The webcomics blog about webcomics

Any Chance The Virtual Fridge Will Be Less Cluttered Than The Actual One?

So Randy Milholland tipped me off recently to a proposed internet startup called “MyFridj” (which may take the cake for the single stupidest name in the long history of stupid internet startup names), which proposes to … well, let’s copy the pitch from their site (and get your buzzword bingo cards ready):

MyFridj takes the classic behavior of posting cartoons to refrigerators and cubicles, and creates a cutting-edge web and mobile mashup of fun and exciting features and applications that support social media.

Our user-generated comics and animations may be embedded in blogs, Facebook, and so on, in order that you may

  • gain attention
  • increase reader engagement and comments
  • showoff your personality, sense of humor or politics
  • make your friends laugh

And that’s just the beginning.

MyFridj is the first cartoon syndicate designed for identity media. Our business model is virtual goods, an emerging multi-billion dollar space. [emphasis original]

So at a time when the very idea of syndicating cartoons is in crisis, and every person that can’t draw but secretly dreams of being a cartoonist already has a webcomic on one of the free hosting services, the solution will be to … according to Dawn Douglass, the founder of MyFridj, from her About page:

I’m creating the world’s first cartoon syndicate for Social Media.

Isn’t the point of social networking that it has a gathering point instead of a gatekeeper? Because that’s what the word “syndicate” means, and that’s what’s being proposed here — a means to gather up cartoons (apparently mostly single-panel gag strips) from creators, and then sell ‘em to clients for display on the internet. Douglass’s contention is that cartooning in print is in trouble (I don’t think that anybody here would argue with that), and that there’s only one way to fix that situation: replicate online the same model that’s failing offline.

Lest you think I’m reading too much into her intent, check out the History page:

I decided to find a way beyond newspaper syndication to create a financially viable means for talented artists and writers to earn a decent living doing what they love, without the need for a day job. I had fed ideas to the syndicates for years, but they give new meaning to the word “intransigent.� I stubbornly – maybe even arrogantly – decided that if they weren’t going to do anything to expand cartooning and save the art form, I would.

Now this is where the idea just gets wacky. If it were possible that cartoons on a virtual fridge that we call the internet were going to organically evolve to the point that would enable creators to make a living at it, wouldn’t that have happened already?

Yes. And a bunch of people over to the right are already doing it. They don’t need somebody determined to conquer the social network space to come in and declare themselves THE site for cartoons on the web, and give up 50% of their revenue for the privilege of association. I didn’t pull that number out of the air, by the way — it’s in the VC pitch slides (PDF here). Any chance the VCs that get pitched will do some due diligence and see that MyFridj is proposing to spend a lot of money to do what’s already being done?

That’s exactly what MyFridj is proposing: going back to the History page, there’s a list of advantages to MyFridj — it distributes comics to niches instead of masses, it’s creator-driven, without deadlines, open … all the things that webcomics as we know them already do, only without the imprimateur of Web 2.0. Because after all, social networks can be forced to succeed, right?

MyFridj is going to be very successful. Photos = Flickr. Videos = You Tube. Songs = iTunes. Cartoons will equal MyFridj.

None of the accidental expansion from “small group using something” to “more people getting in on it” to “eventual mass explosion” that the dominant social networks have engaged in here. The plan is for MyFridj to have revenues of US$92 million in year three (with an expected launch in early 2008), and I still can’t see what it provides for creators other that the cachet of being on MyFridj and the ability to give up half their revenue.

Or am I just missing something?

I’m not seeing much there, either. The “sales pitch” seems like a childish Powerpoint presentation than a serious business idea. No real information, not even some basic contract outlines other than the revenue sharing. How exactly do these people plan on actually making that 92 million they expect to make? Where’s the actual business model? It reeks of a scam more than anything else.

No, I think you’ve pretty much got it.

Yeah, Gary, you’re missing a lot, because I purposely haven’t revealed it. It’s too soon.

myfridj.com was a site we set up for TechCrunch40. It was supposed to be taken down long ago. I didn’t realize that my web guy never did that. Thanks for the notice.

It’s not even called MyFridj anymore.

You’ll learn a bit more when a national magazine publishes a story about it soon. That’s all I can say. Sorry.

Oh, except one more thing, nobody has to participate! :)

which may take the cake for the single stupidest name in the long history of stupid internet startup names

I think Yahoo! is still the reigning champion there. ;)

The internet needs a DC style Crisis so that new websites can have vowels in their names.

Crisis on Infinite Webcomics? I’m sorry, but that sounds like one multiverse that no Anti-Monitor could clear out.

Now, if you got Alan Moore to write it up…

I was curious about MyFridj when I read about it here, that was until I saw the name Dawn Douglass. It appears as though every couple of years she launches some grandiose idea for cartoonists to syndicate online– the last one if I remember was Full Tilt Features, which didn’t end up paying a penny to any of it’s cartoonists, (because they made zero dollars) it was supposed to be “revolutionary” too, in the fact that it was supposed to deliver “cartoons right to your desktop!”

Now it’s the same old thing, but she’s FINALLY found out about web 2.0 and new media and trying to spin the same idea into this now with a new name. Good luck, it’s probably a waste of time though.

If she ever becomes the Captain of the ship I sail on, remind me to bring a life preserver.

And it looks like the entire site is down or something it just says “nothing to see here.”

Maybe she realized she was temporarily retarded, or the first VC that looked at her plan laughed so hard it made her cry?

Maybe other places celebrate their version of April Fools Day on December 1st.
I’m guessing the reason for the site’s appearance and sudden disappearance are:
1) prank
2) trial balloon
3) alcohol
4) hallucinogenics
5) any 2 of the above

Oh, internets! I wish I could quit you!

[...] noticed on Fleen there was talk of this “myfridj” thing, which doesn’t interest me in the [...]

[...] understand that among those comments that got eaten was one by Dawn Douglass, founder of MyFridj, replying to our posting of last Friday. We’ve invited her to try again, and invite everybody [...]

Yeah, that cartoonist chick irks me!

1. She said if there was a contest amongst all the TC40 DemoPit companies she was sure to be the audience favorite! Umm, check her votes from TC40 – Kaltura was the audience favorite!

2. She was on the M. Arrington bandwagon, but then she didnt like how TC40 didnt go her way and now she rips M. Arrington a new one!

3. She did not even have a working website to show at the event, amongst the other 98 that did.

It is not easy to get funded unless you know the right people or work your ass off for it!

She needs to check herself before she wrecks herself!

Hello again, Duncan.

Since your boss is a lawyer, perhaps you should ask him about slanderous lies, character assassination campaigns, and libel laws. :)

Happy New Year.

[...] You may recall Dawn Douglass from her previous mentions here at Fleen; her social network/syndicate idea is presently launching over at Inkswig, with an [...]

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