Axanar Launches New Fulfillment Platform

Main article: What's Up With the Perks?
See also: In Wake of Perk Problems, Peters Claims Axanar is Broke and Axanar Tech Chief Resigns

Axanar fulfillment director Diana Kingsbury informed donors that it has launched a software platform it hopes will address its inability to maintain a database enabling the production to ship long-delayed perks to contributors.

TEAMWORK Axanar’s new chief technologist, Bill Watters (left), and its fulfillment director, Diana Kingsbury. (Photo: Axanar website)

Ares Digital 2.0

In a post September 9, 2016, on the Axanar Donors Facebook page, Kingsbury announced:

Everyone here at Axanar Productions is excited to announce the rollout of our all-new digital delivery and account management system, Ares Digital 2.0. Rebuilt from the ground up, Ares Digital 2.0 is a powerful platform, capable of providing you, our donors, with the digital perks your donation level(s) entitle you to. In addition, each donor’s information will be stored there … from your contact email and shipping address to detailed listings of donations made and the associated perks which accompany the donation levels.1)

The resignation in May 2016 by chief technologist, Terry McIntosh, amid growing donor complaints of its delivery capabilities, left Axanar’s perk fulfillment in a state of disarray. Its new technology chief, Bill Watters, stepped in to build a new system to deal with old and error-ridden donor data getting in the way of shipping perks that didn’t depend on completion of the long-delayed Axanar feature film.

Dispute Over Ares Digital Name

On Facebook, McIntosh claimed he owns the Ares Digital name for the system he designed for Axanar (not as a work for hire), and is considering legal action for its continued use by Axanar Productions: “Attorney is already prepping the lawsuit,” McIntosh posted.

He said he instructed his attorney, “Sic ‘em.” In reply, McIntosh added his attorney questioned the intelligence behind Axanar’s continued use of the Ares Digital name.2)

Unlicensed Software?

McIntosh went on to allege Axanar was using an unlicensed template for the design of its new Ares Digital platform:

Just received an email from the creator of the retail HTML theme that I purchased and modified for Ares Digital’s use and the author and his firm have confirmed that they (Axanar, [CTO] Bill [Watters], Alec, or anyone remotely close) did not purchase a license to use it… so there’s ANOTHER copyright infringement at play. They say that they’ll pursue their interests.3)

These new developments were just the latest events in the debacle Ares Digital is turning out to be for Axanar.

Perk Problems

An AxaMonitor report, “What's Up with the Perks?”, explored the reasons behind Axanar’s:

« People are gonna have the Kickstarter patches, and people are gonna be excited about it. »Axanar producer Alec Peters

  • Failure to ship any perks to Axanar‘s Kickstarter and Indiegogo donors.
  • Specific inability to deliver patches that were manufactured.
  • Spending of up to $37,258 on merchandise manufacturing and shipment, but not on behalf of the crowdfunding donors who funded those expenses.
  • Placing a higher priority on fulfilling new merchandise orders from its online store than old Kickstarter rewards.
  • Undisclosed proceeds from a PayPal link added to its Kickstarter page after the campaign closed, via direct donations solicited on its own website and from purchases of Axanar merchandise made on its online store.

Letter to Donors

Kingsbury urged donors to set up new passwords and correct old or incorrect data in their profiles. Axanar has an estimated 10,000 donor accounts in its system. Delivery of the few available perks can’t begin for donors until they have updated their shipping information.

DONOR STATION? Without explanation, Axanar began referring to its Donor Store as a Donor Station, where “other … merchandise [is] available for additional donations.” However, the word ‘store’ still appears throughout the ‘station.’

'Production and Operations'

In her post on the Axanar Fulfillment Blog, Kingsbury also noted that “100% of your donations always goes towards Axanar’s production and operations” — an apparent change from earlier statements that donations went to production of Axanar.

See also: Revenue Clues

The statement makes pointed the fact that Axanar producer Alec Peters has for months refused to account for revenue on top of its crowdfunding that it received through the production’s merchandise sales, direct donations, and DVD and Blu-ray sales. Estimates pegged revenues in the low six figures.

Additional Work

Kingsbury also noted that while the platform has launched it is by no means complete:

Ares Digital 2.0 will still have a few things needing to be added to it with regards to digital perks and other items. So if there are any issues you encounter, give it a little bit of time, then let us know.
LONG-DELAYED patches for Indiegogo donors exist only as prototypes sold through Axanar’s Donor Store/Station.

Finally, she reassured donors that once they complete their user profiles, “the patches from the Axanar Kickstarter will start shipping!”4) In June, Kingsbury had advised Indiegogo donors that none of the perks from the 2015 Indiegogo campaign had been manufactured, so none of those donors were likely to see their perks for some time, if ever.

UPDATE On January 29, 2019, Peters announced the Indiegogo patches had finally been manufactured and would soon be shipped to waiting donors.

Few Perks

Even with what donors might consider good news that some of their perks (chiefly patches) might ship in the near future, Axanar’s continued production delays, including that from the copyright infringement lawsuit brought by CBS and Paramount, cast doubt on fulfillment of the vast majority of its promised perks, since most depend on the production of the feature film.

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