a rumor FanLib denied right through its "closure" in August, 2008.

Disney now owns the FanLib trademark, which means it could resurrect it at some point; the FanLib software and servers presently support the Disney property Take180.com.

The FanLib trademark, classed as "Goods and/or Services," covers "providing temporary use of on-line non-downloadable software to facilitate the creation, conceptualization, and editing of a variety of movies, television shows, novels, plays, videogames, and other content or media, through user suggestions, concepts, ideas, collaboration, and voting."
[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
Great reading at [livejournal.com profile] cyborganize:

Archive Wars: FanLib vs. OTW


To FanLib, the vast commons of freely exchanged fanworks perhaps appeared as if it simply lacked a businessperson with the savvy to privatize it.

All of the journal makes for a good read; it's Julie Levin Russo's "zero draft" of a dissertation in progress.

[identity profile] angiepen.livejournal.com
Note that the raw file was rather online-unfriendly. I added spaces and tags to best duplicate the appearance of the original document here. If anyone wants the raw file I copy/pasted from the FanLib site, holler and I'll e-mail it.



Read more... )
[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
I'm supplying this for reference. Very little content on FanLib's origins still exists on the web. All the material at FanLib is gone, and so are many press releases. Edit: FanLib has excluded their site from the wayback machine. Wow do they suck.

Material includes the URL where it was once found. Most links now produce pinatas 404s.

Includes makeup of FanLib's original board, and detailed bios of the board members.

Includes gems such as: "Fan fiction has existed long before Al Gore invented the internet!"

Read more... )

I saved the information in May of 2007.

[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
When Disney bought FanLib, what did it get, and what did it do with it?

The short answer: Disney got the servers and the software — everything but content — and launched Take180 the same month FanLib closed (August, 2008). But to understand the full story, such as why FanLib erased its fanfiction archive, you need background.

FanLib did not begin as a fanfiction archive. It was incorporated in 2003, when its founders developed proprietary crowdwriting software. They could have done all sorts of things with it; they elected to lease it for web-based marketing.

Between 2003-2007, FanLib was paid for conducting dozens of marketing campaigns, usually in the form of writing contests, which were hosted on FanLib's servers and used FanLib's software. IPs (intellectual property owners) could pay for a sub-domain, such as lword.fanlib.com, with FanLib doing the heavy lifting.

FanLib's proprietary software allowed fans to submit content, vote on content, and talk about it. Content solicited from fans was extremely limited in scope, fill in the blank type stuff, hence the name FanLib, as in Mad Libs; it's a common misconception that lib stood for library, and referred to the fanfiction archive.

Read more... )

[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
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 )

[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
...because I am already feeling nostalgic.

FanLib was dismal and depressing, but did we let it get us down? Heck, no. Most of the time, I was laughing so hard I lost beverages. Some of my favorite memories:

1. The Mimbo Brothers (aka Chris and David Williams, FanLib founders) get their asses kicked by a moderator at lotrfanfiction, and learn nothing from it.

2. [livejournal.com profile] icarusancalion reveals FanLib's hilariously inept attempt to recruit her as a fanfic author.

3. [livejournal.com profile] telesilla takes apart the FanLib FAQ, prompting FanLib CEO Mimbo (Chris Williams) to make a spectacular fool of himself in her journal. The Mimbo brothers look even more idiotic when they revise the TOS and FAQ (repeatedly) in the dead of night.

4. [livejournal.com profile] lizbee writes the first Pink Guy/Blue Dude fanfiction, based on FanLib's bizarre marketing, and wins the Internet.

Read more... )

Got a story? Please share. Because Life Without FanLib is where the stories continue.
[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
With thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mirabile_dictu:

Dear Friends,

FanLib.com was founded on the belief that fan creativity is a true art form that deserves a first-rate showcase for cultivation and celebration. Over the course of the past fifteen months, you have triumphantly confirmed this notion with an astonishing display of talent, enthusiasm, imagination and camaraderie.

So, it is especially difficult to announce that FanLib.com will shut down on Monday, August 4, 2008.



Edit: Will there be lolcats?

Edit: There are rumors that Disney purchased FanLib, and is shutting down the fanfiction archive portion because it would be a "liability." I doubt the rumor -- if FanLib sold their business at a profit, they would be happy to publicize that fact. There is also no reason for Disney to keep quiet about it.

Edit: Because the "FanLib is shutting down" announcement briefly disappeared due to what seems to have been a coding fuck up, I'm putting the full text of the announcement here behind a cut. )

[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
FanLib does not think of itself as a fanfiction archive.

Then what is FanLib? A naked advertising agency wearing a fanfiction archive suit? Yes.

According to partly_bouncy's recent summary of FanLib at fanthropology, the two branches of FanLib -- the fanfiction archive and the writing contest marketing campaigns -- are one big amorphous blob.

If true, this is an about-face since the spring of 2007, when the Williams Brothers frantically distanced the new fanfiction archive venture from the my2centences marketing materials dug up by Mary McNamara and others.

Remember the coloring book comparison, where FanLib assured the intellectual property holders that writing contest participants would stay within the lines? )

[identity profile] monster-of-hope.livejournal.com
Here is the announcement from the site.

It's been a whole year since FanLib first officially opened its doors — can you believe it? It's been some ride. Just look at these numbers:

* 29,000 submissions and counting
* 20,000 plus members
* Hundreds of fandoms represented from "A Bug's Life" to "Zorro."

And we couldn't have done it without each and everyone of you, our FanLibbers. )

Fandom's unpaid labor made them money! Aren't you glad?
[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
Community Relations Are Make Or Break.
Henry Jenkins, author of Convergence Culture, weighs in on FanLib. Quote: As fans note, however, FanLib's efforts to commercialize fan fiction represented the worst case scenario: a highly publicized, for profit venture which left fan fiction writers even more exposed than they have before.

Convergence Culture
FanLib entered the consciousness of much of fandom when Ivan Askwith brought it up on May 15, 2007, at convergenceculture.org. Thanks, Ivan!

"Crowdsourced" Novels
Assignment Zero, a journalism web site, has a series of articles on what they call the crowdsourced or open novel. The objects of their scrutiny are FanLib projects sponsored by Penguin and Avon (Harper Collins). Assignment Zero is looking for contributors.

We Call It Fanfiction. FanLib Calls It Viral Marketing. A special round-up of FanLib's activities since 2003.

As was exposed by rez_lo and chesyre, FanLib isn't a hapless throwback to 1999 dot bombs. Instead, FanLib has been cozying up to the RIAA while attempting to remake itself as the leader in a new type of viral marketing, formerly known as fanfiction.

December 2003
In this article archived at my2sentences, FanLib founder Chris William explains his plan: "There is this incredible amount of fan energy that is unharnessed by the creators, producers, and distributors of these existing properties," said Williams. "We thought why don't we marry the [online] technology and the audience and create a platform that will harness the energy in a way that can be controlled and moderated by the creators and distributors of that existing property."

December 2003
The Writers Guild is not amused by FanLib, reports a TelevisionWeek article by Wayne Friedman. Payment is required to view the entire article.

June 2004
Project Ferret, a collaborative Harry Potter fanfiction community, is an example of FanLib's early attempts to "harness the energy [of fans] in a way that can be controlled and moderated by the creators and distributors of that existing property."

March 2006
Chris Williams, FanLib CEO, was a featured speaker at a Digital Hollywood seminar. There, attendees could learn: "By integrating online marketing techniques, the networks and studios are finding that they can (& do!) influence offline behavior." Williams's bio at Digital Hollywood says, "As the media landscape has changed, Williams has channeled his unique expertise in the colliding industries of entertainment, marketing and online media by helping marketers and established entertainment companies make the most of opportunities arising from online and consumer-generated media."

"Colicky babies, toppling toddlers, terrible-two tantrums, kindergartners uttering obscenities (during parent-teacher conferences, of course) — the comedies of motherhood never seem to end! What can you do, except laugh and then write about it at In The MotherHood?" I haven't seen FanLib mention their venture with Suave personal care products and Sprint. Perhaps it's not sexy enough for the companies FanLib currently courts.

The HarperTeenFanLit web site, another FanLib production, mostly amused me because of its Thank you for censorship! page.

July 2006
This dry as dust Harper Collins press release makes it amply clear what FanLib is all about. Chris Williams, FanLib CEO, is quoted as saying, "Romance readers are one of the most undervalued audiences on the web. They represent a massive group of literate, well-educated women who spend an incredible amount of time online. Through our partnership with HarperCollins, Avon FanLit is the first exciting platform to bring these readers together in a moderated community setting that is also designed with marketers in mind."

April 2007
An Open Scrolls Archive fanfiction community member issued a warning about FanLib. "FanLib.com is currently going around certain fanfiction archives and basically 'poaching' members without so much of a nod toward the owners of said archives. Bad manners, IMHO, but if only it ended there..." A few days later, David Williams, a FanLib founder, responded: "But, based on the feedback we received from lotRFF members, we actually updated our TOS and Privacy Policy to further clarify that we claim no ownership over submissions." However, lotrfanfiction.com members seem far from satisfied.

While we weren't looking, a new job description was born: writer in residence for FanLib "Fan Events". I'm not sure how to interpret this. Why the quotes around fan event? Is it because they are being seeded with paid participants?

March 2007
David Shen, a FanLib official advisor, keeps a blog. The month of March, 2007, when FanLib launched, is a look into the stressful life of an entrepreneur. Includes the ultimate tragedy, a lost iPod.

"A massive group of literate, well-educated women who spend an incredible amount of time online." Poor FanLib. They hadn't seen anything yet.
[identity profile] stewardess.livejournal.com
A discussion invitation to anyone who is, or was, a FanLib member. Because I'm curious. Please include:

How you learned about FanLib [email invite or other]

Promotions or contests you found attractive

Impressions of site: ease of use, search functions, etc.

EDIT: I'm a FanLib name squatter, by the way.


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Life Without FanLib

January 2015

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