Archive for June, 2008

Twilight fandom

June 25th, 2008

Twilight fandom is mad insane. Relatively new fandom that is quickly becoming the most popular fandom on FanFiction.Net. Only eight fandoms on FanFiction.Net have more people who have written in them: Harry Potter, Naruto, Inuyasha, Lord of the Rings, Yu-Gi-Oh, Kingdom Hearts, Gundam Wing, and Dragon Ball Z. Since December 27, 2007, the fandom has added 14,506 stories. The first story wasn’t added until November 28, 2005, seven years after FanFiction.Net was created. The size and growth of the fandom just boggles. Since mid-May, over 250 new authors have joined FanFiction.Net to publish Twilight fan fiction.  That’s roughly one in eight out of every new active author on the site publishing Twilight fan fiction.

And it isn’t just FanFiction.Net that is experiencing massive growth for this fandom. FanLib is too. There were 33 stories on FanLib as of the same date. Now, the category has 637 stories. FanPop has also experienced growth in that same period. It went from 265 fans to 1,662 fans.  

That’s some seriously mad growth. If I was a marketer looking for a large group of passionate fans in fandom, that would be the group I’d be going after as it has the potential to look like Harry Potter with its explosive growth. Momentum should stay with the fandom at least until a good six months after the movie comes out.

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
  • $15, airlines and fandom

    June 12th, 2008

    This afternoon, I found out about United’s $15 surcharge for the first bag you check.  I’m not a big traveler.   It doesn’t necessarily affect me much.  This fee has the potential to hurt parts of fandom though.    Convention season is in full swing.  Science fiction conventions, anime conventions, furry conventions, media fandom convention: The season is under way.   These conventions need dealers.  Dealers can make or break a convention, help spread the rep of good cons, pan bad ones.  They also help infuse convention committees with early cash to help conventions cover their early costs.  A number of dealers fly to conventions.  Most of them check luggage.  With the increase in airfare, the $15 is just one more fee for them to eat which can hurt their bottom line.  If transportation costs get too high, because of fees like this one, it means  that they will likely pass on a number of conventions.    That has possible ramifications across the whole convention circuit and will make running conventions more difficult.

    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.

    Fan History’s search

    June 8th, 2008

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