Ruben Bolling, creator of Tom The Dancing Bug writes about an interesting spike in internet traffic to a couple of his cartoons in the last couple of days. The first was a tweet with link from Roger Ebert to a jpeg image (Ruben’s cartoon) – not the page (with advertising) hosted by the Village Voice. The second instance was another spike of traffic to another one of his cartoons, which unfortunately had been copied from Boing Boing (where TTDB is currently hosted) to another site which reaped the benefits of the high traffic.
So for all the activity generated, not much happened to those who had a stake in it. The Village Voice hosted the Toy Story 3 comic, but they get nothing from traffic passing over a jpeg image. Boingboing.net hosted the Nate comic, but they got nothing from corporatecomplianceinsights.com’s apparent theft of the comic.
This world of marketing on the internet, which I’ve only just begun to dip my toe in, is wild. Sure, it’s fun to get all the attention, but if the name of the game is attracting traffic, it’s frustrating when you succeed in creating content that does so, but not to your sites. Something can blow up for 24 hours, then disappear completely, often leaving its creator bewildered and unsure if there was any benefit from it whatsoever.
I post this hoping for constructive discussion on what can be done to protect one’s work. The internet is indeed a wild arena which makes content theft trivial. For those of us who derive income from creating content – how can such incidents be decreased or turned into something positive? Please no web v. print smack talk. I’m sure the incidents described by Ruben are happening to the web guys as well.