They Never Told Me the Failure I Was Meant to Be

At first, fan reaction to the site was overwhelmingly positive. The Malfeans had plans for all kinds of Netbookz: a map of the Labyrinth, Castenovels, guides to the other Lost Kingdoms, a book on Barrows and Kindlings anything and everything that Black Dog either should have done, but never did, or else did wrong in their eyes, was fair game. And the legions of Spectre fans all salivated and drooled at the prospect of having these things in their hands.

However, those mighty plans were never to come to fruition while the Malfeans were in charge. The big problem was that they decided that the books, novels and other materials should not only be worked on by Malfeans only, but should be approved of by all the Malfeans, too.

And since some of the Malfeans were extremely hardheaded in their opinions - not to mention questionably sane - this arrangement worked about as well as a pogo stick in a minefield. Between flaring tempers, raging egos, and the daily struggle to keep from killing their pets, parents and/or themselves, attrition took its ugly toll on the band of Malfeans. Before long, the seven had been whittled down to four, and most of the ones who'd stayed were the ones who were entirely diffident and unmotivated to do anything more than just belong.

While that was going on behind the scenes, their fan base was starting to have its doubts. The initial interest and thrill at seeing new structures and graphics going up every so often died down, and people started asking the all-important question: where's the content? After a year of excuse after excuse, it became fairly clear that the content just wasn't coming.

As a result, the vital outside interest dried up and blew away. Visitors stopped visiting, and the only people who frequented their forum were the Malfeans, themselves, desperately trying to get a conversation going. Things were looking pretty grim.

And then they got hit with a real whammy ­ the Malfean who'd been doing the webmastering literally vanished. He stopped answering his emails, and after a while they started bouncing back. And all the passwords to their various free goodies went with him: their email group, their online files, their forums, the counter ­ everything.