Saturday, May 10, 2008

Anything I Write Here Will Sound Like a Lie

Remember, Blogger made this a little larger and blurred it up. See the real one at EntreCard.

A social networking site for blogs has set up a special program for web comics.

Any regular reader knows I am mostly anti-advertising, but I will experiment and I don't expect others to drop it just because I say it is unhelpful.

So I have been experimenting with EntreCard, at the invitation of the founder.

First and best, it's free. Also important: you design your own ad. Mine is above, and looks a little blurry due to something Blogger did to it. The real ones are slightly smaller.

The easiest way to describe it is as a two-step process: you trade business cards (like mine above) with other members. This builds points. Then you use those points to buy advertising featuring your image on blogs and sites you like.

I will let EntreCard's web site explain the overall deal.

When I said it was free, I was lying of course, because nothing is really free. You have to spend some time each day "campaigning" to make it work well. Not a lot, but more is better.

If you go to EntreCard's site now, you will see categories like history and technology, and now, web comics. Several of us have enrolled our comics, plus some wild dude from the Philippines has enrolled his head thinking his hair qualifies him as a web comic guy.

Here comes the real news, so I hope you haven't been scanning this like some sort of third rate widget catalog. EntreCard intends some sweeteners for web comics that are pretty appealing. They'll be coming soon.

Joining now and having good position when the sweeteners come may be wise. It takes moments to join and you can quit any time. I offer my word that these are people who are excited about web comics and are not sleaze bags, at least not the kind of sleaze bags you are given to sleep in at scout camp.

So what will this do for your readership? Well, we are running some experiments right now. I hope to report the results in roughly a week.

I am on my second test now, and I would say that unless you hate this kind of stuff or have travel plans coming up, if you want more readers then this is an opportunity.

I am excited by the numbers I am seeing, and the dwell time. Comics have great eye appeal, and people from other divisions of EntreCard will see your comic and if they like it, you may earn a subscriber. Then another, and another.

One last thing: this would be a good time to clean up your sites if you're going to try it. Get rid of useless widgets and tired text blocks. Make a 127 x 148 ad (see "Get Code" at the EntreCard site) and make it beautiful, with art from your comic. (You can always change it.)

I love comics. When I meet people like the EntreCard folks and they are excited about comics too, I see opportunity.

Special thanks to Rachel Keslensky from Blog of Last Resort and Last Resort (the comic) for all her invaluable help and insight on this project. She's a great person with tremendous knowledge, and a very fun comic.