Dragoneer buys back Fur Affinity from IMVU
Fur Affinity is now independent once again after five years under the management of social gaming company IMVU. This comes as IMVU is looking to restructure their company to be called Together Labs, and take on major investment from Chinese company NetEase. Dragoneer repurchased Fur Affinity, for more than he originally sold it for, and now owns it under his own company (Frost Dragon Art LLC) once again.
They also made a new logo for the occasion.
A fear of management change
One of the main reasons that Dragoneer said that he decided to take back the site was because of the fear of what the new company’s goals were going to be under new management. According to VentureBeat, the company seems to be targeting a youthful, more tech-savvy audience. They wish to push more into the virtual world and digital currency spaces. Together Labs are turning to unite their platforms under a new crypto currency named VCoin.
Given their target for the youth, and a push toward crypto, it may have come down the line that if Fur Affinity was going to continue down the route of monetization of content creation through the use of “shinies”, one of the only major updates implemented under IMVU, then the refurbished curators may have an interest in implementing the conceptualized universal digital currency as the main financial transaction. And if the investors saw Fur Affinity as not in line with their goals of monetization and targeting the youth, it may have been restructured or sold off.
It is uncertain if that is how things would have developed, or that they would have just sold the Fur Affinity property, which Dragoneer feared.
Question: What would have occurred if you did not buy FurAffnity back?
Dragoneer: I assume it potentially would have gone up to sale for other parties, and I can’t guarantee they’d have had the community’s interests at heart.
FAU was unrelated to the purchase of Fur Affinity and was decision I made after covid related issues from the Hyatt putting money before attendee safety and the untimely deaths of one of our longest serving directors.
We lost an important member of the team.
There's no conspiracy here. Glaide's death was a tragic event which rocked our small organization, and this post hinting at it being something more is in bad taste.
The Hyatt also wanted us to run the con despite covid. They didn't care about attendee well being, only money.
— Dragoneer (@Dragoneer) February 12, 2021
Dragoneer let it be publicly known that when it came to the deal of buying back the site, he got the short end of the stick. He ended up paying more for the site this year then he sold it to IMVU back in 2015. He even indicated that it harmed his personal finance and is now spreading out his medications in order to keep himself above water.
It can also be noted that this manoeuvre to protect the integrity of Fur Affinity’s roots of being a place for adult furry content is likely to be a behind the scenes reason that Fur Affinity: United was shuttered. Closure of the convention was announced only a few months before Dragoneer announced his reacquisition of the site. So it seems in order to save his site, Dragoneer had to sacrifice the convention. [Dragoneer has since denied this; see right.]
There were some that were pleased with the decision, not having to worry about trying to have fandom activities be appealing to outsiders anymore. However, others saw it as a selfish act on Dragoneer’s part and that he made the decision based on the fear of losing power he holds over the furry site rather than any moral sense of keeping furry weird.
There is certainly a risk here in that now that he owns it once again. Dragoneer’s company will be fronting the monthly maintenance expenses for the site and have lost resources to implement major updates. It was assumed when IMVU took over then major updates would have been made and the site improved, but in the end the only user visible update that was facilitated was the shinies feature. Hopefully they were at least able to clean up and modernize the backend code to make it easier to maintain and update in the future.
Unless Dragoneer finds support in the community to help keep the site independent, then he may find himself in a position where most of the efforts are to keep his site maintained, rather than improved. Hopefully the sacrifice of buying it back will not be in vain.