Profile: Upcoming art site Weasyl seeks $5000 by July 31
A new site is to open this year: Weasyl, for "artists of all kinds". But they need money to do so…and the countdown ends Tuesday.
If funding falls short, the group will still be paid, but must forfeit an additional 5% - up to $250 - as well as the regular fee of up to 7%.
Update (30 Jul): The goal is met; funding is still open until Aug 1.
Update 2: The total raised was $6015.
A variety of artists are offering services to donors, who can also receive paid site access, ad space, and merchandise.
Staff plan to use cloud hosting (Amazon S3 and EC2), rather than purchase their own servers. The site is being organized by a team of eighteen, headed by co-owners Benchilla and Kihari, and lead admin Taw Echo.
A demo site, briefly shown at Anthrocon, was taken down after the site administrator moved. Access to the current site is, for now, restricted. Growth of Weasyl will also be limited at first; beta users can invite up to ten others in a month.
The name "Weasyl" was explained by staff as a portmanteau of weasel, easy and easel. The site was dubbed "Fergal" in early concept mockups.
Site features and monetization
Weasyl is to support IE7+ and other major browsers, with HTTP Secure and an Android app. A laundry list of features are promised: folders, journal +faving, a WYSIWYG text editor, user page banners, friends-only posts, commission info pages, stream notifications, and search exclusion. Tags may be used for search, and for blocking or whitelisting.
Work may be submitted under General, Mature (13+) and Adult (18+) ratings; videos, animations and limited photography can be posted in addition to regular visual art. Users may block other users from watching them or commenting on their posts, and disable public tagging.
One unique feature of Weasyl is the collections system. Users are expected not to post art created by an artist who is on the site; instead, they will be invited to put the artist's upload into a collection gallery, separate from their own. Followers may be notified of collection additions. Groups for the public or private posting of journals, submissions and events are also planned.
Future development ideas include the addition of a chatroom and API, the ability to sort/search private messages, and collaboration tools. Artists may also be able to sell prints or digital copies. However, these features are technically challenging and are not expected in the near future.
Weasyl intends to make money through merchandise, link monetization (think VigLink), and adverts. Several additional features will be offered to paid users, who may remove ads, change their site URL, upload larger submissions, filter different forms of notifications, add widgets to their page, get discounts on merchandise, and display more thumbnails (150 vs. 60) per page.
… the ability to change one’s username without needing moderator assistance, the ability to lock your own threads, custom user titles, a larger inbox, access to a premium member forum section, [and] larger avatars.
Premium memberships are estimated to cost $35/year, $20/six months, $10/three, or $5/month.
While some are reluctant to admit it, Weasyl has claimed to be a FA "competitor", and its rules and feature set appear designed to appeal to Fur Affinity users. Several staff have a history with the site; co-owner and former FA forum moderator Benchilla was banned from Fur Affinity in April after promoting the "huge avatar" exploit, while Fay V went on hiatus from FA adminship days after, citing stress over ticket "chores".
The site has also been considered a competitor to Inkbunny, as several promised features duplicate those existing there; however, its policy against sexual depictions of under-18s or characters with "small child, or infant-like proportions" is likely to repel many in Inkbunny's audience. Weasyl will also initially lack support for pagination or chapter/image grouping, though users will be able to save working drafts and load files.
Volunteer "Ferrets" are to patrol recent uploads for community guideline violations (including friends-only posts; usernames will be hidden), receiving premium access to the site in return. Duty as a ferret or forum moderator will be necessary, but not sufficient, for a full staff position.
Staff selection and promotion is subject to a voting process, which also applies to ejection. Moderators have extended site access, while admins gain voting rights and lead admins have authority over disciplinary duties. All staff and Ferrets must be 18 or older, and will be organized into departments for art, writing, multimedia, photography, accounting, PR and HR. Initial plans for Weasyl LLC to pay staff have been dropped.