Users’ Nightmare Commissions

Hello, everyone!

One of the reasons we’ve been focusing a large amount of work on the commission systems is because of the problems that have happened between buyers and sellers – while most commissions go well, there’s always the chance that things can fall apart. A few users sent stories to us about their nightmare commissions.

From Buyers

One submitter discussed what happened when they tried to buy a present for a friend:

This was many many years ago. I wanted to get something smallish and in budget for someone special’s upcoming birthday because I was full of commissions that needed to be finished in time at the moment. Well, the artist’s side turned into excuses after excuses while they were still creating other art. Although I waited patiently without much pestering despite the deadline being missed by a year, they still decided to dump the ultimate disappointment: instead of just refunding the artist finished the commission using ms paint, a mouse and ittybitty resolution, their sloppiest of skills too to complete the disaster. Ofc the person receiving the gift took it as an insult, the character barely looked alike.

The rough part of this is that the buyer tried to be as patient as possible; however, even with this being a time-sensitive commission, the seller was not bound by any ultimate deadline. In addition, little could be done about the low quality of the final product – after that much time, many furries might become exhausted from the process and decide to just let it go.

On Furry Network, the policies that we have in place will protect the buyer. All commissions are required to be finished within six months, and sellers are encouraged to establish an earlier deadline. In addition, buyers will have the opportunity to have staff review any commissions that are lower in quality. Simply put, you’ll never pay $50 for a surprise MSPaint drawing.

We had another buyer who purchased a plush:

Commissioned an artist in Australia for a big orca plush. Sent around $800. After 6 months, no progress. Artist said they were low on funds and couldn’t afford the materials. Paid another $400. Another 6 months went by, still nothing. Asked the artist how we get it done, and they promised me if I gave them one more lot of $400, they’d do it. Pinged them on an off every couple months for 2 more years then gave up. That was more than 10 years ago.

Hindsight here is definitely 20/20. I generally don’t recommend sending additional funds unless there’s a change in the scope of work – if you want more detail or characters, for example, increasing the price is acceptable. What likely happened here, though, is that the artist tried to prey on buyers who would sympathize with them.

To avoid these scam-like situations, Furry Network holds onto funds that are paid upfront by the buyer; these are only sent to the seller once the commission is finalized and approved by the buyer.

We’re considering allowing certain verified sellers to receive part of the commission funds at the beginning of the commission – this way, sellers who have historically done a great job can receive payments sooner. However, buyers would still be able to receive reimbursements from Furry Network if a situation similar to the one above happened; the seller would also lose verified status and potentially lose access to selling commissions at all.

From Sellers

Of course, sellers sometimes face nightmare commissions of their own:

The horror commissioner, I should’ve sensed something wrong when they first approached me saying: “This previous artist failed to capture this image and gave up midway so I’d like you to do this commission instead”. The half finished image looked exactly like they were already looking for but I thought maybe they just didn’t dig the very toony style. So I gave it a try. The process went alright, I showed multiple wips and they just nodded shortly everytime. I made sure to say “if something needs changing just say so”, but apparently things were ok. The bad stuff came after: They posted the image to their own gallery modified, they had changed colours with bad photoshop skills and painted over the expression, then said in the comments “the artist didn’t edit it to be perfect so I had to”, despite me having offered to do so. Also accompanied by a journal ranting about how good artists are always stuck up and don’t listen to their commissioners. My ToS states that art must not be modified and copyrights stay mine, but the commissioner had also slapped their own giant watermark on top, claiming everything as their property. Taking a closer look on their gallery revealed hundreds of other victims alike. They already had me blocked too, before I could say a word, so I guess all they wanted was to cause drama – drama apparently worth lots of money. But I simply blacklisted them and moved on.

The end result is probably the best way the seller could resolve this – starting a public squabble could end poorly, and responding could have fueled the buyer’s fire. However, it’s likely future sellers would not know this buyer’s history, and it would be possible to get drawn into the same trap.

Furries purchasing commissions on Furry Network are bound by the site’s guidelines, and this type of behavior could restrict or prevent that user from purchasing additional commissions in the future.

For less serious situations, though, we want a track record to exist for buyers; when we implement the review system, sellers will also be able to leave reviews of the buyers, warning future sellers of any nightmare situation they’ve faced. Sellers could always take that commission, but they would at least know if there were problems in the past.

We’re currently able to expand our commission testing system to additional users. If you are interested, feel free to send us a PM on Twitter, and we’ll have a quick chat with you. Thank you again for all your excitement!

Digby

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Commission Horror Stories

Hello, everyone!

We know that many buyers and sellers alike have had horror stories when working with commissions. Do you have a story? We’d love to hear it! We’re especially interested in how this became a nightmare commission and how it was resolved, if it was.

Follow this link to submit your story. You may submit it with your details or remain anonymous. Any stories may be examined in a future blog post.

Thank you!

Digby

The Role of Promoted Submissions

Hello, everyone!

As we’ve been discussing the possibility of renaming promotes and favorites, we had a few concerned members say that they really don’t see the benefit of promoted submissions right now.

I agree with this – when you promote a submission, the goal is to help the submitter receive more attention. Luckily, we have some planned changes that will amplify the reach of these promoted submissions.

Promoted Posts on Profiles

Right now, there’s not a convenient way to see all of the past images that a user has promoted. Other gallery sites commonly have a section on profiles for shared or favorited submissions, and we will be adding this. Because we want profiles to remain customizable, this will be an optional section on profiles; however, we’re looking into including it by default so it’s not a challenge for new users to setup.

Better Interactivity on Activity History Page

Promoted submissions currently show up on a user’s activity history page as a thumbnail next to a wealth of text.

Promoted Picture

While this does technically share posts, it’s missing a few key elements:

  • Thumbnails are difficult to see.
  • To see full size images, you have to navigate to a new page.
  • There’s no way to quickly promote, favorite, or comment on submissions from this view.

As we move forward, we plan to change this and make the activity history page much closer to a timeline on social media – we want you to be able to see and share images quickly. Keeping as much interactivity as possible on a single timeline will make it much easier to find a share submissions that you love.

We’re currently working on shaping these changes for Furry Network, and we hope to have this ready in the next couple of site updates. Thank you for all your thoughts on promotions, and we hope we can continue improving the way you find new content creators!

Digby

The Renaming Game – Promotes and Favorites

Hello, everybody!

We are currently working on improving visibility for promoted submissions on Furry Network. In the next couple of updates, we’re hoping to have a section on users’ profiles that shows any submissions they have promoted. We also will be making some significant changes to the Activity History feed; we’re aiming to make it a more usable and helpful timeline, especially when looking for new artists.

However, since the original wording had been penned, we’ve had discussions about whether “promotes” and “favorites” were the right words. While users have gotten used to them, the wording can be confusing for new members. We’d prefer to have something more intuitive.

One common suggestion is to change the word “promotes” to “favorites” – in general, other websites in the fandom use “favorites” as a way to share submissions and find new artists. This change would help standardize the wording. If we were to change that, we would also need to change the current “favorite” to something else – “private favorite,” “stash,” and “hoard” have been some of the most prevalent suggestions.

We’ve also seen the suggestions “share” and “save” come out as replacements.

The only concern about those is that other websites use them differently; “share” is typically used to share to an external social media website, and “save” is commonly used to save to a hard drive. These might work if there were a small tutorial, but again, we’d want to have things be as intuitive as possible.

If you stumble across other words that might work, feel free to hit us up on Twitter. Thank you for all your excitement!

Digby

Furry Network 1.3 Update

We’ve been working with the commission tool lately. While we have some big plans for the future, this update specifically focuses on refining that tool and making sure that what we have works well. This also lays the groundwork for future commission updates on the site.

If you experience any issues with Furry Network, please clear your cache and attempt it again. If you still have issues, please submit a ticket to our support forums.

Change Log

  • Created SFW/NSFW versions of the price sheet; both can be updated by sellers open for commissions

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  • Included a “medium” option when opening up for commissions; this will appear once we enter public testing

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  • Added text to Account Settings page stating that commission payments will be made to sellers to the PayPal address associated with the account’s email address.
  • Added commission button to the bottom of the price sheet
  • Added indication that an image has finished uploading to a commission
  • Added option to receive an email when commission status is changed
  • Changed user references on file uploads in commission tool to accurately reflect who uploaded a file
  • Fixed 502 error when a user clicks the profile picture in the commission tool
  • Fixed scrolling issue where site auto-scrolls to top in galleries
  • Removed notifications from yourself when updating commissions

Future Changes in the Works

  • Add WYSIWYG text editor to the site
  • Resolve issues with some MP3s not uploading to the site
  • Add optional comment section for users’ profiles
  • Add ability to flag a commission after it’s finished
  • Revamp the Activity Feed into a more usable timeline
  • Add moderation tools
  • Include “Open for Commissions” badge that appears on submission thumbnails and next to user names
  • Change community commission page layout
  • Add cross-site advertisement option
  • Add announcements

Commission Rules – Deadlines

Hello, everyone!

Last Tuesday, we posted about the rules surrounding commissions and how we’re hoping to standardize many of the terms of service used throughout the fandom. We asked for some opinions about what rules should be left to the artists and which we should have standard across the site. The largest discussion topic dealt with deadlines.

Allow deadline flexibility within certain standards

A handful of people who reached out to us talked about their experiences with commissions that were never finished:

I myself have had an experience where I never received a commission after paying. These stories happen all throughout the fandom – most sellers are good at finishing work, but there’s always the risk that a commission never gets finished.

However, sellers do need some level of freedom to create their own timetable. Because of this, we’re planning to have a six-month hard deadline for commissions. Sellers may establish an earlier deadline for themselves, and if it will take longer, they should check in with the buyer to make sure the new deadline will work. However, we expect all commissions to be finished within six months; if the commission is not finished by then, the buyer will receive a full refund.

I understand there may be some circumstances that warrant a longer time frame, and if those come up, we’ll consider them on a case-by-case basis.

Thank you again for all your excitement! Tomorrow, we plan on rolling out a site update that will fix some bugs on the site and add new features to the commission system.

Digby

Shaping Commission Rules

Hello, everybody!

We’re all getting ramped up for the next site update in the next week or two – this one will be focusing on bugs and other small issues with the commission tool, so there won’t be too many large noticeable changes at that time. After that, though, we’ll be jumping into some major changes.

One problem that we’re aiming to address with the commission system is the wide variety of expectations across the fandom. It’s not uncommon for sellers to write out their terms of service; everyone has expectations, and rules help make the process go much smoother for everyone involved. However, the rules for one seller often are very different for one seller than they are for another. In addition, rules occasionally go on for pages or even have conflicting information in different locations.

Our goal with the terms of service on Furry Network is to unify as many rules as possible. This way, anyone purchasing commissions on the site will know what to expect. At the same time, there are some rules that the artists should control – generally, the acceptable content of a commission is up to the creator.

While we have an idea of what we want to standardized, what do you think? What rules would be good to have in our terms of service for commissions? What would be better to leave up to the creators? Let us know on Twitter!

Thank you all for your excitement as we work on solidifying the commission process.

Digby

Future Fees for Commissions on FN

Happy Friday, everybody!

When Furry Network was first launched as a beta site, quite a few people came forward and asked how they could support its growth, both through volunteer work as well as financially. We’ve had many volunteers for site administration and moderation, and we’ve appreciated all the tremendous help.

For the financial side, our plan has been to cover costs through the commission tool. At this point, no fees have been charged for our testers; they’ve given great information on what to improve. Once the commission tool moves to open beta testing – likely in the next two to three months – we will have fees added to the transactions. These will cover any card or PayPal transaction costs, pay for server costs, and help us continue developing Furry Network.

Below is a breakdown of the fees that will be included.

Furry Network Fee

Furry Network will take 5% of successfully-processed payments. These fees go to support the site, both in development as well as server costs.

Payment Processing Fees

Payment processing fees are the costs that our payment processor charges whenever a payment is made from a buyer. For credit cards, this amounts to 6% of the costs. We have been fortunate enough to work with a processor that understands the commissions being purchased, and we’re happy to know that payments are reliable through this system.

We’re also looking into adding PayPal as a payment method. The fee is considerably lower (generally about 1%), but explicit content can sometimes be an issue. We will continue looking into this option.

As the number of commissions grows, we will continue to look for options to reduce these fees.

Payout Fees

The payment to the seller goes through PayPal. The fees associated are up to 1% of the transaction amount.

What This Means For Sellers

When pricing commissions, be sure to take these fees into consideration. The price that you send to a buyer is the amount that they will pay; up to 12% of that amount will go towards those fees.

We understand that in order for these fees to be fair, the service for the site needs to be worth what you’re getting in return. We have some large feature announcements in the upcoming weeks, and we’re hoping these help change the way commissions are done throughout the fandom.

Thank you all for your support as we work towards open beta testing for commissions. We hope this proves to be a helpful tool for buyers and sellers alike.

Digby

Commission Reviews – Your Ideas

Happy Monday, everyone!

This last week, we asked users what they thought of the review system for commissions on Furry Network. While we have done research into how reviews are done, this hasn’t been formally worked into a commission system in the fandom before. We wanted to help build a system that encourages honest feedback while helping build the community.

Users across social media gave a variety of ideas for how to shape the review system on Furry Network, but we want to take time to discuss some of the biggest issues.

Avoid Popularity Contests

One of the biggest concerns was making sure this was not a popularity contest for ratings. In general, popular users could send waves of followers to use the system, and unhappy people on the internet could potentially create a wave of unjustified negative reviews.

The simplest way to combat this problem is to allow reviews only from users who have purchased a commission from that seller. This is similar to the way Uber works – the user is able to leave a review after receiving a ride. Limiting reviews in this way puts users on an even playing field.

Star Ratings vs. Up and Down Votes

People responding on Twitter seemed to be fairly divided about the way to go. Some backed the simpler up and down votes while others said this would ignore a commission that has some bumps in the road.

Both systems have their benefits and their challenges, but one thing we want to highlight with this is the ability to give an accurate review. This is why we are leaning towards the star ratings – thumbs up or down either rewards or punishes the seller, and there’s no in-between.

One other issue with star ratings, though, is the possibility of review inflation – the community could give such high ratings that a single four- or three-star rating would greatly affect a seller. A solution would be to encourage realistic ratings and have text show what the different stars represent:

  • 1 star – Terrible. Everything went wrong.
  • 2 stars – Bad. There were several things they could do better.
  • 3 stars – Okay. There were some rough patches, but it worked out.
  • 4 stars – Good. Everything went well with the commission.
  • 5 stars – Excellent. They went above and beyond what I expected.

Another option is allowing different ratings for different parts of the commission process. This would allow users to give more detailed feedback.

Generally, users will be more likely to give an honest breakdown when given separate criteria for the review. The only problem, though, is that users might skip the review section – the faster a review can happen, the more likely it will be completed.

Extortion

Some users expressed concern that reviews could be used to extort or blackmail artists to get something in return. We discussed this some in the previous post, but we definitely are against any sort of extortion. We will have rules in place when reviews are launched to prevent this.

Thanks to all who contributed to this conversation on social media! This has given us quite a bit to think about as we shape the commission tool. If you do have more suggestions or feedback, feel free to hit us up on Twitter.

Digby

Commission Reviews

Hello, everybody!

We’re currently working on the commission system for Furry Network, and a large section will be dedicated to reviews. At this point, it’s difficult to find much information about how sellers are doing. Sure, there are sites like Artists Beware that discuss past problems, but those often focus on the worst events that have happened. In addition, few sites have any positive information about previous commissions.

We want to make a standard system to provide and receive feedback. If someone went out of their way to make your commission experience excellent, we want people to know about it! On the other hand, if a seller has multiple difficulties meeting expectations or deadlines, we want buyers to know what they can expect.

Rating System

The most straight forward system is a five-star rating, and that’s what we are planning to use. This allows users to give honest feedback on a scale along with comments. We understand this scale can be a little subjective, but it can also encourage parties to be more diligent and respectful.

We discussed the possibility of a thumbs up / thumbs down system, but that tends to be shallow – users who receive the most commissions, regardless of the quality, will likely have the most thumbs up. We want new users to be able to shine in the system, as well, and having a five-star rating system will help relatively unknown sellers grow their base.

Two-Way Reviews

While there are some sites that talk about how sellers have done, there’s rarely information about buyers. At times, sellers may have a reason to question if they should accept a commission request. Allowing them to check feedback other sellers have left will help them make that decision.

Other websites such as Airbnb and Uber are using similar systems. Our goal is to encourage respect from both buyers and sellers, and if either side causes problems, a review will help others in the future decide if they wish to do business with that party.

Revisions and Transparency

The tricky thing with reviews is that we want them to be honest and representative of the commission process. However, we also recognize that some simple steps can be taken to fix an issue that lead to a negative review.

Revisions will be allowed for reviews up to 48 hours after they are posted, and responses will be allowed for a limited time after that period. While we want small issues resolved, we also want the score to be finalized – scores should represent the commission at that time rather than be an opinion that changes weeks later.

Extortion

One potential problem that we plan to address head-on is with extortion. It’s possible that someone could post a negative review, threatening to leave it unless the seller issues a refund. On the other hand, a seller could offer a refund on the sole condition of the buyer revoking that review.

While we want to encourage users to resolve problems, neither of those is truly honest – rather than being about the problem, the focus is on forcing a deal. We will have specific rules dealing with extortion to prevent this – if you need to post a negative review, you need to feel safe to do so.

Our Goals

Designing the review system has some specific goals in mind:

  • Creating a standard for commission interactions in the furry fandom.
  • Providing a way for unknown artists to receive commissions.
  • Encouraging respectful discussions and exchanges between buyers and sellers.
  • Showing buyers that a seller’s work is worth purchasing.
  • Having meaningful consequences for problematic behavior.

There are many other thoughts that have gone into the design, as well, but what are your thoughts? What would you include in a review system? What could potentially be a problem? Let us know on Twitter!

As always, thank you for all your support. We hope this review system becomes a helpful tool for buyers and sellers alike.

Digby