Posts Tagged ‘quizilla’

Laura’s link building philosophy

July 8th, 2009

I’ve been trying to get some jobs link building of late.  I do a lot of it for Fan History.  I really enjoy the process.  I really enjoy seeing the pay off.  The problem with getting a job link building is that different link builders have different philosophies about how they do it.  Why?  There are many possible paths to success.   My philosophy on how to link build also impacts how I would charge.  Total links doesn’t play in to it for me.  The bigger question is how many pages does the site have that they want to appear in a search engine? 1? 10? 50? 500?  One is really hard. 10 to 50 is less hard. 500 is fairly time consuming.  Thus, if I’m doing link building for you, my ideal way to charge  is a flat rate based around the number of pages you have that you want additional search engine exposure for.

My favorite way of link building involves using OnlyWire.  You use them for free by placing a widget on the site or paying $2.99 a month.  I’ve found it is worth the $2.99.  You just need to register for the accounts to set them up.  Every time I submit a link, I get about 7 to 9 links posted total.  There was ways to do more if you want to verify those submissions.  The more pages you submit using them, the better because it increases your visibility. If there aren’t a huge number of pages, say only 50 pages, the best solution is to time the links out to one a day to five a day.  (If you have several thousand pages, then 50 a day.)  This way when search engines look at your site, they see links continually coming over time.  You’re also less suspetible to a search engine peak followed by a massive fall off if your search engine visits don’t result in organic linking.

(Not all the services that onlywire links to are rel=follow.  Still, links on Twitter are valuable because they appear in search.  Fan History gets around 2 to 15 visits a day from Twitter search.  Links that are rel=nofollow stil have value of creating additional brand awareness.  They are also capable of getting visitors from clickthrough.  It is worth the time to build some of those.)

My second favorite way of link building involves ping.fm. ping.fm allows you to post to multiple microblogs, blogs and status updates.  This is helpful if you have established accounts with actual followers or friends.  You don’t want to abuse the status updates and microblog updates that often as your network won’t appreciate it.    Most of the links are nofollow but those links could be followed by your friends and followers.  Link building is generally all about search engine placement but you need to remember that getting those links in front of others in different situations could lead to the creation of organic linking that can help your SEO efforts.  The blogging option is best here in some ways.  Yes, there is the issue of content duplication leading to penalty but if you’re not making the same post 50 times, it shouldn’t be that problematic.  (You just shouldn’t post the same content to your own website that you’re posting using this method.)  More of those networks have follow links that microblogs.

After those methods, my next favorite suggestions for link building are finding relevant communities on LiveJournal and InsaneJournal and posting to them.  When you’re doing this, you should always make sure you follow the rules so that your post will stay.  These community posts help with creating brand awareness, getting rel=follow links and getting additional traffic.

After that, my next stop would be AboutUs.  There, I’d fix up the page about the website and get the links changed to rel=follow.  In addition, AboutUs does a fair job in driving some organic traffic.  I’ve found them to be better than Mahalo in that regards.  I’d also put the domain on articles similar to my domain in the appropiate section.  If there is content related to those other sites, I’d insert links on those pages.

I’d then go to SocialMedian and submit a bunch of pages.  They don’t give me much organic traffic because Fan History doesn’t have an audience that meshes particularly well with them.  Still, I’ve found that they work well in this regards.

If I’m doing some topic that is niche related, at this point I start looking for specific sites that cater to that niche that are similar to ones I like that have a fair amount of traffic.  There are niche sites for automobiles, for medicine, for fundraising.  These are where you really work on getting main page links submitted.

The next step really depends on the site in question.  Depending on the type of site, there are a number of places that I would add links to.  They include FanPop, AnimeNewsNetwork, Mahalo, Chickipedia, IMDB, Wikia, and Yahoo!Answers.  I’ve found that these sources can really help with getting organic traffic.   There is some search engine help but this is primarily about getting direct visitors.

After that, I’d go the route of finding relevant blogs and e-mailing (or tweeting at) folks.  I’d explain my site or project to them and ask if they could link to it in a blog post.  There are a lot of really nice people out there who will do that.

If I’m still going, I’d then try submitting to DMOZ and Yahoo’s directory.  Submitting a few doesn’t take much time but they may never add your links so it isn’t a high priority in terms of doing things.

If I’m still going after that, I post on Quizilla.  I start posting to MySpace groups, bebo groups, orkut communities, yuku message boards, etc.  You’ve always got to check the rules involved for that before posting though.

What is not part of my link building philosophy?  Commenting on blogs just to get link bait.  That is a waste of time and effort unless your comment is on point.  (That takes reading the actual post.)  If you sign with the name of your link instead of your real name, you are optimizing around the wrong term and you’re sending a signal to the blogger that you’re commenting spamming/link baiting.  It increases the chances of the comment being deleted.  It isn’t worth the time for a one shot deal.

My philosophy with link building is that you need to behave ethically, follow the rules where you’re link building and try to be a good citizen.

Not a parody? Then not fair use. Precedent is bad news for argument that fan fiction is legal!

July 2nd, 2009

There have been endless debates in fandom as to the legality of fan fiction.  The general consensus, with some noted exceptions, in the community is that fan fiction is highly derivative and would not be covered under fair use.  Some of the most noted proponents of fair use for fan fiction claim that fan fiction is a form of parody. I’ve generally found this type of rationalization rather ridiculous, as most fanfics are easily perceived to not be parodical in nature. (And you’re never going to convince me that your post episode story is, or that your chan story featuring Harry Potter getting butt sex is a form of parody either.)  We’ve just been rather fortunate in our community that there is no legal precedent in US courts, which say that fan fiction is a copyright violation.  We’ve also been fortunate that copyright holders have largely managed to ignore fan fiction or saw ways that they could fit fan fiction into their business plan.  In the past several years, there have been almost no cease and desist letters and DMCA takedown notices for fan fiction.

But it looks like we have finally come close to having that precedent that everyone should be concerned about. By concerned , I mean they need to be concerned about keeping fan fiction out of the courts if this holds up on appeal.  Why?  This court case shows that we could damned well lose.

There was a court case in the United States.  It involved an unauthorized sequel to a work by J.D. Salinger.  The court wrote the following:

To the extent Defendants contend that 60 Years and the character of Mr. C direct parodic comment or criticism at Catcher or Holden Caulfield, as opposed to Salinger himself, the Court finds such contentions to be post-hoc rationalizations employed through vague generalizations about the alleged naivety of the original, rather than reasonably perceivable parody.

Or as Ashby Jones at the Wall Street Jones said, “did not fit into the fair use exception in copyright law because the book did not constitute a critical parody that “transformed” the original.” This sort of ruling doesn’t help the case for the legality of fan fiction.  The court saw through the same sort of bullshit rationalizations for the legality of of this work that fan fiction writers have made.

Will this change the situation in the fan community at all?  No, it won’t.  What it hopefully will do is quiet those voices who claim that fan fiction is transformative, not derivative.  that rational may end up doing more harm than good.

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.

Keyword peaks for fandoms and fansites on Fan History in 2008

December 31st, 2008

The following are when interest, based on keyword (not keyphrase), spiked in 2008 on Fan History according to Google Analytics…

January 5

January 11

January 13

January 14

January 27

February 22

February 27

March 2

March 8

March 13

March 18

April 17

April 29

May 22

May 27

June 10

June 13

July 6

July 20

July 24

July 29

August 3

August 11

August 12

August 13

August 21

August 22

August 23

September 12

September 27

September 29

October 6

October 15

October 16

October 17

October 20

October 21

October 31

November 6

November 9

November 9

November 11

November 22

November 23

November 28

December 1

December 6

December 9

December 11

December 28

December 29

Well ouch. MySpace turns super fan unfriendlier…

December 30th, 2008

MediaPost is reporting that MySpace has come up with a new way of dealing with infringing fans. Instead of DMCA takedown notices, cease and desist letters, etc., companies can now overlay the content on your MySpace contributions with their own advertisements:

Once a site publisher enables Auditude, every piece of content gets a unique ID. First, a content owner has to supply Auditude with copies of all content it wants “fingerprinted,” and Auditude adds it to a database. Once deployed on MySpace, for example, the technology can scan every digital file queued for uploading to see if there’s a match within the indexed content. It can then take any action the content company prefers, including blocking the upload. MTV Networks is one of the first entertainment companies to sign up for the MySpace service – and it’s going the ad route for content from BET, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central.

That kind of sucks the big one. It probably helps explain why MySpace has never really caught on big with hardcore fandom who have instead opted for services like LiveJournal, FaceBook, Quizilla, FanFiction.Net, YouTube, etc. Well, that and a number of teen fandom friends I have music wise were put off when they posted their bandfic, bandslash when they were contacted by people that they characterized as pedophiles.

That sort of heavy handed tactic could result in a loss of people tuning in to MySpace because it is hugely intrusive and doesn’t offer any form of recourse. (Of course, considering that MySpace offers some unique things that you can’t get elsewhere and a lot of people won’t ever notice that, and it will help MySpace with their revenue stream, I can’t see any change happening to dissuade media companies from responding this way to alleged copyright violations. )

Fan History traffic

November 22nd, 2008

I haven’t looked at our traffic sources for the main wiki in a while so I thought I would do that today. The following are traffic sources for Fan History on wikis, on social networking and bookmarking sites and other links where the links were added most likely by Fan History admins. (I attempted to remove some of the organic linking.) It doesn’t include all sources. (DMOZ, Yahoo!Groups, etc. were left off but didn’t give much traffic.)

Fan History Wiki traffic sources

LiveJournal continues to be a major traffic driver for us. I chatted with another wiki maintainer about this. We’re both LiveJournal users and have been for years. We tend to get trapped into the idea that LiveJournal is the be all, end all of getting traffic. It is a nasty little problem. I think we’re both trying to break it. Still, if you’re on LiveJournal, it isn’t a bad way to generate traffic and improve your SEO.

AnimeNewsNetwork is our next biggest traffic source. We have a lot of anime and manga related material so this makes sense for us. This source has converted visits to edits a couple of times so happy about that.

Wikipedia is great if you can get links added. Just don’t get yourself banned for linkspam.

Wikia has a lot of specific topic wikis which can be a great way to get traffic if your content relates to those wikis. I’ve found if you ask, that can help get those folks to be involved with adding links to your site on those wiki.

FanPop is great but the traffic that we get from them? It involves about 400 links on their site and it doesn’t necessarily help with SEO. It can be great for you if you’re trying to generate traffic but at the same time, it feels like a lot of work for very little reward.

FanFiction.Net links are not our additions. Fan History is working on becoming a sort of phone book/directory of everyone in fandom. Given that, people will link to the articles about themselves. I’ve found this to happen the most on LiveJournal, smaller fandom specific message boards and on FanFiction.Net. So if you can get links like those, fantastic. :)

Twitter links frequently come about from links on our twitter accounts, and on my primary Twitter account. We get the occasional visit from others who link on twitter but not that often. I tend to think that is because we have some content issues. Our content isn’t as comprehensive as it could be… which is a major problem for wikis.

Yahoo!Answers can be great. It doesn’t take much time and the hits are good. This source, outside of Fan History and Google, tends to be the biggest source of traffic for FanworksFinder. The exposure here tends to be better than FanPop, even though you get fewer hits from it because the potential audience feels a lot bigger.

IMDB feels like FanPop at times. We have probably 30 links over on IMDB but they don’t get us much traffic. Still, great site to be linked on considering their credibility and the SEO value.

StumbleUpon is just not something that I’ve ever figured out how to do well. Woe. So we’re just not getting much traffic from it.

We’re still trying to figure things out in terms of generating traffic with a limited budget and limited time. It is really educational and there are things which I know we could do better. (Get more twitter followers, working on improving our interactions on services like LiveJournal, MySpace, FaceBook by being more interactive. Following up on comments, etc.)

I’ll close this little summary of our traffic with the following:

Despite its opponents’ claims that people used the software to post lewd or libelous comments, Third Voice didn’t go down in a lawsuit. The company’s conundrum was much more banal: Third Voice couldn’t generate enough advertising revenue to raise consumers’ awareness of its free service, and it couldn’t generate enough consumer awareness to raise the advertising revenue it needed to stay in business. Third Voice Trails Off…

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.

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
  • 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.

    New posts

    April 20th, 2008

    When I started this blog, I really intended to update more with various comments about what was going on in fandom. And then there was a large period where nothing was going on. FanFiction.Net, FanLib, Quizilla, AdultFanFiction.Net, MySpace, FaceBook, LiveJournal, bebo, none of those sites had really big news as to what was going on. The little news coming out didn’t look like it had any particular trends to it. (So what if FaceBook adds a chat component? It isn’t going to change fandom at all. We’re already using IM programs.)

    The Orphan Works topic was mostly covered by edits I did in the wiki. The only real thing that demonstrated is that one misinformed article, one slightly inflammatory article could inspire a lot of people to be fearful and irrational. That’s typical for parts of fandom. Certain corners did it for LiveJournal, FanLib and Quizilla. That it happened first on DeviantART was interesting but, given that the legislation being discussed was art, not all that surprising. So yeah, that was covered there.

    The Harry Potter Lexicon was interesting. It isn’t really covered adequately by Fan History. (It should be. Anyone who could edit and improve the article and related articles, it would be very much appreciated.) It doesn’t necessarily scream of relevance to the wider fannish community. The whole situation in fandom seemed to be caught in personal issues, money issues, the joy of finally seeing the Harry Potter fandom have some serious wank, and the dismissal of the Lexicon as irrelevant because it was for profit and fandom is not for profit. The people most interested in the situation seemed to people interested in intellectual property law. The situation also didn’t really feel like it would impact fandom that much. Authors who might send DMCA takedown notices will continue to do so. Those who haven’t aren’t likely to suddenly start doing so.

    Another reason I haven’t been updating is behavior patterns are hard to change. I’ve been doing a lot of meta on my LiveJournal. I’ve been doing it for years. Changing that pattern is hard. I’ve really got to start working on that. So starting today, I’ll have a new goal of trying at least one blog entry a day about my thoughts on fandom, trends I see, etc.

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