Monday, December 22, 2008

ComicSpace's Webcomicsworld Leaves Me Doubtful

I'm a skeptic on Webcomicsworld , the advertising initiative recently launched under the ComicSpace name.

Here's why:

  • There is no visible substance beyond the veneer. We have only a list of affiliate sites, obviously lined up for the purpose of portfolio padding;
  • The rules are big corpo, with a touch of sleaze: while making remarks about how close he is to webcomics, Joey Manley is encouraging phone calls from all, only to tell most that the threshold is currently 200,000 visits/month (about 6777/day). This self-interested wasting of other people's time is a theme;
  • The reason offered for not signing up smaller accounts? Lacking the resources to cut checks for more affiliates.  That's right out of the used-car dealer manual -- make it sound like you're too busy handing out money to accept more clients, and business will explode;
  • A properly designed system would go through PayPal anyway, suggesting this is a rinky-dink foray;
  • The principals: Joey Manley and Josh Roberts, are old school webcomic. They're cynical, self-interested, uncommunicative and unembarrassed not to deliver on promises. It's an ethos where being first and being entrenched matters more than quality;
  • Josh's derelict management of Comixpedia since it came under his care, and his ability to respond to inquires about it's decay, doesn't inspire trust;
  • Both men answer to bosses who don't care about webcomics. They are willing to be minions  and put a comic-friendly face on the enterprise, in exchange for a paycheck. You're buying in on an implicit promise that you're dealing with comics guys, but what you are dealing with is executives who know the importance of sending in comics guys as lures. It's like ADSDAQ with a false front;
  • There has been no media communication about progress with the new ComicSpace, except for a badly designed "home page." I assumed the slapdash hiring process put them through a few squads of programmers, slowing it down, but the silence has erased them from the routine experience of most webcomickers and set their new site up for failure if it doesn't deliver something way more imaginative than Manley's original wish list;
  • Their existing sites are neglected, slow and obsolete;
  • I've found them silent and curt, quite willing to squander an ample inventory of good will. These are not people who practice building personal relationships. 
I'd like to see this work out, and for people to report good success. I would not like to see it gorge on the low-hanging fruit because of check-cutting burdens. Nonetheless, I expect a lazy, somewhat duplicitous performance, just when many are vulnerable from the withdrawal of ADSDAQ from webcomics.
Whatever you do, don't sign anything. This looks and smells like Duck L'Orange.