Subscription Odd Jobs

Postby Screwball McGoo [gDC] on Wed Dec 05, 2001 1:31 am

I'm probably not technically or finanically sound enough to make legitimate comments on the matter, but my rule of thumb is to pay for as little as possible. When websites adopt premium pay services, I continue with the base offers. When websites go all-pay, I stop reading them.<P>Of course, I think the websites are doing much better.
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Postby Tim Broderick on Wed Dec 05, 2001 1:57 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Screwball McGoo [gDC]:
<B>I'm probably not technically or finanically sound enough to make legitimate comments on the matter, but my rule of thumb is to pay for as little as possible. When websites adopt premium pay services, I continue with the base offers. When websites go all-pay, I stop reading them.<P>Of course, I think the websites are doing much better. <P>
</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Ho! Ho! I don't blame you. But you've got to admit, that's a good-for-you but bad-for-me situation, since unless I can come up with some way to convince someone else to pay for the website and for my time, the strip will eventually cease, but you can always go onto another free strip. <P>You're of the demographic that may be looking, but not buying. And that doesn't work really well for any web site - subscription or advertising - since they want people who are willing to spend money. <P>I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, just that I understand - regrettably - you might be one of the readers I lose.<P>Regards, Tim Broderick <A HREF="http://oddjobs.keenspace.com" TARGET=_blank>http://oddjobs.keenspace.com</A>
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Postby Somebody Strange on Wed Dec 05, 2001 8:12 am

Tim --<P>when you say the current episode would be free, do you mean the Wednesday Dec 5 episode, or do you mean the episode "Something to Build Upon"?<P>--Strange/Dave
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Postby STrRedWolf on Wed Dec 05, 2001 9:18 am

I was thinking of this:<P>Previous "novels", such as Lost Child, would be behind the subscription wall. The current novel would be free.<P>There is a few "micropay" sites out there. One is VtechMedia. I'm experimenting with that site with the help of Tiffany Ross(Syke of Cyanthian Chronicles), manager of the "genworlds" community there.<P>So far, Scott McCloud's ideas are becoming true.<P>------------------
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Postby Layla on Wed Dec 05, 2001 9:20 am

Hmmm, tough call. I do pay via the "tip jar", but I'm aware that the problem with having it be voluntary is that most people don't pay.<P>(Aargh! Brief digression to whine: I stupidly stapled my index finger tonight making minicomics and it's REALLY HARD to type! See, when we go to a paperless world, I won't have to suffer like this for my art!)<P>I think that having only the most recent week be free is not a good way to attract new readers. I don't usually pass judgment on a new comic until I've sampled a number of pages. I liked the earlier suggestion of having each novel be free until it's done, and then charging for it.<P>Some suggestions:<P>You could offer only the current novel on the website, maybe along with a teaser for the earlier ones, and if people wanted to read them they could buy a CD or else buy password access to a place where they could download it.<P>Or maybe charge a small amount ($1 or $.50) for each reading of the previous novel ... but they have to pay again each time they read it.<P>I suppose that I prefer the idea of following the paper-book paradigm and paying a larger fee once so that you can reread the book as often as you like. But maybe that's just because I'm used to paper books and nobody's come up with an equally compelling solution for ebooks yet.<P>While the idea of a central subscription service sounds like a good one, it doesn't really meet my needs as a reader because I read very few comics regularly online (so far). I would rather pay by the comic than pay for a bunch that I don't read. I have seen a couple of similar "webscription" services for books and stories, but I haven't signed up because I would rather pay for the books I want rather than whatever books happen to be offered that month.<P>(It's kind of like the ever-popular "book of the month club" and I'm not in that, either.)<P>I would like to see whatever fee service you eventually settle on be roughly similar in cost to a purchased graphic novel. This would keep me happily coming back for more.<P>Oh! Here's another thought I just had. What if the first novel is offered for free, and the more recent ones are password-protected? This would give you a good hefty bite for people to sample. Then if they like the comic, they can go ahead and pay to keep reading. You would need some kind of password scheme so that continuing readers wouldn't get screwed ... maybe a monthly fee and a password that changes every month?<P>(Heh ... you could be mean and withhold the ending of the first GN! <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspace.com/forums/smile.gif"> )<P>(Edited to add: Oh, wait, you already suggested this in a previous post! Ahem, uh, good suggestion there, Tim! ::cough:: )<P>------------------
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Postby Tim Broderick on Wed Dec 05, 2001 10:03 am

It would be whatever the current episode of the current story is. <P>So, you would be able to come in on Wednesday and Thursday to read the current episode, then on Friday when the new cartoon goes up, Wednesday's cartoon goes behind the subscription wall with the rest. <P>What do you think?<P>Regards, Tim<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Somebody Strange:
<B>Tim --<P>when you say the current episode would be free, do you mean the Wednesday Dec 5 episode, or do you mean the episode "Something to Build Upon"?<P>--Strange/Dave</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>
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Postby Tim Broderick on Wed Dec 05, 2001 10:16 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by STrRedWolf:
<B>I was thinking of this:<P>Previous "novels", such as Lost Child, would be behind the subscription wall. The current novel would be free.
</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>That's a possibility too. I thought about that, because I'm in the middle of a long story and to suddenly drop a subscription service on someone could be pretty harsh. The other option I was considering was leaving a weeks' worth up at a time - three cartoons - which would encompass the reading patterns of a majority of my readers.<P><B> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>
There is a few "micropay" sites out there. One is VtechMedia. I'm experimenting with that site with the help of Tiffany Ross(Syke of Cyanthian Chronicles), manager of the "genworlds" community there.
</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>This is pretty compelling. In fact, my real wish would be to have a central site that would process passwords and handle payments.<P>In other words, you'd go to comicssubscribe.com, sign up to pay one low monthly fee, then get a password that you could use at any participating site. Each site's owner could decide how much free content to offer. Each month, based on logins, you would get a slice of the pie.<P>If someone could come up with something like that, it would be essentially a centralized micropayment system. In addition, the central site could act as a truely definitive portal.<P>If only I could write script... Everyone should feel free to steal this idea.<P>Regards, Tim
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Postby Somebody Strange on Wed Dec 05, 2001 10:41 am

I'll be frank -- I hate the idea of subscriptions. It's not that Odd Jobs isn't <i>worth</i> it, because God knows it <i>is</i>... but I know when you finished Lost Child, I went back and re-read it front to back. With an episodic subscription, I'd have to pay to read... and to be personal and blunt, I don't have spare money.<P>Like, ANY.<P>If you decide to do it, I'll totally respect that; you have to do what you have to do. But I honestly think it would be a hell of a lot harder for me to convince friends (potential new readers) to give it a shot if they only had a week's worth to look at.<P>--Strange/Dave<P><P>------------------
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Postby Tim Broderick on Wed Dec 05, 2001 11:48 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Somebody Strange:
<B>I'll be frank -- I hate the idea of subscriptions. It's not that Odd Jobs isn't <I>worth</I> it, because God knows it <I>is</I>... but I know when you finished Lost Child, I went back and re-read it front to back. With an episodic subscription, I'd have to pay to read... and to be personal and blunt, I don't have spare money.<P>Like, ANY.<P></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>God knows I can respect that too. <P>But consider this a couple of things (just because this discussion is still for free <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspace.com/forums/smile.gif"><P>- What if the subscription site had more than just Odd Jobs on it? What if it had a number of good, quality cartoons, maybe about 20-30? <P>Or<P>- What if just about every cartoon you read was password protected in the way I've described in my previous post? And you paid one low fee a month - say $3 a month, $30 a year - for one password that you could gain access to all the sites you want? Maybe with a cool feature like Warpkeen, where you could create your own page with your comics' favorites.
(EDIT: I'm going to ask Chris Crosby to join us - I really like this idea, and I'd to get his take on this one - especially considering that, while ad revenue will return, it will not be as robust as it once was.)<P>Would either of these entice you?<P>
<B> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>
But I honestly think it would be a hell of a lot harder for me to convince friends (potential new readers) to give it a shot if they only had a week's worth to look at.
</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Good point!
I'd leave Lost Child up as the free sample, and perhaps a certain number pages from the beginning of the current story, as a sample to help people decide. Kind of take advantage of the "browsing factor" most bookstores do.<P>Regards, Tim <p>[This message has been edited by Tim Broderick (edited 12-05-2001).]
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Postby Tim Broderick on Thu Dec 06, 2001 8:19 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Layla:
<B>Hmmm, tough call. I do pay via the "tip jar", but I'm aware that the problem with having it be voluntary is that most people don't pay.<P></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Actually, you're the only one who has used my
"tip jar." And thanks!<P><B> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><P>(Aargh! Brief digression to whine: I stupidly stapled my index finger tonight making minicomics and it's REALLY HARD to type! See, when we go to a paperless world, I won't have to suffer like this for my art!)<P></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>ow ow ow ow ow...<P><B> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><P>I think that having only the most recent week be free is not a good way to attract new readers. I don't usually pass judgment on a new comic until I've sampled a number of pages. I liked the earlier suggestion of having each novel be free until it's done, and then charging for it.<P></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>That's not a bad idea either. It's pretty much my general plan to have it free until done then taking it off the web and publishing. The trick is finding a publisher. If I can't do that, I might as well stick it behind a subscription wall. And actually, making it pay-per-view on the web this way wouldn't preclude me from also publishing in book form.<P><B> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><P>You could offer only the current novel on the website, maybe along with a teaser for the earlier ones, and if people wanted to read them they could buy a CD or else buy password access to a place where they could download it.<P>Or maybe charge a small amount ($1 or $.50) for each reading of the previous novel ... but they have to pay again each time they read it.<P></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Both interesting ideas, but both beyond my programming skills. I guess one of the problems is there aren't enough options out there where a creator can charge for content.<P><B> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>
I suppose that I prefer the idea of following the paper-book paradigm and paying a larger fee once so that you can reread the book as often as you like. But maybe that's just because I'm used to paper books and nobody's come up with an equally compelling solution for ebooks yet.<P></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Ultimately, paper rules right now. That may change sometime, but not radically until they make screens work like paper (light reflects off it, not eminates from it). They're working on it, but ....<P><B> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><P>While the idea of a central subscription service sounds like a good one, it doesn't really meet my needs as a reader because I read very few comics regularly online (so far). I would rather pay by the comic than pay for a bunch that I don't read. I have seen a couple of similar "webscription" services for books and stories, but I haven't signed up because I would rather pay for the books I want rather than whatever books happen to be offered that month.<P></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Yeah, that's problem. That's why I like the idea of a centralized service that allows anyone to join, and the comics revenue based on logins.
This way, it's not like you're buying a magazine, but more like a micropayment system, only centralized to beat the banking fees. SOMEONE PLEASE STEAL THIS IDEA!<P><B> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><P>Oh! Here's another thought I just had. What if the first novel is offered for free, and the more recent ones are password-protected? This would give you a good hefty bite for people to sample. Then if they like the comic, they can go ahead and pay to keep reading. You would need some kind of password scheme so that continuing readers wouldn't get screwed ... maybe a monthly fee and a password that changes every month?<P>(Heh ... you could be mean and withhold the ending of the first GN! <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspace.com/forums/smile.gif"> )<P>(Edited to add: Oh, wait, you already suggested this in a previous post! Ahem, uh, good suggestion there, Tim! ::cough:: )<P></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Ah, great minds. I think I will leave "Lost Child" up as a sample story, leave at least 10-20 pages of each subsequent story up as a teaser/browser (including the current story), plus the latest three pages of the current story. Plenty of free content, with a strong incentive to pay. <P>Thanks Layla! I value your opinion. <P>Regards, Tim Broderick <A HREF="http://oddjobs.keenspace.com" TARGET=_blank>http://oddjobs.keenspace.com</A> <P>
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Postby STrRedWolf on Fri Dec 07, 2001 10:01 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Tim Broderick:
<B> This is pretty compelling. In fact, my real wish would be to have a central site that would process passwords and handle payments.<P>In other words, you'd go to comicssubscribe.com, sign up to pay one low monthly fee, then get a password that you could use at any participating site. Each site's owner could decide how much free content to offer. Each month, based on logins, you would get a slice of the pie.<P>If someone could come up with something like that, it would be essentially a centralized micropayment system. In addition, the central site could act as a truely definitive portal.<P>If only I could write script... Everyone should feel free to steal this idea.
</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Actually, there's a partial solution -- KeenSpot Premium, which pops into mind (pay for content, no ads, exclusive content). Let me know if you're intrested, and I'll ask the policy makers (Nate/Gav/Chris/Terri).<P>------------------
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Postby Tim Broderick on Sat Dec 08, 2001 8:17 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by STrRedWolf:
<B> Actually, there's a partial solution -- KeenSpot Premium, which pops into mind (pay for content, no ads, exclusive content). Let me know if you're intrested, and I'll ask the policy makers (Nate/Gav/Chris/Terri).<P></B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Well, that would mean Odd Jobs becomes part of Keenspot, and Chris is pretty clear that he's not interested in long form graphic novels.<P>Thanks, though.<P>Regards, Tim Broderick <A HREF="http://oddjobs.keenspace.com" TARGET=_blank>http://oddjobs.keenspace.com</A> <P>
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Postby Russ on Sun Dec 23, 2001 9:32 am

More and more webcomics (e.g. PvP, Cool Cat Studio, Superosity) seem to be selling paper books. The webcomic then becomes a vehicle for readers to browse and get a feel for the comic to see if they want to buy the paper version. Of course it makes a big difference if the paper comic contains the same or different material from the website.<P>I'm more likely to spend money on a paper comic than a webcomic. Partly that's just due to habit and the ingrained feeling that stuff on the web is free... but partly that's because paper comics are genuinely nicer to read in many ways: the convenience of being able to carry a book and read it curled up in my favorite chair; the ability to easily show it to friends who visit; the much higher resolution which makes art look better (much better in some cases); no worries about download times or lost connections. And I think people tend to want some tangible physical product for their money.<P>If you charge per view, then that makes reading online even less attractive (since I can read a book I bought as many times as I like) (and there's possible trouble if someone has an unreliable connection or accidentally clicks "next" before they're done reading a page), but if you charge for general access to the site so one can reread as often as desired, then nothing prevents someone from simply giving their password to friends.<P>My problem with quickkeen/warpkeen/whatever is they just show the strips themselves; for me, visiting the site and seeing any daily blurb with the strip, or news, etc. is part of the webcomic experience.<P>Anyway, those are my thoughts on this stuff. I dunno what the answers are or where we're heading. <IMG SRC="http://www.keenspace.com/forums/smile.gif"><P>------------------
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