Wowie (not so much)

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Wowie (not so much)

Postby Drowemos on Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:30 am

Ok I need to talk something out. December 28 2007 I got a letter from Mike Miller of Wowie reminding me that the deadline was fast approaching. Seeing that I had never heard of any deadline I sent him back a letter asking what the heck he was talking about.

Well it turns out that Wowie was cutting its compensation in half to creators. Instead of 50 cents per download, in the new year creators would only get 25 cents. I had less than 2 day to sign up for the old better rate.

Well my collaborator was on vacation and I had no time to review the contract and nothing to publish at that point so there was no way to I could sign a contract at that point.

Well now it is the New Year and Mike just sent me the new contract with lower rate. And it just burns me. The fact that I am getting half of what other creator are getting for the simple reason of not being willing to be railroaded just drives me up the wall. Because my comic still needed some work I am being punished.

I just can’t get around my anger about this. It goes against everything I believe about webcomics. That all comics are equal and that new comics are not less important or valuable than the old guard. Any comic that is started up today will be penalized when they go to Wowie.

I know my anger is a bit irrational but I just can’t get around it. The way this was done was crappy and the general principal is crappy. The fact that there is no way to EVER get out from under the crap rate and at the same time the old guard has their better rate FOREVER literally has me in a foaming tantrum when I think about it.

Someone please talk me down. I can tell this is my Egalitarian rage that has gotten me in trouble before. I just seems so wrong.
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Postby Rkolter on Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:24 am

I really can't stand people who won't take responsibility for their choices.

You got information that a rate was changing, given to you by a company you weren't contracted with, but that you obviously had expressed an interest in at some point in the past.

You didn't prepare to take advantage of the contract when it was 50 cents a download, and when you were given one last chance to sign on at that rate, you decided your work was not ready at that time, and decided not to sign on at the higher rate.

Now, they still would like you to sign on, at 25 cents a download, and you're complaining that people who were better prepared than you and signed on earlier are getting a better rate?

If you do not like a company's business practices, you are free to not sign up with them. Unless you still want that money. In which case, suck it up and quit whining, because you are choosing to accept their contract despite all this.
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Postby Drowemos on Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:01 am

You have a point. It was my choice to not sign up. The last minute notification had a oder to it. It was probably an honest mistake but still I was not going to sign anything with that little time.

And the business practice of giving a permanent higher rate does bother me a lot.

If I am to take responsibility for my actions and stand by my belief I can not sign up with Wowie.

It's just I was developing content for Wowie. It was up until this point part of my bussiness plan. Now because of practices that are unprofessional I can not use them. Hopefully a competitor of Wowie will come along soon and I can sign up with them.
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Postby Rkolter on Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:08 am

Not even an honest mistake really - you had no contract with them, they truely were under no obligation to notify you of anything. They have no way to know that you're actually developing content for them as opposed to the probably hundreds of people who say, "Oh, this is neat! I'd love to sign up, let me get some stuff ready" and then never do a thing.

The fact that someone took the time to notify you was a courtesy, not a mistake for not notifying you sooner.

I'd take all this as a real life lesson - Do not do work for a company without a signed contract. In businesses, friendly communication is all fine and good, but it is a contract that defines your relationship.
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Postby Starline on Wed Feb 20, 2008 9:52 am

You could have easily signed the contract and told them that you still had to develop the content. That's what I had to do, because most of my early comics weren't at publishing quality. So I got the 50 cent rate, and I can take my time and develop my content the way I wanted to.

Sorry, Wowio isn't at fault here. Instead of huffing and puffing about it, you could still take advantage that a company is offering to pay you for digitial downloads. It may not be as much as you originally wanted, but its still something. And you can use their system until something better comes along.
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Postby McDuffies on Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:29 am

Wow, you make money from webcomics! Lucky you!
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Postby Drowemos on Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:37 am

I didn’t know you could do that. I didn’t know you could sign and not produce content. What’s the point then? Why the rush to sign? Could I have signed the contract and never produce anything? This is what I am talking about the whole thing has a weird smell to it.

Anyway I didn’t have time to read and understand the contract. I got screwed. Everyone who signs up after January 1 2008 gets screwed. It upsets me when I get screwed. Sort of why I ask people to talk me down. (You guys are not very good at that by the way. Never join a suicide hotline the carnage would be unparalleled)

Yea I guess I should have signed. Now I have accept a rate for which I know I am working twice as hard for every penny. Or hold out for something better. I don’t really need the money but it would help me change my business model which I have some moral dilemmas with.

It is really a contest between my indignation verse my conscience. Indignation is much louder right now.
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Postby Rkolter on Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:24 am

Wowie is a Business.

For whatever reason, they determined they could not continue to take people on at the 0.50 rate, but because they are good people (or maybe because they did not want to lose people) they did not want tor reduce the rate people who were already signed up were being paid at.

So, they set a deadline. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that they set this deadline far enough in advance that if you were keeping in contact with them, you'd have been aware of it. Someone noticed you hadn't signed up and sent you a last chance letter. That was a courtesy and entirely beyond anything they had to do.

You didn't follow up on the company and keep track of what they were doing; you should have. You did not read the contract (and do not say both "I didn't have time in those two days to read the contract" and "Wowie was part of my business plan" because you sound like a fool). If you had read the contract, it undoubtedly talks about when you have to begin submitting your work. And if it does not, that implies you do not have an immediate deadline for submitting your work.

You formulated a business plan based on a company you had no business contact with.

You did not make it a point to keep up on the goings-on of that company.

You did not read the contract when you were given it despite the contract being an important part of your busines plan.

You did not sign the contract despite knowing that it meant you would receive a lower rate.

Now, you are complaining that you were screwed, and that the company did something shady. There's no need to talk you down; you just need to grow up a little and realize you goofed, and learn from it.

:-?
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Postby Phact0rri on Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:31 am

sorry things got messed up. but what everyone is saying, chalk it up to a mistake. I'm sure that it will not be the last offer. your artwork is amazing.
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Postby Dutch! on Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:53 pm

Yup. You made a mistake and missed the opportunity. You were getting nothing for your comic before, you're still not getting anything for it now, but you COULD get 25c each page (if I'm reading that right) so you're doing better than most people out there.

You messed up, you missed out. There'd be people with no possible contracts in the short to medium term future who'd be reading this thinking 'hell, I wish I was in that position'.

I'm not one of them, but I've been around long enough to know that most people entertain the thoughts of proper publishing at some point. If you're good enough to be offered a deal once, if you work at it someone's likely to offer you another deal later.
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Postby Joel Fagin on Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:07 pm

I have wondered about this...

I love the idea of WOWIO but ad supported models are pretty dodgy sometimes. It's hard to make money from them. Clearly the market is still working itself out. Hopefully it'll settle out to be sustainable long term.

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Postby Rcmonroe on Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:40 pm

I understand being frustrated that you missed a good opportunity but I don't understand blaming WOWIO (not "Wowie", by the way).

You know, I wish I had started my webcomic 8 or 9 years ago when I would have been one out of a small handful rather than starting it two years ago so I could be one out of 10,000 (or whatever they say it is these days). I'm sure I'd be doing a lot better if I'd done that.

But I can't blame it on anyone else, only myself. And rather than dwell on the mistake I think it's best for me to just go on with what I'm doing and try to take advantages of new opportunities when they arise.
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Postby Drowemos on Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:41 pm

So we are agreed it was my mistake. Clearly I should have signed an unsolicited contract with a very short deadline with out fully understanding it or consulting my partner because he was on vacation. That's just good business sense.

Yes I guess am upset about the missed opportunity. There was no way I could have signed that contract. And because of that I lose out on a lot of money. People who happened to be on the right mailing list get to make twice what I do. No other reason.

It is just I got a letter today "Perhaps you will like this contract" from Wowio. Why the hell would I like a contract for half the money. Why would I be happy about the way things went down. I do not like this contract I like the old contract with time to read it.

It's like walking into a candy story the day after free candy day and the proprietor saying "aren't you lucky to get to pay for candy".

There is nothing to learn here. There is no way I could have changed my actions and acted responsibly. Things just went poorly.
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Postby Komiyan on Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:00 pm

It's not quite like that analogy, more like 'you dont get ten free candy bars now but you can have five instead cause we ran out'.
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Postby Rcmonroe on Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:46 pm

drowemos wrote:So we are agreed it was my mistake...etc. There is nothing to learn here.


I didn't even mention you; I said I made a mistake.

But there is something to learn. You can learn to move on and not dwell on things you can't do anything about.
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Postby McDuffies on Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:09 pm

Komiyan wrote:It's not quite like that analogy, more like 'you dont get ten free candy bars now but you can have five instead cause we ran out'.

Even his analogy says that he can't blame candy store owner for not giving free candy every day.
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Postby LibertyCabbage on Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:34 pm

...and if you had signed on initially at 50 cents and Wowio raised it to a dollar for the newcomers, you'd be angry, too. In waiting, you took a risk that the price could go up or down, and it went down. There's nothing you can do but try to learn from it and move on.
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Postby Deca on Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:19 pm

Well looking at their point of view they're probably taking a lot of new comic books and as a business they want to make the most profit and maybe the supply is reaching the demand. Lowering the rate is standard and since they have a monopoly on the artists and writers since their 25 cents per view service is a rare commodity at the moment. So business-wise they made a good decision to boost profits and be able to sign more artists and writers.

Still, it's a kick in the teeth for them to do it so abruptly. Half the money means you have to work twice as hard as the previous member. Now the question is what are other options that are available to you. Either you can take the deal or leave it. It's still a statistic that not many comics make enough money to even support the artists. But if you're confident that you don't really need the service or that you can live without it, drop the contract or else you'll loath the decision you made since you had the opportunity but it came at a bad time.

I, for one, am not too happy with Wowio because I'm Canadian and I can read the page. Their biggest problem is their limitations internationally. At any rate it's your call, it's the main deal with contracts they always change over time and you still have the power of decision. If they piss you off so much break the deal, that's what people do when they are given the short end of the stick.

Good luck! :D
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Postby Dr Neo Lao on Thu Feb 21, 2008 2:01 am

Maybe you can start a Union for webcomic creators? After all, that's the basis for unions - the people with the money want to pay less, the people who do the work want to be paid more.

With only the information available in this thread, I'd say that you made the "right" decision with the information that you had available to you at the time.

What has not been mentioned is how long you spent being wooed by Wowio or how long you spent "building your business" in anticipation of being picked up by Wowio. If you were looking to set up the 50cent deal for months and then suddenly you get the email about the 25cent deal and you've got a two-day deadline, then I'd drop everything else and read the damned contract. If you're not traveling interstate for a funeral or a wedding, there isn't much of an excuse to not do so.

If you stood to gain $1000 per month then there's nothing else more important - unless you were at a $50 an hour job for fifteen hours on both days. and even then, you'd still be able to spare an hour or two to read the contract and make a decision.

If the Wowio deal was $100 a month (or less) then who the hell cares if you're making $100 or $50? The difference isn't so much that it'll cripple you financially, it's that you're confusing the perceived value and the actual value of it.

In the situation as described, I'd drop the Wowio deal and look around to see if there's anything else available. However, I'm sure that there are many other factors that have not been mentioned.
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Postby Drowemos on Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:53 am

Other factors:

A) My parterner was unreachable (very ill). I would have had to sign the contract with out his consent.

B) The contract is confusing. It looked like I was giving up my intellectual property rights. I did read it but I did not understand it. I had to go to a lawyer friend to find out what the heck was going on. The lawyer friend was unavailable in those two days. (He was in Cancun the bastard.)

C) My site has a successful members section. It was unclear if this would be affected negatively by the contract. (again confusing contract)

D) The comic was having problems at the time. It was uncertain if it was going to continue. (See A The artist was very sick)

E) Consultation with the only other comic creator I could reach at the time said that he though Wowio was disreputable. And I could not argue with that given the way things were being done.

Over last month these factors were resolved but by then "So sorry to late". It is highly annoying.

As for Union in their letter Wowio mad it perfectly clear that they are successfully now and do not need my business.

I could probably convince:
The Wotch
Crossworlds
Sailor Sun
Angel of Saint Thomas
Cheer
Troop 37
Wayfarer’s Moon
A yet unname comic by Jimmy Brimstone

To join Wowio based on closes friendships I have with them.

Through friend of friends I could have influence over:
Misfile
Accidental Centaurs
Sins

I will not advice them to join in fact I will strongly counsel against Wowio to all these comics. However money is usually a stronger motivation that friendship. I could probably have a positive influence but I my negative effect would be much less.

None of this matters though. Wowio has a monopoly and really doesn't care anymore. They made it perfectly clear in there letter that they did not need my business so I should just take the rate offered. I am just tilting at windmills. I am partially at fault Wowio partially at fault but the upshot is I am stuck with a situation that just sucks.

My only real hope is a competitor of Wowio comes along. Then suddenly I will mater again. That's really the problem here. I hate being told I don't matter. It is a personal hot button that send me into an irrational rage.
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