MyAnimeList, often abbreviated as MAL, is a social networking website. The site provides its users with a list-like system to organize anime and manga. It facilitates finding users who share similar tastes and provides a large database on anime and manga.
The website was created and is actively maintained by Garrett Gyssler, who goes by the alias of "Xinil". Currently, there are thirty-eight staff members who update the anime and manga databases, moderate the community, and post news stories. As of July 14, 2009, MyAnimeList claims to have registered over 200,000 users, of whom over 13,000 sign in every day.
According to Gyssler, the site was launched in November 2004 and originally hosted on his personal website, before it was moved to the domain myanimelist.net, during April 2006, in an attempt to increase the user base. He further states that, since then, the site has "had a huge influx of new users".
On August 4, 2008, CraveOnline, a men's entertainment and lifestyle site owned by AtomicOnline, purchased MyAnimeList for an undisclosed sum of money. However, according to Mike Dodge, SVP and general manager of AtomicOnline, the sum was on the lower end of their typical acquisitions, which he said range from $400,000 to $2,000,000.
MyAnimeList originally consisted solely of a no-frills anime list. Databases were absent and the site had no other significant features. On June 29, 2005, the anime database was created to standardize anime series' names on every user's list. Prior to the launch of the first generation forums in 2006, the website utilized the "Panel" system for user communication. This system was similar to the "Profile Comments" feature on MAL today, which is the ability for users to place text messages on another user's profile page. The Panel system was mostly created to allow users to communicate with the administrator, but could also be used for discussions among themselves. Communication between members was improved when on April 6, 2006 a forum system which utilized the Simple Machines Forum script was added to the site. On December 11, the forum was replaced by a new system, custom written from scratch by Gyssler.
MyAnimeList lists anime Japanese Animation, and Korean animation. Similarly, MyAnimeList has information on Manga (Japanese comics), original English-language manga, as well as dōjinshi (fan comics), manwha (South Korean comics), and manhua (Chinese comics) It also lists and has information on light novels. These user lists can be personalized in terms of content and visual style by either utilizing the site's native modification tools or by writing one's own CSS code to control what information is displayed, and how it is presented. Users can also customize signatures showing what they have recently watched and read, their favourites and other things.
The site also features a searchable database that provides various information, such as their names in their native writing system or their date of birth, on Japanese, English, Korean, Spanish, German, French, Brazilian Portuguese, and Italian voice actors. Another database provides information on fictional characters, listing the media in which they appear as well as their voice actors. A third searchable database, the entries of which are crosslinked from the media entries, contains staff members. A fourth searchable database contains fansubbing groups, lists what these groups have subbed, and provides users with the ability to rate the quality of the fansubs.
Users can submit reviews, write recommendations, blogs, post in the site's forum, create clubs to unite with people of similar interests, and subscribe to RSS news feed of anime and manga related news. Another feature is discussions about episodes and chapters in the forums, you may be asked if you would like to discuss an episode or chapter after updating what episode or chapter you are on, unless you disable this option.
Japanzine mentioned the site in the "Otaku" category of its "Best of the Web" feature in 2008, calling the site the "nerdiest thing ever conceived", and comparing its way of displaying user profiles as a list of statistics to "some sort of freakish anime fantasy football."
Recent Site Issues
As of early 2010, MyAnimeList has went through various points in time when the forums, and other active parts of the site are rendered in-accessible due to ongoing database problems. According to Gyssler, he has been trying to fix these problems but to what seems to be no avail. Site issues occurring range from long load time, half of pages loading, avatars not uploading, to post not appearing in the forum. As of July 2010, Gyssler has tried to alleviate problems in many ways, one of them by working on databases in errors with them individually.