Archive for the ‘marketing’ category

Fandom as a business

October 27th, 2008

I spend at least two to eight hours a day working on Fan History. On a busy day, I could spend twelve hours day. About a third (1) of that time is spent talking about effective ways to market the site, how to improve the content, policy decisions and revisions that need to be made, how features we implement will be received by certain communities, discussing the risk/reward of these various strategies. My favorite places to have these conversations include twitter where I have access to some great people who follow me who can offer a business and wiki perspective, and via phone, AIM, e-mail or another messenger where I can have one on one conversations with users, with fandom and business people. I also love to have these conversations on my LiveJournal as a result of posting about my insecurities regarding what I’m doing, explaining the process of what I’m doing and soliciting alpha and beta feedback on features and policy we’re launching on a semi-public platform. (2)

I was having one of these conversations (3) recently on LiveJournal about a bot we’re planning on launching soon. One of the issues that came up was that, in making the decision to create this bot and launch this bot, we are going to ruffle some feathers because it goes against the norm in parts of LiveJournal related fandom communities. We decided to go ahead with it anyway because, as a business decision, it made sense. Risk/Reward was weighted. We discussed different, for want of a better term, market segments (groups and cliques? subfandoms? fannish subcultures?) inside of fandom, and their potential reactions to this bot. We also review previous decisions that were comparable, response to that and determined that overall, if we take this step and that step, our response rate should be ninety percent favorable. The ten percent unfavorable are not part of our potential audience, have a negative view of Fan History anyway, were largely informed of the means of protecting themselves in the previous discussions about Fan History. We can afford that as such articles increase our participation on the wiki, help users overcome a barrier for entry by not forcing them to create articles from scratch and get a lot of quantitative and qualitative information which will help us to better understand fandom. That’s how we made our decision. It was a business one.

That sparked further conversation which asked the question: Should fandom be treated as a business? Should business models be used as ways to assist in the decision making process as it pertains to sites, projects and people where the decision is based on a fandom?

There is a good argument for most fans that the answer should be no. Fandom is a hobby. Fans engage other fans and the source material for pleasure. The goals of most fans don’t necessitate a business approach.

But for certain subsets of people involved in fandom, fandom is a business and decisions need to be made based on that model. These people include fans who invest a fair amount of time and money on their sites, convention dealers, convention organizers, fans who have incorporated or report earnings from fandom on their taxes, anyone running a fansite with over 50,000 unique visitors a month, fan artists who sell their work, costumers, startups operating in fanspaces, freelance writers who also are fans, professional bloggers covering entertainment and fandom issues, professional writers and the list goes on and on. There are just a huge number of people who need to treat fandom as a business. These are people who cannot afford make decisions based on their perceptions of how “fandom” will respond, what fannish norms are and act as if they are operating on the same level as the casual fans who have much less of an investment legally and financially in fandom.

Why can’t they afford to do that? Because for a lot of fans who are in fandom for pure enjoyment, they have a general goal of not making waves, of finding ways to participate that don’t create additional strife for themselves, where they can express their love of canon, of finding a ways to enjoy the source more, of connecting with like minded people. Those are great goals for fandom. But if you’re on that other level, your goals are different. They include such things as covering the cost of materials, hosting, travel expenses. They include trying to make money, to profit off or maximize your profit. The goal might include trying to increase traffic, increase media exposure, increase interest in your project. The goal might be to create the biggest information resource, to create the best information resource, to use that information to get a job. These aren’t necessarily compatible goals.

If you’re a fan, you might shut your mouth and avoid controversy at all costs. If you don’t, your enjoyment of fandom might decrease. If you’ve got a financial or business stake in fandom, you might not have that luxury. You might need to wade in to that controversy or find a way to use it to your benefit. It can increase your traffic and your visibility which can help your bottom line. (4) By alienating a certain group, you might gain acceptance by a larger group who will enjoy what you’re doing who might not otherwise have been exposed to you had they not heard about it from the people who disliked the business. From a risk/reward perspective, it makes sense.

If you’re a fan, the rules might be that you might be constrained by personal relationships. You don’t want to offend your friends, alienate people who could help you be happy in fandom. These rules on a micro level mean you can’t say and do certain things. If you’re a business, the rules are different as you’re generally operating on and being judged on a macro level. On the micro level of fans, it is generally viewed as unacceptable to copy some one’s work and to archive it on your personal web space. On a business level, this behavior is generally much more acceptable and tolerated. Google makes copies and derivative copies of most people’s content. Fans don’t react negatively because this is being done by a corporation and the overall good is viewed as worth the loss of control of their content means that they can have copies of their work available should something happen to their own copy. It also makes their and other people’s content much more readily acceptable. The business aspect depersonalizes this and makes it acceptable. Thus, if you’re a fan with a financial stake in fandom, you need to depersonalize these activities and treat your fansite and activities like a business because of the dual standards in fandom. By acting like and treating your fansite like a business, your activities are judged by a different set of standards which more generally are friendly towards probable business models. If you treat it like fandom, you can’t get away with that.

If you are an artist who makes their living off of fan art, it behooves you to treat fandom like a business. Some parts of fandom have real problems with fans profiting off their fan created works. If you immerse yourself in that culture, you are going to have a problem of trying to make money off a community that is intrinsically hostile to what you’re doing. How can you then make a living off your art? If you’re treating fandom your fan art like a business, you find conventions that allow you to sell or auction your work. You find auction sites that allow you to sell this type of content. You create a site which talks about your art experience, has a gallery of some of your work, talks about your inspiration, might have a blog and talks about where you can buy your art. You create art that you think you can sell. You do this by researching what fan art does sell, finding out what fandoms are popular, possibly doing a few free pieces for big name fans so that you can help build an audience, leaving comments in reply to people discussing your work and avoiding places that are hostile to this business plan. You’re open and honest about what you’re doing. You learn enough of the legal defenses so that if some one calls your art illegal that will lead to a crack down on fans who aren’t trying to make money off their work, you can defend yourself. You can still act like a fan and if your art becomes established enough for its quality, you can play the fandom game more on a personal level with out it hurting your bottom line as your audience will be more focused on the product than you as a person. If you do the opposite, if you play fandom games first and then try to become a professional fan artist, people are going to have to get over all your fandom baggage as part of the purchasing decision process… which means tat when you play in fandom, you’ve got to weigh how you behave in that context of losing potential sales. What is the risk/reward for making fandom wank? Make Failure to these tasks will hurt your bottom line.

If you’re a fan who is spending upwards of a thousand dollars a year on your fansite, in creating art, in making costumes, organizing a convention, publishing fanzines, you have the added issue that you will probably have to treat fandom as a business unless you have some other means of income or are independently wealthy. From my point of view, Fan History costs me a fair amount of money to maintain. I have web hosting costs. I have development costs. I have advertising costs. I have legal and incorporation fees. I have taxes. I have networking costs. I’m fortunate in that my job provides me just enough money to cover these costs and my basic living costs that I can afford to spend all this time on Fan History. I’m also lucky because my job is fandom related to the extent that many of the things I do professional connect back to what I do for Fan History as a business. Because I love what I do, I am willing to make the sacrifices I need to in order to see things through. If I didn’t have my job, I would likely be unable to maintain Fan History. Many others who treat fandom as a business have similar issues. Fandom is their job. It is their career. For people in those positions, it is difficult to treat fandom as a hobby, as a source of personal enjoyment. When making decisions, we’re talking about people who aren’t making decisions about what makes them happy but about their personal livelihood. If you have a problem with a person in fandom, good advice might be to retreat and avoid them. If you’re in fandom as a business and you have a problem with a person in fandom, a business decision might be made differently. Why? If you were giving advice to some one about a co-worker or boss who were annoying, always putting you down, who were slandering you, whose activities at work were threatening your ability to do your job, you probably wouldn’t tell them to just ignore their boss and do whatever they feel like because doing so could result in them getting fired. Fandom as a business livelihood is the same. You make decisions differently.

The reality of making decisions in fandom based on business models can feel really cynical if you’re a fan who bases your decisions based on what heightens your fannish enjoyment. If you’re making business decisions in fandom, the whole process can be really frustrating as your actions might not be judged as business decisions but rather as actions in fandom evaluated from the perspective of what facilitates an individual in fandom’s personal goals. How do you handle these two things perspectives existing together? I don’t know… but the easiest way to start is to remember both perspectives exist and for fans to work with people who are changing their perspective.

1. About 1/10 of my time is being involved with Fan History and FanworksFinder as a user. The remaining time is spent implementing various policy decisions, tutoring people how to do them, doing work for pay that relates back to the activities I do on Fan History, publicizing the site, dealing with admin issues, searching for money or trying to keep abreast with fandom news.

2. If you’re interested in what I and what Fan History LLC are doing, then feel free to follow me on twitter or friend me on LiveJournal.

3. This is a locked conversation on LiveJournal. In order to view it, I need to have friended you in order to view it.

4. Which isn’t to say that this is just the purview of people with business interests in fandom. Plenty of fans enjoy controversy and plenty of fans have a stake in creating controversy in order to further their own standing in the community. The purpose in doing those activities is just different and should be acknowledged as such. FanLib benefited from controversy because it increased their potential audience. Some fans benefited from creating the controversy because it helped solidify group cohesion and reasserted their status as important people in the fan community.

Fan History referrer patterns

October 2nd, 2008

I spend a lot of time looking at Google Analytics as we’re trying to figure out how to promote the wiki, what works and what doesn’t work, where problems are likely to occur, areas that we need to watch, etc. We’re also working on trying to improve our traffic. Fan History’s goal for the past six months has been to get over 1000 visitors a day. The following is the average number of daily visitors to Fan History in September as a  result of the specific referrer:

Average             Source
852              Google
144             Yahoo
54              LiveJournal
16              NarutoFic.Org
14              Wikipedia
11             Ask
8             AnimeNewsNetwork
8             Wikia
7             AOL
6             FanFiction.Net
4             MSN
3             FanPop
3             DeviantArt
2             TVTropes
2             EncyclopediaDramatica
2             Altavista
1             FaceBook
1             hogwartsnet.ru

What that basically means is that, Fan History can count on averaging 1,138 unique visitors a day based on the average amount of traffic we get from the sources. Assuming that we’ll continue to get them (none of the links on FanPop, ANN, Wikia, TVTropes, LiveJournal are deleted), then all we have to do is beat those averages, hope others (like you!) plug Fan History or promote the wiki ourselves to meet the traffic goal of 1,000 unique visitors a day. The next step is to average over 1,500 unique visitors a day based on existing traffic patterns. We’re really close but until that number gets to be over 1,300, it isn’t something that can very well be counted on.

Google and Yahoo are at the heart of our traffic and we’re rather pleased with that. It has taken a lot of work: Article linking, content building, article titles and our site name appearing in the page title.  A lot of what I read about in SEO tends to focus on content building or improving your back end to optimize it for a search engine.  The other view is to do article linking and article linking.  As we’ve focused on both, it has worked out well really well.

If you’re running your own fansite, our suggestion, based on what we’ve learned, is to spread yourself out some and focus on all aspects: Link building, quality content creation, back end SEO optimization.

Compete Referrer Analytics and fansites

September 24th, 2008

I have a love/hate relationship with Compete. I generally feel is understates the numbers to Fan History Wiki, especially when those numbers are compared to StatCounter, Google Analytics, Alexa and Quantcast. But they’re a measure that people look at so I and others still use them.

One of the major ways that Compete tracks how many users that visit a site is through their toolbar. I have that installed to help make my numbers a bit more accurate. If you’re a site aimed at web 2.0 people, folks who are knowledgeable about analytics, your audience is much more likely to have that installed and the picture that compete paints will likely be more accurate.

But woe! Most fansites don’t have an audience partial to that sort content and knowledge that would give them the incentive to install Compete’s toolbar. What this means is that you’re going to get undercounted for Compete. Most fan people just do not care OR they have privacy issues and do not want to share that information with a wider audience. Kind of sucks for those of us operating in that space… but those are the cards we’re dealt with our particular focus.

So Compete announced a tool on their blog: Compete Referrer Analytics. I was pretty excited about this. It could be a nice tool to point people at to learn more about Fan History with out having to dig into Google Analytics provided by us. But nope. Compete Referrer Analytics is not a tool that is likely to be useful for fansite maintainers who are interested in SEO and effectiveness of promotions/marketing/advertising “campaigns” they run in fandom. It comes back to that toolbar which isn’t wildly utilized by fanpeople.

Compete referrer analytics for Fan History for August 2008.

Fan History’s top referrer, according to Google Analytics is Google.   Next up is Yahoo.  Coming in third is LiveJournal. Ask.Com, AOL, SpaceBattles.Com, FanFiction.Net, AnimeNewsNetwork and JournalFen round off our top ten referrers for August 2008.

Yet Compete Referrer Analytics says Twitter (ranked 31) came in first, StatCounter (ranked 59) came in second and NetZero (ranked 286) came in third.  Way off.  Beyond way off.  Why are those three tops according to compete?  Because fan people aren’t using Compete.  It is picking up on my e-mails, my using of a tool to see what people are looking at on Fan History, and the Twitter click throughs from my SEO minded twitter follow list.

If you’re a fansite, this tool likely won’t be useful to you at all.  The existing tools you use are probably a lot better.

True Blood

September 4th, 2008

I’m so excited about this series. I just finished reading all the books in the series and absolutely loved them. I’m just not certain how I’m going to watch episodes as I don’t have HBO.  The books were pretty much good fun with a lot of angst.  There were interesting issues explored in terms of sex and politics, loyalties, selling out for various issues, extremism.  Just great stuff.

It will be interesting to see what sort of fandom develops when the show launches.   There is already fan fiction out there on FanFiction.Net, based on the the books.  Most fandoms based on HBO (and to a degree, Showtime) shows have always appeared to be really small until the shows have been released on DVD unless they’ve reached a niche audience.  (That was the case, in my opinion, for The L Word where the show became something that the lesbian community embraced and became something you had to connect with or know about.)  With the cult following of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, the popularity of Twilight, the active and experienced fanbases that both communities could bring to play, I think this show could be really break out in a lot of ways for a fandom based on an HBO product; the fandom could be rather big in comparison and be a real way to help the show succeed by having fans generate more buzz for the show than the media does and the hokey fake ads for synthetic blood ever could.  Of course, this will most probably hinge on which fans are first into the space, setting up fansites, running communities, discussing the show on forums and organizing fandom meet ups.

And as a fan, I can’t wait to see that and to get my hands on episodes of the show.

Fan History: August 2008: Traffic sources in the world of social networking

September 1st, 2008

It’s September 1. It feels like a good time to talk about traffic again and issues in getting traffic. Once again, I’m looking at Fan History’s traffic. This time, it is for August 2008.

I spend a lot of time on Twitter. I love twitter. I love the community. I love reading about the business end of running a startup, running a blog, running a website. Lots of time is spent talking about the whole traffic issue, linking to people’s blog posts about getting traffic. They tend to emphasis breaking traffic down into several areas and then talk up promoting your project in various areas. I’ve broken these categories down into the three following areas: Microblogging, social networking and social bookmarking. You’re supposed to interact on these spaces to help build up an audience who will be interested in what you have to say. I’ll explain how Fan History does that below each chart.

Have I mentioned I love Twitter? I do love Twitter. (And you can find me on Twitter at purplepopple.) I’ve set up various accounts on Twitter to aggregate Fan History’s recent changes page for the English version, and the Spanish version. I get some traffic from Twitter because I mention Fan History once a day. It would probably be more if I had more followers or if our recentchanges twitter account was promoted more. Unlike a number of other services, I am an active participant on twitter because I love the community and I learn a lot from it.

pownce is a newer service. I post to pownce from ping.fm but I’m not checking it or following it much. Not much of a surprise then that I’ve gotten one hit from them. It doesn’t necessarily feel like a service I want to invest my time in with the goal of generating traffic.

friendfeed is about community to a degree. I have my friendfeed set up with pretty much every service I use. I have probably five friends on it. If you follow me, I follow you. I check it once a day. If you’re following my friendfeed, you inevitably get slammed with links on some days when I’m busy promoting Fan History. I’m just not involved with it the community that much. I get more hits from there than I do from Pownce though.

I used to be a big fan of identi.ca. There appeared to be a great wiki community that looked like they were going to use it because the creator was a big name in the wiki community. People’s usage of identi.ca seems to have trailed off, with folks going back to twitter or trying out different services. I post there because of ping.fm and check it once a day. My followers list is pretty small. I’m not surprised at the lack of traffic from the service.

Social bookmarking is something I don’t really do. I’m kind of locked into the whole traditional bookmarking thing. I love mine. And I love sage, a Firefox plugin.

Still, it seems to be everyone’s goal to hit it big on digg as a way of generating a traffic spike, pushing down less then desirable mentions on search engines and making people more familiar with your site. So I and others affiliated with Fan History use digg to promote Fan History. We don’t really advertise digg submissions, don’t ask that people digg our submissions. Rather, we tend to go for bulk quantity submissions as we have over 475,000 articles on Fan History. When we’re actively doing bulk submissions on Digg for fandom oriented articles, we can get some digg traffic but those 10 to 20 hits take a lot of work. It sometimes doesn’t feel worth it.

FanPop is almost a social networking site for fandom. I used to promote Fan History on it a lot. I didn’t do that much in August because in July, digg traffic made it not seem worth the effort of doing that. Unlike digg, we couldn’t submit everything and the kitchen sink. We had to submit in very specific categories after finding the right spot. Still, it was a pleasant surpise of sorts to find that FanPop seemed to consistently give us three to eight hits a day. It is something worth looking at and going back to and adding more links to our content there.

delicious is a popular personal social bookmarking tool. It is a really popular social bookmarking tool inside fandom, where Fan History operates. There are probably over a thousand links to Fan History content on the site. It just doesn’t generate much traffic for us. A lot of times, it feels there really isn’t much of a community behind the site and bookmarks are trapped behind locked doors of people’s own links. We seem to get the occasional hit if we add a hundred or so links but on the whole, it really isn’t worth our time to use as a way to generate traffic.

stumbleupon. One day in August, we got 68 visits as a result of stumbleupon. A friend e-mailed me to tell me we made it after he stumbled across Fan History on stumble. We submit there but the stumble bump had very little connection to our attempts to use stumble to promote our content.

LiveJournal is one of the major homes to fandom on-line where people frequently refer to other content located elsewhere. As such, Fan History spends a lot of time using LiveJournal to promote our content. We’ve also found that using LiveJournal helps with our SEO and, unlike digg, we can get traffic from LiveJournal months after the initial plug. It’s fabulous. When I get together with other people, I tend to plug LiveJournal as an awesome source for traffic because of that. Our traffic looks pretty consistently high as a result of LiveJournal referrers. That happened with us plugging Fan History on LiveJournal a total of maybe only eight days out of the thirty-one. LiveJournal is also a place where, unlike many of the services mentioned in this post, I’m actively involved. I use LiveJournal. I post regularly on LiveJournal for my own private use. I engage others on the service. It’s like twitter for me. … Only as opposed to discussing the business end of what I do, I discuss the fan end.

InsaneJournal and JournalFen are LiveJournal clones. JournalFen has an established community of fan fiction and fandom people over 18. I’m not really involved there these days. It just isn’t my community. When we get traffic from JournalFen, it tends to be connected to Fandom Wank. As Fandom Wank can be a major reputation hurter, we’re not generally aiming to be mentioned there.

We use InsaneJournal like we use LiveJournal. It just isn’t used that much because it doesn’t have the depth of communities that LiveJournal has, doesn’t have the audience that LiveJournal has and doesn’t generate comparable traffic. Those things limit the usefulness of InsaneJournal.

MySpace generates a few hits for us here and there. Fan History mostly gets plugged on MySpace groups and in my profile. We’re not expecting it to be a major traffic source. It would be nice to get a bigger audience there but just not sure how to do it. And I’m not that interested in slogging through the service to become involved.

FaceBook is similar to MySpace. I promote it on my profile. It gets fed my comments from ping.fm that also go to twitter. The lack of a good search tool probably hurts our potential to get more traffic as a result. I use FaceBook to keep track of my friends, for occasional wiki things, for event finding. I’m not involved in the fan community located there.

We occasionally promote Fan History on bebo and orkut. Neither has been a particularly useful traffic driver and the fan community tends to fall outside my comfort level. So while that community is large, I don’t know it well enough to try to capitalize off of it.

LinkedIn gives us a few hits. Most of these are off my profile page. LinkedIn is another one of those sites I don’t always understand so trying to leverage it for more traffic can be a bit confusing. I’m not really involved in the community there either.

blogspot links are not ones that we create. We tend to get them after we plug Fan History on LiveJournal or after we e-mail a blogger and ask for a plug. blogspot doesn’t offer an easy way to contact people. That makes it hard to ask for plugs for Fan History. If it was, we’d probably spend a lot more time making such requests.

Conclusion
The services where I’m most active as a community participant are the ones where we get the most traffic. It is probably why LiveJournal will continue to be our primary tool to promote Fan History.

Communicating with the fandom community

July 15th, 2008

When you’re running a fansite, LiveJournal community, mailing list, ficathon, convention or anything else in fandom where you’re effectively in charge, there are all sorts of communication issues that have to be dealt with.  As the person who is running whatever fandom project you’re running, the weight of whatever decision is made falls on you.  Whatever risk, be it legal, financial or social, there is with the project is yours to bear.   You’re on a different level with the users because you don’t necessarily have the same purposes for being involved.  These different levels can cause communication problems.

Did I mention problems?  Companies operating in fandom can attest to the communication problems that arise.  Wikia, LiveJournal, Quizilla, Lucasfilms Ltd., TokyoPop have all had to deal with the backlash of members of fandom not being happy with the decisions made by those corporations.  Fan run groups also have had similar problems in communication with fandom regarding the purpose of their projects, the rules they have, etc and have had to deal with backlashes.  Organization for Transformative Works, SkyHawke, FicWad, SugarQuill, Fiction Alley, ficathons or communities that have not allowed slash or gen, mailing lists over policies regarding concrit, the list could go on and on.

So how do you communicate with the community which you’re creating or operating in?  There is no simple answer.  Over on InsaneJournal and LiveJournal, I’ve discussed this with a few people who have operated fansites and other fan communities.  Even amongst my peers, we can’t reach a consensus.

While there are no simple answers, there are questions that can help you determine how you should communicate with them and what about.

  • Should you tell users all about the financial situation in regards to your project?

This is a common communication problem for fan projects because they take money to run.  Fans can sometimes have entitlement issues which can make those who run projects queasy about because those fans can wank a money situation hard core.   Couple that with your own need for money to help fund your site, well… huge problems can develop.

Before communicating with your users or others involved with your project, determine your comfort level and your potential monetary needs.   If you’re not willing to be in the spotlight, then consider not talking about money.  Deal with everything behind the scenes;try to keep the project scalable so you don’t need to create waves with users by begging for donations or adding advertisements.  By making changes and being public about those changes and the monetary reasons behind it, you’re likely to become fandom unpopular and end up on fandom wank.  If discussing money in fandom is something you’re not comfortable with, don’t discuss it period and don’t create situations where you might need to.  If you need money to run the site, then be honest about it from the get go.  Be as specific as you’re comfortable with and provide as much information to users as you think they need in order for you to meet your finacial obligations for the project.

  • Should you discuss policy decisions with your users?

Fan fiction archives, mailing lists, LiveJournal communities, wikis, forums have rules.  (Or don’t.  But most do.)   At some point, some one is going to object to those rules existing or run afoul of them.  You’ll ban some one for plagiarism.  Some one will question why your m/m slash community doesn’t allow f/f slash.  People will get upset because you needed to throttle bandwidth and turned off the feature that they cannot live with out.  People will demand, absolutely DEMAND an explanation from you in some of these cases.

This situation is difficult. My advice is make a short statement and do not engage outside that.  If you must engage, do so privately.  By actively and publicly engaging your users over say why you banned a particular author for plagiarism, you’re inviting them into dialog.  That dialog is probably one that you cannot control.  If the dialog is going on on your community or site and you shut it down after you’ve participated, people are going to come after you with all sorts of lovely accusations of stopping freedom of speech, breaking your own rules and being a hypocrit.  It is a situation you cannot win because you probably won’t be able to scream as loud as those complaining as their numbers are probably larger than yours.  Just wait it out, be willing to risk losing participants and friends.  Don’t capiluate unless you have to because by capitulating, you’re giving people permission to pull that similar stunts.   Eventually, those situations will pass.

Before you get there, make sure your ass is covered.  About page, Terms of Service pages, contact information, rules pages, help pages on how to use your project, a history of your project, all of those are communication tools.  If you want, include an article about why your policies are the way they are… but have it up before you launch.  If you don’t accept chan because you are in Australia and that’s child porn, then communicate that with your users so they know who to blame.  (The Australian government, not you the fan fiction archivist.) Make sure they are linked in your header, footer or sidebar so people don’t have an excuse for not seeing them.  That can head off some of the worst that may come at you.

  • Should I communicate with people participating with my project?

This is a question I’ve seen from a few tech oriented people in fandom.  They do not see the inherent need to communicate with the users on the sites they run.  Or they think that they can get away with just communicating with their administrative help people.  I’ve also seen members of fandom  lament over the lack of contact they’ve had with administrators at the sites they use.  This happens with big sites like FanFiction.Net and smaller groups like mailing lists or LiveJournal communities.

The decision to communicate with people involved with your project comes down to a couple of things.  Do you need to continue to promote your project?  If yes, then you need to communicate with participants until such a time that marketing begins to take care of itself.  If no, then you might be able to get away with it.  Do you plan to use the project as an example of your coding skills and is that your primary motivation for building the project?  If yes, then you can probably get away with out communicating with participants for your project because the project isn’t about the participants and the community but about the underlying value being the coding.  Is your project central to your identity in fandom?  If yes, then you probably want to help keep and maintain that identity by protecting your project by communicating with your project’s participants.  Can you get some one else to communicate for you?  If yes, then the pressure is off you and you can use that other person to handle any problems.  Can you afford to lose people because you’re not answering questions?  If yes, then you probably don’t need to communicate that often with people.

  • What platform should I use to keep in touch with people?

There are so many tools out there for people to communicate with participants in their projects.  They include blogs, message boards, IRC, instant messenger programs, report abuse forms, contact forms, services like getsatisfaction.com, social networking services, e-mail, mailing lists, the main page of your site, private messaging through various sites, microblogging services, flyers, the phone, snail mail mailings, etc. Before you start your project, determine how you’re going to do that.  Consistency for you and participants related to your project is important.  (I know.  I’ve learned the hard way and I still make this mistake.)  Find a method of communicating that you’re comfortable with.  If you can’t stand twitter but your users are all on twitter, then don’t use it as your primary communication tool because you’re less likely to be as responsive as you should be to people’s concerns.  Use the tools that you’re most comfortable with to communicate with people.  And then advertise what tools people can use to get in touch with you using and under what conditions they should contact you.

How you communicate, what you communicate about and when you communicate are personal decisions and/or business like decisions.  No solution is one size fits all.  Determine your needs, your objectives and your comfort levels and you should be able to find a solution that works for communicating regarding your project in the fan community.

Cliques, fandom and getting readers for your fan fiction

July 13th, 2008

Fandoms have cliques and social groups. Sometimes, if a fandom or group is small enough, these groups can co-exist. If it is large enough, well, those groups can afford to ignore each other or pick on each other. If they chose to, they can even peacefully co-exist. And that last one, they do a lot because why seek trouble? And why not get something that the other group is produces that you enjoy?

If you’ve been involved in a fandom for a while, these social structures, these cliques and groups are really obvious. If you’re justing getting into a fandom, these structures are not so obvious. The lack of knowledge can really be a detriment to your fannish well being if you’re not careful.

Good recent example: A new to my fandom fan fiction author posted a story to one of the more popular fan fiction communities. I’d never heard of the author before. The author had no one as a beta reader who I knew and none of the authors from my corner of fandom had commented to give feedback on the story. The story, well, it was so so. Personally, I found the plot lacking and the characterization awful. I left feedback to let the author know. (Which can be taboo. The general pattern is to shut up and say nothing. Let the author figure out through silence that the community doesn’t like her.) The author, not knowing me from adam because feedback was anon, gave me a flip response. And she never did get the readers she needs to help make sure she’ll get more feedback later to leave a comment. Next chapter? Zero comments. Not a surprise.

That author didn’t get in the right clique by making friends with existing authors by leaving feedback, didn’t get the right people to beta read her story and then was flippant to members of different groups who did read her story. Lack of knowledge regarding those social groups in this fandom, understanding them and not playing the game hurt her ability to interact in the community.

If you’re an author, especially a new author, start out by giving feedback. Get a beta reader. Get a beta reader who is an author you enjoy reading. Doing that does not mean you are not a good writer. It means that you’ve got an implied endorsement from some one who can help you get readers. (It is basic marketing.) This way, you’ll have better knowledge of how the community functions so you can get position yourself to get readers when you do publish.

Got Readers? A Guide to Gaining Popularity for Your Fan Fiction

July 10th, 2008

“Got Readers? A Guide to Gaining Popularity for Your Fan Fiction” was a post I wrote for FanLib a long time ago. It finally got posted. It is my quick and dirty guide to getting readers for your fic. Since I originally wrote it, I had a few more ideas for how to get readers that could be worked in. They include using twitter, orkut, Yahoo!Answers, bebo and ning. Yahoo!Answers is one that I’ve seen a bit more of recently. (But that could just be because I’m looking.) People post to Yahoo!Answers asking people for help with their story. Having had urls in a few answers over there, I don’t know how much it would help with traffic to the issue being discussed as compared to other options, but it does help increase visibility in the wider community.

A caveat of sorts: Not everyone wants to get readers and if that is the case, promoting your fan fiction isn’t necessary.  (I do very little promotion of my own work for instance.)  If you want readers and you wonder why you’re not getting them, then you should probably do this.  One lesson that fandom constantly reinforces is that it isn’t the best work around that gets the praise and those aren’t necessarily the authors getting book deals.  You have to market yourself if you want to get that book deal and get those readers.

How a fandom organization could serve fandom and those fandom fans

June 24th, 2008

Fans and those they fan over frequently have competing interests. This can and does inevitably set the two parties up for conflict. Unlike objects of fannish adoration, fans aren’t unified; there is no group which has networked in fandom, which has worked with fans to organize them. There is no fan group which has stepped up, explained the position of the fans, explained the position of those they fan and offered to mediate the disputes that have happened. Such an organization, one which had respect and support from both parties could prove to be beneficial for business operating in fan space and for fans themselves as it would allow both parties a good platform for their positions with the idea of creating a more open environment where more effective communication can take place. Similar organizations and efforts have been made in other spaces. The most notable of these probably is UStream facilitating a town hall event for Digg users.

In the past year and a half, a number of fan conflicts with those they fan have happened. As an outsider with occasional insider knowledge, both sides have their strong points, valid concerns that get lost in the struggle that both sides go through. The struggle can hurt those who are fanned and fans. Below is my list of conflicts where such an organization could have done the most good for everyone one involved. They are in no particular order.

  • Quizilla: Quizilla is a blogging, social networking community owned by Viacom, run by Nickelodeon’s The N Network. There is a large fan fiction community on the site, thanks to the ability to add stories. The Quizilla incident occurred in early 2008. Quizilla announced that they were removing the ratings system on the site, as adult content was in violation of the Terms of Service so the rating system for such content wasn’t necessary. Quizilla also said they would enforce the rules against posting content featuring death. Many of the users were upset about this as they felt these restrictions, along with losing the ability to customize their profiles, were an affront to their creativity.
  • LiveJournal: LiveJournal is a blogging service and social network. The site has had a number of run ins with fandom in the past year and a half over such issues as what content is allowable on the network, how the abuse team handles fandom related situations, advertisement placement and privacy concerns.
  • FanLib: FanLib is a service which hosts fan fiction, video, and fan art. It also hosts contests for intellectual property holders. Fans were upset over the commercial nature of the project and how the site first engaged fandom on various message boards and LiveJournal.
  • Wikia: Wikia is a wiki host and wiki community. They provide, free of charge, tools for people running wikis to help grow the content of the wiki. In June 2008, Wikia announced that they would be putting advertisements in the content area of some wiki articles on the service. Users were upset because of the lack of notice, how they felt the ads were implemented, the types of ads appearing in their wiki and the disruption to the formatting of articles.here was some talk of the major wikis moving. They list of fandom wikis which were supposed to have contemplated moving included Wookieepedia, Creatures Wiki, and MemoryAlpha.
  • The Police: The Police are a band with a fan club. During 2008, fans were upset with the fan club because they were expecting members to sign up at the same rate for the previous year ($100) without any information about what the club would do for them in 2008 as the tour dates had already been announced, being told concerts were the final concerts only to find several additional shows added to the tour, having good seats for the final show swapped out for bad ones without notifying buyers, asking for members to submit pictures from the tour for a DVD the fanclub would sell with out offering compensation, such as giving contributors a free DVD.
  • TokyoPop: TokyoPop is a manga distributor. In May 2008, some fans were upset over the Manga Pilot program. They felt that the contract involved with the program was not fair and took unfair advantage of contributors.Related Fan History articles: Quizilla, LiveJournal, FanLib, Wikia, Creatures Wiki, ThePolice.com, Tokyopop
  • Thoughts on Wikia and Dreamwidth Studios

    June 12th, 2008

    That sounds interesting but at the same time, this comment gives me pause and I wonder about the long term funding and growth. It seems like they have a good team, a good plan but so many things happen in fandom.

    I’m also watching the Wikia situation closely. It does really demonstrate that classic web paradox: You need a lot of money to launch. You probably can’t monetize right way. Monetization comes after you have the user base. The user base creates the content for which you’re able to monetize. In exchange, unless you’re doing a service like LinkedIn which is reliant upon contribution, the user gets “free” web hosting and related services. The site has to answer to both parties. Sometimes, the users will get what they see as the short end of the stick in order for the other parts of this system to get what they need. Sometimes, the investors/advertisers will have to do what they don’t want to do in order to maintain the balance. The company, maintainer, website, fan is in the middle, having to figure out how they can please both, or who they can afford to offend in order to meet their own goals and objectives.

    MediaWest con report: Pre-planning, Thursday, Friday

    May 30th, 2008

    In April, my primary activity involving Fan History was in promoting the wiki on-line. The results? Fan History‘s traffic was up 254% on the year.

    And then May. For Fan History, May was a jammed pack month. Trying to continue to promote Fan History on-line. Switching over from VPS to a dedicated server. Big daily increase in traffic. Administrator turnover. RecentChangesCamp. ACEN 2008. MediaWest 2008. Following up on all three, all of which were different types. Camp. As a press attendee. As a dealer. For most of the month, I didn’t know if I was coming or going.

    MediaWest was the third of three events I had for the month and the one I was most nervous about attending. I’m a fandom history geek. The more I learn, the more I know nothing. I knew just enough about Fan History, well, to make me really nervous. The FanQs trace their roots back to friction with science fiction fandom awards. MediaWest as a touchstone to off-line fandom in the past and the present. Paula Smith, who named Mary Sue and did a whole bunch of other things for fandom, would likely be there. This convention was full of people who I knew of, had heard of and respected for their place in fandom history.

    Did I mention I was all flaked out about attending this convention? I just want to be sure that my audience knows that. I pestered a number of fandom acquaintances about the whole thing. What was it like? Would people know who I was? Did the convention have an audience that would be open to Fan History? How should I handle it if I ran across people I wanked/fought with before? Would I be on my own or would I have friends there? Could I survive the politics of fandom? The answers I got from my acquaintances were at times highly contradictory. Nervous. Nervous.

    My prep work for Fan History and myself, pestering my friends aside, included printing up stickers. I already had handouts from ACEN 2008. Sidewinder had printed everything else up. I just had to pack my clothes, rent the car, make sure I had a hotel room. I think, if you’re a dealer, you should do more. But I’m me and May was stressful.

    I left Illinois around noon, arrived in Lansing after an uneventful four hour drive. I got in, called my room mate who told me to check in, and then called Sidewinder, to find out when she would arrive in. I had four hours to kill so I called Kay. I talked to Kay, offered to pick up her and her friends from Tim Hortons so they wouldn’t have to walk. Then I killed time with them at Tim Hortons and their hotel room. That involved some interesting conversations. FanLib is still very much a sore point with some people. Legal issues involving fandom are very interesting. My dad’s cookies are mighty tasty. Sara Sidle on CSI may or may not be hot but don’t mess with another fan’s OTP. … Especially when said fan is a Harry Potter fan. Also, yeah, it frequently comes down to who we find physically attractive. When Sidewinder got in, Kay showed me the Dealer’s Room and I sort of helped Sidewinder unpack and foisted wine and cookies off on her. I also set up my table with all the YAY! flyers and hand outs Sidewinder had printed. Then I went out with Sidewinder and Dave, her Doctor boyfriend guy, and ate a nice local bar where we had appetizers, alcohol and pub grub. My pub grub included pizza. (And said pizza later became Sidewinder’s breakfast.) When I got back, I spent a long time chatting with my room mate about a great many things, including how we met in fandom.

    Woke up early Friday. Got myself some donuts and hot chocolate from Tim Hortons. Pretty tasty. Real donuts. Not southern style krispy kreme ick. Went back to the hotel. Uploaded some pictures I took the day before. Killed time. Then moseyed over to dealer’s room with my laptop to kill time. I talked to a lot of really nice people. I made Nicole talk to a lot of really nice people. I learned more about the Blake’s 7 fandom than I knew before. Conversations began to blend. I offered to drive get food. I went to Wendys. I bought food. And then I got back and lost my keys. This involved much drama. I had to report my keys lost. I had to ask con security and the hotel to keep an eye on them. I stressed and flaked myself out. I have to applaud everyone involved at the convention and hotel for being very helpful and kind. (I didn’t find my keys until Sunday afternoon. Much drama involved with that. And I was extremely embarrassed at where they did turn up.) I didn’t do any panels because I was manning Fan History‘s dealer’s table. Lots of plugging that Fan History was working on becoming a fandom directory, that anyone could edit it, that we have no notability requirement, that having some friction in who is telling the history can be good for the history and cited the Rescue Rangers article as a good example of this. Friday night, went out can’t remember where. Had appetizers maybe and ribs and chicken and a Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Sat around Sidewinder’s hotel room/dealing out of her room room and talked fandom shit for a bit. Then went back to my hotel room and repeated with my roommate and her friend. Went to sleep really late.

    Finding the right counter tool for your fansite

    May 19th, 2008

    Fan History traffic ranges between May 12 and May 18, 2008 I spend an inordinate amount of time examining Fan History’s traffic patterns. Outside of marketing Fan History, it is the task to which I devote probably my most of my time. What various trackers do is interesting I love awstats because it saves so much information, produces the best list of referrers that you can easily filter and it saves everything. I love StatCounter because the recent came from list is much better than a similar similar feature offered by my host. The list of ISPs for recent visitors is also fantastic. Google Analytics is the tool you have to have in order to be taken seriously. Quantcast gives pretty charts, updated rankings and demographic information. ActiveMeter I’ve used less. (Their free version only allows for the past 100 visitors, as opposed to StatCounter‘s past 500 visitors.) Still, it provides good data to help supplement other counters.

    I’d almost recommend anyone running a fansite use all four, minus ActiveMeter. They offer a good cross picture of what is really going on traffic wise with your site. I wouldn’t use more than four because it can increase load time. (Fan History uses six. Plus ads. It can really slow down the site at times.)

    I just can never get past the fact that these stat tools, while providing valuable information, rarely agree. When you’re talking a thousand unique visitor spread on a site getting between 1,000 and 2,500 unique visitors a day, there is some problem going on. It means you can’t really compare the effectiveness of an advertising campaign against counters but rather with the comparisons inside that counter. Ug.

    RecentChangesCamp 2008

    May 13th, 2008

    From May 9 to May 11, I attended RecentChangesCamp 2008 in Palo Alto, California. It was a camp, conference, gathering of people who are involved in some ways with wikis. People who showed up included representatives from of Wikipedia including their CTO and a few people really involved with the organization, people affiliated with Wikia on the technical, business and community end, representatives from wikifarms including WikiSpaces, a few academics interested in the collaborative possibilities for using wikis in an educational setting, a number of people involved in all levels of WikiHow, representatives from AboutUS, people who had taken their wikis into the commercial realm, and people who run smaller wikis that are in various stages of content and audience development.

    I attended this event with pretty much zero expectations regarding it. I learned about it because one of the things that we’ve been talking about behind the scenes on Fan History is how there is a wiki community out there. We’ve had discussions regarding how to plug in to it, what it could do for us and our place in it. We also knew that Fan History is at a stage where we’re almost ready to take things to the next level. It is just something scary to contemplate. None of the people most heavily involved with Fan History had done something similar and none were particularly plugged in to the bigger wiki family. There seem to be local groups around in some places which have meet up that sort of deal with these issues but non were particularly local to me. So having heard about RecentChangesCamp 2008, it seemed to be a really good event to attend to help me learn about various issues, do the networking that we know needs to be done and then take that information back to Fan History, to share with our administrators and users. Still, it felt like a crap shoot. That’s a lot of money to go when you have no clue if it will help you meet your goals for attending. But things came together and I attended. And it was worth every penny and anxiety about attending.

    RecentChangesCamp 2008 was run using OpenSpace. A description of OpenSpace is: “In Open Space meetings, events and organizations, participants create and manage their own agenda of parallel working sessions around a central theme of strategic importance, such as: What is the strategy, group, organization or community that all stakeholders can support and work together to create?” I didn’t really know this before I got there and my first thought was “How is this going to work?” but work it did. There was a really diverse group of people there, with various needs and various interests who created their own panels. They included a panel on who edits Wikipedia, a panel about encouraging people to become more involved with wiki editing, a panel on the future of Wikipedia, a panel on how to use wikis in education, discussions on which wiki platform worked best, and some more technical discussions.

    For my part, I facilitated two discussions: A panel on wikis and fandom and a panel on marketing your wiki. The fandom one was interesting. It turned in to not what I necessarily thought it would be. At times, it was more of a general overview of what is fandom, how does fandom identify, who is watching fandom than it dealt with some of the very real policy issues that Fan History has to deal with: Fandom privacy concerns, use of real names, identity issues, behavioral patterns in fandom that at times run counter to the expected norms for wiki behavioral norms. Some of those were covered in brief. We also discussed funny things in fandom, some of the bad things fandom does, etc. I also tried to make clear that while there are bad things fans do, there are plenty of good things. The bad are just easier to mention, funnier to talk about and are easier in terms of creating discussion. I did feel reassured by the end of the panel that Fan History is doing many things right in terms of how we’ve transitioned in our policies to be less about my personal project and more of a project for the whole fannish community. It is awesome when your peers, in this case people in the wiki community who have been there and done that, reaffirm your actions or give you advice on how to improve in areas where you need help.

    The other panel I facilitated was about marketing your wiki. The first half of this panel was mostly a conversation between myself and Evan who ran WikiTravel and runs vinismo. He also helps out with kei.ki. We discussed various strategies for marketing wikis. Both of us were pretty much on the same page regarding how to do that. Our marketing strategies were pretty similar. Contact bloggers. Use tools like digg to improve your search engine optimization. Know your community. Network and network. Use various tools to help with search engine optimization. Find content for your wiki that makes you unique. Give people a reason to invest in your project. Get the right people involved. Use controversy to your advantage. When Evan left, the discussion continued with two or three other people where the conversation tended to be a bit more context specific to specific needs. There was one guy who wanted to make that panel but couldn’t and we couldn’t really reconnect before the end of the camp in order talk about the subject more so we met for breakfast in the Mission district the next day to discuss it.

    I also attended a panel on community building, and a discussion on using wikis for data gathering and how to include that, how to make sure the data is good, etc. I also took part in a discussion on using wikis educationally and some of the issues connected with that. One thing that came up was the question of training: Do you need to train people to gain online and information literacy? Or is it something that needs to be absorbed and shared through a broader culture?

    Outside of the panels, a lot of what I did was networking. It was one of the major reasons I went. For anyone thinking of going to this camp in the future or thinking of attending a similar event for this reason, it really is worth it. It might be worth checking out who is going to help determine if the people you want to and need to network will be there. I knew that Wikia looked like it had people who would be there, Wikimedia foundation had people who would be there, a few academics who were doing work related to my MSEd, people who participated in smaller wikis who I could discuss specific smaller wiki issues with would be there. And really, fantastic. I got the chance to chat with a lot of those folks. They were really helpful. It reinforced one of the themes of the camp of the wiki ohana. This is a community of helpful people who definitely have a sense of community that extends beyond their individual projects. (And that extends beyond just wikis to include giving people rides to places like Oakland.)

    I also had a lot of fun. There were interesting side discussions for those of us being butterflies. One involved what a Amish wiki would look like and what the principles of an Amish wiki would be. It wasn’t very serious but it was seriously entertaining. There was another conversation about fandom wank and the Open Source Boob Project. The who participated in it added to the entertainment level.

    Fan History comes away my having attended this having gained a few things:
    1. Fan History is ready to be part of a wider wiki community.
    2. We’ve got contacts who can help us in the future.
    3. We have leads on how to grow the wiki in order to be more successful.
    4. We gained information that can be shared with others who help out with Fan History.

    If you’re in fandom and you’re helping with a wiki, I can’t urge you enough to be bold and try to participate in the wiki community on a wider level.

    Fandom and traffic

    April 20th, 2008

    I love looking at Fan History’s traffic information.  Where is the traffic coming from?  Which plugs are effective?  Which are less effective?  This, for me, is really important information as the decision was made, mostly for financial reasons, to not advertise.  With Fan History catering to an obscure niche interest, it means getting and sustaining a large sustainable can be difficult.  In two years, some traffic patterns have become rather obvious that those trying to market to fandom or those who seek to create in fandom projects can learn from.

    • Wikipedia: Wikipedia is your friend.  If your site, blog entry, mailing list is on the right Wikipedia page, you can generate a fair number of visits.  It increases your visibility in fandom and to people officially connected to your fandom.
    • LiveJournal: LiveJournal (and to a degree JournalFen’s more popular communities) is your friend.  A good plug on an active community can net you 50 to 500 unique visits.  If the community allows itself to be spidered, if the community has tags, those plugs can keep on giving.  They help with your search engine  visibility.  For professionals in fandom seeking to promote their project, these plugs also demonstrate an awareness of the fandom community which helps establish those projects as legitimate in the eyes of that community.
    • Fansites: Fansites are a great way to get visibility.  Make fansite webmasters your friends.   Ask them to plug your project.  Explain why it would be good for their audience.  Ask them to get involved with your site.  If a popular fansite plugs you on your main page, they can provide a good 50 to 10,000 unique visitors.    If you’ve got a unique product targeted at that community, that much traffic can be fantastic.  (And maintain relationships with those fansite maintainers. The maintainers are power brokers in their corner and can help you figure out where to target the fandom community to help you grow your audience.)  Many fansites also have ways to add your own links.  AnimeNewsNetwork and Anipike are two good anime examples where you can add your own links.  If you can’t get the maintainers to plug on your main page, do it there.
    • Mailing lists: Mailing lists are not dead in fandom.  A frequent characterization of mailing list folks is that they are opposed to web 2.0 and the whole blogging culture.  Not true.  Many of the folks I know on mailing lists just like that culture.  They do use other social networking tools but mailing lists are a communal way of sharing news with out having to know how to operate in fandom cultures they may not be familiar with. It means that mailing lists can be a great source of traffic as you’ve got a community of people who share.  Even better, people will take things that they see on mailing lists and mention them elsewhere as they share what they like elsewhere.  An active fandom mailing list with 250 to 10,000 members might result in 10 to 50 visits but there is chance of a mention elsewhere that can result in more traffic.
    • Digg: Digg is not always a huge traffic generator and isn’t a traditional fandom tool.  (delicious seems to be the social bookmarking tool of choice.)  Unless you’ve already got a huge website going, you’re not likely to end up on the front page with out something happening.  Digg does help with search engine visibility.   If your Digg link submission involves an article on an obscure topic, it can help to really channel people interested in that topic to your site.
    • Social networking sites: Quizilla, MySpace, FaceBook, bebo, orkut are great social networking sites but they don’t generate much traffic, nor do they create much increased visibility.  The fandom community on those networks isn’t really oriented towards fandom.  You can tell you’ve made it though when you start getting mentions on them.  Fan History does a plug on one of those sites, or gets a mention, it will net maybe 5 to 10 unique visitors in the course of a six month period.   These mentions won’t necessarily help with your search engine visibility, nor help your networking opportunities.  Your time is best spent plugging your project elsewhere.
    • Blogs: Bloggers can be your friend and key traffic drivers.  A big, influential blog that mentions you can get you a lot of traffic.  A smaller blog might add to your search engine visibility.  A small, influential blog might help you get the attention of people who can help your project succeed.
    • Controversy: Controversy can sell and help add legitimacy to your project.  Fan History gets fairly decent sized traffic bumps when people have issues with articles, with privacy issues in fandom or with people who help maintain the wiki.  Fandom Wank can be your traffic driving, search engine visibility, viral link creating friend.  Lee Goldberg slamming on you can give you sympathy and legitimacy.   Having slashers and het shippers duke it out on your site insures they stay and means they’ll probably link to their arguments elsewhere to complain about the behavior of those they don’t like. Controversy may also bring media attention and attention from the people affiliated with your fandom.
    • Specialized content: Specialized content generates traffic.  Fan History gets a fair amount of traffic because we cover topics that are not covered as thoroughly elsewhere.  Cassandra Claire is the best example of this on Fan History.  The Draco/Hermione is another good example.  Alias Smith and Jones is a third.  Thoroughly link and promote this specialized content to make it easier to find. Doing that will help generate viral links with out your having to do the work.

    Is marketing a fandom project different than marketing a project that is not fandom related?  Probably not.  A lot of this advice would probably work for a site promoting soap or a non-fandom specific web service.  The difference is that fansites don’t necessarily see good marketing advice as applicable to them because fandom is a hobby or an academic exercise; for them, fandom is not a business and should not operate like one.   They should because nothing is sadder than seeing a good project die through lack of interest.

    Canonical URL by SEO No Duplicate WordPress Plugin