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

Searching For Commissions – Your Ideas

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Art by Firequill

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

We had quite a few responses about the previous post where we asked what would help when searching for commissions. Many suggested various filters that could be used – price ranges, key words, content rating, and media types were some of the major ideas brought up. In some form or another, we are planning to include all of those.

A few suggestions that came through are definitely needed, but the way they are implemented can be a little trickier. I wanted to discuss some ideas that we have to fit these suggestions – if you have any other suggestions for how to implement them, feel free to tell us on Twitter!

Highlight what artists love

In many cases, artists’ best work comes out when they’re working on something they love. It could be different species, action poses, paws – there’s a wide variety of interests out there!

In order to get capture that, we’re looking at having three fields: what a creator won’t do, what a creator will do, and the creator’s specialties.

  • Won’t do. Some creators have a limit for the type of content they’d wish to create. If they put a search item in the “won’t do” category, that creator would not appear in the search for that item.
  • Will do. There are two ways to go about this. Either we can have creators list what they will do, or we could simply exclude the “won’t do” creators from this list. Both have some benefits and setbacks, and we’ll listen to feedback as we start working on this.
  • Specialty. A creator who lists items as specialties will appear higher in the search list; in addition, a badge will appear over that creator, showing that it is their specialty. In order to create a fairer market, we’re planning to limit the number of specialties for each seller, potentially unlocking more slots as they receive good reviews or have more successful commissions.

We’re hoping this system allows creators to focus on what they love while also being rewarded for being awesome – the better you do, the more options you have to make yourself visible.

Showcase art

The great majority of commissions in the fandom work with a visual element – we have a flood of art, fursuits, and crafts. Just like window shopping, it’s helpful to be able to see examples quickly.

Right now, the commission section merely shows creators’ icons. This isn’t extremely helpful – many of them aren’t representative of their work.

We’re planning to change the commission section so that art is the primary feature. If an artist is selling different types of commissions (sketches, digital art, etc.), they can select multiple images to show on that page; a simple click will switch from one type to another. We want users to be able to see these examples without navigating to a new page.

However, creators usually have a wealth of past projects uploaded in a gallery. We will be creating a portfolio system for each art type – if you want to sell sketches, it will be a matter of a couple clicks to add an image to your sketch portfolio. These will automatically appear on your commission page, as well.

We are still in the process of adding and refining features for the commission tool. If you do have any other ideas that you feel would help you find a creator you’d like, please let us know!

As always, thank you for all your support.

Digby

Searching For Commissions

Search CommunityOne big development focus that we have over the next couple of months is for commissions. The basic commission tool is mostly finished – it’s relatively easy to start a commission, track its progress and wrap up payments.

However, finding the right seller can be difficult. At this point, we only have an option to search by character – you have to know who is selling before taking a look. Once the site has more sellers, it’ll be difficult to browse and find someone you like.

We’re planning to implement more search options for commissions – media types, artists’ specialties, and price ranges, for example. We want to hear your opinion. What fields would you find helpful when searching for a new artist? Be sure to hit up our support forums or let us know what you think on Twitter!

Thank you again for all your excitement!

Digby