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Old 22-05-2012, 12:08 PM   #41
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Fan art prints are allowed at Expo as long as you've drawn them yourself. What's meant by "copyrighted" image in that sense is that you're not allowed to trace or use existing artwork (either official or from another artist).
It's a grey area, but aside from a few properties where selling (or sometimes even producing) fan works is forbidden, most people seem to either be cool about it or aren't that bothered.

Also the emails that have been going around are to deter people using the Comic Village tables as a merchandise outlet when they should be using a dealer table (thereby taking tables away from artists who could use them). The CV organisers have said as long as you're promoting your comic or comic-related work, they're fine with most other things.
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Old 22-05-2012, 12:26 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Hunter View Post
Anyway, here's something else that's been on my mind since this thread went all combustible on us; people tend to take things so personally here! Way too personally in my opinion. Remember the study Nattherat did a while ago on representation in comics, how that thread just turned into people defending their choices in not having a very diverse cast (in terms of race, disability, age etc.) in their comics? Discovering something like that is in fact very useful, because it makes you question your own creative process and choices. The study wasn't in any way implying that people were "wrong" for not having a diverse cast, but so many people were instantly defensive.
I know this is off-topic, but I'd just like to thank you for this. The general reaction to that really shocked me to be honest, it was really unfounded. That was why after only one reply I steered well-clear of the thread.

Slightly more on topic, I think you bring up a very good point about how we might externally project ourselves and what that causes others to think. This is a homely forum, so when people start avoiding it because of the crossfire, that probably doesn't really project anything good.

Actually on topic, similar applies at comic conventions I guess! A lot of people (me included) have a bit of a habit of hunching over a sketchbook and not engaging with people walking past. Really we (I'm) perpetuating that anime-tracer/introverted-shut-in stereotype by not engaging. I've found once I have started being vocal, and actually standing up, making eye contact, being cheerful and such, I've attracted a lot more custom.

That still doesn't equate to breaking even though haha! Cons are very expensive to get to and stay at (well, depending where you live). Where I live right now, I have to drop about 400 to go to London expo - that doesn't include any printing or anything, that's just travel, hotel, food. I suppose that old 'pick your battles wisely' saying applies here. The expense hurts, but it's a chance for me to meet up with friends I never see otherwise. If I was going to be more business-savvy though, I would completely change which cons I went to.

So in that sense I feel it's more about striking a balance than doing one or the other. Instead of calling it a financial success or a financial flop, it succeeds in some ways and less in others. Of course this kind of all goes without saying.

The print part of it all has quite a feel-good factor for me. Despite being mostly a digital artist, I feel a lot of disconnect with the screen. Apart from a select few webcomics (Morag's, always Morag's comics), I just can't keep up with anything - reading comics on a screen really irritates me. They end up having to be cream of the crop (subjectively in my onion of course) for me to remember to check them.
It may be to do with my reading speed. Even on fast connections, pages don't load fast enough for me to stay immersed. By the time the next page loads, I've finished processing the previous page and then some - it means my reading experience becomes disjointed, not very attached. When I have something in my hands - especially a complete book - I can go exactly at the pace which is good for me and absorb the impact properly.

However web does have advantages; Homestuck has already been brought up, and of course Darth Mongoose does a suggestion comic in the same lines called Herobreak. My own interactive webcomic What is it Katy would never have worked in print the same way either (though I have now made a compiled book of it). There's still yet-untapped potential in webcomics (that Homestuck is pretty much leading the way in as far as I can gather- I still haven't gotten around to reading it for exactly the reasons I mentioned above), Scott McCloud mentions the potential in a few of his books I believe? It's exciting stuff at any rate, and I think after one webcomic that pushes boundaries a bit, I'm definitely going to have to do another.

I think this continued evolution of experience that is the webcomic is something that's really bringing me back to them in a new way. Its still relatively new, most webcomics are inspired by their print counterparts and honestly are far better offline than they are on for reading - but the few new ones pushing experiences are really getting them to come out as their own brand new sort of area. If that makes sense!

My conclusion for me: Right now I definitely prefer print, but webcomics are slowly evolving into something I love about twenty times better than print. I AM VERY EXCITED FOR THIS.
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Old 22-05-2012, 12:53 PM   #43
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*Facepalm* This pisses me off so much. At Expo this weekend there are new rules though.
I've known a few of those myself. But in the past people were at least willing to tolerate a few Naruto badges or bookmarks.

But all's fair I believe. What's not fair was the people who we're selling plush toys who could take a couple of grand a weekend (based on known characters) while the guys selling the comics struggled to make their money. But one of my regulars, (Niki) had all kinds of original merchandise, T-shirts, mugs, plaques, prints and the works all with her own designs on them. I believe she always did quite well and all fair and square too.

It seems to pay to broaden the scope of your original merchandise, because even if they won't buy a comic, anyone can use a mug or T-shirt.
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Old 22-05-2012, 01:29 PM   #44
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Offtopic again, sorry, but a pet peeve...

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It's a grey area
It's actually not. There is no ambiguity. It's illegal in the UK to copy artistic works, in whole or in part, if the copyright owner has not given you permission to do so, and the use does not fall under one of the exemptions (hint: making moolah at Expo is not exempt). It doesn't say anything about tracing versus just having your source material side by side and doing it yourself by eye. It doesn't say the copy has to be complete, or perfect.

Moreover, Expo may also be breaking the law if it knowingly permits its premises to be used for selling infringing art.

Now, it may be that people selling fanart have permission to do that, whether given to them personally or generally stated by the copyright holders (a public statement along the lines of "yeah, we don't mind fanart, it's cool" would be enough, I expect). Also, if you're not making a great deal of cash from it, they might choose not to go after you if they knew, and/or it might fall under their radar so they won't find out; kind of the way that if you shoplift sometimes the shopkeeper won't notice, or they might decide it's not worth chasing after you. Also, publishers mostly tend to decide it's a huge own goal to go after children dealing in fanart in terms of PR.

So in that sense it might be ambiguous - it's not certain that something bad will always happen to people who sell fanart.

But crimes don't stop being crimes just because sometimes you get away with it. People should not, by default, just assume that it's OK to make money from items based on others' designs unless they've been *told* by the owners that they can. There is no "grey area", the law is quite clear. To use someone else's design, you need their permission.

(Note that drawing fanart for non-commercial purposes is *much* more ambiguous. The copyright holder needs to show that what you're doing "affects prejudicially the owner of the copyright" in order to do pretty much anything other than send a cease and desist letter).

(ObDisclaimer: IANAL)
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Old 22-05-2012, 01:31 PM   #45
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Nowt wrong with using some fan works to build up a fanbase first, but yeah if it's only derivative merchandise (not even artwork) and they're making that much money from it, they really do need a dealer table.

I'm building more and more original work into my repertoire, in the form of the relaunched Soulsnatchers comics and the Anime Convention Survival Guide, but I've only really been able to do this in the last couple of years (before then, it was just about making a pittance in the artist alleys of anime cons).
It is slowly starting to work for me as people are getting interested in my comics, so hopefully I'll get to a point where I can get people to stop at my table with my original characters alone.

EDIT:
Moonshadow - I think you're confusing copyright with trademarks and intellectual property.
Copyrighted material is material that has been recorded, i.e a text exactly as it is written, a particular picture of a character. Selling things that are taken verbatim from existing pieces is most definitely illegal, as is making obviously derivative works and passing them off as your own idea (excluding parody).

The reason fan art is a legal grey area is that, as you mentioned, people don't really make a killing on it and most companies don't mind so long as that remains the case. It's an intellectual property/ trademark issue rather than a copyright one, and while there are individuals that choose to act upon it, typically it's ignored.

It's also not really correct to equate such a thing to shoplifting either, since that is taking a physical object and preventing the shop owner from making money on that particular object.
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Old 22-05-2012, 01:56 PM   #46
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(excluding parody)
That's a US thing. We don't have that here.

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The reason fan art is a legal grey area is that, as you mentioned, people don't really make a killing on it and most companies don't mind so long as that remains the case.
If I slap someone and they turn the other cheek, that doesn't make it a legal grey area. I've still committed assault (assuming I meant it to hurt). They're just choosing not to prosecute. If they did, I wouldn't have a leg to stand on. There is no "grey". All I'm sayin'.
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Old 22-05-2012, 02:11 PM   #47
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That may be the case, but it's still pretty much allowed at cons unless otherwise stated. Can't really call it black and white, or else it would be flat out banned rather than the mere technicality it currently exists as.

Also I'd rather I wasn't compared to a common criminal or someone committing physical assault. I keep my hands to myself at cons.
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Old 22-05-2012, 06:44 PM   #48
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I know this is off-topic, but I'd just like to thank you for this. The general reaction to that really shocked me to be honest, it was really unfounded. That was why after only one reply I steered well-clear of the thread.
With the greatest respect, I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on the merits of our earlier discussion based on your report. I can totally understand how you might have felt attacked in a way that people may have come across offended, but that is their right, we all have the right to disagree with and discuss further a study of our collective work. I know this is off topic, but that thread was a great one. It got us all thinking and talking about diversity in comics. There might have been a few defensive posts, but the real meat in that thread was some awesome discussion that certainly got ME thinking about the issue, it was great. Discussion and debate are always good, when civil. Though you do of course have the right to disagree. I guess my point is, I think that thread did way more good than harm to the community. But that's just my POV.

Anyway, on topic!

Just to weigh in on the GN versus webcomic discussion. My personal view is that as someone who is still building themself up, working on improvment every day and most notably NOT getting paid (Oh the agony! XD) I find the web extrememly helpful just to my sanity (which is questionable at best... ). Working on a GN sized book unpaid, as a self-directed project is tiring on the heart. The web opens us up to feedback update by update. It can be a bit of a hurrah for the work you do every day and also, for amateurs like mehself, a space for some constructive criticism.

That said, I like to have the best of both worlds. Who's to say you can't run the webcomic however you like with a view to print a lush GN book by the end? From what I can gather and just going by my own impulses, I don't see how having your work freely available online hurts sales. As En says, webcomics can be tedious to read for most people. I know I certainly share that viewpoint. One thing webcomics do, however, is very effectively advertise your work for people to then go ahead and buy. It's not really news to people here though I suspect but I feel that sort of begins and ends the choice between the two. There is no choice for me, I WANT BOTH!
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Old 22-05-2012, 07:35 PM   #49
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With the greatest respect, I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on the merits of our earlier discussion based on your report. I can totally understand how you might have felt attacked in a way that people may have come across offended, but that is their right, we all have the right to disagree with and discuss further a study of our collective work. I know this is off topic, but that thread was a great one. It got us all thinking and talking about diversity in comics. There might have been a few defensive posts, but the real meat in that thread was some awesome discussion that certainly got ME thinking about the issue, it was great. Discussion and debate are always good, when civil. Though you do of course have the right to disagree. I guess my point is, I think that thread did way more good than harm to the community. But that's just my POV.
I swear this is the last time I go off-topic (I'll leave the thread if I have to, I don't want to clog it up!), but you've misunderstood?

I said I felt shocked at the defensive posts, and didn't understand why they had become defensive.

I didn't say I felt 'attacked'. I'm not saying people were aggressive and drove me out of a thread and I'm oh-so-disappointed in everyone or anything like that. Afterall, I wouldn't have any reason to feel attacked. What others do in their comics are up to them. My study was just as impartial as Hunter and Morag have both pointed out on occasion. It was an observational study, nothing more and nothing less.

Maybe I worded my post badly, but let's not have any more twisting what people are saying shall we? There's enough of that in this thread as-is.

Anyway, I think I've said my piece on how I feel about print vs web, so I won't clog up the thread any more.
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Old 22-05-2012, 07:37 PM   #50
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I swear this is the last time I go off-topic (I'll leave the thread if I have to, I don't want to clog it up!), but you've misunderstood?

I said I felt shocked at the defensive posts, and didn't understand why they had become defensive.

I didn't say I felt 'attacked'. I'm not saying people were aggressive and drove me out of a thread and I'm oh-so-disappointed in everyone or anything like that. Afterall, I wouldn't have any reason to feel attacked. What others do in their comics are up to them. My study was just as impartial as Hunter and Morag have both pointed out on occasion. It was an observational study, nothing more and nothing less.

Maybe I worded my post badly, but let's not have any more twisting what people are saying shall we? There's enough of that in this thread as-is.

Anyway, I think I've said my piece on how I feel about print vs web, so I won't clog up the thread any more.

Woah! okay... sorry.
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Old 22-05-2012, 08:00 PM   #51
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Whoa in return, no apology necessary Anna! I guess that was a misunderstanding all round - I think I often sound far more heavy-handed than I actually am. Comes part and parcel with the uni course I'm on I think. ;D
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Old 22-05-2012, 09:03 PM   #52
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Back on topic once again...

I am a complete old fogey about webcomics. Not that I have anything against them on principle, just that I don't really like reading them, and because I don't like reading them, it never really occurs to me to produce one. I guess it's just being old-fashioned, most likely. I like waiting for the book to come out.

Selling at cons can be a mixed experience. I personally have never had a problem selling comics at cons - I usually do reasonably well. Anyway, so I thought, until I saw Claude (don't know if you guys know him - he dresses up as the Green Goblin) selling over 200 of his latest comic at one Expo. The thing is that selling at cons is heavily reliant on the quality of your salesmanship - equally so, or more so than the quality of your product. (Not to diss Claude with that, his comics are very cool and funny!) If you sit behind your stall looking like a wet weekend you won't sell anything, you have to engage with people. Misanthropy has to be put aside for a day - yes, pretend to be nice, even if you aren't! Seriously, it works.

Example: I was at an Expo recently sitting next to a stall where the product was, let's say, amateurish. The comic was fairly mediocre, with the basic plot everyone thinks of when they are a teenager, artwork likewise not great. But the sales team were like a hurricane. They made so much money my jaw dropped open, and they had a mailing list for people to sign to where they collected a vast number of email addresses. It was staggeringly good marketing. Truly! And I have to compare this one with people I know (not on this forum) who have given up going to cons despite having a very awesome book because they just sat there looking bored and vaguely hostile all weekend, the punters naturally, walked by without bothering to stop and look.

If sales aren't going well at a con, it's worth thinking about how you present yourself and your work, and whether the way you do it is reaching people. I think making a small-press manga con is kind of interesting, but TBH I can't imagine the amount of people who would attend would be very large. It's by no means universal for small-press manga to have bad sales at Thought Bubble, or Expo.

What are people's experiences selling their print comics at the anime cons? I've never been to one, so I'm curious. How does having a web version (or not) affect sales of printed books?
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Old 24-05-2012, 04:14 PM   #53
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What are people's experiences selling their print comics at the anime cons? I've never been to one, so I'm curious. How does having a web version (or not) affect sales of printed books?
Anime cons are rubbish unless you're selling kawaii uguu prints or omg yaoi. You could probably sell portraits quite happily, but comics... Not the best place to sell them in my experience. The few I've dealt at (with Sweatdrop) also had the highest concentration of "you drew this? *pulls disgusted face*" kind of people which is always a pleasant experience.


Going back to web vs print - I truly don't understand why people are so adamant to print their work and sell at events if your aim is to merely "get it out there". Taking London Expo for example, you sell 100 comics, that's awesome! But if there were 50,000 people who came through that door only 0.2% of them bought a comic off you. The market of people interested in small press work at events is pretty small, and then only a few of them actually dig into their pockets to buy.

Compare that to when my own webcomic was moderately popular - I could pull in 50k readers in a week, every week. And that really isn't much at all compared to some of the far more established webcomics. By not putting your work online you're missing out on a potential audience of millions. It's also worth noting I had two publishers contact me interested in printing it, I declined to maintain control and work in SD. All with no printing costs, no hauling ass to events and sitting at a table all weekend. Just me, at home, drawing happily, updating regularly with the best work I could do, only really promoting myself by posting on forums, setting vote incentives for webcomic ratings polls and interacting with my readers in comments.

Sure, I also made no money, but I work dayjobs to pay my rent like any sensible person should.
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Old 24-05-2012, 04:29 PM   #54
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Sure, I also made no money, but I work dayjobs to pay my rent like any sensible person should.
THIS, QFT. Art day job or not, day job is dayjob, and gives you the funds to print the damn thing in the first place, or pay for webhosting, adverts, traffic etc.

The big anime cons are shit for selling comics. It's all about cosplay these days. The smaller comic events, hotel-based cons and of course Expo are far more welcoming to self-published works, in my years of taking-stuff-to-sell-on-my-own experience.
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Old 24-05-2012, 11:00 PM   #55
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Time to wade in on this methinks, what with Cafe Suada being available in both web and in print form.

I agree and disagree with lots of points raised in this thread (herp derp, captain obvious waving from the fence here) but I would suggest this is because both forms of "publishing" your comic can have advantages.

Cafe Suada started out as a short comic in print form in one of the Leek and Sushi anthologies. This was how I initially found out that people liked the story and wanted more of it - so print gave it it's initial audience. This is not, however, something I would recommend, and it was purely by accident that this became my way of 'testing the waters'.

However, once I reimagined Cafe Suada and started again online, the limitations of print were gone. With webcomics, there are no deadlines but your own. Your pages can be any size. Anyone, anywhere in the world (except where perhaps censorship interferes) can now see the comic - and here's where things can go wonderfully or terribly! Now that everyone can see the comic, they can also let you know if it's brilliant or crap! And one of the worst things is seeing reader comments get to webcomic creators. You gotta be able to take a few harsh punches to the chin, metaphorically speaking. And of course, the opposite can hold true too; I've heard of a webcomic artist quitting because they got NO comments or feedback. It's great when you DO get great feedback, though, and it's a great way of staying motivated. With webcomics, you can see site stats and such that give you numbers of visitors to your webcomic - you can physically see there are people either curiously checking it out, or eagerly waiting for more. And wherever they may be, it's reassuring for anyone to know their creative efforts are being witnessed.

However, this is where I would also argue that print has advantages too. When I first printed Cafe Suada and took it to a convention, it was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. I'm going to go a little bit personal and say that I have a love/hate relationship with human beings. I find people fascinating, which is of course why I make comics about them - but on the other hand, I absolutely LOATHE nipping to the shops. Just passing a few people in the street is a bit stressful for me. So when I took my printed book to a con full of thousands of people, I was terrified, but more importantly, a little excited. And by the end of the con, my excitement had won over the fear, because PEOPLE WANTED MY BOOK. Physical, real, existing people came over and enthusiastically read and purchased the book. It renewed all of my creative energy to see people smile and laugh and enjoy something I had made. Something that I couldn't see through a computer screen.

So yeah. If THAT doesn't make you want to keep making web AND print comics, then I don't know what will! People have mentioned that Cafe Suada suits print much better because they can read it in chunks rather than at an unintended pace, but as long as there are people wanting to offer support as I update on the web, then I shall continue to do both.

Aaaand so in conclusion, I'M ON THE FENCE STILL! I guess I've talked more about the motivational and reader aspects as opposed to monetary or creative aspects, but I felt this bit needed mentioning
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Old 25-05-2012, 05:25 PM   #56
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Sorry off topic again, but I go back on topic below!

Quote:
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Earlier, you said to DM that if her pitches failed, perhaps there was a reason. Now I say to you, if everyone is reacting to you like you are offending them, perhaps there is a reason.
I just meant pull up some data maybe ask yourself could I do something different next time.

"Definition of Madness; continuing to do the same thing, hoping for a different outcome."
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Originally Posted by Sun Kitten
I read that just two days ago and it was awesome
I love John's witty dialogue, especially the postage stamp remark on his webcomic here http://scarygoround.com/index.php?date=20100421

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Originally Posted by Hunter
Anyway, hello Erininamori! *waves* - let me guess, did you by any chance work on Avatar? Yeah, I fancy myself a total detective now. Unless I'm totally wrong, of course.
Hi Hunter, thanks for the positive response. "Are you sure? I'm a pretty good liar, I am a 400 ft tall purple platypus bear with pink horns and silver wings."

In regards to selling fanart wouldn't intellectual property owners consider it as free exposure? but I never did understand this area, I was once told though it is taboo to draw and sell artwork of Marvel and DC characters unless you worked on it, the men in black will come etc.

Back on topic, webcomics are the greatest medium right now I believe for monetizing your work, in some cases earning $8 a day on one advertisement header like Nedroid. Having said that it also has it's problems, with the rise and popularity of ad-blocking it's crippling for the webcomic artist. I'll admit, I am using said software as I type this, but I do turn it off for certain sites.
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Old 29-05-2012, 12:22 PM   #57
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$8 a day on one advertisement header like Nedroid.
I'd say it's peaked, TBH, and is heading down.

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I'll admit, I am using said software as I type this
Well, quite. You're far from being alone, either.

Hands up, straw poll: how many here have clicked on a banner advert and gone on to pay for whatever it was selling in the last year?

I imagine there'll be one or two outliers, but I'll go so far as to suggest that advertising banners are bankrupt as a means of monetisation; most people ignore them and/or actively take steps to block them.

The companies placing the adverts are paying through the nose, for no return. A situation where one relies on someone else to pump money into a system for no return is not a sustainable one: you may have a revenue stream now, but as advertisers realise they're being suckered, it'll dry up; and as the euro crunch spreads and companies reassess their books, this process is accelerating. Money is being pulled out of passive banner advertising, and placed instead into more intrusive (and therefore more abhorrent) forms like animated overlays and interstitial pages that are harder to ignore, and harder to integrate within the context of a webcomic site in a way that is not immediately offputting to visitors; or directed elsewhere entirely (astroturfing social networking sites is becoming increasingly more popular, though there is little correlation between number of views and increase in sales there either so that will likely be another bubble in the long run).

Content providers (across the board, not just webcomic artists!), meanwhile, are shifting to other forms of monetisation: donation buttons (though some feel these are akin to begging, and find that degrading); selling merchandise; freemium models, wherein most content is free, but an option to subscribe to obtain extra content / features exists (The Browser is the latest of the sites I read daily to go that route, and it works - I'll likely subscribe). Advertising is arguably useful for freemium sites, but not so much as a direct revenue source - rather, as a means of annoyance that is removed for premium users. For this purpose, arguably, nastier is better, so I see popups / interstitials winning out here in the long run over banners too.

Still, perhaps I am being too bleak here. I do not generally find the state of this industry inspires optimism, but perhaps others have different experiences.
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Old 29-05-2012, 01:40 PM   #58
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donation buttons (though some feel these are akin to begging, and find that degrading)
That's why I'm thinking about setting up a "contribution" link when I've got my website together, rather than a donation one. If you offer people a small token of appreciation in return, it feels much less like begging. Not something huge that would create a loss, but maybe something like a nice wallpaper or a short PDF comic.

Sorry to pull out such a short quote, but I have read the rest of your post and I'd have to agree that ad banners are probably a dead-end venture nowadays!
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Old 29-05-2012, 01:42 PM   #59
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I'd say it's peaked, TBH, and is heading down.
According to his advertising statistics Nedroid peaked on 02/05 for $14.33 with 162,000 pageviews. You're right though it is declining but at the same rate as the pageviews, it's not a routinely updated comic which is entirely, and extremely important for ad revenue.

Nedroids Europe adspace peaked for $0.82 with just 6300 pageviews from Europe.

But lets compare to a routinely updated comic, Questionable Content with unique hits;

$78.81 US (236,000 views from US)
$18.86 CA (33,200 views from CA)
$16.75 EU (59,200 views from EU)
$9.49 Other (28,900 views from Others)
$123.91 Total.

This graph clearly shows that when the comic is updated, the ad revenue comes in and the pageviews skyrocket. Thats why routine and consistency is important.
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Hands up, straw poll: how many here have clicked on a banner advert and gone on to pay for whatever it was selling in the last year?
This would matter if you are using Amazon ads, or Google ads. However I have seen ads on places that do things like announce they exist, announce something has been released, and have gone on to buy it, even though I didn't click the ad. These ads you are paying for exposure and not clicks.

Something interesting to note, is some might remember VGCats webcomic and it's popularity, and if you ever visit other webcomics project wonderful page you will see VGCats as a referrer. When VGCats linked to Fanboys-Online, VGCats appeared as the highest referrer to the site, just from a hyperlink.
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Old 01-06-2012, 12:39 AM   #60
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more people here in the USA
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