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.
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.
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!