iB/PhM KiT Project » A brief history

by AlexKadin, Seth Price

This document is not meant to be comprehensive at all; it’s really just a big TL;DR for the six years of hilarity that ensued. For an even further compressed TL;DR, read:

What the fuck is it with pony sites ending over something related to donations for the site? Not saying it happened to PhM but like… fuck, I remember the same shit with PonySquare.
— Achrome

The rise and fall of iBrony

In January 2012, husband and wife Ben Moore (Discord) and Lindsay Landry (Celestia) founded iBrony, a niche social network for the titular My Little Pony fandom. It was an instant hit. Users flooded in from the Squares, and active membership reached over twenty thousand at its peak.

The site survived several DoS attacks and various forms of being compromised, mostly from rogue staff—the most notable being the now-presumably-reformed Violyre Broughton, as documented by a memorable Encyclopedia Dramatica quote.

Towards the end, Celestia and Discord barely tended to their site as other staff had to pick up the workload. About a month before its ultimate demise, staff member Sammy redirected all iBrony donations and other revenue to his personal PayPal. This went on until Discord noticed the lack of payout and decided to just take down the already-compromised site on the 27 April 2014.

The cherry on top of this dramatic financial sundae is the allegation that iBrony was running off a pirated version of PHPFox, rendering it incapable of security updates that could have ultimately prevented this from happening.

Cutie Marks

I’ll make my own pony site, with blackjack and hookers!
— Cutie Marks creator, probably

At some point, a good few hundred users from iBrony flocked to Cutie Marks, though for one reason or another the two sites maintained good relations to the point of including a link to the other in their footers. CM ultimately went down in March 2014, prompting users to go back to iBrony.

It’s actually kinda hard to find information on Cutie Marks, aside from the obvious fact it existed for a period of time. Please do submit any information you’ve got.

Ushering in a new era of brony hell: PhilomenaMagikz

In early Janaury 2014, LightningBlaze—then staff on iBrony—was floating the idea of creating a new website after seeing “the writing on the walls” and the impending doom of the lawless wasteland that was late-stage iBrony. After some discussion of finance, Ratchet Wrench—then also staff—offered to contribute some collateral. This time, it was going to be done right: proper donations, legally licensed PHPFox, and so on.

With the shut-down of iBrony late April 2014, its community was stuck without a home. LightningBlaze worked around the clock to convert his then-barely-functional prototype of a website into a production SNS. On the 5 May 2014, PhilomenaMagikz opened to the public.

The end of PhM (and its current state)

PhilomenaMagikz came to an abrupt end on the 6 October 2017 due to a combination of server and financial issues. Shortly thereafter, LightningBlaze created a Discord guild in which former members can keep in touch as a group. Of the X thousand members registered on PhM at its peak, 105 (and counting, thanks to KiT) remain in the Discord server.

Some former PhilomenaMagikz users still active in the brony fandom can be found on Canterlot Avenue. Online presence of over three four hundred users of iBrony, Cutie Marks and PhilomenaMagikz is documented in the KiT directory.


Sources & footnotes