Bill Ferny was known by others residing in Bree as a very unpleasant person and was disliked by all at birth, and his reputation did not improve with age, and so therefore, he acquired a bad name and a reputation for nefarious activities. His main area of interest and the source of his income seemed to be information brokerage but at times other mischievous activities.
When learning of the traveling hobbits, he sold information of their movements to the Nazgûl, an action that Merry had witnessed. He also was probably directly responsible for the letting loose of the ponies that could have been used by the hobbits to leave the city. Even though he tried to avoid aiding the Fellowship of the Ring as they passed through, he sold a pony named Bill for 12 silver pennies (three times its value) to the hobbits and Strider, replacing their five, which had thought to have been stolen the previous night that he had helped to escape.
Ferny was a direct supporter of Saruman's mechanization of the Shire. Later, towards the end of the War of the Ring, he became a watchman at the Brandywine Bridge. Bill repaid his former master for his mistreatment by kicking him. His later fate is not recorded, but it is written that he was never heard from again.
He was known to have lived in a house next to the Great East Road that ran through Bree near the Southern Gate and the Gatekeeper's lodge.
Ferny also appears in The Lord of the Rings Online. In the main storyline, he controls a band of brigands known as the Blackwolds that operated all over Bree-land. Ferny persuaded his men by claiming that they will control Bree with the help of orcs. It is also stated that he later receives help from his superior 'Sharkey', more commonly know as Saruman. As stated in the book, Bill ferny tried to slow the hobbits down, which unfortunately means he could not take part in these events.
He is also featured in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game) who ends up dead when he confronts Strider in the streets.
He is also a character in the The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game.