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Scott Adams to blog less

Scott Adams announced on his blog that he intends to blog less (as in no longer daily) as the return on investment for his blogging has been disappointing.

His original intent with the blog was to generate ad revenue, compile blog posts into a book, grow Dilbert audience, and create an outlet for non-Dilbert “artistic satisfaction” (writing on off-topics). What he discovered was ad revenue was “trivial,” his posts would tick off his readers and generate negative feelings for Dilbert. He reports the book has been well reviewed, but a lot of people don’t want to pay for material that is free on the web.

Community Comments

#1 Garey Mckee
November/27/2007
@ 7:08 am

I’ve said this before here on TDC with some mixed results, but it sometimes seems a cartoonist blogging is a little redundant. Your thoughts and views and things you wish to write about should come across in your dailies. If you feel you need another outlet for them then perhaps you aren’t writing your strip to it’s (and your) fullest potential?

I do understand the reason for wanting to feel connected to your audience and I’m not knocking that. A companion website to a strip is not a bad thing. But a dialy blog just seems redundant to me.

#2 Dawn Douglass
November/27/2007
@ 8:06 am

He wrote this:
Every blog post reduced my income, even if 90% of the readers loved it.

I doubt very much that that’s true. But let’s face it, Scott Adams isn’t “a lovable character.” I think the real lesson here is that if you are less likable than the characters in your strip, having a blog is probably a bad idea.

#3 Wiley Miller
November/27/2007
@ 8:22 am

“Your thoughts and views and things you wish to write about should come across in your dailies. If you feel you need another outlet for them then perhaps you arenâ??t writing your strip to itâ??s (and your) fullest potential?”

That is hitting the proverbial nail squarely on the head.
As a syndicated cartoonist, you HAVE national forum to express yourself. And in Scott’s case, a huge forum as Dilbert is in over 2000 newspapers along with several books. And for the life of me, I don’t know how these guys have the time to blog!

#4 Dawn Douglass
November/27/2007
@ 8:33 am

Maybe instead of blogging, cartoonists should start working for their local police departments to make extra income:
http://www.boingboing.net/2007/11/26/caricatures-are-more.html

#5 Mark
November/27/2007
@ 8:58 am

Never have I looked back and lamented that my enjoyment of strips like Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side and Peanuts would’ve been enriched by getting to blog with their creators.

#6 Alan Gardner
November/27/2007
@ 9:34 am

As a syndicated cartoonist, you HAVE national forum to express yourself.

But if you read much of what Scott writes – the topics all over the place. I don’t know how he could possibly use Dilbert as a vehicle for all those views. Dilbert became a success when Scott found that readers resonated with business/workplace humor. For Scott to use Dilbert to talk about issues of religion, The War, politics it would dilute his comic feature and he’d probably lose readers even faster.

And for the life of me, I donâ??t know how these guys have the time to blog!

Yet some of you nationally syndicated folks (not naming names) probably spend as much time visiting various cartooning blogs – but you seem to find time to crank out your comic strip. :)

Had he maintained a blog specific to Dilbert and business/work place humor and linked to a storefront to sell his books, coffee mugs, etc. I suspect it would have been an astounding success. What he found out is he portrayed his blog as the Dilbert blog (his brand) but presented eclectic writings that had nothing to do with his brand and it didn’t do well. That, I think, is the lesson stay true and focused on your brand.

#7 Mike Witmer
November/27/2007
@ 10:13 am

“As a syndicated cartoonist, you HAVE national forum to express yourself.”

I disagree to a point. Some things just can’t an be conveyed within the boundaries of a comic strip…and for obvious reasons. Scott is a cartooning icon and some folks are interested in what he says. Personally, I think a DAILY Dilbert blog is too much Adams if you ask me…lol.

#8 josh s.
November/27/2007
@ 10:38 am

Scott Adams is going to blog less? Oh, well, I’ll have to console myself with the comic strip, the comic collections, the books, the restaurant, the old TV show, the regular Dilbert website, the mugs, t-shirts, stuffed toys and signed lithographs.

#9 Lucas Turnbloom
November/27/2007
@ 11:03 am

â??As a syndicated cartoonist, you HAVE national forum to express yourself.â?

Ideally. But I guess it depends on what your strip is. And what kind of expression you’re looking for. Now, I love Dilbert, but it’s not the kind of strip that would allow Scott the same kind of expression Non Sequitur allows Wiley. Just my opinion.

But I agree, I donâ??t know how he had the time to do all that blogging!

#10 Garey Mckee
November/27/2007
@ 12:36 pm

As I said, I’m not knocking having a connection with your audience via the web, OR spending time on the web relating to your readers and piers no matter what website you happen to use (Ahem). However, if Scott’s writing on his blog was so different from what he is doing in Dilbert, what about maybe expanding some of the writing or characters to incorporate his voice. I believe that is how strips move forward.

#11 Garey Mckee
November/27/2007
@ 2:30 pm

Wow. I swear I know how to spell peers. Sorry about that.

#12 Rich Diesslin
November/27/2007
@ 2:58 pm

Actually to be truly great he should keep the blog and do more to show a terrible and melancholy side of himself. Then get the Schulz biographer to tell us how his tortured life is the only reason Dilbert was successful. BTW – Dawn, you crack me up! !!! Alan, your point about branding … spot on.

#13 Garey Mckee
November/27/2007
@ 3:14 pm

Dawn, trust me. Police cartoonists get in even MORE trouble when they try to do just what that article suggested. I wrote a strip about a police sketch artist being fired for racial profiling. The higher echelons of any police department would be sent into spasmatic fits if the type of caricature or exxageration described there were to be used in trying to catch a POS.

Sorry, off topic.

#14 Dawn Douglass
November/27/2007
@ 5:17 pm

Interesting point, Garey. I wouldn’t have thought of that, but I’m sure you’re right.

There was a story just this past week about the police passing around a sketch. Part of the description was that he was hispanic. There was a big uproar about how they were “profiling” the suspect. I kid you not!

#15 Alex Hallatt
November/28/2007
@ 1:59 am

The most interesting point to me was that the advertisement revenue he got from the blog was “trivial”. Many of us are trying to work out how to make the internet pay when users expect content for free. If even the Dilbert blog, which gets hundreds of hits a day, can’t make it pay, how can the comics? The obvious thing from his post was that he shouldn’t have an RSS feed on there. Perhaps the adverts could have been within the posts, rather than on the periphery of the site.

I subscribed to the feed and I have to say, I was reading it less than daily. Maybe now that he isn’t forcing it he can maintain the quality of earlier posts rather than being the blog equivalent of a radio shock jock.

#16 spudart
November/28/2007
@ 10:10 am

Yeah, when you make a bajillion dollars a year in licensing, of course having a blog won’t generate the huge amount of revenue one is used to getting. I suspect many people would have been happy with the amount of revenue generated from the ads on his site.

#17 Scott Metzger
November/28/2007
@ 2:57 pm

Spudart, I suspect the same thing. As for the money being “trivial,” it’s all about what you’re comparing it to.

#18 Mike Rhode
November/28/2007
@ 5:19 pm

Judging from the two articles that I’ve seen lately, I suspect that the restaurant business is proving more challenging than expected and is eating up what was previously blogging time. The NYTimes article, the better of the two, is here – http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/11/business/11dilbert.html?ex=1352437200&en=aef1a23e6fbd90dc&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

#19 Garey Mckee
November/28/2007
@ 5:53 pm

Offhand I’d say that the internet can be a great tool for marketing and promoting awareness of a product. But to actually generate substantial revenue with an internet venture is rare. That dot.com bubble burst years ago.

#20 Eric Burke
November/28/2007
@ 9:03 pm

While I have much respect for what Scott Adams has accomplished with Dilbert, I’ve never been a fan and could care less if he pulled a Waterson and disappeared from comics all together. His bloggng less is news worthy?

Who cares! His readers would probably get the hint when they notice that he’s not updating as frequently. I think they’d survive ok without his blogging blather, don’t you?

And with the incredible success that he’s enjoyed with syndication and the merchandising, you’d think he would blog just to keep touch with his fans, as a bit of a thank you for supporting Dilbert.

Does everything have to be about the bottomline?

#21 Malc McGookin
November/28/2007
@ 9:48 pm

Eric, I suspect with Adams everything IS about the bottom line. He admits that he blogged this long merely to get a book’s worth of material and to raise ad revenue.
I stopped being interested in his blog a while back, especially after it became obvious he would propound any theory as long as he could write 200 words on it.

Adams is a funny guy, but he’s running on fumes now, and that’s not exhausting for your funny muscles

#22 Malc McGookin
November/28/2007
@ 9:48 pm

Eric, I suspect with Adams everything IS about the bottom line. He admits that he blogged this long merely to get a book’s worth of material and to raise ad revenue.
I stopped being interested in his blog a while back, especially after it became obvious he would propound any theory as long as he could write 200 words on it.

Adams is a funny guy, but he’s running on fumes now, and that’s exhausting for your funny muscles

#23 Malc McGookin
November/28/2007
@ 9:49 pm

I accidentally posted twice. Read the bottom one.

#24 Mike S
November/29/2007
@ 6:14 am

“While I have much respect for what Scott Adams has accomplished with Dilbert, Iâ??ve never been a fan and could care less if he pulled a Waterson and disappeared from comics all together. His bloggng less is news worthy?

Who cares! His readers would probably get the hint when they notice that heâ??s not updating as frequently. I think theyâ??d survive ok without his blogging blather, donâ??t you?

And with the incredible success that heâ??s enjoyed with syndication and the merchandising, youâ??d think he would blog just to keep touch with his fans, as a bit of a thank you for supporting Dilbert.

Does everything have to be about the bottomline?”

Eric, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

#25 Mike Rhode
November/29/2007
@ 6:06 pm

Here’s another article about the restaurant – ‘Dilbert’ creator Scott Adams finds himself back in workplace trenches
By Susan Young, STAFF WRITER
Article Last Updated: 11/29/2007 02:43:55 AM PST
http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_7588635?source=rss

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