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Furnpike shuts down

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Going to furnpike.com now treats the user to this message:


The Furnpike, as well as FurComics.com will be closing Friday, September 14, 2001, permanently. This is due to an extreme lack of support and appreciation of the very communities which use this network daily. It is a shame that more Furs and Werefans can't give $1 or a thanks to help out their favourite sites, and expect someone else to front the bills to keep their appreciations going.

It's a pity that Furnpike is going down, I found the site fairly useful, even if some categories on it were a bit sparse...

Comments

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Furnetwork, FurPike, FurNation, FurBid, FurBuy, and probably a whole lot of other sites over the years have all had troubles of one type or another staying afloat. I'm trying to understand if this is really a furry community support problem, or just a problem that the community isn't willing to pull together and support a smaller network of good sites, or is it just a result of the "dot com" shake out? I know these sites are expensive to run and maintain, and many do it out of the goodness of their own hearts. But it seems to be such a load on some individuals, and sometimes they fail to ask for help... or be willing to accept it at times. Ideas? Insight?

Grace and Peace - Camstone Fox

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As webmaster and creator of the Furpike (a.k.a. the Furry Web Turnpike), I am sad to see a site like mine go under. My site is only about 4 months old, but it is growing and going strong. We are going to go to a .com address by year's end, but we should be able to stay afloat.

-Luxemburg the Skunk

http://theskunk.freeyellow.com/furpike

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It costs a lot of money to run a good website, but unless there is a business plan to sustain the site, it's doomed to failure.

It would make very good business sense for FurBid and like sites to try to implement a payment scheme in the near future. The free furry gravy train cannot last forever.

--
Rabbit Valley Customer Service

Rabbit Valley Comics
5130 S Fort Apache
STE 215 PMB 172
Las Vegas, Nevada 89148

Phone: 702-291-8286 (Orders 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM EST)
Website: http://www.rabbitvalley.com/
Email: customerservice@rabbitvalley.com

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Outside of the furry community we used to have a large number of free services offering web sites and other amenities, as well. I firmly believe that this a general trend as the reality of the marketplace settles in.

I suppose that it is possible that furry fandom is taking a slightly harder hit. We do seem to have a slightly higher percentage of computer geeks (and I use the term with great affection; my boyfriend is one of them) than other hobby/fandom groups. It is often contended that the average age of active furries is significantly lower than in general sci fi fandom. So when you combine knowledge and enthusiasm for computer technology with a lack of experience with financial realities, we may be getting hit a little harder than some.

But I've seen plenty of free sites outside of furry go away. I've seen others go from being free to subscription base.

-Gene

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Hasn't it occurred to anyone that maybe visitors didn't consider these sites worth the trouble of paying for?

I go to Furnpike and I see a furry Yahoo. Why should I pay or donate money for this?

I go to FurComics.com and I see another hosting service. What is this site doing that a dozen other hosting services aren't doing - besides limiting its income to the furry market?

I don't think this is because of the Dot Com Shakeout (tm) (r) (pat. pend.), but because of the reasons that lead to the Dot Com Shakeout; a complete lack of viable business model, product, and quality.

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Anonymous had this to say about Robocop:

Hasn't it occurred to anyone that maybe visitors didn't consider these sites worth the trouble of paying for?

I go to Furnpike and I see a furry Yahoo. Why should I pay or donate money for this?

I go to FurComics.com and I see another hosting service. What is this site doing that a dozen other hosting services aren't doing - besides limiting its income to the furry market?

He's right. It may be dismissable as trolling, but I don't think so, I entirely agree. What is the purpose of a furry links site? What can I find on this that I can't find on Google or Yahoo? Why should I be concerned that it went away due to bills or lack of use?

Yes, as a community one can say that we should encourage and support members' efforts to continue to bring collusion in any way we can, and that a site such as Furnpike dropping is a loss to us all. But I disagree. What did this site do? What did it give furrydom in the way of innovation or convenience? Why should we mourn its passing when almost nobody (that I know) ever used it?

The owner of Furnpike used to come onto YiffNet IRC all the time and argue ceaselessly about how he was going to be able to make money off furry fandom. To this I say HAHAHAHAHAHAHA, YOU LOSE. Trying to make "money off furry fandom" is about as funny as watching someone try to squeeze a stone to get the blood out.

Why I should donate or pay anything for a service which offers absolutely nothing new or unique to furrydom is beyond me, and furry site administrators expecting donations or subscriptions will have to realize that. In a fandom filled with imaginative, intelligent people, there simply has to be content in order to make people come back and enjoy your site enough to consider paying for it.

- Bobby

- http://www.yiff.com/

I hate you all.

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Before today, I had never heard of FurComics.com. This is odd, considering I run The Belfry, which is more or less the largest remaining index of Furry Comics. I checked my list of 341 current comics links, and not one of them has FurComics.com in the URL.

What did furcomics.com host anyways? I can't find reference to anything hosted there.

Did they just not promote this site at all?

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Over a decade ago, before the internet was widely available, I ran a multiline BBS that was extremely popular - the lines into it were almost constantly busy, even in the middle of the day when the rates for long distance callers were rather high.

I then attempted to go to a pay for use model, charging a dime an hour for use.

95% of the users stopped calling. The could spend $10 an hour for the phone call, but couldn't pay a dime an hour for the system.

I can also quote Scott McCloud, who wrote "Understanding Comics". When he gets into the failed micropayment system, he says "If something on the internet is free, it will have many users, but as soon as you charge, they go away" He had some nice illustrations to go along with that as well.

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I am sorry to see any Furry site shut down. But frankly, I have been mostly confused over the differences between all the sites: Furnpike, Furry Web Directory, FurComics, Mongoose.net, Bestiaria, The Belfry, Flayrah.com, FurNation, FurSearch, FurBuy ... It is not that fandom does not want any particular service as much as fandom is getting that service from another site. There are differences between the sites, but some of the differences are so minor that I can't help but feel that consolidation of two or more of the sites would make more sense. This is understandably disappointing to the creators who have nurtured one of the sites that the public decides is superfluous.

Fred Patten

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It's been said before, and I'll say it again: demographics, demographics, demographics.

Not to mention this is a fandom filled with people so cheap they'll attend cons but kvetch when a fully colored badge is $10. OTOH, some of these folks just don't have an income sufficient to allow them to spend any money after they've bankrupted themselves for their gas money/plane tickets/hotel rooms/whatever. Which makes me wonder why they'd go if they have so little money left over that they can't even buy themselves lunch during the con, but hey, who am I to argue what they do with their finances?

It comes down to survival of the fittest website (popularity) or who has a viable business model (revenue-generating). I find this whole finger-shaking routine after the site has gone down (It's a pity that more furs couldn't take the time to send thanks or give $1) to be patently ridiculous and a cheap shot that makes me wonder what their real motives were for the site.

Aureth is a perfect example of my point: He admits he runs Flayrah because he enjoys it. He's not pandering for funding, he's not bitching about how he's not getting thanks. Hell, he'd probably run it even if he didn't get the occasional thanks, just because he's having fun with it.

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Hey! I've gon to con's with only enough money to pay for my badge and room. I eat at the consuite, and I bring my pocket meat with me, and I have a great time. And I wouldn't dare bitch about paying $10 for a full color badge. But that's just me.

I can't say I'm sorry that these sites are going down, since I never used any of them, and for the most part never even knew of their existence. In fact, I don't care. But I do read Flayrah daily, and not just because the guy who runs it is dead sexy [*big wet kissy-smootches Aureth*]. It is interesting, and amusing, and informative, and fun. I would be sad if it went away.

But hopefully it won't. Mad propz to the cornwuff :)

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The biggest cost I (and my small team of story editors) put into this site is time. I can afford to donate that, even if I am perpetually short on it (witness the fact that I still haven't done the code migration and site upgrade i talked about a few months ago). I can afford the $100 a year or so outlay for the server space at a commercial webhost.

I don't understand the admin of Furnpike. He's been on alt.fan.furry whining about how no one supported him because no one knew about the site...and then he complains that he had to shut the site down because the traffic load was too high and he couldn't afford the bandwidth. Huh? He claims to have been getting 750 unique visits a day. Flayrah gets 200 on a real good day, and I'm thrilled to death with that amount of traffic.

I made a decision a while ago to not ask for donations. Flayrah will remain a free service to the furry community for just as long as I can stand running it. I don't get a whole lot of thanks for doing it and I'm not asking for any, but when someone I don't even know recognizes my name (at Anthrocon, for example), and tells me what a great job I'm doing with Flayrah, that makes the time investment worth it.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

"I don't get a whole lot of thanks for doing it and I'm not asking for any, but when someone I don't even know recognizes my name (at Anthrocon, for example), and tells me what a great job I'm doing with Flayrah, that makes the time investment worth it."

Well, you deserve my thanks... and I will endevour to help as best I can, maybe doing a bit of reporting here and there as time permits... and if I ever see you at Anthrocon, or the othercons I go to... I'd be more than happy to buy you a drink(Or a con badge drawing!)

Grace and Peace - Camstone Fox

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A long time ago, before the net ever existed, people around the world communicated via computer through a Bulletin Board System, known more commonly as BBS. This was a time when computers were quite expensive (a 286 would set you back over 2000$) and modem speeds were very slow by today's standards.

People operated BBS's all over the world. And they did it without (usually) needing external funding or support. Some boards granted special privaleges to people who helped pay for the system such as unlimited file transfers or extra email accounts. Sure, the gear was pricy (apparently off the shelf servers still are) and setting up a multi-line BBS required selling your soul to the phone company. But it was a period of experimentation and hobby activity rather than commerce. That has been lost lately...

Since the web came along, the BBS has shrunk to near nonexistance. But the ideals from the BBS should still be the same when creating website hosting systems.

* Create a community, not just a site. Anyone can make a site.

* A good system does not have to cost fortunes. Skill before cash.

* Free for all, but extras go to those who contribute to the system.

I'm willing to bet I could get an ordinary DSL line (if I could) and a Pentium at 266mhz running Apache, all for under 400$ and 50$ a month. That would serve the community just as well as dual SDSL lines and dual Xeon servers from IBM. Want me to prove it? Take a look at Were.net sometime. You don't have to spend fortunes to build good sites that people will use.

You _can_ get users to contribute to cover some costs by offering special bonuses to those who help with the costs. In the web world, that would be much larger websites (free pages should be limited to 5Meg), extra features such as anonymous mail accounts, and limited edition buttons to wear at cons. There are other things you can offer users to both foster a sense of community and get a small amount of money to defray some costs - these are by no means the only solutions.

But you will never get furs to pony up 20$ a month or so, so don't spend a gazillion bucks trying to build a furry enterprise solution. Go back to what both the net and furry were at the beginning; a hobby. Find a way to do it on the cheap, and then build a home for your users and not just a homepage. Some will contribute and some will not; such is true of all mankind.

This worked ages ago. It can still work yet.

Reality is not only stranger than we think, it's stranger than we CAN think!

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Go back to what both the net and furry were at the beginning; a hobby.

Furry still is a hobby.

-Feren
"We use them for divine retribution."

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

For you maybe. To some people it's a way of life.

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For some people, furry is a way of life.

It is so for me, also. So what? That's not what I'm talking about here.

If you want to create a server for everyone to use, great. Go for it. But if you can't do it on the cheap or have to spend exhorborant amounts of cash, then perhaps you should rethink the problem. People built webservers on the strangest of gear in the past. I refuse to believe that the technical skills present in this genre are not up to the challenge and everyone has to purchase machinery costing in the 5 figure range, just to keep pictures and stories.

Reality is not only stranger than we think, it's stranger than we CAN think!

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

I've put together an entire dual PII-450 system with 768MB, RAID 5 of four 10,000RPM hot-swap SCSI drives, 4-channel Ultra2 SCSI RAID controller, dual 10/100 NICs, CD, SNMP remote access/control card and server-quality tower case with 450W power supply and 700W UPS for approximately $650CDN (About $425US).

Buy used and put it together yourself. Anyone spending four figures on a brand-new furry webserver unless it's Velar or Furnation-class is an absolute moron, there's not enough load or traffic to justify it.

People shouldn't administer server-class equipment if they lack the technical skill to put it together itself.

I hate you all.

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People shouldn't administer server-class equipment if they lack the technical skill to put it together itself.

Or the funding to run it.

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About the author

Giza (Doug Muth)read storiescontact (login required)

a software engineer and African Leopard from Ardmore, PA, USA, interested in cheetahs

Software Engineer, Drupal advocate, furry fan, WikiFur admin, Anthrocon organizer, Eagle Scout, Dorsai Irregular.