FanLib

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Name: Fanlib (on some promotional materials), FANlib (on some promotional materials). FanLib (on some promotional materials, and by fans who were not fans of FanLib)
Date(s): 2003 as "My2Centences," something that slowly morphed into Fanlib, becoming the much more visible FanLib in May 2007 - August 4, 2008 (beta in March 2007)
Profit/Nonprofit: Profit
Country based in: United States
Focus: multifandom fanfiction archive
External Links: FanLib.com - Where the stories continue..., Archived version, archived version of the front page from October 2007
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Contents

FanLib was a commercially-owned, for-profit multifandom fanfic archive, run by Chris and David Williams (available in its most visible form) between May 18, 2007 and August 4, 2008.

FanLib partnered with different TV and book copyright owners to provide fanfiction contests and events for fandoms such as The L Word and Star Trek. However, submitting fic to the contest forfeited the fan writer's rights to the fic, allowing it to be used for commercial purposes. Additionally, to qualify for some contests, the fics had to be of a specific type, and for a designated scene. The winner would then have their scene written into canon.

FanLib also hosted a panfandom fanfiction archive that accepted all fics of all qualities.

It began with 3 million USD of starting capital, and was heavily criticized until its buyout by Disney. Like Fandom, Inc., it was widely perceived as an attempt by outsiders to profit from the work of fans.

FanLib shut down in August 2008 just over a year after it had been launched.

Some Context

Other major discussions regarding fannish control over fanworks were happening at roughly the same time as Fanlib's launch.

In 2013, Kindle Worlds announced a similar plan.

Regarding FanLib's Name

Many fans speculated on the meaning of "fanlib."

Some fans' suggestions: Library, Liberation, Liberty, Libel. [3] [4]

However, the actual meaning of "lib" was this: "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." [5]

Official FanLib Info

Some Stats

Some stats taken from FanLib: One Year Later, a post by partly bouncy, which has a very detailed account of numbers, contests, and stats:

  • Around March 2, 2007: FanLib first invited authors to join the site.
  • April 2007: FanLib had 985 members and 4,542 submissions.
  • late May 2007: FanLib had 2,829 members
  • As of August 12, 2007: FanLib had 8,737 members. This was an increase of 2,498 members since June 24, 2007.
  • September 8, 2007: FanLib launched their official blog, No Hiatus.
  • November 2007: FanLib expanded, to host fan art and allow users to embed fan vids.
  • As of March 26, 2008: FanLib had 19,000 members.

Contests: March 2007: their ad campaign promised users iPods for submitting work in quantity | June 2007: Star Trek | August 2007: Weeds | September 2007: Dexter | October 2007: Horror | October 2007: Uglies | November 2007: | Writers Strike Survival Sweepstakes | November 2007: The Biggest Fan Giveaway | December 2007: I am Legend | December 2007: Battlestar Galatica | February 2008: 10,000 BC | March 2008: Painkiller Jane | March 2008: Wake

A June 2007 poll on FanLib's forum asked members their gender. 19% replied they were male, 81% replied they were female. [6]

FanLib's Beginnings

a 2004 Fanlib page

FanLib got its start in 2003, as a different product under the name "My2Centences," something that, among other things, sponsored Potter Project and had its hand in SnitchSeeker.com, two commercial, for-profit ventures. [7]

Some more history:
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.

Perhaps the most well-known campaign was paid for by The L Word. Fans submitted content for a tiny and irrelevant scene (a character's dream), and then fans voted for a winner, to be incorporated into a future episode.

By early 2007, FanLib may have been worrying about future income. As broadband increasingly replaced dial-up, IPs were attracting fans online by offering video content: previews, interviews, and eventually entire episodes; they weren't going to need FanLib to provide "more fun for fans." Rare in 2007, the number of TV shows viewed over the web soared into the billions in 2008.

In any case, it was in 2007 that FanLib added a multi-fandom fanfic archive (copying the fandom list in its entirety from fanfiction.net); it was assuredly thought a smart move in the circles the Williams brothers (Chris and David, FanLib's principal founders) moved in. They already had the domain, the servers, the software, and the employees. The worst possible outcome, as they probably saw it, would be a larger audience for their marketing campaigns — most ads on FanLib were for those campaigns, encouraging people to participate in useless contests paid for by Star Trek, The Ghost Whisperer, Battlestar Galactica, and so on; FanLib members were regularly spammed with the same. The best case would be increasing FanLib.com's traffic and earning big advertising bucks (which did not happen).

To fund the fanfiction archive expansion, FanLib received $3 million in venture capital — far more money than they needed, in the opinion of anyone who has operated an archive. Curiously, FanLib's two business branches, the fanfiction archive and the crowdwriting marketing campaigns, do not seem to have been separated financially, and had a shared budget. [8]

From a 2004 page: "Introducing the groundbreaking storytelling game and turnkey marketing solution from MY2CENTENCES. Driven by a revolutionary patent-pending technology, FANLIB™ lets a mass audience create original stories and scripts collectively and democratically.
Like in the classic "campfire" game, a group of players improvises a story one passage at a time. Only with FANLIB, millions can play and democracy rules! THE POTTER PROJECT: In the fall of 2003, FANLIB made its public debut when Harry Potter fan-site SnitchSeeker.com used the technology to drive an unprecedented event called The Potter Project. Over the course of eight weeks, the site garnered over 125,000 visits, saw a four-fold increase in traffic and revenue, and a tripling of its membership. In the end, an amazing collaborative adventure had been created by the fans." [9]

From a 2006 FanLib/My2Centences ad: "Our software and services unleash the creativity of entertainment fans while delivering more... > Value for marketers > Mangeability for producers > Fun for fans! Leading companies like Pepsi and Showtime Networks are discovering how FanLib's groundbreaking online experiences profuce vibrant communities, closer customer relationships and market-friendly consumer generated media." [10]

Photos of FanLib's Various Headquarters

  • Circa Oct 2006, FanLib in their West Hollywood office, Archived version (October 2006) (Photos of workspaces: "FanLib in their West Hollywood office. Our first major operations meeting at my apartment building's conference room. Thank god for the Polycom USB Speakerphone and Skype to allow us to connect with remote team members! Already outgrown their one man office plus reception area, they are set to move by the end of the year.")
  • FanLib Company Get-Together Numero Uno!, Archived version (taken February 27, 2007, photo posted March 4, 2007) (February group photo: "The first company get-together for FanLib, bringing all the investors and company together to celebrate and show the incredible progress they've made. I love group pictures like this, especially as they record history. They are all special moments in a company's history and need to be saved.")

Invitation Letters

In March and April 2007, a woman named Naomi [12] emailed the following form letter to numerous authors, including Icarus[13] and Susan, a moderator of lotrfanfiction.com.[14] The email read as follows (brackets denote the differences between Icarus and Susan's version):

"Hi [NAME],

I saw some of your [FANDOM] fan fiction online and really enjoyed your writing. I work for a brand-new fan fiction website called FanLib.com and my colleagues and I want it to be the ultimate place for talented writers like you. In case you're wondering, FanLib's not new to fan fiction. Since 2001, we've been producing web events with people like CBS, Showtime and HarperCollins to bring fan creativity into the big leagues.

We're impressed by your writing and impact in the fan fiction community, and we value your opinion. That's why we're inviting you to be among the first to experience FanLib.com.

Feel free to take a look around, upload some fics, maybe read and comment on a few. Do as much or as little as you like. On FanLib.com, you'll be able to connect with other first-rate writers like yourself and exchange ideas with the site creators. Also, stay tuned for our sweepstakes, which will give fanfic writers and reviewers a chance to win prizes.

Don't worry, you won't get spammed. We're not selling anything. We just want you to try the site and hopefully give us some feedback.

[Beta information for Icarus, who was invited in March instead of April]

We look forward to having you as a founding member. Together, we can create the greatest fan fiction site the web's ever seen!

Best, Naomi

FanLib Launch Coordinator, FanLib.com"

Despite this, FanLib did not seem to get the attention of the fanfiction community (and fandom at large) until mid to late May 2007, after the mass publication of news articles and press releases relating to the company. The LiveJournal community fanthropology discussed it critically in mid-May, which prompted FanLib user and employee jdsampson to join in the discussion.[15]

The CEO of FanLib, user mimbo on LiveJournal, posted publicly in the comments to discussion about FanLib as well, without managing to garner much sympathy.[16]

FanLib's Fan Forum, and FanLib's Official Blog

Fan Forum

FanLib had its own distinctive site culture, some of which can be seen at its forum.

FanLib depended a great deal on volunteers for its forum. From a May 30, 2007 official post:
Team FanLib Wants You!

Team FanLib is looking for a few good members! That's right, this is your opportunity to become part of the FanLib team of moderators through our "Associate Moderators" program. As FanLib grows, we'll need to rely more and more on our members to help run the forums, report fanfics that are misclassified or violate site policy, select "quips," those fun little quotes running across the top of the site, and down the road, nominate fanfics to be featured on the homepage. As the forums become more active "Associate Mods" will be assigned topics to watch and may be given full moderator privileges as the need arises. If you'd like to help out by becoming part of Team FanLib's "Associate Moderators" program please let us know and we'll add your name to our list of candidates. To sign up, post a reply to this thread and we'll be in contact soon with more information.

Thanks again for participating and remember, it's up to all of us to make this community fun and safe for everyone! [17]


Archived forum posts start at least April 20, 2007. Some of the posts to the forum are archived here.

A fan posted the "Top 10 Signs You’re Addicted to FanLib’s Forums":

10. You’re always one of the first to welcome someone in the ‘Introductions’ forum

9. You know what a one-star bandit is, and shake your fist at them

8. You’ve encountered the mechanism that prevents you from posting too quickly–even though it only activates within 30 seconds of your last post

7. You always know when one of the regulars changes their badge

6. You’ve used #7 repeatedly when you’ve run out of something to say in TPAM

5. You have all of the story quotes from the top of the page memorized

4. You’re sure you’ve refreshed ‘FanLib Fun’ over 500 times a day

3. You got really confused when Leila and Shilom changed avatars

2. You remember when ‘The Person Above You’ was on page 200–and that was last month!

And the number one sign you’re a FanLib Forum Addict is:

1. You’re pretty sure no one hates anyone for liking Hip Hop [18]

FanLib's Official Blog

No Hiatus was FanLib's official blog. It ran from September 8, 2007-August 4, 2008.

The blog's name probably comes from the writer's strike that was happening at the same time as the blog's launch.

From FanLib: One Year Later:
On September 8, 2007, FanLib launched their official blog, No Hiatus. The blog would have a number of features, including "Fandom 411" posts which would give an overview of canon, Five Questions that featured members on FanLib answered, weekly updates as to new features on FanLib and more. Schinders, one of the main bloggers for the site, would also do a number of interviews with people connected to various television shows. These interviews were occasionally picked up and linked around in their respective fandoms. One interview was Ed Westwick from Gossip Girl. Some of these posts would get picked up and linked around fandom. One example of this was a post by xohhthatscenex that linked to a No Hiatus entry on the writer's strike and how it would affect Supernatural.

Reactions to FanLib's Launch from the Fan Community

Most of the fan community reacted with extreme prejudice, mockery, and fannish rage. It is generally considered taboo to use fanworks for commercial gain (which might violate copyright law and annoys the original rights holders), so many fans were uncomfortable with the very idea of FanLib, which was clearly a for-profit company.

Additionally, quite a few fans, especially the large amount of whom are women in their 20s and 30s, felt condescended to by the founders and employees of Fanlib, [19] which did not make them especially eager to jump into their fic archive (when they already had many archives) and make money for them (when they wouldn't see a cent of it for themselves, and would then be going against the non-commercial "spirit" of fanfiction).

Interestingly, when (in Icarus' words), "their current ad campaign, featuring a 98-lb weakling (who doesn't read fanfiction) alongside a muscleman who reads fanfiction on FanLib.com, left fans mystified and vaguely insulted," fans reacted by writing pink guy/blue guy slash.[20] When FanLib followed up with an ad involving a pinata, there was discussion of bestiality!fic.[21]

Several fans made protest icons,[22] mocking both the "color inside the lines" part of their sales brochures, and their attempts to emulate fanfiction.net's popularity. Some of these were featured in mainstream media blogs.[23]

Specific Praise of FanLib

General

Oddly, I like the idea of FanLib. I think their execution needs a bit of work but overall, sound concept... I'm all for FanLib. I can think of some other ways to generate revenue for them that connect to their core intentions. They need to fix some of the usability issues but they have the programmers and the lack of a Greek chorus to hinder them. They also have the money to do it successfully. [24]

A Supportive Community

I decided that I wanted to try to expand my writing to some new places so I went to Google to search for fanfiction websites. That is where one of the first places I saw was Fanlib. It looked like a great site and after checking it out for a bit I decided to join. It was interesting since not only could you post fanfiction, but you could post original stories, poetry, and pictures. It seemed like the perfect place to expand my writing skills. And I was correct.

Fanlib was a place where people did more than just ask you to update. They gave corrections and helpful tips about how to become a better writer and after spending some time there I did. I had even moved to start posting in the forums and getting to know some of the other fanlibbers. Soon I had become great friends with many of them....

Even though the community was online it was a place where we could all talk about common intrests and share the inner mechinisms of our minds with people who would understand us.

After a while on fanlib a group of newcomers came from another site that was closing down. Fanlib opened it's doors to them and helped them to become comfortable with a new place. Many of us helped out as well. Seeing as we could only imagine what it would be like to lose our online home. Many of us had thought of Fanlib as a home and though many people don't seem to get the love of a place like that, us fanlibbers did very well. [25]

Validation

...I finally made featured author!!! I've been on the carousel twice, been a featured reviewer three times. I've been a featured member. but, to me, being featured author takes the cake... I've been added to the long list of featured authors chosen during the past year. can you say "validation as a writer"? To me, that does. [26]

Rating and Reviews

I like the idea here that the mods are taking stories they think have mereit and promoting them. That's, to my mind, a great idea because on a lot of fanfic sites you sometimes have to wade through a lot of barely adequate fics to get to the gems. I also like the Star system--it really grabs your attention when a fic gets a four or five star rating. [27]

Corporate Responsibility

Personally, I'm finding Fanlib as a corporate entity to be very responsive and sensitive to its critics as well as the wishes and suggestions of those who are archiving here. As a commercial site, they have a financial obligation to keep up with the problems, modify things as they see a need or have a demand, fix what's broken, and engage both the writers and the readers. It's something I haven't seen in very many fan-run sites, including fanfiction.net. [28]

Source of Meta

One thing fanlib HAS done is bring out some excellent meta. [29]

Experimentation

on fanlib, people were so much more willing to read outside their fandoms. Not sure why that doesn't happen here. I was thinking of pinning a topic with comments given/received where people could post comments. [30]
You're absolutely right. I did find myself reading outside of my fandoms more often on FanLib. I even discovered a couple of fandoms through the Fandom 411 (Namely Wonderfalls) I'm really going to miss that. [31]

Specific Criticisms of FanLib

Making a Profit by Exploiting Fan Labor:

C. knows the guy running this thing, he's a typical dot-com media operator. They're in it to make a buck. I suspected as much; you can smell their bullshit from miles away. I sincerely hope writers keep their stories the hell away from that place. This whole thing is giving me massive heebie-jeebies. It kinda reminds me of old-time actor conventions, and the way Creation swooped in, took over, and made it an a la carte business, raping fans for BIG bucks for every little thing. They make me sick. [32]
I have been against the whole concept of FanLib from day one as it's just a prelude to The Man selling us back our own work at a profit, and I'm sick of a group of boys who can't even be bothered to punctuate claiming to be collecting "the best fanfiction out there" and trying to become the public face of our community. [33]

Cultural Appropriation:

From day one, the FanLib guys have been operating on the assumption that their world view and economic model are inherently superior to ours and that we'd be absolutely overjoyed to be granted the privilege of "moving up" into their version of the world. It's like they're doing us a favor by letting us into their club and assuming that we'll feel happy and privileged to leave behind our own ways of doing things and switch over to theirs. [34]
FanLib irked me as something put over on us from outside the community; I'd much rather have this come from inside, and I know we've got the ability to do it if we want to. [35]

Accentuating Gender Divisions:

FanLib's contests are quite a bit different than the archive. I could even see the contests as serving a reasonable purpose ---again, sort of like an American Idol for fanfic writers ---and I don't mind seeing an opportunity open up in which fan ideas might leach into the pro side. I'm already convinced that, despite all the sturm and drang, the two influence one another anyway. And y'know, I really don't have the time or inclination to contribute to a Trek contest, but if they were doing MFU, I'd be there. Why not? I'm not going to leave the field to the guy fans and I could really use a vacation :) On the other hand, I could see the guy fans going for the contests while the women fans end up ghettoized in the archive and that does disturb me. After all, most of the guys have nothing to contribute to an archive, while I would expect that the ideas contributed by the guys in the contest will fit better into the expectations of the pros. Rather than unite the gendered spaces of fandom, FanLib would be creating new ones. [36]
The launch of FanLib.com represents the coming of age of fan fiction, or "fanfic." Give me an effing break - wow, now we can finally achieve puberty because male-dominated corporate America has figured out a way to line their pockets through fanfic! I can feel myself finally becoming a woman." [37]

Clumsy Interface:

...the interface is clumsy and painful, doesn't allow user-controlled formatting, and inserts new pages for anything over about 800 words (I supposed that's a way of forcing you to see the ads change). [38]
The damn thing looks like MySpace. [39]

Business Model and Privacy Policy

To my (mostly) untrained eye, based on their privacy policy, it looks as though they could deliver a demographic to their "partners" for a fee- a market of consumers who can be better targeted to buy tie-ins, tee-shirts, or whatever. I would be very interested to know exactly what they say to their "partners" to get them onboard- my guess is that it is something like, "We will find for you people who love your product, and then we will tell you exactly who they are." It gathers in one place people who buy DVDs and other merchandise and people who will theoretically respond to similar offerings. Basically, I think the site is a marketing tool that knows better than to call itself a marketing tool, and I would like to know what the founders have to say about that." [40]

Issues With Feedback for Fiction

How is it that my less than 100% enthusiastic (but far from hypercritical) feedback was deleted from an author/board moderator's feedbacks for the story I rated? Why invite feedback if anything less than glowing praise is deleted at will?" [comment by javanyet] "It is our policy to block comments at the member's request. We feel that while it's important to invite feedback, your space is your own and that each member has the right to manage the content therein as they see fit. Please don't let a blocked comment deter you from leaving feedback. As we all know it's important to learn from our mistakes and celebrate our accomplishments whether we choose to make that experience public or not." [response by holly9000, moderator] [41]
Now, if we could only apply their honesty to the hundreds of kids on Fanlib who only know how to give a generic' half sentence of a review, "OMFG I WUB DIS. CONTINUE PLZZZZZZZZZZZ". Fanlib needs more constructive criticism floating around. My friends and I there can't just be the ONLY ones doing it to help everyone else. [42]

Mixed Messages Over Legality and Representation

alot of people are concerned by WHO all is involved in FanLib. i'm sorry, but when i see that there's a person is involved in this who was also the president of RIAA during the period when they treated its customers like criminals and basically helped turn IP into the shit-hole that it is (except for big business), then you can understand the concern some folks would have now that this person is here dealing with fanfiction. one wonders why some website markets fanfic as perfectly legal when it's a grey area at best and then has a ToS that basically says "sorry, not only must you indemnify us, but also DEFEND us in case we get sued". they provide no guarantees of protection, yet ENCOURAGE us to do more and more that may, in fact, turn out to be illegal SHOULD IT GO TO COURT. [43]

Questions About Rating Systems

You might be right that the particular fanfic wouldn't make it past network censors, but if so, that would only be, again, because network censors share the idea gay people are icky, and the second story barely even seemed to warrant a PG-13 level rating even assuming gay people = automatic inappropriateness. I'm getting seriously disturbed by this. Is this site supposed to be bringing fanfiction into the mainstream, or mainstreaming fanfiction? It's not using a rating system that resembles any one I've seen on any other site but one tied to (American) TV and I've yet to get any answer for why. It's already tagging material as inappropriate because some people might disagree with it, not because it's too much for readers of a certain age. [44]

Reactions to Reactions to FanLib's Launch from the Company's Owners

hey everyone, I'm Chris one of the founders of FanLib>, it's really late and i have been working on the site all day. I'm exhausted but i just realized what was going on here and all of the commentsts are making me sick. we're a small company with 10 emplyees who work 16 hours a day to try and make a great website. we're real people! with feelings and everything! we have been working on this and dreaming about it for a long time and you are just here to shit on it without giving us a chance. i care deeply about what you think but this is crazy. we're good people here and you make us sound like we're an evil corporation or the govt. sending your kids to war or something. we really are all about celebrating fan fiction and fan fiction readers and writers. im sorry this is so short and please excuse the fact that i am cutting and pasting this across a bunch of ljs but i gotta get some sleep. -- chris. [45] [46]

Some FanLib Inspired Fanworks

Visual

Fiction

The Buyout and the Closure

Disney began acquiring FanLib in May, 2008, and completed the process in June, two months before FanLib announced it was "closing." FanLib was acquired for the coding software it had on its backend, not for its fanfiction-related work. [48] [49] (NOTE: Many news stories put the Disney acquisition in early August, rather than June. [50])

On July 23, 2008, FanLib announced it was closing the site.

On August 4, 2008, FanLib closed. The short time between the announcement and the closure meant many fans lost their fanworks. The site is not waybackable, and this means that all content, including comments and reviews are gone as well.

Fan Reaction to the Closure

Some fans who had considered FanLib their internet gathering place were not only left homeless by the site's closure but also felt alienated and unwelcome in many other fandom spaces that were hostile to FanLib. [need cite] Many fans also lost their own fanworks.

Fan's Comments Regarding Closing

"On July 23, 2008, Fanlib announced that they would be closing their doors. It was a time of panic for many of us fanlibbers. We began to overload the forums with questions as to why. But to this day there has never been given a real reason to the closure. Many of us flocked to new places and tried to find ways in which we would be able to keep in touch. The last thing we wanted was to lose the valuble friendships we had all made through our love of writing. Sadness had filled us all as the closing date grew near and several of us closed our accounts prematurly, wanting to feel as if we had some ounce of control over it." [51]

  • "This is indeed a sad day… and I long to stay in touch with all the friends I made through the late, great FanLib.com… please try to stay in touch, okay? LLAP, TERRELL B)" [52]
  • "I'm upset about this too. I just saw the message this morning. I wanted to cry. Fanlib is where I started reading fanfiction and got inspired to start writing my own story...not finished yet, but I am working on it." [53]
  • "Yes we're upset about FanLib. But fandoms and fanfic writing came before FanLib and will continue on after." [54]}}
  • "i can’t believe fanlib closing it broke my heart." [55]
  • "It is long and un-lamentably gone. I found the wake of the giant controversy that had accompanied this corporate sponsored attempt at fan-mining that was still rippling outward... This was almost THE BIG ONE that we've all been half-anticipating for so long -- the ultimate Pan-Fandom epidemic; the moment when Big Media finally figures out an insidious way to co-opt and shut us down not by stomping or starving us out as we have so long feared but rather by making us tame and docile as we eagerly lick at a drip-bottle of carefully rationed corporate approval." [56]
  • "Fanlib bought...by DISNEY?! I just hopped on Fanlib to check it out, since I have quite a few stories there, and found that it is now GONE. Just like that. Apparently, according to a few news stories, it's been bought by Disney, although I didn't quite understand why. So why in the world does Disney need it? If they want something like that, can't they make it themselves? I'm just rather annoyed right now, as well as pretty sorrowful. Fanlib was wonderful and I enjoyed it so much. I hope that others will miss it as much as I do!!" [57]
  • "Fanlib's ending? Lmao! What the hell, Fanlib Gods? As soon as I figured that I would drop a few much needed reviews for people, it decides to permanently shut down on me. Does anyone have any idea why this is suddenly happening? Bah, it just goes to show that Good Things DO come to awful ends every once in awhile." [58]
  • "i know, i’m totally lost now... fanlib is absolutely closed. nothing is left. srry that u lost all ur stories, it’s a shame." [59] BEAU/KAMMY ish..back?, July 28, 2008 </ref>

A FanLib Obituary

A fan wrote an obituary for FanLib:
Fanlib Dies; Creativity Lives On: At 5:04 pm pacific time, Fanlib ceased to exist. Posting on forums continued clear up until the end. A strong attendance of former KvP writers was represented for the final countdown, giving a familiar feel of round four’s countdown to destruction. Indeed, today was a good day to die for the fan site that gave birth to the best collaborative minds of the decade.

For anyone attempting to post after the slightly delayed hour of death, a coded error message was received. In that moment, scores of fans were immediately cut off and left to decide their trek.

While fanlib.com no longer lives, it is survived by countless writers and artists who continue to thrive on various sites throughout the internet. We here on the KvP Alum project are a testimony to that truth. Fanlib’s short life span inspired many creative minds and its presence will be greatly missed.

For those of you who missed the party and list of alternate sites on Fanlib’s home page, we’re big believers in keeping in touch. Just for you: DeviantArt.comFanFiction.netFanPop.comLiveJournal.comMyFandoms.comPhotoshopFaceOff.comQuizilla.comTheOtaku.comTokyoPop.comFanLib Refugees — InvisionFree.comFanLib Refugees — FanFiction.netFanLib Refugees — MyFandoms.comFanLib Forever

Boldly writing on, dr.jeanTre16 [60]

A FanLib Goodbye Vid

In August 2008, Marphlets made a vid, Last Call, in honor of the site's passing. The music used was "Closing Time" by Semisonic. A fan comments: "Nice vid... It was definately nice knowing you all. But we still know each other. The community lives on here and in our hearts. Right?" [61]

After-FanLib Communities

Refugees from the site set up a number of communities, archives, and discussion forums to reconnect with their friends after the closure.

Further Reading/Links to Responses: General

Further Reading/Links to Responses: 2006

  • Putting The Fans To Work - Businessweek, Archived version (March 12, 2006) ("I won't try to convince you that most fan fiction is comprehensible or even bearable to outsiders, which is why godawful.net ("the foulest fan fiction available") has thrived for years. But there is something affecting and heartfelt about the phenomenon. Given fans' intensity and devotion and the myriad ways media profit from preoccupations with stardom, it was inevitable that some outfit would smell a business in all this.")
  • Circa Oct 2006, FanLib in their West Hollywood office, Archived version (October 2006) (Photos of FanLib workspaces: "FanLib in their West Hollywood office. Our first major operations meeting at my apartment building's conference room. Thank god for the Polycom USB Speakerphone and Skype to allow us to connect with remote team members! Already outgrown their one man office plus reception area, they are set to move by the end of the year.")

Further Reading/Links to Responses: 2007

January 2007

February 2007

  • FanLib Company Get-Together Numero Uno!, Archived version (photo taken February 27, 2007, posted March 4, 2007) (Photos of FanLib workspaces: "The first company get-together for FanLib, bringing all the investors and company together to celebrate and show the incredible progress they've made. I love group pictures like this, especially as they record history. They are all special moments in a company's history and need to be saved.")

March 2007:

  • FanLib Company Get-Together Numero Uno!; Archive (March 4, 2007) (February group photo: "The first company get-together for FanLib, bringing all the investors and company together to celebrate and show the incredible progress they've made.")

April 2007:

  • Lord of the Rings Fanfiction :: A Tolkien Loving Community, Archived version (April 21, 2007) ("I am not saying don't post there (I will say that I have no intention of posting there myself until the TOS improves, though), but I am saying please read and consider the terms carefully because I am concerned that some members here will or have not done so. Please... As requested, following is an unedited complete copy of the email invite that I received on Apr 20, 2007 10:04 AM. Subject was "Your Lord of the Rings fanfics."") [62]

May 10, 2007:

  • The corporatization of fanfic?, post to Fanthropology; WebCite (99 comments, includes fans asking one of FanLib's spokespersons many questions about copyright, profit, intent, and procedure) ("Just came across two articles today, the first hyping the release of the final Harry Potter book by featuring discussion of Potter fanfic, and the second a press release for the launch of FanLib.com which discusses its corporate partners while Spiderman fanfic is featured on the home page. While fan fiction has existed for decades, FanLib is launching a new era by packaging it for mainstream audiences. I find the use of the term "mainstream audiences" rather interesting since the term isn't explained but I would guess it refers to fanfic content. For example a quick glance at SPN fic doesn't reveal any tags indicating pairings or even "romance" even though easily half the content on LJ is Wincest or RPS. Similary the BtVS fanfic listed does have romance as a term but nearly half the content is rated "All." Thoughts? Are projects such as FanLib (or even fanfic.net which no longer permits NC-17 material) going to create 2 categories of fanfic -- corporate gen and back-blog explicit and dark fic -- even as genres such as slash inch their way into commercial publishing?")

May 14, 2007:

May 15, 2007:

  • FanLib Provides Another Home For FanFic Writers - Futures of Entertainment: Archives, Archived version ("Particularly interesting, since fan fiction seems to be one of the last traditional forms of fan creativity that hasn't been widely coopted and encouraged (within specific, copyright-friendly parameters) by the entertainment industry. I haven't given this as much thought as I should, but my offhand guess would be that fan fiction, unlike mashup videos, tribute songs, and so on, are harder to 'control,' and leave a lot more room for individual fans to take characters, or narratives, in directions that producers and executives aren't comfortable with.") (has 162 comments)
  • Fanlib.com; Archive, post by kyuuketsukirui ("And if I hear one more person talk about how it's wrong because it's non-fans making money off fans, I'm going to scream. Go make your own site and make money off fans, then. If you want to put up ads on your fic, do it. Nothing is stopping you. And if you don't want them to make money off you personally, then don't post there and don't read there.")

May 16, 2007:

  • Fanlib; Archive, post by panik ("The way I see it, if fanfic ever becomes a source of income, the Big Boys will be on it like a ton of bricks, a ship-load of legality will suddenly appear; there will be sound, financial reasons to stamp on amateur fanfic and fandom as we know it will wither and perish. I say, treat it like it's made of Ebola - stay away. If no one goes there, it will die. (I'm no fool, I recognise that things are about to change and there's probably little we can do to stop it, but we can take some control; the slope should be slippiest at our end, not theirs.)")
  • Fanfiction Writers As FanLib Affiliates; Archive ("After studying www.FanLib.com for a couple of days, I figured out one of the crucial ways they plan to make money. They plan to turn fanfiction writers into their affiliates.")
  • link, and extended commentary on Fanlib (again); Archive, post by cofax7 (a round-up of current discussions, including the all important "Who is the intended audience for FanLib?")
  • My two cents on FanLib.com; Archive, post by Astrid ("My first reaction when I read about it on fanthropology last week was: knee-jerk unease and skepticism. Now that I've checked out the site and a little of the debate, my response is: yet more unease and skepticism: the whole thing makes my hair stand on end. Can't help it, it smells of exploitation and viral marketing... some entertainment business folk trying to get their foot in the door and cash in on things that we do for free, driven by nothing but love for a story or a fictional character.")

May 17, 2007:

  • My Official I Love Fanlib Thread!!!; Archive, post by jdsampson ("Who's been to Fanlib? Who Loves it? Who's willing to give it a try? This is a positive Fanlib thread because I'm tired of people telling me what to think.")
  • FanLib Invitation. One of the select few. Like hell.; Archive, post by Icarus ("Well, ain't that fine and dandy. I was "personally selected" because of my great writing. Why did that sound like a credit card offer? (Bring fanfiction to the big leagues? Really. You're going to what -- publish it? Hmm. Just looks like another archive to me.) I scanned through the possible places they could have gotten my name at random. Remember. I'm an author who posts everywhere. If anyone's going to turn up on a random search, it'll be me.") (163 comments)
  • Meta: Questions about FanLib's FAQ; or Who With the What Now?; Archive, posted by telesilla (takes apart FanLib's FAQ) (139 comments)
  • Meta/Rant: It's like deja vu all over again!; Archive, post by telesilla ("While I don't mind the increasing public light being brought to bear on fanfiction, I do strongly object to people who aren't fandom making money off it. And there's something even more annoying here. I've been in fandom long enough to know that one thing fandom seems to really crave is some kind of legitimacy. We've been marginalized by the broader world of science fiction/media fans--we may be higher on the geek hierarchy than say, furries, but still, we're looked down on, not just by broader fandom, but by professional writers as well.")

May 18, 2007:

  • Womens' fiction, advertising, and FanLib.com; Archive, post by proggrrl ("It does seem a tad, um, CRIMINAL to start a site that seeks to monetize the fanfic writers and audience. It is notable that all the people behind FanLib are men. It is also notable, however, that FanFiction.net is covered with advertising as well. In fact, I have noticed a marked uptick in the number of ads I have to get through on that latter site recently. Is traffic up on that site, I wonder? From the perspective of the businessMEN who have started FanLib, there is no difference between FanLib, YouTube or any of the other content-sharing platforms out there who drive business via advertising.")

May 19, 2007:

  • FanLib y Archivos Gigantes; Archive, post by logovo1 ("Me da gusto que en general no he visto un solo post en LiveJournal defendiendo lo que FanLib intenta hacer. Por el momento. Contrario a lo que se dice en medio broma de la mentalidad en grupo de fandom (mi término preferido es HiveVagina, por ofenderme al mismo tiempo de darme risa) no todos estamos en lo mismo en cuanto la relación entre fandom y los creadores originales.")

May 20, 2007:

May 21, 2007:

  • Fandom Wank Report, page one, Archived version, page two, Archived version, page three, Archived version, page four, Archived version, page five, Archived version
  • More on FanLib; Archive, post by Meg Thornton ("Well, things are getting interesting in the whole "FanLib" thing. I got involved with a thread over on fanthropology last night. I posted a total of seventeen questions for the person from FL who stated that she was willing to answer questions. Just for the sake of kindness, I'll post the questions below. (To be fair to the person I was asking, I did interlard these with a certain amount of uncomplimentary material about the company and the site. This is essentially an abbreviated posting of just the questions).")
  • Fanlib; Archive, post by Stefanie (kitesareevil) ("At first I was writing Fanlib off as a ludicrous idea because of the obvious stupidity factor. You aren't supposed to make money off of anything involving fandom. It's one of the rules that I've always followed and I know I've had my share of laughs at those who have attempt to make some sort of profit off of their fandom. Even if it is just in ad revenue, they are still putting something on the line, and it sure isn't their playground: it's ours. And Mr. Chris Williams et al seem to know that very well.")
  • New Community For FanLib Discussion, And A Correction; Archive ("FanLib is NOT offering a cool and groovy affiliate program for authors, as I speculated [in an earlier post].")
  • FanLib: 101 Reasons to Stay Away; Archive, post by liz marcs ("Let's make something clear: While this is certainly the most aggressive attempt I've ever seen to make money off the backs of fanfiction writers, you can be absolutely certain — with the same certainty that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west — that it most definitely won't be the last.")
  • FanLib -- Why We're Not Just Walking Away; Archive, post by AngiePen ("Now mind you, I'm one of the first people to subscribe to the "Don't like? Don't read" philosophy. But "Don't like? Don't post" is quite another matter in this case. We're not talking about a few whiny fans tripping over a kink or a pairing they don't like and feeling the need to snark about how horrible it is and how it shouldn't exist. This whole issue is about legalities and lawsuits and has the potential to impact all of us. And even if it were only a matter of the individual fans who choose to post their stories on FanLib rolling the C&D dice, I'd still be concerned because while I and you and most of the people here on LJ can look at this place and read their TOS and realize what a bucket of rabid weasels it is and that it'd be less than intelligent to stick a hand into it, a lot of fans are naive enough not to realize that they're taking any kind of chance at all by posting there.")
  • My two cents on Fanlib as a fanfic reader; Archive, post by midnightbex ("The main problem with such mass run sites is that there is no way to determine what is good writing and what isn't. A search on the site isn't going to help me figure that out and their rating system isn't either. Rating systems have been around nearly as long as their have been archives. All it takes is a handful of friends of the author or people with taste that I don't agree with giving it 5 stars and high praise to get that rating. There are a number of sources for finding good fanfic that don't involve any kind of archive. There are rec journals all over livejournal, del.icio.us tags, individual recs, websites, fic searches, communities, trusted fanfic writers and readers - all sources I'd go to in the search for new fic before I'd ever consider going to a mass archive. Certainly I'd read it if that's where a recommendation led me, but I wouldn't ever consider using it as the first and last source for my fanfic reading needs.")

May 22, 2007:

  • Transforming Fan Culture into User-Generated Content: The Case of FanLib, blog post by Henry Jenkins; WebCite ("FanLib had done its homework by the standards of the VC world: they had identified a potential market; they had developed a business plan; they had even identified potential contributors to the site; they had developed a board of directors. They simply hadn’t really listen to, talked with, or respected the existing grassroots community which surrounded the production and distribution of fan fiction.")
  • Making Light: Fanfiction, Monetized, Archived version ("Latest entry in the list of Gosh Wow ideas: Making money from fan fiction! Seems that a group called FanLib (read their press release) is planning to Bring Fan Fiction into the Mainstream. They got $3 million from investors, and they’re off, as if the Dot Com Bubble had never burst. This got the reaction from fanfic fandom that you’d expect: “Synergy is all well and good until someone stumbles upon that Shrek/Gandalf/Harry Potter threesome BDSM fic and has an aneurysm.”")
  • Fanlib and stuff; Archive, post by mhalachai ("why I'm not too worked up over it: My fandom has already been put on notice. I speak, of course, about the Anita Blake books. If you follow my fics, you'll have noticed that no matter how annoyed I get with current canon, I can't stay away.... Anyway, Laurell K. Hamilton has made some noise in the past about fanfic being disallowed, and to this day most mainstreamish fic archives won't allow Anita Blake fic in. That's fine. I can pretty much guarantee that my fandom's never going to bcome part of the mass of FanLib (Can't tell if the "Lib" here stands for Liberation, Liberty or Libel). I like it like that. Ignore me and I won't hurt the canon... I'm going to stay as far away from FanLib as possible, as it's not the sort of place I want my writing.")
  • On FanFiction, FanLib, blah blah; Archive, post by phaballa ("Let's put aside all the feminist arguments and the fact that the owners of FanLib don't seem to think slash is a mainstream fandom phenomenon (hahaha, could they BE any farther from fandom consciousness) and just focus on the idea that this group of guys and corporations actually think it's somehow possible to control and take over fandom. The very idea is laughable. If they're not prepared to deal with questions about their motives in creating FanLib in the first place, how can they possibly hope to deal with the inevitable shipping wars and plagiarism wank and kink wank? I'm pretty sure these people leapt into this venture thinking they'd make some easy money by harnessing and "legitimizing" the power of fandom, and that's really going to bite them in the ass. Fandom will not be harnessed. It'll be fun watching them TRY. They're already complaining about how MEAN we are. Heeee.")
  • Fanlib and why it is a bad, bad idea; Archive, post by Gemma ("Oh dear. That was my first thought when I heard about Fanlib. Oh dear. Having read through the various posts linked on meta_fandom and various other ljs, my reaction hasn't changed. Oh dear Fanlib, you have fucked yourselves up but good. Now this is my opinion and not everyone will agree, that's okay. But in my opinion the biggest two fandoms going right now in fanfiction are SGA and SPN. That is where it's happening, at least in the lj portions of fandom. Now to put it bluntly, lj is basically the locus for most fanfiction going round. Forget yahoo groups or other mailing lists (but ah, the memories) or even sometimes author websites and archives. Lj is where most people play nowadays. I'm not sure if it's a good thing (I love my lj, but I loved those lists too) but I think that its true. FF.net is mostly a joke in fandom, a cautionary tale of what not to do. I mean, when was the last time YOU went to FF.net and clicked on a decent fic?")
  • Discussion and News Round-up May 22, 2007; Archive, post by stewardess at the site life_wo_fanlib

May 23, 2007:

  • Online Terms of Service, standard clauses, non-standard clauses, and a crash course in the CDA; Archive for page one; page two; Archive for page two, post by Synecdochic ("I believe that FanLib's Terms of Service are, in places, detrimental to users of the service. However, the reason I believe this is partially different than the reasons I'm seeing posted. My reasoning requires the assembly of several pieces together, and an understanding of a critical piece of United States law as applied to online service providers.")
  • FanLib to Fanficcers: All Your Writing Are Belong To us, Archived version, blog post by John Scalzi ("Fanfic writers appear to have two choices here: Accept that what they're doing is fundamentally a violation of copyright and do it on the down low, and in doing so, have the freedom to play with the characters they love any way they want -- or play the FanLib game, in which they're controlled and exploited as cheap labor by the copyright holders. Again, I'm not someone who writes fanfic, but if I were, I know which of these I'd be doing, and it's not the one that has a brochure attached.")
  • FanLib wholly exploded, Archived version, post by Teresa Nielsen Hayden ("Smart Lis Riba announced yesterday, here and in her own weblog, that she’s tracked down some very interesting info about FanLib at their parent company’s site. It’s a brochure aimed at backers. FanLib foolishly put it online and linked to it from their parent company’s site. Perhaps they thought that fans would never find it.")
  • .: FanLib--Boo!, Archived version ("But this is just stupid. The whole point of fanfic is that it's not corporate. It's unlicensed, uncensored, and not-for-profit. Fanfic writers are about the purest type of writer there is: they write only for an audience, for the sheer love of it.")
  • Transforming Fan Culture into User-Generated Content: The Case of FanLib -- Confessions of an Aca-Fan, Archived version ("You say “User-Generated Content.” We say “Fan Culture.” Let’s call the whole thing off! The differences between the ways corporations and fans understand the value of grassroots creativity has never been clearer than the battle lines which have been drawn this weekend over a new venture called FanLib.")
  • I have a headache THIS BIG, and it has FanLib written all over it; Archive, post by wiliqueen ("Of course, someone in a comment I read today dubbed it "the Creation Cons of fanfic." Which, in a way, is the same thing. If it takes off, it's going to be as a parallel structure, regarded contemptuously by fandom-at-large as a feeble synthetic substitute manufactured to take advantage of n00bs who don't know any better. Some will graduate to "the real thing;" others will be satisfied with what they find there, and may well try traditional fandom and not like it. Creation is still with us after lo these decades, and MySpace is a household word. I have trouble wrapping my head around either of those, but that's life.")
  • FanLib - ein echtes Déjà vu ; Archive, post by atti (post mostly in German - includes some English translation: "Sorry people, but I can't help thinking that this 'new' Business model just is quite idenitcal to the one of fanfiktion.de, a German multifandom fanfiction archive, practises since 2004. Behind this German archive also is a firm (Ideafactory GbR). And either they are really bad at web design and site promotion, that they don't manage to get their other projects any publicity (because if you google for them there's just the connection to the fanfic site) or the GbR just has one single aim: making money with fanfiction. I must admit they succeeded, because when you look at the amount of advertisements on that site then surely they'll earn more money with that than what they need just to keep the site running.")
  • Cory Doctorow rocks, and so does Ces. FanLib, not so much.; Archive, posted by cofax7 ("On cruising through the FanLib forums, I've learned that the fact that many of the fan writers on LJ don't find FanLib appealing isn't a bug, it's a feature. In other words, there aren't any nasty BNFs there dictating the way things are run, and imposing their awful standards and insisting stories have coherence, grammar, and spelling before they recommend them to their friends or feedback the writers. Damn them, anyway! ::shakes fists of rage:: Ahem. Anyway.")

May 24, 2007:

  • FanLib/Fandom: non-con, and not in a fun way, posted by Jane Carnall; WebCite ("There is no advantage whatsoever to a fanfic writer in registering and posting fanfic on FanLib: and while the risk of being sued may be minimal, FanLib have set it up so that by their TOS, you bear all the risk and all the costs, and are not permitted any defense against them, while they bear no risk, no legal costs - not even the legal cost of you sueing them - and take any profit that is to be had. Steer clear.")
  • Why FFN isn't like FanLib: Profit, Risk and Exploitation; Archive, post by Lyore ("...despite FanLib's claims to the contrary, FFN has never promoted itself as being a 'for profit' archive, and denies that its advertising revenue going to anything other than funding the site's services (a believable claim IMO, given the size of the site). But frankly, whether or not it's actually making a profit is almost irrelevant - the party line, the publicly available data (at least the easily accessible stuff), all maintains this stance. FFN has the appearance of being a not-for-profit, fan-run site. And therein lies the difference.")
  • Fandom and Fanlib ; Archive, post by La Guera ("Why is it that big business cannot follow the simple rules we were all taught in school? Why are they allowed to take our ideas and claim them as their own? If a ficcer tried to claim a world or character as his or her own and it was untrue, they would rightly face fandom censure and possible legal action. Yet the entertainment industry expects to be allowed to use the fandom at large as its think tank with no compensation or even acknowledgment, not even one so simple as a writing credit?")
  • This Is Your Fanfic on FanLib ... ; Archive, post by dodger winslow ("So here’s the way I look at the whole FanLib thing: We're a pack of stray dogs (in their eyes) running around, eating other people's garbage. So one day, these guys see all the rich folk paying huge money for specific types of purebred dogs and think "Hey! Out of this HUGE pack of garbage-eating dogs out there, there's a pretty good chunk of them that are either purebreds or could pass for purebreds long enough for us to make some money off their backs." And they also think, "Hey ... those stray dogs are eating garbage so they'd JUMP at the chance to be owned by someone who would buy them a diamond collar and carry them around in a designer handbag. 'Cause that's the American dream for all dogs, right?" So these "entrepreneurs" get it in their head that if they build a big shelter right in the middle of the stray dog zone and open the door and wave around a diamond collar, the smell alone will pull in so many strays they won’t know what to do with them all.")
  • The fucked up fandom trifecta; Archive, post by anachicq ("And then one of the huge fandom Kerfuffles happened, probably Boldthrough. Actually, that whole timeperiod was just one big clusterfuck for fandom. Fanlib, Warriors of Innocence, and the StrikethroughStrike]]/Boldthrough. Out of the wake of the mass deletes from LJ, and the rise of FanLib.com, there was a trickle throughout fandom and a cry for An Archive of our Own. This would become what we now called OTW. Early on, she offered to help them, since she already had one of the resources that they were planning. Namely, a wiki collecting the history of fans and fandom. They never replied, or if they did, they rebuffed her. I'm sketchy on what happened. And then she began to watch OTW like a hawk, updating her wiki with any information she could, most of it bad. I helped her, and made no secret of being Anti-OTW. All the while she was doing this, she was lauding FanLib as a great archive from a fan and business perspective. She would post meta about how wonderful FanLib is, and how to profit off fandom. (I'll return to this.). She seemed to see OTW as Anti-FanLib, which I agree with, to a point.")

May 25, 2007:

May 27, 2007:

  • Workers of the World Unite: An Old School Marxist Analysis of FanLib vs. Fandom, post by lilithilien ("And it's on this point that FanLib and fandom can never be reconciled, because it's really the fundamental debate between capitalism and the organic community (even what Marx would have called a communist one) that's grown up within fandom. That's not going to be fixed by reaching out to us, by changing their TOS, not even by offering us pots of money for our stories. Not that we'd turn down pots of money, but it wouldn't replace what we have now.")
  • FanLib: the saga continues; Archive, posted by owlmoose (regarding Henry Jenkin's interview with Chris Williams: "Also, the last question is muffed by interviewee and interviewer both; Jenkins tried to ask why Williams is willing to engage him and not the fans, but he did so in such an apologetic manner that he gave Williams an out from having to provide a real answer, and so of course no real answer is forthcoming. Disappointing; I expect better from Jenkins.")
  • Take two Excedrin and call me when the dust settles ("Guess what? It's no longer just "us" and the Lunatic Fringe. The "other" fannish communities are starting to have been around long enough to develop traditions of their own. And to have little or no interest in ours. We might not approve, but by our own ethos, if it doesn't threaten us, that's not for us to judge. The question then becomes: To what extent is the parallel activity a threat? Which aspects of "MySpace fandom" are genuinely careening inexorably toward a destruction of the grey area, dooming us all to be officially lumped in with DVD pirates and/or psychofan stalkers forevermore?")
  • Workers of the World Unite: An Old School Marxist Analysis of FanLib vs. Fandom ; Archive for page one, page two; Archive for page two, post by Lilith ("And it's on this point that FanLib and fandom can never be reconciled, because it's really the fundamental debate between capitalism and the organic community (even what Marx would have called a communist one) that's grown up within fandom. That's not goign to be fixed by reaching out to us, by changing their TOS, not even by offering us pots of money for our stories. Not that we'd turn down pots of money, but it wouldn't replace what we have now. I'm tempted to pump my fist and say "workers of the world unite." Fortunately, that seems unnecessary. As diverse as our fandoms might be, in the always reasoned objections to (and sometimes hilarious responses from) FanLib, we've found a common cause.")

May 28, 2007:

  • The Fanlib saga cont'd. ; Archive for page one; page 2; Archive for page two, post by mierac (reposts of letters between fan and FanLib: "I am posting here, with certain information removed for the sake of privacy (like phone numbers and email addresses not publicly available) the entirety of my exchange with "Naomi [last name removed]" and (allegedly although I think it really was) David Williams from back in March. Everything here is exactly as it occurred in email except where noted in italics that some private information has been removed (I also did not repaste the text of the original privacy policy here as that's available elsewhere.")

May 29, 2007:

  • FanLib, Hubris, and the Power of Self Deception; Archive, post by Major Fischer ("When it comes down to it FanLib’s executives do not understand the culture they have blundered into with all the grace of a 18th century British tea merchant in India. In fact, they have less grace, for at least the British East India Company knew they were selling tea, and who their customers were. FanLib seems to be ignorant of the overwelming female demographic to the fan fiction community, and when asked about that obvious short coming accused Professor Jenkins of asking an unfair question.")
  • Pit of Weasels, take 2; Archive, posted by zellieh ("I'm trying to work out why I hate the idea of the Pit of Weasels so much. I'm sure that if I met these people, they'd be decent human beings, and we could probably even manage a civil conversation. So why am I so angry? What is it that turns this from a bad idea badly done to something that's pressing all my buttons - with a sledgehammer? For me, it's not really the sexism/feminism argument - that's a problem throughout society, so I think I could have forgiven them that. It's not the questionable legality or the publicity - as fanficcers, we've been skating under the radar, and close to the edge, for as long as fandom has existed. Fen often used to get their zines confiscated by Customs as pornographic material when they posted them around the world to each other, so issues of censorship, pornography, and freedom of speech are hardly new. IP and copyright law has been a problem for some people ever since it was invented. I accepted that risk; to me, it's just part of fandom. Three ideas brought my objections into perspective for me, and explained why I feel so personally offended by the Weasels.")

May 30, 2007:

  • Corporations and People: Content and Control - Fitness for the Occasion, Archived version ("Corporations don’t get people. There is a fundamental problem with tailoring one’s message for more than one specific audience: Conflicts.")
  • Fan Fiction Writers Balk at FanLib.com - Slashdot, Archived version ("A couple of former Yahoo execs are trying to create the next MySpace by aggregating fanfiction on a website called FanLib. But the fanfic writers recognized that exploitation was written all over the idea and they've refused to participate. 'Instead of creating the Myspace of fanfic since the launch two weeks ago, FanLib.com sparked a white-hot Internet firestorm.The meltdown is a hard lesson in how not to conduct business on the Internet.But it's a firestorm of FanLib's own making because, in spite of the Yahoo pedigree (or maybe because of it), they plowed in like china shop bulls.'")
  • Fan Fiction Writers Balk at FanLib.com -- Slashdot; Archive, post at Slashdot ("A couple of former Yahoo execs are trying to create the next MySpace by aggregating fanfiction on a website called FanLib. But the fanfic writers recognized that exploitation was written all over the idea and they've refused to participate. 'Instead of creating the Myspace of fanfic since the launch two weeks ago, FanLib.com sparked a white-hot Internet firestorm.The meltdown is a hard lesson in how not to conduct business on the Internet.But it's a firestorm of FanLib's own making because, in spite of the Yahoo pedigree (or maybe because of it), they plowed in like china shop bulls.")

May 31, 2007:

  • Internet go 'splody: FanLib and Strikethrough 2007; Archive, post by owlmoose (May 31, 2007) ("Two companies. Two perceived threats to fandom. Two solid weeks of wank (albiet much more constructive wank than we usually see when things get intense) with more almost certainly to come, although the worst seems to have died down. So now what? Some would say that, ultimately, Strikethrough 2007 was a greater threat to not just fandom but free expression on the Internet than FanLib ever was, and I would tend to agree with this. But I'm content to continue using and supporting LiveJournal, while planning to stay as far away from FanLib as humanly possible. The difference, for me, is in the reactions of the different companies when things started to get hot.")

June 2007:

  • FanLib & Market Research , Archive, post by seema (June 1, 2007) ("Of the two recent fannish kerfuffles, the FanLib one interests me much more. As a marketer in general, and a market researcher in specific, I'm curious when ideas go boom, because in our line of work, they do. Often. Rarely though, have I had such an up close view of said implosion and it's fascinating to me, not just from how a corporate entity decided what they thought was a terrific idea into a money-making venture with value propositions on both sides of the equations but also how on earth did their market research go so off-course? I'm pretty sure I know how it did, because kids, I've been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.")
  • One big reason FanLib could be a good thing; Archive, post by (June 5, 2007) ("FabLib is going to attract a lot of brand spanking new writers who have no clue that there is so much more out there than FanLib is offering. Places like LJ that are not as restrictive in terms of writing outside the socially acceptable mainstream. We can go to FanLib, read the fics and comment on them. We can suggest they join LJ. We can point them in the direction of communities that would welcome them. The readers of the FanLib writers might say: Oooo! More fic! It probably won't lead to FanLib's downfall, but it could bring new and talented writers into our sphere of influence.")
  • Further thoughts on FanLib ; Archive, post by st. crispins (June 15, 2007) ("She also makes a good point that FanLib's contests are quite a bit different than the archive. I could even see the contests as serving a reasonable purpose ---again, sort of like an American Idol for fanfic writers ---and I don't mind seeing an opportunity open up in which fan ideas might leach into the pro side. I'm already convinced that, despite all the sturm and drang, the two influence one another anyway. And y'know, I really don't have the time or inclination to contribute to a Trek contest, but if they were doing MFU, I'd be there. Why not? I'm not going to leave the field to the guy fans and I could really use a vacation :) On the other hand, I could see the guy fans going for the contests while the women fans end up ghettoized in the archive and that does disturb me. After all, most of the guys have nothing to contribute to an archive, while I would expect that the ideas contributed by the guys in the contest will fit better into the expectations of the pros. Rather than unite the gendered spaces of fandom, FanLib would be creating new ones.")
  • alt.startrek.creative, post by Whoa Nellie (June 28, 2007) ("We wondered when the whole "FanLib" hullabaloo was going to pop up here on ASC. We were approached in the spring by FanLib through a sockpuppet they have on FanFiction.net. Thank God we're not newbies and knew to look before leaping. The approach was through FanFiction.net but we also post on Open Scrolls and know that Open Scrolls (which is a LOTR fanfic archive site recently opened to other genres) had issues with FanLib attempting to 'poach' authors from its site. We would never presume to tell another author what to post where. However, many members of the fanfic community across many different fandoms have expressed serious concerns about FanLib. Any author considering posting on FanLib might want to do some research on the site to make an educated decision about submitting their work to the site.")
  • alt.startrek.creative, post by Alan Heah (June 30, 2007) ("They're making it sound like they're leading all Star Trek fanfic writers in some glorious charge! Do these ignorant folks jokers not even know of ASC, possibly the grandparent of all Star Trek fan-fiction ever?")
  • alt.startrek.creative, post by Stephen Ratliff (June 30, 2007) ("Well, when it comes to Star Trek, I have to say the key is the fact that they have benefited more from those that write fan fiction than any hurt. Generally you start with those that are the biggest problem to your copyright. The fan episodes are more at risk ... though all the participating former Trek stars negate that somewhat. The part that would be the area that goes after us, would be as a result of complaints of the professional novel publications. That is not likely. If you look at the list of Star Trek novelists, you'll find a group with a lot of prior fan fiction experience. Then there is those that came from the Strange New Worlds contests ... I leave it to you to compare the list of authors involved there with authors on this group. My current count says we've had about a half dozen that I can easily connect, and twice that who admitted they have. (In particular, look at the ASC class of '92 ... several good authors there) Frankly, as long as we don't make money on it, which ASC doesn't ... I pay money out on this group, and do it willingly ... we have no need to worry. Our profile isn't high, we're not taking money from Paramount, and are works generally fit the transformative use clause. Plus, attacking something that's a tradition going back 16 years on USENET and at least 35 years in other media before USENET.")

Further Reading/Links to Responses: 2008

  • FanLib: One Year Later, by Laura Hale (March 26, 2008) ("In the period between March 2007 and the present, archives did not report any fall out as a result of FanLib. FanLib did not hurt traffic to their archives. FanLib did not cause them to face any sort of legal threats. Archivists did not perceive any change in the environment as a result of FanLib's entering the market. Some, like MediaMiner.Org and FanWorks.Org were watching FanLib to gather ideas for their own archives. Between March 2007 and the present, FanLib has seen a steady increase in the number of unique visitors and total page views. In the end, trends indicate that Fanlib shall continue to grow as part of the fannish community. They've created a sustainable project, which will be around for many years to come.")
  • Fandom-for-profit, or why FanLib is IMHO not part of fandom; Archive, posted by topaz eyes (March 27, 2008) ("Flash forward one year later, and my feelings about FanLib haven't changed. If anything, they've deepened in response to partly_bouncy's post. One of the things that's always bothered me about FanLib is their emphasis on prizes and monthly contests. The latest contest is offering a Wii and iPod nanos. (Let's also be honest: I did sign up as a member, to protect my user name from being used by someone else on the site. This means I end up getting FanLib e-mail, which goes to a separate e-mail address. So I have an idea of what's going on.) I couldn't figure out why I disliked the contests, and the "Biggest Fans Win" campaign so much, until now: They perpetuate the myth that something is worth doing only if you get paid for it.")
  • FanLib is not a fanfiction archive? Huh?, post by stewardess at the site life_wo_fanlib (April 10, 2008) ("FanLib is being ignored because it bombed as a fanfiction archive. Its investors may be pleased with it as a mechanism for direct mail marketing, but to fandom as a whole FanLib was a tiny blip that quickly faded. We will never know if the fanfiction archive was shuffled under the marketing campaign umbrella because that was FanLib's plan from the get-go, or because of its dismal growth. We do know the intellectual property holders who fund the FanLib "contests" are funding the fanfiction archive, too. No one is surprised. Or even excited.")
  • FanLib.com to close next month; Archive (July 24, 2008) ("I've never really been a fan of FanLib.com, but it's still sad to see it go. We don't really have a nice fanfiction archive site at the moment. FanFiction.Net has some of the worst writing I've seen, it's difficult to find anything of quality there. LiveJournal is usually the best place to go, but it's not designed with fanfiction in mind, so there's no central database, searching is difficult, friends-only posts, etc. Here's to hoping that one day we get a nice, multi-fandom, uncensored fanfic site with some sort of moderation. The trouble I see at the moment is that reviews are essentially meaningless, in that there are always people who give poor stories 5 stars, for whatever reasons. It'd be nice if only certain people could vote, ranking the stories based on quality of writing alone and not on plot points or whether their favourite characters are in there.")
  • On the Demise of Fanlib, and Why Fan-run Sites Are More Likely to Succeed]; Archive, post by by Leva Cygnet (July 24, 2008) ("Undoubtedly, the venture capitalists behind FanLib simply saw that some of the fan sites have unbelievable pageviews per day and thought that they could capture that kind of traffic quickly, with an advertising blitz and a few cheap iPods as prizes to the users. However, what they didn't factor in -- and perhaps didn't even realize -- was that getting that kind of traffic is never guaranteed (and is, in fact, rare) and it is an uphill slog to do it. FanLib, if it had been started by fans 4theLuv, certainly would have been a success by the community standard of, "Are people using it and does the site work? Yup, lots. Yup, not broken." It's actually getting impressive traffic for a year old site. If it had been nurtured and promoted by persistent, determined fans who wanted to see it grow ... and those fans had some charisma and smarts about dealing with other fans ... after several years, Team FanLib might have found themselves in possession of a very large, commercially successful archive. But it would take years to reach a commercial level of success. And commercial success is a "maybe" under the best of circumstances. Investors, of course, don't want to wait several years to see a "maybe" return on their money. They want a quick success and profit right away. And so, a site like FanLib, that started with millions in venture capital and people looking to get rich, was almost certainly doomed to fail.")
  • A Life Without FanLib Retrospective; Archive, post by stewardess at the site life_wo_fanlib, July 25, 2008 ("...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.")

Further Reading/Links to Responses: 2009

  • What Disney Bought From FanLib; Archive, post by Stewardess at life_wo_fanlib, January 7, 2009 ("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). ... [Disney] had no interest in FanLib's tiny and rarely visited fanfiction archive: they wanted the servers and the software. Before handing over the works, FanLib wiped it clean, erasing past marketing campaigns for HarperTeen, Star Trek, The L Word, Scholastic…everything, including the woebegone fanfiction archive.") (includes a piñata!)
  • Restoring FanLib's Deleted History; Archive, post by stewardess at the site life_wo_fanlib, January 25, 2009 ("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!")
  • Archive of Our Own vs. FanLib: Why they are not succeeding; Archive, posted by Laura Hale ("I love statistics. I love analytics. I love analyzing fandom based on those numbers. The numbers can provide a framework for telling a story. In the case of this set of numbers, a group was created back in May 2007 to try to bring greater fan control over certain parts of fandom in response to what they saw as the commercialism of fandom. The specific commercialism of fandom in this case was FanLib. There were people who hoped and believed that their new archive could end up being bigger than FanFiction.Net. It hasn’t materialized and compared to what this group was fighting, they didn’t even measure up to FanLib in terms of the number of stories that FanLib had before it closed. (Comparing their archive to FanLib seems apt. Their supporters were comparing FanLib to FanFiction.Net.) Let’s take a look at the numbers and how they stacked up…") June 29, 2009
  • partly_bouncy says it's time to quit crying about FanLib; Archive, post by stewardess at the site life_wo_fanlib, December 12, 2009 ("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.")
  • FanLib Rehashed; Archive, by Niles Flores (September 19, 2009) ("First off, as a web developer and web designer who has sold websites, there are several factors in these type of transactions. If the buyer invokes a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) then the seller cannot say anything other than what the buyer permits. The website owner reserves the right to release or not to release what information they wish to the public. There really should be no debate, nor banning people because they do not agree with the topic. (which happened to me. No idea as I was stating a fact. Unfortunate I stumbled in a loony bin of megalomaniacs.) In fact, the whole ordeal with FanLib it is OLD news. Time to move on. Websites are bought all the time. It is unfortunate when a popular site is closed and may be difficult to get over, but it is not to cry about. It is to get over it, learn from the experience, and create a better community. And EVEN if that community were to be bought too, there is nothing to say that another site like it either does not exist. There are plenty of communities that do exist.")

Further Reading/Links to Responses: 2010

  • FanLib, OTW, and learning to not care...; Archive, by Jane Carnall (January 15, 2010) ("While recognising that many of my friends who have a different experience of OTW from me would not agree with this, my experience of OTW is that OTW is not willing to listen - and my limited experience of interaction with Astolat / Yuletide is that A / Y perceive me as an exploitable resource: a provider of fiction as a work for hire, not a member of the community of yuletiders. FanLib was scary. (From nearly three years ago, a post I wrote because it seemed urgently to need writing: FanLib/Fandom: non-con, and not in a fun way.) OTW is not scary. Astolat is not scary. I had originally written a post at much more length about OTW, but it mostly amounted to: OTW make grandiose claims which they fail to live up to. And so what else is new? Fandom is full of things begun with big ideas that fell over a bit in the practice: with mission statements that make claims that go kinda sorta completely unfulfilled. That I was once interested in OTW, and had my interest thoroughly rebuffed because I didn't have a livejournal and OTW weren't interested in the interest of fans without livejournals, was - still is, as a matter of fact - quite annoying. It is always annoying to have a gate slammed in your face. But that gateslam was two years ago. Long time in fannish terms. You shrug, you move on, you do the occasional quiet sneer in the general direction, but hey: they're not scary people: they're fans having fun who didn't want me to play because it was too much trouble to include people off livejournal, and that is also nothing new or unique to OTW.")

References

  1. "For record keeping, the straw that broke the camel's back was fanlib, if you see the post dates and the incorporation dates, that's the very basic cause/effect. Very. Basic.") (January 4, 2008)
  2. "On the other hand, now that the pitchfork and torch waving mobs have gone after Six Apart, the "really cool" guys at FanLib must be breathing a sigh of relief. It's been a shitty couple of weeks for fandom.") -- May 30, 2007 comment at Metafilter: livejournal suspends hundreds of accounts; Archive
  3. "it's a common misconception that lib stood for library" What Disney Bought From FanLib; Archive, post by stewardess at life_wo_fanlib, January 7, 2009
  4. "Can't tell if the "Lib" here stands for Liberation, Liberty or Libel" Fanlib and stuff; Archive, post by mhalachai
  5. What Disney Bought From FanLib; Archive, post by stewardess at life_wo_fanlib, January 7, 2009
  6. Are you a guy or a gal?
  7. from MediaPost -- Online Fan Fiction - Better than Stealing Music, Archived version by Larry Dobrow, October 3, 2003
  8. What Disney Bought From FanLib; Archive, post by stewardess at life_wo_fanlib, January 7, 2009
  9. FANLIB:: People Powered Entertainment, Archived version, a FanLib site in 2004
  10. FANLIB :: People Powered Entertainment, Archived version
  11. If pigs could fly?
  12. some irony
  13. FanLib Invitation. One of the select few. Like hell.; WebCite (2007), by Icarus, accessed March 4, 2011.
  14. (On) FanLib.com; Webcite (2007), by Susan, accessed March 4, 2011.
  15. The corporatization of fanfic?; WebCite
  16. Meta/Rant: It's like deja vu all over again!; Archive
  17. FanLib.com - Forums, Archived version
  18. from FanLibRefugees
  19. One exchange between JD Sampson (FanLib's spokesperson) and fans: "I will say that I've been surprised by the gender issue being raised by a few people of late. My philosophy is, if I want something, I don't really care if it's a man or a woman who hands it to me. Yes, fandom is thought of as a woman's world, but computers and websites are thought of as men's worlds. Almost every web company I've worked for was started and run by men because they came from the programming end or the corporate world - which is again, mostly men. If, as in this case, men want to spend money they raised in order to make a playground for what will likely be mostly women - more power to them. Now, since they're smart men (JD looks around to see who's watching), they hired a fannishly obsessed woman like me to help tidy up the place and kick them when they run off track. And when it comes to fannish enthusiasm, don't believe that men don't have it (ever go to a Star Trek convention!)" A fan responded: "I kinda take offense to your gendering of computer skills, given that fandom is famous for making women competent a lot of times in exactly the skills you here ascribe to men, whether it's the archiving software many central archives use (written by one of "us"), the amazing skills displayed in vids, or just the everyday setup of tailoring our journals, creating RSS feeds, you name it." -- from The corporatization of fanfic?, post to Fanthropology; Archive
  20. In Just Seven Fics, I Can Make You A Man, by LizBee, accessed March 4, 2011.
  21. Join the FanLib Party!; Archive
  22. FanLib Icons & Badges (2007), by angelsnow, accessed March 4, 2011. Archive
  23. Internet Goes Nova Over Showtime, Starz, Moonves Partnered FanLib.com, May 2007; icons featured on 2nd page of article (dead link as of at least January 2015)
  24. comment by partly bouncy at Archives and not wanting to say "but"; Archive
  25. A Journey to Something New; Archive, June 16, 2009
  26. verrrrrrry-innnnnnteresting, April 2, 2008
  27. comment by epalladino Subject: Reading, Rating, and Reviewing, May 22, 2007
  28. by tikatu at FanLib's forum, May 24, 2007
  29. Archive for page one, page two; Archive for page two
  30. comment by Maryilee atFanfiction.net FanLib Refugees, July 24, 2008
  31. comment by live2tivo atFanfiction.net FanLib Refugees, July 24, 2008
  32. from An Archive Of One's Own (post by astolat)/Comments, post by klia
  33. from An Archive Of One's Own (post by astolat)/Comments, post by geekturnedvamp
  34. comment by Angiepen; Archive, June 16, 2007
  35. from An Archive Of One's Own (post by astolat)/Comments, post by xenacryst
  36. comment by St. Crispins; Archive , June 15, 2007
  37. comment by lamardeuse at Dear Fandom: Could You Please Stop Saying That?, page 2 (May 17, 2007)
  38. comment by Elfwreck; Archive, June 16, 2007
  39. I have a headache THIS BIG, and it has FanLib written all over it; Archive, May 23, 2007
  40. comments by sinquepida at An Archive Of One's Own (post by astolat)
  41. exchange on FanLib's forum, June 23, 2007
  42. Perfection, Perfection....heavy critique?, June 29, 2008
  43. comment by fuzzybluelogic at FanLib's forum, May 23, 2007
  44. comment by farla at FanLib's forum, May 23, 2007
  45. Chris Williams, this at Fanlib; Archive and many other places on May 16, 2007
  46. darkrosetiger commented at panik's journal: "You may want to screencap, because he's been going around deleting the spamming posts. Wanktastic!"
  47. by tetsigawind at Deviantart, December 9, 2009
  48. "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. -- life_wo_fanlib: Disney purchased FanLib in May/June 2008, two months before FanLib's "closure.", Archived version
  49. Some fan reaction is at Fanthroplogy, posted June 4, 2008
  50. some sources: CrunchBase; Archive (cites the buyout as August 21,2008), Disney's acquisition of FanLib is still on, and Disney's Buyout of FanLib Still On; Will Focus On Company Shows. The exact date may be hard to pin down as per the definition of "buy" and "acquire" may be different and full of legalese. More information is needed.
  51. A Journey to Something New; Archive, June 16, 2009
  52. Fanlib Dies; Creativity Lives On, August 5, 2008
  53. comment by spacecadet777 atFanfiction.net FanLib Refugees, July 26, 2008
  54. comment by epalladino atFanfiction.net FanLib Refugees, July 24, 2008
  55. FANLIB, CLOSED!!!!!!?????; Archive, August 2008
  56. from Bill Hupe and FanLib: Why I'm Here in 1000 words or Less; Archive (2010)
  57. a comment; Archive at GateWorld Forum, August 10, 2008
  58. BEAU/KAMMY ish..back?, comment by beauxxx, July 28, 2008
  59. FANLIB, CLOSED!!!!!!?????; Archive, August 2008
  60. Fanlib Dies; Creativity Lives On, August 5, 2008
  61. August 7, 2008 from FanLibRefugees
  62. ... it came out that FanLib's CEO and another person involved with FanLib's management had been sockpuppeting on a Lord of the Rings message board. Around May 17, a semi-organized effort was undertaken to inform people about the site, their objections to it and asking them to ask others to boycott the site. This would turn out to be somewhat successful. FanLib had negative mentions on a number of services: Xanga, Tokyo Pop, GreatestJournal, InsaneJournal, MySpace, orkut,... and Xanga. The situation would later catch the attention of the media and was mentioned in publications like the Christian Science Monitor, Valleywag and elsewhere. Chris Williams would discuss the site with Henry Jenkins in his blog. The resulting kerfluffle resulted in a situation where some authors who had been using FanLib left and took their stories with them." -- FanLib: One Year Later
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