Back in November 2015, Fur Affinity lost control of its forums. The dramatic departure of forum moderators caused an exodus of users to the up-and-coming Furry Network. This furry art site is owned by Varka, an entrepreneur better-known for his business of adult toy manufacture, Bad Dragon, then for online endeavors.
But coming into the furry art site operation with real world business experience, the toy maker and the staff of Furry Network have the potential to make a marketplace unlike anything currently offered by the slew of social art sites. In December 2015, they put forth their idea: a site that would help alleviate the fraud and hassle that furry artists run into when taking commissions from strangers on the Internet, by acting as the intermediary between artist and consumer.
This March, Furry Network made its big first step in the direction toward this goal. Their site’s commission system opened, to a handful of pre-selected artists, to test out the features. Users could request commissions directly on the page, and all status and interaction would then take place on the site. This story reviews my experience with the new system, and how it could change everything about the furry economy as we know it.
Established in 2008, Furry 4 Life boasts over 24,500 members, but has become hamstrung by an abandoned platform. Staff hope to complete the move by the end of the month, although they warn migration may last until January 2016.
Ning, back in 2008, was the best answer to the question "How can I build a social network for my niche community?". They really were the best option and still remain a powerhouse in hosted social software platforms. We really do owe a lot to them, but we are moving in different directions, and the Ning Platform is no longer a solid solution to our growing community.
3D chat service IMVU has bought furry art community Fur Affinity for an undisclosed sum. According to the announcement, "FA will continue to operate independently", and former owner Dragoneer says he remains "in charge of the site, direction and improvements".
IMVU, which bills itself as "the world's largest 3D Chat and Dress-Up community", has marketed its service to furry fans since at least 2009. The company proposes to monetize their January 2015 purchase through "added advertising" presented via "an improved experience", rather than "taking FA content, redistributing it, reposting it, using it in-game".
"You must be the 17th person who asked today", said Tim at Hudson News in Pittsburgh International Airport. "There's not a shirt left in this airport."
This was a hunt for the "City Shirt", a special shirt made for the public as well as Furries, only for sale outside of Anthrocon by request from local merchants. Most wearers said they got it first thing on arrival, before it sold out. On the way out of the city, some held out hope to ask in case any were stashed away. One place had a shirt stashed under the counter, the last one from "boxes and boxes" of 30+ per size, but it was a tease, because it was reserved for an employee.
Siddy, a commenter on Anthrocon's post, reports:
When I picked up one of the shirts at the airport. The cashier never seen something sell so fast, she told me she had to restock the rack three times just that morning.
Surveying furries for psych and demographic research is a well established interest. Canada recently gave out a $75,000 grant for it. But has anyone ever tried to measure the "furry economy"? I'm talking about spending by fans, companies and creators that serve them, and markets for their work.
I think the data could make interesting news, help creators and professionals, and it already has notable indicators calling for attention. Consider the strong growth in con attendance for over a decade, and the Furry interest that brought surprise success to adult crowdfunding site Offbeatr. I'm drawn to furry by fursuiting, and I've noticed a leap in quality over time that shows development of that specialized craft. On the other hand, some have seen a big decline in spending at con art shows that points to changing times. In the interest of informing the "Furrysphere" (is it a hairball?), here's a few thoughts on measuring the "furry economy".
Well sort of… and face it, you knew it was coming! First up is Monopoly: The My Little Pony edition — by which they mean My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic of course. It’s available for pre-order at Comics Infinity. “Welcome to Ponyville! A big adventure and tons of fun await you in this playful My Little Pony edition of Monopoly! Favorite locations in Ponyville are up for grabs including Cutie Mark Clubhouse, Sweet Apple Acres, Manehattan, and the Crystal Empire. ” The six game tokens are, of course, the “mane six” characters from the series. What, not into the MLP phenomenon? All right, head on over to Coin-Op.TV and check out the Monopoly: Skylanders edition, also in pre-orders now. They’ve got just about everyone covered!
It is always difficult to ask for help, but due to current circumstances, we have incurred over $70,000 in debt and costs from returns.
Antarctic Press expanded into the mass retailer market, but got a bit "hosed" by returns of unsold comics from stores. Contributor perks include wallpaper, comics – some signed – an Indiegogo-only print signed by five artists, and subscriptions of new AP comics.
There are 40 days left in the fundraiser, with $4,667 already pledged; enough to eliminate one of the company's smaller loans.
Radio Comix, long-standing publisher of furry comics like Furrlough and Ebin & May, is running an Indiegogo campaign to raise cash to remain in business after discovering a massive tax shortfall:
Due to a horrible oversight on the part of our (now former) accountant, we now owe a staggering amount of back taxes. The total is truly shocking, and when I first discovered it, I was ill for days. I've been working for three months with a new accountant to get everything that wasn't filed taken care of, but filing does not equal paying and now not only do these freshly filed taxes have to be paid, but there are penalties due to the late filing. I'm a firm believer in filing and paying all my taxes, and finding out I was behind was my worst nightmare come true.
I have been working with the IRS to come up with a payment plan, but if we could get a large lump sum together to pay in at one time, it would be an enormous help!
Update: Four hours in, $1500 had been pledged; by the end of the evening it was $5364.
Update 2 (March 26): The lifetime subscriptions sold out this morning. Commissions by Stan Sakai were added; within hours, six of the five on offer were somehow claimed.
On Friday, however, RCFM board member Bunny Halberd announced that the convention was being postponed to 2014. According to the explanation posted on RCFM's website, late in 2012 the RCFM Board agreed to host the convention at the Huntsville Airport Sheraton in 2013. Unfortunately, the hotel did not fully understand what type of convention RCFM is — and the Board did not realise that the entire hotel is under the control of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
In part, this increase is due to a rise in the number of events. Six new conventions were held in North America, and Australia's MiDFur brought in $24,184 over two events held this year. More significant, though, was increased fundraising at existing events, exemplified by MFF:
We were glad to make this an incredible year for our charity, Felines & Canines, Inc. They received a total of $8,500 including cash and checks in their donation jars (including $1,000 from a single donor!), the Charity Auction, and 2 & Kage's Saturday Performance. An additional $1,950 was raised by the Charity Poker Tournament. To this, Midwest FurFest was pleased to add an additional donation of $30,000, meaning that Felines & Canines took home a little over $40,500!
Want to know who gave what last year, and which were the most charitable events? Read on!
Some say there's no money in porn. But furry porn? That's a different story.
Crowdfunding has proven very popular, funding projects from digital aardvarks, roleplaying rats and space-abducted foxes, to fluffy ears, Furcadia's 'Second Dreaming' and seemingly every other work by M.C.A. Hogarth. Twokinds raised enough to buy a good-sized house.
Furotica is largely a no-go for industry leaders Kickstarter and Indiegogo. But it's become a lifeline for Ben Tao, Eric Lai, and Barry C, whose adult crowdfunding site Offbeatr (covered in August) lists five successful projects to date — all furry. [tip: Ripner Cabbit/EarthFurst]
So how can you raise $4000 (or $40,000) for your dream project? We asked those who've done it, while taking a closer look at this new funding platform and talking to its CEO.
On the morning of 28 November, the project met its its base funding goal - $55,000 - for which DEP and spinoff Catnip Studios pledge a web-based client (to be offered on Facebook and elsewhere), and a new Furcadia website. All backers may choose a new feature and avatar from a list: the winning choices will also be added to Furcadia.
While the sale of virtual items (or digos) provides sufficient funds to keep the service running, development has slowed to a crawl; according to DEP, core team members have not been paid in two years, and most have found other jobs. *
Furcadia's creative director Dr. Cat (Felorin) is to host an "Ask Me Anything" for potential backers on Reddit at 2PM CST on Wednesday November 28, and will be a guest on Twitch TV's TopWizard channel on Saturday December 1 at 3PM CST. Funding ends December 14.
The Californian startup's foam ear fittings come in bear, fox and rabbit forms, while the faux-fur sleeves come in a variety of colours – including a limited-edition "pika" variety for those willing to throw in an extra $10.
The Saga of Rex is a surrealistic whimsical science fiction tale that is really just an excuse for Gagné’s incredible imaginative graphics. The plot, if you want to call it that, is that the Guardian-Shepherd of the planet Edernia (a godlike being) summons a fleet of Gathering Ships to fly throughout the galaxy and harvest (kidnap) “specimens” to transport into Dream Globes (alternate worlds) where they will serve as hero-champions for Edernia’s metamorphic sentient Blossoms. (Readers who want to find meaning in this are told, “Those secrets have been lost in the catacombs of time.”) Rex, “the adorable little fox” from Earth, becomes the specimen of Aven, a Blossom who comes to love Rex and transforms herself into a sometimes-winged blue foxlike mate for him. I think.
As I said, just forget about plot and lose yourself in Gagné’s scintillating artwork. Rex’s Dream Globe is a wondrous, mysterious world that encompasses whole galaxies. It is full of strange, flowing, usually amorphous life forms, both benign and hostile. Rex rescues and is rescued by alien beings; he passes through trials of water and fire; he dies and is transmogrified into a savior. Basically, The Saga of Rex is 200 pages of mind-blowingly gorgeous semi-abstract s-f artistry. It is not to be missed.
Now, Gagné has launched a Kickstarter project to raise $15,000 to start an animation studio and turn his book into a classically animated film. He has already gotten $12,152 in pledges, with 26 days to go. See his four-minute video explaining the project.