A couple months ago I got a phone call from guys at Platinum studios asking if I would be interested in promoting the Comic Book Challenge. Most of you probably realize that our advertising tends to focus mainly on web comics so instead I asked if we could have an interview, thus I ended up getting Scott Rosenberg on the phone for a good hour. There was no reason why that wasn’t going to be the end of the conversation, but after the interview Scott and the rest of his company gathered together to pepper me with questions about web comics.
What was going on? A major comic company was actually interested in what someone in web comics had to say? The biggest piece of news that came out of it was just annouced in the NY Times on Monday. Platinum Studios has acquired DrunkDuck and plans to release all it’s print works through the web first. If didn’t know this little tidbit of information already you’re probably having the same reaction I was happening, a couple minutes of silence followed by someone asking if I’m still there. As if I would hang up. What does this mean though?
The initial impact is what Dylan Squires would call a huge influx of cash into his struggling hosting site. The site has had so many problems that chances are you stopped paying attention, not to mention the site was about as maintainable as holding water in a paper towel. With the article coming out of the NY Times, yes the Times wrote an article that props of web comics, everything was annouced. There is going to be a major overhaul of the hosting site with the most important part being the addition of dedicate servers. I was surprised they didn’t have them in the first place considering it’s hosting over 2000 web comics. What’s more the plan on adding better tools, better reporting, larger space, email for the creators, and ways for the popular webcomics to generate some revenue for their creators.
All this was discussed and more. Personally I said the above was required for them to even be players in our little world. Comic Genesis and Webcomics Nation are already doing the same and are pretty much at the top of the hosting areana. The question is what more can they do? Let us expand on the question of revenue. How much would you hate to now have DrunkDuck comics covered in ads from Platinum? My suggestion was to offer several advertising models including one without any at all, considering just how much readers hate to find their favorite comic taken over. What about merchandising and print books? Well you’ll have to wait here about the former but the later I have few remarks I plan on sharing.
My biggest suggestion was in order for them to really compete they need to leverage they’re print side into the web medium. In other words they should offer a clear path from producing a web comic to relase it in print. Basically taking a look at 01Comics, ComicXpress, and Lulu and doing it right. If DrunkDuck is already hosting 25% of webcomcis how many more will flock to their banner knowing they can easily produce a book, especially since everyone wants to own what they love? When version 2.0 is relased later today I’m sure there is going to be a flood of news around it.
The question I fill compelled to ask is what does this mean for the rest of us? This article is already too long so I’l wait a day and post another article.
I was wondering when you’d comment, seeing as how you’re mentioned in the article as well. As you probably know, the whole deal has drawn the ire of the current webcomic lords, (PvP, today’s Penny Arcade) — But I think a lot of the article has been twisted around a bit. I know Platinum’s New Media office which includes Dylan, have TONS more plans for Drunk Duck then the 90/10 split thing everyone seems to be upset about.
I’m not going to blindly cheerlead for Platinum, I don’t want it to seem that way, but I CAN offer a little insight into actually WORKING with them and maybe a peek into how Platinum would utilize Drunk Duck. Worried about the ads on Duck? Well, what if they are just banner ads for one of Platinum’s owned comic properties? First you’ll likely see some pimping for Cowboys And Aliens… then my Hero By Night prequel webcomic will be launching on the Duck. I imagine when it comes time to order the books up, you might see some jazzy ads for the book series or reminding people to order, etc.
I just suggested to the New Media president yesterday, a plan I had for PVcomics.com and my own site that I could never do by myself, that maybe they should allow ALL the creators at DUCK to sell through links on their own pages, Platinum’s books, including Duck merchandise, club memberships, and if that specific person’s affiliate link brought the sales, give them a cut of the action even if it wasn’t THEIR project. Suddenly, that 90/10 thing on that end wouldnt seem that bad, would it?? People selling Amazon books are only making 4% on selling books through links on their sites. Example… you’re reading BIRD AND WORM on Drunk Duck– the creator of the site links with his special link, to the fact that the Cowboys and Aliens book is for sale and mentions the coloring on it is fantastic– if someone buys the book through his link, he might get 10% of that. Again, that’s not anything I know they are doing, just something I suggested. I was going to do the same thing with my Yirmumah books allowing ANYONE to sell them on their site and make 50cents a pop just like a store would make, so in essence my readers become online retail outlets for my books by showing the little cover graphic in their sidebars. Make sense? I’m rambling.
I just wish people would give it a shot before hanging it over one article in the Times. Drunk 2.0 launches today, and I think Dylan is being interviewed on the Gigcast. Daku, you should maybe organize an in depth interview with someone from Platinum to clear up a lot of people’s worries or put the questions to the source.
I agree we should wait and see what’s going to happen. I just checked Drunk Duck and 2.0 hasn’t gone live yet.
My only concern is how easy will it be for creators to leave for greener (or atleast more suiting to their tastes) pastuers. If comic artists can pack up and take their strip and archieve with them at the drop of a hat then this whole thing doesn’t bother me. If they can’t, then I cringe a lot.
If one of the articles has said something about this issue and I just missed it, I apologies for beating a dead horse.
Assuming they can leave relitively easily, than I don’t see the harm. Best case scenario, it revolutionizes the industry. Worse case, Drunk Duck goes under with all currently hosted strips scurrying off before it sinks and swiming to another host.
It’s all going to start happening for you guys.
I’m really excited.