On June 26th, LotRFanfiction.com
members received an unpleasant surprise. Their archive featured an announcement
that it had been sold to a businessman they'd never heard of before, so that he could turn it into a for-profit website!
This brings us to ex-Facebook employee Keith Mander, who has privately bought two fanfiction archives (LotRFanfiction
). He plans on turning them into ad-revenue streams and using his profits to "quickly enter and dominate new fandoms."( The direct quote from his post about buying LotRfanfiction.com )
But why fandom sites, specifically fanfiction archives, you might ask? Well, the answer is that Keith Mander would like to explain to us all about Making Moneyz On Teh InterWebz, because he thinks that the only reason no one does this is because fandom is full of idiots. Clearly, no one in fandom has ever thought about the issues involved in monetizing fandom activity ever before
.( Excerpt from Keith Mander's Interview on Midas Code, a site devoted to buying and selling websites )
Did I mention that none of this appears to have been done with any discussion or even forewarning of LotRFanfiction.com site moderators, authors or community members?
But don't worry! Keith Mander assured LotRFanfiction.com community members that everything will remain free! Yes, they will remain free to spend hours of their own time writing stories, which are highly valuable content, in order to make him money. What a great deal! Just what every fanfiction writer dreams of doing someday!( Keith Mander's Promise to Keep Everything Free (Including What You'll Work For) )
I bet you can guess what happened next. @#$%^ hit the fan, and rightfully so.
, who is involved in LotR fandom, did a pretty comprehensive write-up
6/28: Write-up Part II
7/1: Write-up Part III
7/1: esteliel opens a new LotR fanfiction archive
, Faerie: Tolkien Fanfiction
, which appears to be where the purchased site's BNFs have fled.
7/1: The OTW chimed in
does a write-up on member's reactions as well as the site's stats and story/chapter losses
, as people flee.
7/2: An update on stats and loses.
writes up a giant chronological ManderFail linkspam
7/3: Keith Mander shows up on the fucking OTW site
to explain how he won't make too
much money off of exploiting specific fanfiction archives, therefore it's alright. For. Fucking. Reals.
7/3: @ clairvoyantwank
has mentioned contacting Mander, because as soon as the site changed hands, he violated the attribution non-commercial licence on their efiction skins
7/3: Keith Mander and former site-owner Adora put up an announcement begging people not to flee
. They would like to have a 'dialogue' about this and promise rainbows, sunshine and puppies, but also want people to know that:
"We're both busy with family commitments int he coming days but wanted to get this quick message out to you to begin this dialogue with you." - 7/3/2011 announcement begging for revenue streams to stop leaving*
I guess that they would like people to cease being pissed off at a time that's inconvenient to them. It would be far more convenient for Mr. Mander to have people be angry between Thursday and Friday, 9-5, this week, so that he can continue with his plans to exploit their work for his personal profit at his convenience.
I think that there's a comment on Keith Mander's blog that summed up the fundamental disconnect between what Mander thought he was doing and what fans know he's doing:
Someone sold you the Brooklyn Bridge, dude!
They sold you land “nobody was living on” that had someone’s house and garden already there.
You “snapped up” a used car that still had a driver and passengers! Who don’t want to go down the road you’re trying to steer! And you didn’t even look in the windows! - a comment on Keith Mander's blog
For those who are curious, this has already been reported
, subsequently posted
, and it looks like a fandom_wank
entry will shortly be posted
. I, for one, am looking forward to the imminent arrival of 'ManderFail' as a co-entry with 'FanLib' in fandom history.
Although, given the nature of the fail, I'm getting pretty fond of esteliel
's suggested name
, SaruMander. :P
*Title of post de-bullshitized for your convenience.