Because so many fans are all atwitter about the whole FanLib thing, and because I have a lot of experience in marketing that applies to what these yahoos are trying to do as compared to what they have actually accomplished doing, I thought I'd do a little "This is Your Fanfic on FanLib" kind of allegorical illustration just for the fun of it. And because, you know, we fanficcers can be mean like that when you piss us off.
So here’s the way I look at the whole FanLib thing:
We're a pack of stray dogs (in their eyes) running around, eating other people's garbage. So one day, these guys see all the rich folk paying huge money for specific types of purebred dogs and think "Hey! Out of this HUGE pack of garbage-eating dogs out there, there's a pretty good chunk of them that are either purebreds or could pass for purebreds long enough for us to make some money off their backs."
And they also think, "Hey ... those stray dogs are eating garbage so they'd JUMP at the chance to be owned by someone who would buy them a diamond collar and carry them around in a designer handbag. 'Cause that's the American dream for all dogs, right?" So these "entrepreneurs" get it in their head that if they build a big shelter right in the middle of the stray dog zone and open the door and wave around a diamond collar, the smell alone will pull in so many strays they won’t know what to do with them all.
And being entrepreneurs, they figure if they charge a flea & tick company a buck a dog for every dog that just walks through the door so they (the flea & tick company) can run a claim in their ads that they "support charitable rescue operations," then DogLib is already a profitable enterprise because they’ve already made a buttload of money whether any of those dogs turn out to be sellable or not.
But the real opportunity here, as DogLib sees it, is the purebred (or purebred looking) garbage-eating strays who are so hungry they can be lured to the ring by the whiff of a diamond collar. Because once they get in the door, the DogLib people have a "terms of service agreement" that allows them to sell these sad strays off to all these rich, dog-loving folks who are paying big bucks for purebred dogs from puppy farms only to run the risk of getting genetically-deficient morons born of generations of inbreeding amongst a small population of stud dogs.
And to make the DogLib pot even sweeter, the biggest opportunity of all isn't even selling the strays; it's getting the rich folk to pay a sponsorship fee (buy a lotto ticket) for the privilege of looking over all those strays—especially the ones the DogLib people have "cherry-picked" by contest as the ones purebred enough to pass for puppy farm dogs—that are free for the adopting to sponsors-in-good-standing.
So DogLib’s selling proposition is this: make a buck a dog from the flea & tick guys (banner ads); make more bucks on selling the rich folks lottery tickets on the precept of "spend a buck and what can you lose but the buck; but if you hit it big, you're a millionaire!" (sponsorship fees) and the only real overhead for all that major buckage flying into their pockets is one diamond collar they don't actually own but that they can wave around their new virtual facility built in the right neighborhood to make the air smell good enough to pull in all those really hungry, garbage-eating stray dogs.
Because the dogs themselves? Pfffft. They’re just garbage-eating strays. They’d welcome the chance to be owned by some rich dude who wants to collar them with diamonds and carry them around in a designer bag.
So everybody wins, right? Free dogs. To good homes. And dollars in the middle-man’s pockets.
Or, you know, at least dollars in the middle-man’s pockets, which is really the whole point as far as DogLib cares.
And as far as controlling those strays goes? That’s one of the really sweet parts of this whole plan because DogLib doesn’t actually have to do that. By the time the strays are in a position to act out? The rich folk have already bought their lotto tickets and the flea & tick guys have already paid their buck-a-dog. So if the strays act out? No problem-o. DogLib already has their dosh in hand, so they just kick uncooperative strays out the back door and back to the streets where they can go on eating garbage for all the DogLib people care.
Because, you see, they don’t care.
But on the business end of things, it’s not a bad plan if you're dealing with stray dogs. But where DogLib kinda screwed up in is not realizing fanficcers aren’t stray dogs, and what we eat isn't garbage. And despite the sparkly of that diamond collar that might attract some just out of curiosity? The truth is, diamonds don’t taste very good, and they certainly aren’t very nourishing; which most not-strays who’ve been on the block for any length of time are going to know … and it will keep them (and their puppies) from actually going through the door of this strange place that opened up overnight with a big sign out front that says, "Hey! We’re here, and we’re going to SAVE you from being garbage-eating strays!"
And even more importantly, some of those not-strays are kinda cagey critters, so they looked around enough while the facility was going up to figure out the DogLib guys don’t even own that collar they’re waiving around as bait. So now those not-strays are sitting back and laughing like hyenas at the DogLib guys’ hubris while spreading the word amongst the pack that, at best, the whole thing’s a bait-and-switch.
And at worst? Well … there really isn’t any "worst" unless the rich folk get their knickers in a twist about all the stray dogs the DogLib guys are telling them run the streets, eating out of their garbage. Because if that happens, and the rich folk decide they have to do something about a nuisance that doesn’t really exist anywhere expect in DogLib’s ill-informed marketing literature, they might put some of that disposable income they’ve got lying around to the task of hiring dogcatchers to go out and shoot some of the free spirits running in the wind, doing what they want to do—something that doesn’t hurt anyone or leave garbage strewn about the streets in their wake—even though every one of them has a home to go back to at night, and food on their own table that might well be better than what the DogLib guys had for dinner.
So that could be a "worst" I suppose. Because the dogcatchers would likely at least be smart enough to know what they’re hired to shoot eats steak, not diamonds; so they might actually lure some of the free spirits into range with something that smells like a viable dinner they might want to check out.
But the DogLib guys? Pfffft. They didn’t even do enough market research to know who we are or what we eat. Or to realize, evidently, that the pack is matriarchy, not a patriarchy; so the quickest way to get yourself et is to actually spend your advertising budget implying (or down-right saying) you’re the savior to them that not only don’t need saving, but that aren’t particularly prone to sniffing asses with them that smell of shit.