‘I would never want to be part of a club that accepts ME as a member” – Groucho Marx.
Since its inception in 2007, FFFFound! has developed into one of the biggest ‘social visual bookmarking sites’ around, with every designer and their Wacom hankering for an invite to the site (which is invitation only – you can even find eBayers willing to pay for invites).
According to its wiki entry
FFFFOUND! is an image hosting service designed for the sharing and bookmarking of found images. It allows registered users to post digital artwork that they find on the Internet, creating a database of images open for public viewing. Ffffound.com logs the ways in which viewers interact with the site, tracking which images are most commonly linked to each other. In this way, the site can recommend “other images you may like,” based on the clicking habits of other site visitors. FFFFOUND! was created on May 18th, 2007, and was allegedly designed by Yugo Nakamura, who is considered one of Japan’s leading web designers.
So how has a site that allows you to post other peoples images become such an exclusive club which everyone wants to be a part of?
A quick click to FFFFound! shows the appeal – with its clean design and images aplenty – ready for that lazy designer to ‘steal’, appropriate and use for their own designs.
The website can be quite addictive, as you keep stumbling upon new and exciting images. Before you know it, half your day may be gone. Sure there is porn there, but its not porn as you know it – it’s the classy stuff; deep dark black and white photos of sexy scantily clad girls and guys in their underwear with those typical, fawning poses.
The new kid on the web vying for pole position is Image Spark. Image Spark isn’t based around the invite system and offers the same service but with a more web 2.0 feel. So why would users still be desperate to join FFFFound! if there is an alternative site they can join for free?
Some of the best and most exclusive nightclubs pride themselves on having long queues when there is nobody inside, so when people walk past they are elated at how exciting it must be that people are willing to queue up waiting to get inside.
Do a simple Google search and you will see forums full of people asking for invites: ‘invite me!’, ’me too please’. The pages can go on and on with the same request, as though people fear being left out of such an exclusive club – if they get a ticket to the party it will somehow validate them.
So the question remains, why are designers so keen to be a part of this if there are alternatives? Are these people crying out to the part of the FFFFound! clique no better than the rest of the sycophants trying to have their 15 frames of fame?
– David Goldberg