Posts Tagged ‘otw’

Archive of Our Own vs. FanLib: Why they are not succeeding

June 29th, 2009

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…

Fandom   ? FanLib, # of stories   ? Date   ? Archive of Our Own, # of stories   ? Date   ?
15/Love 0 January 3, 2008 0 June 29, 2009
28 Days Later 1 January 29, 2008 0 June 29, 2009
4400 9 January 30, 2008 3 June 29, 2009
7th Heaven 3 February 2, 2008 0 June 29, 2009
8 Simple Rules 0 February 2, 2008 0 June 29, 2009
Absolutely Fabulous 1 February 2, 2008 0 June 29, 2009
Alf 0 February 9, 2008 0 June 29, 2009
Alias 38 February 9, 2008 0 June 29, 2009
Alias Smith and Jones 2 February 9, 2008 0 June 29, 2009
Alien 3 January 29, 2008 0 June 29, 2009
Angel 122 February 21, 2008 92 June 29, 2009
Battle of the Planets 25 December 13, 2007 3 June 29, 2009
Bleach 113 January 30, 2008 23 June 29, 2009
Brokeback Mountain 23 December 30, 2007 2 June 29, 2009
Buffy: The Vampire Slayer 234 January 2, 2008 244 June 29, 2009
Charmed 70 August 17, 2007 1 June 29, 2009
CSI 250 December 7, 2007 9 June 29, 2009
CSI: Miami 65 December 19, 2007 0 June 29, 2009
CSI: New York 38 December 19, 2007 0 June 29, 2009
Disney’s Gargoyles 3 December 30, 2007 0 June 29, 2009
Dragon Ball 4 January 7, 2008 0 June 29, 2009
Dragon Ball Z 62 January 7, 2008 0 June 29, 2009
due South 0 June 29, 2007 265 June 29, 2009
Final Fantasy VII 17 December 30, 2007 3 June 29, 2009
Friends 71 August 17, 2007 1 June 29, 2009
Gilmore Girls 220 January 30, 2008 14 June 29, 2009
Grey’s Anatomy 27 December 18, 2007 36 June 29, 2009
Gunsmoke 0 August 17, 2007 0 June 29, 2009
Harry Potter 1,740 May 3, 2008 236 June 29, 2009
House M.D. 72 January 30, 2008 203 June 29, 2009
Inuyasha 636 January 4, 2008 1 June 29, 2009
Kingdom Hearts 75 December 7, 2007 0 June 29, 2009
Lois and Clark 32 December 28, 2007 0 June 29, 2009
Lord of the Rings 130 December 8, 2007 55 June 29, 2009
Lost 49 August 17, 2007 52 June 29, 2009
My Chemical Romance 2 January 30, 2008 3 June 29, 2009
Naruto 1,843 December 18, 2007 0 June 29, 2009
NCIS 18 October 2, 2007 18 June 29, 2009
One Tree Hill 11 August 19, 2007 0 June 29, 2009
Pirates of the Caribbean 231 January 2, 2008 27 June 29, 2009
Robin of Sherwood 0 January 7, 2008 0 June 29, 2009
Sailor Moon 92 May 23, 2007 0 June 29, 2009
Scarecrow and Mrs. King 0 January 27, 2008 0 June 29, 2009
Smallville 84 January 11, 2008 107 June 29, 2009
Star Wars 330 December 8, 2007 20 June 29, 2009
Supernatural 220 December 13, 2007 241 June 29, 2009
Thunderbirds 240 July 24, 2008 0 June 29, 2009
X-Men 72 January 2, 2008 13 June 29, 2009
Zelda 11 December 15, 2007 0 June 29, 2009

Just how big is their lack of success? 1 Inuyasha story. 0 Naruto stories. 0 Sailor Moon stories.  0 CSI: Miami stories. 0 Thunderbirds stories.

Why didn’t they take off?  There are probably a lot of reasons.  The biggest is probably because the group that founded this archive were never FanFiction.Net type users to begin with.  (Thus, FanLib was never intended for them.)  Switching from blogging software to archiving software was probably a cultural struggle that they weren’t motivated to do because the new archive didn’t have readers and would have distanced them from existing power structures in fandom that they value.  (FanFiction.Net  certainly has a power structure, popular people, ways to propell your status on the site and in fandom.  It just is probably less obvious to outsiders.)  At the same time, the creators failed to market the site.  There was no massive outreach to FanFiction.Net users, to former FanLibbers, to Quizilla users, to LiveJournal users, to AdultFanFiction.Net users. (And when they do market it, it looks like they are trying to use wank to generate traffic.  Just look at their warnings we has! announcement on metafandom.)  As a result, their major pool of authors was severely limited.  The last reason why it looks like they fail to succeed as much as FanLib is they don’t appear to believe in their own product.  People aren’t doing fake LJ cuts to it.  They aren’t delicious bookmarking it on any scale.  They just don’t appear to want to make the time commitment to make it THE next FanFiction.Net.

Don’t do that! TPTB might find out!

November 13th, 2008

I used to read a lot of posts about how certain actions should not be taken lest the powers that be crack down on that fan, and as a consequence, all fans. (And these types of posts still exist.) There was frequently a Chicken Little “The sky is falling!” type pile on when some people were perceived as crossing lines that others felt that would bring down the wrath of others. CousinJean, the Star Wars self published novel, FanLib are three of the more visible examples to parts of the meta community over on LiveJournal.

And guess what Chicken Littles? The sky never fell. TPTB never unleashed that backlash. That whole exercise appeared to be more about social cohesion in a narrow community of fandom than it was ever about a real potential backlash. None ever happened. For all the talk of OTW creating a legal group because FanLib‘s existence was going to lead to a crack down and fans would need protection? No crackdown. TPTB weren’t going to do it. There was too much of a risk that they would lose in court.

When I see that argument these days, I really just roll my eyes. “Don’t do that! The Powers That Be MIGHT FIND OUT AND BRING PERIL TO OUR HOBBY!” Yeah. Right. These days, companies and individuals either actively seek to find out what is going on in fandom or hire out to have some one monitor what is going on for them. Your Harry Potter is 10 and doing Snape who is in his 30s fan art that you’ve posted publicly on a social networking site like DeviantART or LiveJournal or InsaneJournal? They know about it. That people are selling their works at conventions, on eBay, auctioning them off for donations to their favorite charities, that people are raising funds and making money in some form off those works? They know all about that too. And they haven’t done anything major about it in a long time.

So go screaming about how that’s the way things are, that by selling your fanart, the person is going to bring down the wrath of the intellectual property holders down on innocent, non-profiting fans. All you’re doing with that is demonstrating that you’re not cognizant of the existing business climate and its models, of what businesses are doing and affording yourself more privacy than you actually have: TPTB already know.

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