unjapanologist: (hey ozai)
Fanfic.me hasn't done anything new or exciting since it was first discussed, but here's something that may be of interest, or at least extremely amusing. Hidden on Fandom Entertainment's website are three videos that give an overview of Fanfic.me and its aims, introduce the team behind Fanfic.me, and show a demo of how a fic writer would use the site. They're all about two minutes long and very much worth watching.

Favourite quotes, from the overview video:

We are poised to become THE fan fiction site not only online, but across all mobile devices.

There's one site that dominates the fan fiction marketplace [screenshot of fanfiction.net]. But they are weak, due to tech problems and lack of updates, lack of graphic branding, and other problems. Their site ranking of three fifty has been sliding for over a year, and they are weak, and we are ready to take over their marketplace.


Giving fans what they want. We're Fandom Entertainment.

Read more... )
unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
I completely forgot to mention that [personal profile] elf has made a Fanlore page for Fanfic.me. Gathering info over there is much more efficient in the long run than keeping things in a bunch of DW entries, so I'm in the process of moving all the verifiable facts we have to Fanlore. Please do feel free to edit the page to bits! I don't have copious amounts of time available right now, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

Latest news: Fanfic.me was down for a couple of days and is now back with a new design but no new content, and today Fansitepress.com has been taken offline as well. Maybe it will be back before Fanfic.me takes part in the Web 2.0 Expo New York startup showcase. The startup showcase is at 5:10pm on October 12. I may get out of bed in time for it, just in case there's tweeting.

We've been taking this whole thing quite seriously since the initial hilarity. Just for fun, have a quote from the front page of Gleeklub.com, another one of Fandom Entertainment's two hundred sites:

We love fanfic. But for toooooo long, fanfic has meant UGLY … a huge web page in a sea of text.

unjapanologist: (Default)
My apologies for throwing out no less than five not very cheerful posts in a single week. I promise to be less displeased with the world from now on. Just a few quick notes about the new location of my research and fannish bookmarks:
  • My Diigo account still exists because it contains some collaborative bookmark collections whose new home is still being prepared. Also, there are a lot of links in various work-related locations going to that account, so I may end up just leaving it as it is. However, it will no longer be updated. My new primary bookmarks account is here at Pinboard.
  • The research-related bookmarks link at the right and on my profile now points to http://pinboard.in/u:fanficforensics/t:phd, and the new RSS feed is here.
  • Non-research-related links at the old Diigo account were usually private, including links to fanworks. I've decided to leave links to fanworks public from now on because I want to take more part in the fannish bookmarking fun - I only watched and never contributed on Delicious because keeping track of several different bookmarking accounts never worked out for me. So, there's suddenly a bunch of fic in my bookmarking account, but I expect that won't be a problem for anyone. People who follow this journal for the research updates will already be well aware of what fic is. The revelation that I read it shouldn't come as a shock. I'll be more careful about tagging bookmarks with adult content from now on.
I hope I can stick with Pinboard for a while. As long as its owner keeps sounding like he does in this blog post about the sudden fannish Pinboard migration, I expect I'll feel quite at home. Oh dear, that Pinboard/Fandom anthropomorfic is second on the popular bookmarks list now.

As for Fanfic.me, I updated yesterday's post and the copies of Fanfic.me-related pages with some extra info on Fansitepress.com, where Fanfic.me offers to host your "fanfic blog" for a price you're not going to believe (no, really not). Now I'm going to put this thing aside for at least a couple of hours and clear out my inbox.
unjapanologist: (fetchez la vache)
Okay, Fanfic.me is utterly hilarious, but they deserve a proper rend-and-tear post anyway. They put so much effort into their... thing. No, really, they did! It's all part of a cunning long-term plan!

Many thanks again to [personal profile] watersword for all the sleuthing work. A lot of the info in this post was already in her awesome write-up from yesterday, and in the comments to said write-up. I did some more digging because I want to be a plucky girl detective too.

EDIT 3/10: A few people have correctly pointed out that the limits of my personal fannish experience are showing in the way I interpret the fannish background of people behind Fanfic.me. Qualifiying statement about why I chose to call them "not fans" here. Also, there's some extra info about Fanfic.me's money-making strategy at the bottom of the post now.

EDIT 5/10: Huge batch of edits at the bottom of the post, including links to lots of new Fanfic.me pages and discussion of problems with the software being used. And another qualifying statement about the use of "fannish" in this post. Sorry, people, I didn't realize at first posting that I made a couple of snap judgements and inadvertedly made it sound like this is all about the fannish background of the Fanfic.me people. It definitely isn't.

Read more... )
Crazy Easy
Fill out the 4 step form, and BOOM – you’ve got a Fanfic.me site just like that.
Pick a name like Harry Potter Fan Fic
Describe your site
Grab your domain like potterfics@fanfic.me.com
Pick your fandom
And away you go. Import an existing WordPress site, or start fresh. If you can type or copy and paste, you’re going to have a hell of site. Get started.
Track comments
We know that the comment fanfic readers leave for writers are of great importance. When you go to your dashboard, you’ll find a Manage Comments option. Everything is easy and intuitive to help both fan fiction writers and readers.
Not just a fan fiction archive
Fanfic.me has a feature called “pages” which allows you to easily create web pages. You can even create an entire web site/fan site using WordPress pages on Fanfic.me.
No lock-in
You can leave Fanfic.me any time you want. We provide a complete XML export of all your posts, pages and comments outside our exclusive plugin. Of course, you should always keep copies of your own stories, but you already knew that.
We protect you against spam
Spam Pack comes with every Fanfic.me site. We provide a nice “captcha” (and one that is not as easily hacked like others), automatic trackback filtering and protection, and the comment protection features that check against a number of factors like the site owner’s white list, black list, 3rd party anti-spamservice, etc. We want you to be spam free.

I'm not a WordPress user myself, so I'd love to hear from anyone who can judge how interesting these features are. My first reaction is deep scepticism, especially since several of the features described as "free Fanfic.me features" separate from the free WordPress features that offered with a fansitepress.com site actually seem to be free WordPress features instead. They even use the same image for the Fanfic.me spam blocker, and the text for the XML export bit is identical to that on WordPress.com's own site. They just replaced "WordPress.com" with "Fanfic.me".

What happens when fansitepress.com wants you to " kick in towards the costs a bit"?

So what happens if you need more storage or want to have a www.customname.com?
Be the master of your domain – ($20/year).
We know how fans are  - you’re going to eventually want your own name.  It’s easy to add your own domain name, like thebestfics.com, to your site here at Fanfic.me. Or if you already have your own domain name, it’s easy to transfer it to your WordPress.com blog. Email us to transfer or get your own domain.
Your fandom is growing – add storage ($25/25o additional stories)
The free limit of 250 stories per site is enough for most fans, but if you’re building a fanfic site that will have a large community or if you’re a large organization, grabbing this upgrade is the way to go. The first 250 stories are free. For each additional 25o writers, it’s just $25 a year. What if you keep growing? It gets even cheaper. That’s just a buck a writer to be part of your amazing site using our rockin’ fanfic plugin.
Custom CSS ($15/yr)
If you know your way around a cascading style sheet, you can really put a personal touch on your WordPress.com blog. Or use the Custom CSS upgrade with our Sandbox theme to create an entirely new design.
Go Ad-Free ($40/yr)
From time to time, we display ads in fanfic. No worries about junk ads. We only use ads relevant to your fandoms.  Doing this allows us to keep bringing you the free features you love. However, if you’d prefer your readers didn’t see ads, you have the control to turn them off.

$20/year for a domain, $25 per year per 250 stories, plus $40/year to make ads inside stories go away? I suppose this is one part of their elusive plans for highway robbery financial stability.

EDIT 4/10: From people with actual knowledge of WordPress: yes, this appears to be highway robbery/a scam.

EDIT 4/10 2: Fanfic.me has posted a TOS now ([personal profile] elf notes that it's the same TOS as on MyFandoms.com). The TOS, which Fanfic.me calls a TSA, appears to be kind of dreadful.

BUNCH OF EDITS 5/10: Lots more things going on at the original post. Fic posted by [personal profile] elf to Fanfic.me got bahleeted, she got mail implying that her content is not welcome in the community Fanfic.me founders are part of.

On the software side, it seems that the code of the Wordpress plugin offered by Fansitepress.com is being kept under wraps in violation of the GPL licence (EDIT 5/10 Or perhaps not). Claims that much work and years of development (founders contradict each other about the time frame here and here) went into the plugin appear to be false, as the plugin was only released and pulled from the Wordpress.org site again in February 2011, and seems to add extremely little functionality to the kind of Wordpress install offered by Wordpress.com (which Fansitepress.com seems to be confusing with itself.) See links in EDIT 4/10 for some appraisals of the plugin's functionality, and here for links to where it can be seen in action (EDIT 5/10 The links are no longer active. We appear to be under surveillance. I think we should get credit for beta-testing this product and suggesting so many improvements). On this new page, Jacky Abromitis claims that the old Fan Fic Fan software was bad because "Unfortunately, we built it on a really lousy open source platform". She then proceeds to wax poetic about their new Wordpress plugin without mentioning that Wordpress is also open source.

Fanfic.me has just published some new pages: founders, blog, and privacy. All are well worth a look. Will link to more discussion about them later, no time for extensive analysis ATM. What struck me the most after a quick first read is the 'founders' piece, in which Jacky Abromitis discusses at length why her venture is beneficial for the fan community, and why she thinks the concerns of fans who think "Fanfiction should never be about “business”" are not relevant here. She appears to be quite knowledgable about the history of fanwork commodification. Interpretations about the content of this text may vary. But personally, I'm becoming more and more convinced that she knows exactly what she's doing, why the way she's going about this can be harmful to fandom in ways I've already outlined, and why we're criticizing her.

[personal profile] watersword and [personal profile] elf have pointed out that Jacky Abromitis appears to be reading the original post. No idea if she may be reading here as well, but just FYI.
Mea culpa again about the confusion caused by my use of "fan" and "fannish". I meant to just dig into the fannish background of Jacky Abromitis a bit to understand where she's coming from and what her motives for making Fanfic.me could be, but I ended up sounding like I was judging her for not being a fan in the same way as I. That sort of thing is obviously not okay and completely besides the point. *headdesk* Thanks again to the people who called me out on that. I think Jacky Abromitis should be criticized because I believe her venture is disingenuous and harmful to fans in general and as individuals, not because she and I are apparently from very different fannish spaces. And I agree completely with what [personal profile] watersword said in this addition to the original post

I would really appreciate it if we could stop trying to determine if Abromitis is “fannish enough” — at this point it seems pretty clear that Abromitis is Not One Of Us in a different way than Chris and David Williams of Fanlib were Not One Of Us. The point remains that Fandom Entertainment, the company, owns sites which (a) approach the line in the sand which many fans have drawn vis-a-vis commerce and fandom, but that’s a personal mileage thing, and for all I know, her fannish community is more comfortable with the intersection of capitalism and fandom than I am; I would still like an explanation of WTF she hopes to achieve by attending the NY Expo Startup Showcase; (b) commercially exploit fans who may not know better (disregarding the Tolkien estate and Disney and Warner Bros. entirely, I am comfortable making a blanket statement that tricking your fellow fans into paying for unnecessary services is not cool); and (c) are not very good fanfiction archives.

EDIT 12/10: Forgot to mention that [personal profile] elf has made a Fanlore page for Fanfic.me. Gathering info over there is much more efficient in the long run than keeping things in a bunch of DW entries, so I'm in the process of moving all the verifiable facts we have to Fanlore. Please do feel free to edit the page to bits! I don't have copious amounts of time available right now, so any help would be greatly appreciated. Latest news: Fanfic.me was down for a couple of days and is now back with a new design but no new content, and today Fansitepress.com has been taken offline as well. Maybe it will be back before Fanfic.me takes part in today's Web 2.0 Expo New York startup showcase. (Note: my time zone is 14 hours ahead of New York, so this 12/10 edit is really a 11/10 edit from a US point of view.)
unjapanologist: (Default)
Fanfic.me appears to be a company that tries to coax people into posting fanfic on its site so it can market visitor eyeballs to advertisers. [personal profile] watersword has a ton of details here.

In-depth analysis and mockery will have to happen after a good night's sleep, because right now my brain can't seem to get past how incredibly hideous that site design is. So much orange. Ugliest banner ever. Why. And I don't know if there are even any real people over there, the profile names of the fic authors aren't clickable and all the comments seem to have been made by Fanfic.me itself. Did they just harvest stories from FF.net and change the author names? I tried googling the first sentence of a couple of the fics, and they were all posted to FF.net or deviantART under different author names. 

Regardless, this one looks like a really special train wreck. It's... kind of pathetically cute, the way they throw "fanfic" around as a keyword, as if it's a magic spell that will draw all the "fanfic" writers to their site. Look at the way they keep using it as a hashtag on their Twitter account. I almost feel sorry for them, they're so obviously ignorant and incompetent and doomed and unable to see what's coming their way.

EDIT of no, still not sleeping: There's a lot more discussion/sleuthing going on in[personal profile] watersword's post, including[personal profile] franzeska digging up a hilarious news article about Fanfic.me.


unjapanologist: (Default)

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