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Webcomics.com begins charging subscription

Brad Guigar, the editor behind Webcomics.com, has announced that the webcomic journal blog will begin charging a subscription for access to its articles and archives. On the blog he writes:

Most webcomics are based on the free-content model. The “How To Make Webcomics” book is built around it. Why is Webcomics.com becoming a pay site?

Simply put, Webcomics.com isn’t entertainment; it’s a valuable resource for webcartoonists. It would be difficult to continue offering this site for free in its current state — and impossible, given the improvements we have planned.

Community Comments

#1 Tony Piro
January/4/2010
@ 11:58 am

I don’t begrudge Brad for charging for his content. I think he’s done a FANTASTIC job with webcomics.com.

That said, I’m surprised there isn’t a terms of service agreement for subscribers. I guess I haven’t done many internet subscriptions myself, but this seems like a reasonable professional courtesy.

I’m also a little worried how they will continue to gain new subscribers to keep the community going with the archive and forum behind a paywall. Because they focus on beginning/intermediate cartoonists, there is naturally a lot of turnover. How will they keep an influx of new readers coming?

#2 David Gallaher
January/4/2010
@ 12:29 pm

>> That said, Iâ??m surprised there isnâ??t a terms of service agreement for subscribers. I guess I havenâ??t done many internet subscriptions myself, but this seems like a reasonable professional courtesy.>>

That’s my biggest gripe, actually.

#3 Mike Cope
January/4/2010
@ 12:38 pm

As a cartoonist and supporter of the “pay-for-content” business model, I applaud Brad and the rest of the webcomics.com gang for making such a bold move, especially considering the fact that they’ve always been champions of the “free” model with respect to their comics.

Over the past few years, I’ve been a casual lurker and participant of webcomics.com, but, at this point, I’m not willing to pay for something based on a “wait what we have in store” advertisement. I will miss the old webcomics.com because it carried a far different atmosphere with respect to discussions. Very open minded with respect to technology, but very tunnel visioned regarding comics history.

Now, if someone could only help young cartoonists realize that comics, in themselves, carry entertainment AND commercial value. That would be truly trailblazing and deserve great respect.

As Han Solo said to Lando in ROTJ, “Good luck …”

#4 Tom Dell'Aringa
January/4/2010
@ 12:51 pm

There’s been lots of interesting discussion on this both on his site as well as the TWCL forums. Agreed Brad does a nice job, but the lack of a TOS is definitely a problem, and 30 dollars is a high price to pay for, as Tony said, mostly beginner and intermediate level information – and info that you can pretty much get on your own if you just look.

I’m not convinced Khoo adds anything to the mix. And saying “pay us now and you’ll find out how great it is” hardly washes with many people.

There are so many subscription models, it just seems odd to lock everything behind a big cost yearly subscription. I might have been interested to pay a single month to try it out, or to pay a buck or two for a certain article I liked.

And for those who claim “oh 30 bucks isn’t much” – well, to some people it is. And it’s not even about the dollar figure so much as perceived value – what am I getting in return that is worth what I am paying?

Myself, I pay 30 bucks a year for a Flickr Pro account. I use the functionality quite a bit and it’s definitely worth the money – I see the value constantly.

And with more and more of my spending dollars going to online services like Flickr, you have to work *really* hard to get my dollars, and you have to be *very* clear about what you are giving me. I’m not seeing it here.

Locking down the forums seems especially odd – why constrict your community? Why not have *something* for free that keeps people engaged? I can see locking down the articles and “premium” content.

Anyway, best of luck to Brad, he’s a good guy. He’s hard to bet against because he has good sense about his business. But this doesn’t feel right.

#5 August J. Pollak
January/4/2010
@ 1:13 pm

People who offer worthwhile content daring to ask the internet to place a price on it higher than zero is always a good thing. I hope it succeeds.

30 dollars is a high price to pay for, as Tony said, mostly beginner and intermediate level information â?? and info that you can pretty much get on your own if you just look.

You can Google recipes too, but lots of folks like to buy a cookbook.

#6 Tom Dell'Aringa
January/4/2010
@ 1:22 pm

Of course, but people have already bought his book. Now he wants another 30 on top of that. And 30 the next year, and so on.

They stopped doing their podcasts because they were simply rehashing the same old topics. I stopped listening to them well before they stopped because it was the same old thing. Many of his articles fall into the same category – nice information but been done before.

I’m just not seeing the value here at all. It seems a lot of people feel the same way.

There’s also quite an uproar about how this was sprung, and I agree it wasn’t handled as well as it might have been. Doesn’t bother me personally, but plenty of folks are taking issue – and those were his potential customers.

#7 Scott Jenkins (Jynksie)
January/4/2010
@ 2:48 pm

The lack of a “Terms Of Service” is whats glaringly wrong with this entire endeavor. Who on earth is willing to give someone money for professional services without an understanding as to what the refund policy is, should the service close before subscription ends?!? Remember, this is a business and if he’s finds there is to little a niche to make his time worth the money, he could simply shut it down. What happens to the rest of your $30 smackers?

Guigar and crew have been at the forefront of the webcomics movement and have benefited from sharing their successes with us via their book and kudos to them for seeing that opportunity and grabbing it. However, to charge a subscription for “undisclosed great things to come” w/o safeguards for the consumer, was a big hindsight on their part.

Now, had the terms of service been included from the get go and the “undisclosed great things to come” were outlined, I’d be inclined to consider the cost vs. benefit. They do have much to offer the community, but at $30 bucks, lets see something the book hasn’t already educated us on!

#8 John Baines
January/4/2010
@ 10:11 pm

I have to say that this has been incredibly hypocritical of Brad and the Halfpixel crew who have previously railed against pay-walls for newspapers,comics etc on several of their podcasts. Brad has justified this by saying that it us reached a point he needs to either shut it down or try this just to keep it online for financial reasons. Well I am sure a PBS-style donation drive would have sorted that out. Somewhere, Ted Rall is laughing his ass off on this one. Anyways, best of luck to Halfpixel!

#9 Bryan Young
January/4/2010
@ 10:32 pm

John, the difference is that Halfpixel has been giving out information, not entertainment. A friend of mine likened this to The Society of Plastics Engineers or AIGA. Those cost money.

Tell me this people. How many of you are on World of Warcraft? How much do they charge a month? $15. By the end of the year, you have spent $180 on a game. Thats entertainment.

Webcomics is giving out information. $30 is cheap. Dirt cheap. Given that they can update the site whenever something changes in the webcomics community. Its better than spending $18 all together every time they revise the How To Make Webcomics book. And that book would be revised. ALOT.

And Rall is just a scared troll trying to make himself relevant. His words mean no more to me than any other troller on 4Chan or any other forum I visit.

#10 John Baines
January/4/2010
@ 10:57 pm

@Bryan, I am just curious as to whether Brad thinks we should pay for sites like WSJ and other newspaper sites(which provide information by the way). If he has changed his mind, then say so and don’t try to have it both ways.

#11 Bryan Young
January/4/2010
@ 11:10 pm

I am looking directly at WSJ website and I can tell you the first thing I see. A fracking ad. Thats one thing I have never seen on Webcomics.com

LIke I said before, Brad is giving out information you can use in your work. WSJ is giving out news. News you can find for free on DIGG, CNN, or any other fracking news site. Webcomics.com isnt news. Its info on running a successful webcomic business.

#12 Topher Davia
January/4/2010
@ 11:12 pm

First I think there should be both a monthly and annual fee, so people can try it out as well as for the most budget tight people to be able to make this happen. And I know $30 isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it IS just enough over for some.

Also the monthly and annual option is a proven web model pay way to attract new readers.

As to the terms of service I’m really wondering how they don’t have it. As someone that’s processed credit cards for three years (and not though paypal, but though a terminal I pay monthly for) and putting together what we need for an online for store my clothing designs the company I have a contrac with won’t even start the process of opening a store until I submit a terms of service and return policy for my too be online store.

Things like that are details and one does need to realize this is the start of a new endevour. They’ll be things to learn and adapt. If they don’t have this after several months and a lot of emails, then that’s different.

Overall I’ve never gotten the “web must be free” mindset that some people have. If someone does work it’s worth paying for, especially if it’s useful to you and done by a someone that shares useful information: tutorials, articles, etc.

The deliniation with me is the amount of rent paying time it takes up. If it’s a side thing then I can get the concept of putting up the content for free. If it’s taking up a good bit of someone rent paying time, and the amount of work and quality shows and it’s useful to me then I can understand that it should be paid for. If this is taking up a lot of Brads time and the product will show good work for that time, then I can understand the step.

The other thing I find interesting in the “web must be free” concept is how the same subject matter published in a form with more (or any) cost of publication somehow warrants an understandable price tag. If you put the exact same wit, stories, tutorials, comics, etc on anything that has a production cost (a CD for music, DVD for movies, book for written or drawn content) people register that as worth paying for without thinking. Heck if you rent a room and charge people to enter the same thing you can put on wordpress suddenly becomes worth paying to walk into a room for. If you put the same content on the web first people want it for free.

Never got that.

So Best of luck to them. If it’s worth while info, then it’s worth paying for. I’m always up for breaking this concept that everything on the web must be free.

I cannot let myself go without saying can anyone else find the irony that the same group of people that have made reputations on monotizing content that first is free on this endevour will make you pay BEFORE you get the content? I know the contributing reasons, but it doesn’t make it any more ironic to me.

#13 Scott Kurtz
January/4/2010
@ 11:15 pm

I can’t speak for Brad, and certainly we’re talking this out on the webcomics.com site itself (the announcement thread and it’s comments are public).

While I would never EVER put content behind a pay wall, nor would I advise anyone at this point in time to put their content behind a pay wall, this is NOT what Webcomics.com is doing.

We’re essentially offering a paid correspondence course in webcomics. With “lectures” and interaction with myself, Brad Guigar and Robert Khoo.

If that’s worth 30 bucks then you should buy it. If not, you shouldn’t. But this hardly invalidates anything we’ve said before about webcomics.

My comic and art I want to get out there to the masses for free because it can scale and I can earn a profit from it in advertising and merch sales.

My time is not free, however and I tend to charge for it. My time certainly does NOT scale.

#14 John Baines
January/4/2010
@ 11:30 pm

@Bryan: LOL. So are you saying that the only difference between Webcomics.com and WSJ, newspapers etc is that it supplies information that cannot be found elsewhere??! The thousands of WSJ would disagree with you on that!

#15 Bryan Young
January/5/2010
@ 12:16 am

NEWS. Keyword for WSJ is NEWS. True you can find the same stuff featured on Webcomics.com on other sites but here is what I always liked about Webcomics.com. Everything on there was from different cartoonists who know what they are talking about. Cartoonists who are giving their knowledge on what is a good way to do this little trick, or advice on what to bring with you when you go to cons. Advice from the frontlines. Not from some guy watching stuff happen from the sidelines.

How many news sites can you list right now? Yea. There is alot.
How many sites dedicated to helping up and coming cartoonists can you list? With stuff that Webcomics.com gave you, in the organization and clarity that was given to you? How many can you list?

#16 Ted Rall
January/5/2010
@ 7:10 am

Somewhere, Ted Rall is laughing his ass off on this one.

Not really. I’m used to being yelled at by scared angry people who later realize I was right.

@Scott Kurtz:

Weâ??re essentially offering a paid correspondence course in webcomics. With â??lecturesâ? and interaction with myself, Brad Guigar and Robert Khoo.

Guess what? NYTimes.com, about to go behind a paywall, “essentially offers” a “paid correspondence course” in politics, current events, culture, sports, technology and history.

If thatâ??s worth 30 bucks then you should buy it. If not, you shouldnâ??t. But this hardly invalidates anything weâ??ve said before about webcomics.

Of course not. Because if *you* want to do something, you’ll come up with a reason to justify it after the fact. Consistency is merely for those who care about integrity.

My time is not free, however and I tend to charge for it. My time certainly does NOT scale.

Guess what? Neither does the time it takes to draw a cartoon.

#17 Robert George
January/5/2010
@ 7:23 am

@Ted Rall:

“Guess what? NYTimes.com, about to go behind a paywall, â??essentially offersâ? a â??paid correspondence courseâ? in politics, current events, culture, sports, technology and history.” I think the New York Times and correspondence courses (if such things exist any more) would disagree there. The New York Times delivers news, on paper or electronically. I will be interested if its pay wall works. On the one hand it might, because it is a unique product with national appeal unlike most papers, but on the other hand most of its reporting can still be found free, on sites that have no incentive to ever create a paywall. The number of people who feel they need it (i.e. have money riding on it) directly from the Gray Lady may be too small. The WSJ has been successful largely because companies feel they gain a competitive advantage by having that news and the stock reporting instantly. Can the Times offer that?

“Consistency is merely for those who care about integrity.”

I don’t know why he did feel the need to justify it, or why you should expect him to. Webcomics.com neither sells ads nor merch. The only way it can create revenue is through a paywall. I am sure if PVP, which does sell ads and merch, made more money behind a paywall Scott would do that, too. It just doesn’t. The stupid thing on both sides of this is that free or not free has become a kind of moral imperative. Its not. Its is a moral neutral business decision.

#18 Mike Peterson
January/5/2010
@ 7:31 am

The WSJ is often brought up in free-or-pay discussions, but it’s not a good example. The keyword for the WSJ is not news. It is that it is the top source of business news, with Bloomberg a good source for the casual to mid-level investor but not the insider source for management. While there is much in the WSJ that can be found elsewhere, there is a core of information that cannot. That’s one reason it can stay behind a paywall. Second reason: Expense accounts. A large number of subscriptions are corporate. Another large number is people who write it off and can bloody well afford it anyway.

If this venture can be as valuable as the WSJ, it will have no problem, but, like others, I question both the price (I’d have cut it in half) and the lack of samples. I’d have priced it at $15, put a few goodies out front and then allow people into the premium section for a price of $5 for three months, upgradable to a year for another ten bucks.

But they still have to show some of those goodies and at least let people see what they’re missing.

This is organizational bickering, however, and nothing to do with the main concept, which is fine.

#19 Tom Dell'Aringa
January/5/2010
@ 11:16 am

I’ve been graciously gifted a subscription, so I’ll be able to see what’s what this year. I’m not necessarily against them charging, I just think it could have been better thought out. And I agree the price seems high, with too few options.

It seems that Scott is saying this is more of a school almost. And he did ask today for suggestions for what subscribers wanted.

If that is the case, then the site needs to clarify it’s message as some sort of school or correspondence deal. Because that’s not really what it has been. It’s been a blog and community about webcomics, and a useful one.

They’re cutting off a big chunk of what made that useful – a large portion of the community that contributed in the forum and even contributed some good content. That means Brad and gang has to step up and make it worthwhile.

It’s going to be an interesting year.

And agreed that the NYT is news, not a correspondence for things Ted mentioned. I don’t agree they are the same. Heck just look at the audience – news appeals to a huge section of the population. Webcomics are incredibly niche. And the site is not news about webcomics at all.

Agree with Mike that the WSJ is not a good comparison either for the very reasons he mentioned.

There is a change in the air though. We talked a bit over at Wishtales about the NYT mulling charging.

http://wishtales.com/2009/12/nyt-weighs-in-on-fees-for-media-sites/

#20 Jack Cayless
January/5/2010
@ 11:34 am

There’s plenty of people on the comments section of Webcomics dot com that havce said they’ve already signed up for the subscription. Currently I plan to wait six months, wait for Brad to accrue a decent chunk of this promised content, and then ask a few of those subscribers if it’s worth the price of admission.

Although, I’m not so certain if it’s wise to trust people that blindly throw money at a “wait till you see what we’ve got in store for you!” blog post.

#21 Layne Myhre
January/5/2010
@ 12:44 pm

I paid my 30 bucks, but mainly just to support Brad. There isn’t really any compelling content on the site that I feel is worth paying for yet, although I’m certain there will be in the months to come. In any case, 30 bucks a year is a low enough investment that I’m content to give him the benefit of the doubt.

#22 CM
January/5/2010
@ 2:02 pm

I’ve never subscribed to the “we give it away for free” aspect of Webcomics. Your business model is based on ad revenue. The more eyeballs that visit the site, the more money in ad revenue… similar to TV or what Leo Laporte does with TWiT. I’m giving part of my time to give you another page hit for your revenue stream. There are other things I could look at, but I devote my time to give you another viewer because I like your content. If the current ad revenue isn’t enough, then either expand your viwership or find other sources of income from your content.

There is also a certain value given to content. The minute a strip goes behind a pay wall… even if $30 a year… I’m done. Just reading a strip isn’t enough to justify a paywall to me. There would be certain expectations associated with that paywall. Will the strip be up at midnight? Will I get more than the strip and a blog post saying, “buy my stuff”?

The decline of Newspapers didn’t start with the internet. It started when news became free… supported by ads. The newspapers should be furious at CNN and the other cable news stations that popped up and not the internet. The internet is just replacing that cable channel.

Newspapers can survive today, but they aren’t taking the correct approach. They are cutting themselves to the bone to survive when they need to start offering more. The content of a Newspaper is so thin and they keep raising prices that I can’t justify picking one up.

They can’t compete with up to the minute news, but they can offer commentary to the layman. If it was the size of a book and offered insightful content, then I’d get it every day. Look at a turn of the 20th century newspaper. The front page was full of content. Now, the front page is basically a giant picture with words around it. My local paper cut out the business section and only offers it on-line.

This is the same problem with a paywall for comics or news. If you are forcing me to pay, then I want something of value for my money.

The World of Warcraft arguement always falls on deaf ears with me. I know that $15 a month goes to support the high cost of maintaining servers and employee salaries that are constantly generating “free” content aka Patches. World of Warcraft offers so much content, combined with the hours spent playing the game, that $15 a month is justified. I’d hate to be in the middle of a boss fight and have a google ad pop-up on screen.

I won’t pay $15 a month for up to date news and/or a strip where I spend only a few minutes looking at the content. I want more for my money.

That said, I’m never opposed to a Tip Jar on a site. It might sound hypocritical, but I see a differnece between supporting exceptional content and being forced to pay for content.

If Webcomics.com is going behind a paywall, there better be some excellent content to justify it. From what I saw before, I don’t know if I would use Webcomics.com now. If Webcomics.com wants to become more like a school, then there would have to be regular updates and high quality content. What about a weekly indepth photoshop tutorial? Or some sort of two way Video Chat with members and staff?

I will follow Webcomics.com’s adventures behind a paywall. If the content is there, I might join. I’m hoping for the best.

#23 Brisby
January/5/2010
@ 2:21 pm

The HalfPixel crew has been all about branding themselves as web comic authorities with secret knowledge that can make *your* comic super successful. All you need to do is buy their book and now you need to buy a subscription to their web site…

I understand the reasons why Webcomics.com is moving to a subscription model – even if it’s only to cover costs and the time investment Brad puts into the site. He SHOULD be compensated for his effort.

But at the same time, for a group that claims to care developing web comics as a medium, moving to a subscription model comes off as a little bit elitist…. See More

RE: Kurtz and his “Your site’s not ready comments,” he was saying the same stuff about people using Kickstarter to fund publishing projects. Kurtz is becoming more and more distant from the pulse of web comics in the last few years. Either PvP will move beyond web comics and turn into something else (like Penny Arcade did) or Kurtz will become the Ted Rall of our medium – poo-pooing the next generations motivations and ambitions because they’ve dared to do go about creating their work differently than he did.

#24 Matt Forcum
January/5/2010
@ 4:11 pm

Brisby, your being rather unfair. They have NEVER sold themselves as having the secret potion for success. They have quite clearly stated that it is a long and difficult road and that there are no guarantees.

They have the authority because they have been at this for a long time and have learned quite a bit along the way. Their Free podcast and CHEAP book is intended to help those starting out in webcomics to get off on the right foot. They offer a clear and easy path to follow to help avoid much of the confusion and many of the pitfalls that so many comics fall into in their early years. It has helped me tremendously in getting my own webcomic off the ground and I am VERY thankful for their assistance.

The only reason this webcomics.com thing is an issue is because the ENTIRE site has gone behind a paywall. It feels like a miscalculation. Had the site stayed free, with free forums, and Brad had offered premium services and a private forum at $30 dollars a year, I, along with many others, would not have hesitated in signing up.

It was a thriving community of intelligent and professional creators that made webcomics.com great and I fear that community is now gone.

#25 Ted Rall
January/5/2010
@ 4:33 pm

Interestingly, The Comics Journal has just gone the opposite direction, from paid/print to free/online.

Just like that–poof!–it died.

#26 Steve Walsh
January/5/2010
@ 6:18 pm

I dunno, I don’t want to say that the folks running the site are wrong, per se, but this definitely doesn’t feel correct in some way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying its a scam or something, the Halfpixel folks are well within their rights to attempt to profit from the site, but the way it was implemented was certainly sudden and unexpected. Not to mention that the individual contributions to the forums seem to have been co-oped (or eliminated), removing a valuable “help each other out” resource for artists/writers/etc.

We’ll have to wait and see if it works or not, though the “everything is behind a pay wall” bit seems a flawed business idea on the web for this sort of project. Even the online music lesson sites have basic lessons for free, and then you subscribe for the whole library/all the courses. It makes me suspect that it would be better to have some stuff free and other stuff behind a pay-wall. It seems… well, out of date, to have everything behind a pay-wall, and weird from folks who have triumphed the “you get this stuff for free and then can pay to get extra stuff” type of artists.

Best of luck to ya, I guess.

#27 Kent Vaughan
January/6/2010
@ 12:17 am

I signed up pretty much on the spot. Halfpixel and their book pretty much got me started on my comic journey, which I always knew I wanted to pursue but never knew where to start. I figured that was worth the benefit of the doubt and my $30 bucks.

#28 Jason Nocera
January/6/2010
@ 7:36 am

I don’t think it will take long for a new, free resource to pop up for web cartoonists. (Or an exisiting one to become more popular) When that happens, you can decide whether it’s worth the money or not for their advice.

#29 Ted Rall
January/6/2010
@ 11:15 am

I don’t have a pony in this race, but it’s funny how people willing to spend $12.50 (plus gas or mass transit) to watch a movie, or $6000 for a computer, or $1000 on a vacation, have trouble spending $30 a year (a year!) on intellectual property. I spend $2 a day on the New York Times, $6 on Sundays, so that’s $36 in two weeks right there.

How can webcartoonists who want their fans to support them by buying their books and T-shirts feel cool about being so cheap themselves?

#30 Mary Varn
January/6/2010
@ 11:48 am

Brad Guigar et al. provide fantastic business advice on webcomics.com. I’ve been visiting the site every day and didn’t hesitate to pony up the 30 bucks when I saw the pay wall Sunday night. It may not be for everyone, but it’s well worth it for me.
They’re posting a blurb of each blog post so new-comers can see a taste of what’s offered. If they had done this last March when I was starting my comic and had never been to the site before, I most likely would have joined. I think the blurb posts (and their book if you have it) provide enough info for people to decide if they want to join or not.

#31 Peter Tarkulich
January/6/2010
@ 12:54 pm

In many cases, Ted, it’s not the money itself that’s the issue, it’s the way that the switchover was handled. A lot of people, myself included, were more discouraged by the sudden appearance of the pay wall and the aspects that were glossed over, such as the TOS and other contributors’ articles suddenly being inaccessible (both have since been corrected). The whole thing has left a sour taste in the mouths of long time readers, and it really is affecting our decisions.

It comes to down the fact that they are asking $30 a year for what is essentially business advice, yet the whole situation was handled in way that’s not conducive to good business. I’m on the fence personally, since I’m of an “everybody makes mistakes” mindset, yet I still haven’t had it proven to me that the $30 will be worth it. I may wait a few months to see what they pump out before I blindly jump into things.

This is why I’m bad at poker; I’m not much of a risk taker!

#32 Tom Dell'Aringa
January/6/2010
@ 4:32 pm

There’s no doubt the fashion of the rollout is a big contributor to the reaction. I’m one of many people who would have considered it had it been done differently. (Turned out I was gifted a subscription anyway). There are a lot of folks on different comic boards saying the same thing.

@Ted – it’s NOT the amount of money that is the issue. I’m not sure why people don’t understand this. The issue is perceived value. Will I get my money’s worth? What will be different than has been there before?

The answer was “wait and see.” It comes back to the rollout. If this had been teased a bit, if they talked about all the cool things they were going to do – gave some examples – did one thing free as a teaser, gave a couple of different payment options, then in the end I think you would have had people banging down the door. I bet they could have *doubled* the subscriptions.

The fact is that it may end up being everything Brad says it will be. I hope so, since I’m in there this year. And if it is, I’ll renew with my own money.

Only time will tell. In the meantime, the plain truth is that a lot of people are angry and feeling alienated and betrayed – fair or not. And it probably didn’t have to go down that way. I think that is the *real* issue that is bothering folks, not 30 dollars and not a paywall (witness the many “I don’t begrudge them making money… but…” comments).

#33 Donna Barstow
January/7/2010
@ 3:13 am

Interesting situation. Now I’m curious enough to want to visit webcomics.com, but it’s too late! The party’s over!

@CM, the man who slipped in here without a first and last name, I have read ridiculous theories about why newspapers are dying so often, and yours is another one without substance. Your idea that cable TV took over the news! Is ludicrous! They added video which is repeated over and over within the same 3 minutes. No in-depth reporting.

And I don’t know where you live, but papers are lowering prices, not raising them. Just ask. But you’ve already made up your mind, WOW is worth your time and money, and nothing new to learn elsewhere, right? There’s something to be said for education and reading even after college.

I think Ted is totally on point: it’s the money, and everyone is used to stuff being free. I don’t believe for a minute that everyone who visited there or who commented here thought, hmmm, what about the TOS? THAT’s why I haven’t paid up.

Yeah, right. Anyway, best wishes to anyone and everyone making money online. We need success stories.

#34 Peter Tarkulich
January/7/2010
@ 8:40 am

“I think Ted is totally on point: itâ??s the money, and everyone is used to stuff being free. I donâ??t believe for a minute that everyone who visited there or who commented here thought, hmmm, what about the TOS? THATâ??s why I havenâ??t paid up.”

You’re right, it’s not been everyone, but it’s been the vocal majority. Discussions concerning the handling of this switchover, including the initial lack of TOS, have been popping up in lots of different places. It’s not a mask to cover the fact that people don’t want to pay the $30, it’s a legitimate concern.

How well do you know the people within the webcomics community? We are running businesses, and part of running a business is to watch how other people do it. We watched this switchover get fumbled, and that shook our faith in this new service being provided. I’ve said this and others have said this: if the switchover had been handled better, our $30 would more than likely be in Webcomics.com’s pocket right now.

#35 Ted Rall
January/7/2010
@ 4:48 pm

“We are running businesses”

Creepy.

I mean, of course we’re running businesses. All artists who want to get paid are.

But it’s weird to hear “artists” emphasizing the business side all the time…while art takes a back seat. That’s webcomics culture, I guess, but it’s not appealing.

Sad.

And creepy.

Anyway, as you were.

#36 Scott Kurtz
January/7/2010
@ 6:39 pm

Ted, don’t infer. Nobody I know who makes a webcomic has ever said that art takes a back seat. Art taking a backseat is most definitely NOT webcomics culture.

#37 Ted Rall
January/7/2010
@ 6:54 pm

Agreed, there are webcartoonists like R. Stevens and Dorothy Gambrell who obviously love what they do as artists. Still, there’s entirely too much emphasis on the business side in these discussions.

So, we doing that debate or what?

#38 Tom Dell'Aringa
January/7/2010
@ 8:24 pm

Ted, are you going to try and tell us that you never saw your cartooning as a business venture?

And are you inferring that most web cartoonists don’t love what they do? Because it seems like you are. I, in fact, love making my comic. I know lots of other artists who do as well.

Ever hear of the dream to do what you love for a living? I thought that’s what you were doing.

For the life of me, I will never understand the animosity that exists in this community with certain people.

#39 Scott Kurtz
January/7/2010
@ 8:55 pm

@Ted

I’m up for it if you are. I’m going to be at San Diego and don’t have any other panels scheduled. We’d certainly get a lot of people there.

If you’re not going to be at the San Diego con, we should do it at the New York Comicon.

#40 Ben Rankel
January/8/2010
@ 1:58 am

@Ted Rall and @Scott Kurtz

This is for you two.

http://threepanelopera.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/2010-01-061.jpg

Because I love you both. :)

-Ben

#41 Ted Rall
January/8/2010
@ 7:13 am

@Tom, Of course I understand that. In my opinion, the ability to earn a living drawing cartoons IS success. My point was a small one–simply that while, for example, editorial cartoonists spend most of their time discussing what makes a good cartoon, the discussions I see among webcartoonists seems to focus (excessively) on what drives traffic and brings in money. Frankly, the average quality of webcomics is even worse–much worse–than the dismal average quality of daily newspaper comics. This is true even among the big success stories in webcomics. (There are exceptions, of course.) That’s all I was sayin’.

@Scott, I’ll be in San Diego for sure. NY Comicon, probably. Either venue suits me. Who do we contact, though? Both organizations are opaque.

@Ben: You making me that T-shirt or what? I need something to wear to the debate. I wear L (or XL in American Apparel, which is for man-waifs). I’ll trade you a book or something.

#42 Peter Tarkulich
January/8/2010
@ 8:17 am

Ted, you have a wonderful way of spinning things. This is why it’s so much fun to watch you go at it with people like Scott. You really do keep me entertained during the day (and I honestly don’t mean that with any amount of snark; I like reading debates).

My mention of running a business was in the context of the discussion at hand; if the discussion had been about the art side of things, I would have said something about art. So much “emphasis” gets put on the business aspect of it because we have to constantly explain our side of things to people such as yourself. In my experience, most of the time when I’m talking about my webcomic or when I hear other artists talking about theirs, the subject is on the story/gags or the artwork. It’s all about the context and the environment in which the discussion is taking place.

#43 Chris Hastings
January/8/2010
@ 9:16 am

“When businessmen get together they talk about art. When artists get together they talk about money.”

#44 Tom Dell'Aringa
January/8/2010
@ 9:37 am

@Ted – then you’re sampling a very SMALL portion of webcomics chatter. I don’t really expect you see much of our community other than dustups like this.

I frequent all the busy webcomic communities, and I can say with certainty, I’ve never seen you there. And in those places, the conversation is generally about making comics. I could like probably 20 artistic forums I visit here and there, all to better my craft – not the business – of my comic.

So yes we discuss business – and so do you. But yes, we discuss the craft of making comics a lot more – whether you see it or not.

#45 Phil Maish
January/8/2010
@ 12:08 pm

I produce my humble little webcomic on a six-year-old Powerbook on my dining room table, though recently I was gifted with a Sunflower iMac of a similar vintage. It’s on my drawing table in my unheated basement; no dedicated studio or fancy Cintiq for me! I’m using Photoshop 5.5! Yet I don’t begrudge these guys their $30 bucks …yet. A lot of work plainly goes into the site, and I don’t see a better way to make it pay for itself. I’ve gotta concur that the switchover was pretty ham-handed, though.

I suspect (hope) I’ll get my money’s worth in advice about various webtools and social media sites, if nothing else. A monthly option would have been far preferable, and I think may speak to a lack of confidence on Halfpixel’s part that they can live up to their subscribers’ expectations. I hope they can.

I note with some interest (and annoyance) that Paypal has registered a RECURRING payment of $30 to Webcomics.com.
Maybe I missed it, but I don’t recall being asked about that. Most places that process subscriptions are more upfront about single payments vs recurring payments. I’m disappointed.

#46 Ted Rall
January/8/2010
@ 12:45 pm

@Tom: Two words: lurk er

#47 Ben Rankel
January/8/2010
@ 5:07 pm

@Ted I’ll see what I can do.

Should be able to get a t-shirt for you before the con. I’ll get in touch for a mailing addy when it’s ready. :)

#48 Ted Rall
January/8/2010
@ 5:17 pm

@Ben: Awesome! Thanks in advance…I’m at ted@rall.com.

#49 Scott Kurtz
January/8/2010
@ 5:50 pm

@Ted,

Comicon’s not opaque, their website is just a pain in the ass. I know who to contact about setting up the panel. I’ll put them in touch with Alan since he’s moderating.

We’ll get it all set up. San Diego will have the biggest turn out.

#50 Tom Dell'Aringa
January/8/2010
@ 6:00 pm

If you lurk, you ought to say hello and offer up some opinions!

#51 Ted Rall
January/8/2010
@ 7:39 pm

LOL, Tom. Because what the world really needs is more of my opinions.

Seriously, I just don’t want to disrupt webcartoonists’ discussions. I’m not a webcartoonist. I’d just be a distraction, like the non-cartoonists who post here.

#52 Ted Rall
January/8/2010
@ 7:40 pm

Sounds great, Scott! Thanks for doing that. I’ll look forward to hearing what they have to say.

#53 Dave Stephens
January/8/2010
@ 8:14 pm

$30 ($2.50 a month) is a great deal for a course with proven moneymaking talent teaching, responding and giving examples, etc.
I wish Webcomics.com continued success. Teaching sites all over the world charge far more, often for far less.

#54 Bret McManus
January/11/2010
@ 7:42 am

I don’t read webcomics.com often, the articles were well written but not that instructional. I kind of read it like Daily Cartoonist to see whats news.

Love Webcomics Weekly, but they must of covered everything as they have stopped doing episodes. (Has it ever been weekly? lol)

Now Webcomics University Id pay for that if it had more than 1 episode.

Several other Half-pixel shows have been short lived.

If I ever put up a website with my comic I will have the Book in my fat little fingers but I’m with the commenter that said wait six months and see what valuable content there is or will it be like quite a few of there other projects?

Sounds like a bitch fest its not, just some of my instructional content 8)

P.S. Brad I’d pay 10$

#55 Bryan Young
January/12/2010
@ 5:34 am

@Bret Scott Kurtz has said that they have had trouble finding time to do the podcast as of late. I wouldnt say that they have ended it. There is will always be something to talk and debate over when it comes to comics. But while they are on hiatus, it would be a good time to listen to all of the old WW podcasts and catch up on what they say :)

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