Monday, June 15, 2009

Right or Wrong?

Let's review some things I write about and examine the trends:

Unified Design
This is about unifying the design of your site so people are as happy wandering into your store as they are reading your comic, though that's the ambition at its peak. It means not disrupting your design with clutter, and making everything serve a purpose. I'm for it.

Evidence I am right: Most comic sites ignore it, and fail to thrive.
Evidence I am wrong: Most comic sites ignore it and still survive.

I feel it peaked around January as growth collided with regression toward the mean, which is the tendency of the unique to drift toward the average over time.

Evidence I am wrong: All the people who were building empires of made-up followers have been steamrollered by apps that allow anyone to game the system.
Evidence I am right: Meaningful interactions with other users have become almost extinct.

I have no mercy for people who want your comic but not the trip to your site, so I'm OK with update feeds but think content feeds are destructive -- like buying a comic book without the cover.

Evidence I am right: Anecdotal reports suggest people who demand content feeds rarely buy anything or support sites in a meaningful way. Also, the way content feeds simply strip-mine the design of your site.
Evidence I am am wrong: Feed enthusiasm seems to be growing. We installed an update feed for one of our comics and it got 100 subscribers in a few days. Maybe polished web sites are hardbacks and phonecomics and feedcomics are pulps.

My belief that in the end, readers will choose quality over shameless shilling, back-scratching, log-rolling and hot air.

Evidence I am right: Not a lot, as it's clear one can be a jackass and hold mobs in thrall with weak material. Also, I'm in direct conflict with regression toward the mean, which in this case can be described as pressure toward mediocrity. I may be right in the long term, however: without the prop of the creator-jester, most rubbishy work is forgotten.
Evidence I am wrong: See above.

A fair number of "self-supporting" webcomic artists are not, and are actively deceiving readers, colleagues and themselves.

Evidence I am right: I'm right, this is a slam-dunk.
Evidence I am wrong: Not much. You can hear the air hissing from fakers who have been punctured. Meanwhile the ones who are doing well continue to go unrecognized by the striving, clawing, gimmick-a-day lot.