liz_marcs (liz_marcs) wrote,

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FanLib: 101 Reasons to Stay Away

Back in March, I was made aware of FanLib when entrenous88 was dinged with an "invite" to join the site. I was dinged about a week later.

Reading the ToS of FanLib, I figured that I had to be seeing things. It was that bad, and that unfair to fanfic writers. If anything, it looked like a con. entrenous88 graciously gut-checked me and backed up the itchy feeling I had about the whole thing.

Let's just say I was relieved that I wasn't the only one who was just a leeetle leery about this.

Then I just let it drop. I wasn't interested. The site looked like it was nothing more than a fraud at best, or a way to bilk fanfic writers out of money at worst.

Guess what?

FanLib falls into the "at worst" category. While Buffy-related fanfiction wank was eating my corner of LJ and mold allergies were eating my brain, FanLib officially opened its doors.

Somehow, I don't think FanLib was expecting a round of raspberries and Bronx cheers from the very people they hoped to scam free content out of, do you?

Funnily enough, that's exactly what happened. Fractious fandom suddenly turned into the United Federation of Fandom Universes and gave FanLib the big-ol' stink-eye.

Then they started talking and spreading the news. Being writers and readers, that means there were raging discussions about FanLib, with people claiming to be associated with the site making comments in people's journals.

If these people are actually "employees" of FanLib, they seriously need to go to charm school...or at least figure out who they're talking to. Most fanfic writers are not teeny-booper fanbrats, so stop talking to us like we are.

I was going to put together something myself, but thanks to FandomWank and Fanthropology I don't have to do damn thing.

(Be sure to read the self-identified FanLib gnomes defending the company on Fanthropology. Note that the really tough questions about who's making money, copyright issues, and the question of who actually owns the fic that gets put on the site are left unanswered. Also note from the comments that it's blindingly clear that FanLib did almost zero market research on fanfic writers.)

To get up to speed on the whole FanLib scam (and yes, it is a scam — I don't care how many legit backers they have): icarusancalion has outlined the primary problems with FanLib in a most excellent article. Be sure to read the comments, too.

stewardess has a link-o-rama of opinions and discussions around LJ. Comments on this and all posts are also very much worth the read.

Yes, it'll take several hours to read through (possibly several days). However, I urge you all to read through everything and decide for yourselves.

Let's make something clear: While this is certainly the most aggressive attempt I've ever seen to make money off the backs of fanfiction writers, you can be absolutely certain — with the same certainty that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west — that it most definitely won't be the last.

ETA: ladycat777 calls out these post by telesilla as deserving of special attention. She attempts to engage the FanLib braintrust in comments, but doesn't get anywhere. Her posts do appear on stewardess's collection of links, but I agree that she has a take worth paying attention to.

ETA2: On the advice of humbleminion I've removed the link to FanLib. It appears they earn ad revenue based on page hits. I've got no desire to give them money.

ETA3: marenfic points to this excellent blog entry that excellently puts into words the problems I have with FanLib from the perspective of a woman who's both a fan and a well-educated professional.

One note of interest in the article from FeministSF marenfic points to: One of the FanLib founders is associated with SixApart, which just so happens to own LJ. Well, well, well. That is an interesting nugget of information to consider. And I don't mean that in a good way.
Tags: fandom: meta, fandom: news, fanfiction: general, web: links

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