The webcomics blog about webcomics

How The Hell Distracted Do I Have To Be To Forget A Title?

Hey, ever wonder why Wizard‘s online site is so much better (and webcomics-acknowledging) than the print magazine? It’s because there’s two guys that pretty much run it by themselves, and they like webcomics. In fact, they came to the Goats party on Saturday to tell some creators how much they like webcomics, and we had a cool talk about some creators that are deserving of wider attention. They’re also running a really embarassing photo of many of the partygoers.

Onwards. I can’t believe I missed it until now — a perhaps-misnamed discussion on Project Wonderful over at Comixpedia, part of the (inevitable?) backlash when something neat comes along that doesn’t work equally well for all people. It’s not the first set of complaints that I’ve seen that Project Wonderful isn’t enriching everybody who uses it.

One point that I think that’s been missed in the discussion (which has focused on the cost per ad on big vs. little sites) is that advertisers care about more than just the number of readers a site has — they care a great deal about which readers a site has:

  • Questionable Content taps into the emo/indie college kid niche, with a seemingly limitless appetite for t-shirts
  • Penny Arcade (they don’t use Project Wonderful, but bear with me) is read by a 95.5% male audience with clearly-defined age ranges
  • Fleen appeals to 100% of an audience consisting of Wizard online editors and Paul Southworth

Being able to reach not just a given number of eyeballs, but the right eyeballs, is what gives some of these sites what you might call premium pricing. If I want to pitch a new webcomic about women, for women, I’d be far better off using a PW button ad on Planet Karen than Penny Arcade, even if the prices were the same and I could get exponentially more impressions at PA.

The other point that I think has been somewhat overlooked is that a lot of people seem to be saying, PW is really neat, but it would work better for me if the following changes were made: Item 1…” So far, Ryan North has been very responsive about making improvements to the system, but that should not set your expectations. North has set out to accomplish certain things with PW, and Making everybody happy isn’t one of the things he can practically achieve, despite the fact that he’s the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.

Ultimately, the priorities for the system will be, should be, and can only be his own. Want to make money on PW? Have a site that appeals to an advertiser in terms of audience (quantity and quality). Want to use PW to advertise things? That costs money. Want changes to the system? If they happen — bonus. If not — oh, well.

That is along the lines of what I was trying to say. Certain sites, especially large ones, have clear advantages per impression.

The main impression I got regarding the Comixpedia discussion is that neither Ryan North nor the guy whose article was linked considered the article in question an attack on Project Wonderful, and nearly everybody else did…

Sorry about the photo, but thanks for the kind words! Believe it or not, that’s the better photo of the two I snapped.

Looking forward to the next 10-year anniversary shindig! (Heck, who am I kidding? I’m up for any reason to have a beer and talk webcomics.)

All the best,

– Rick
Online Editor,

The problem with this guy’s argument (and the reason he seems so perplexed by people’s bidding habits on PW) is the classic problem in economics: people do not act rationally.

For one thing, a lot more people have (presumably) HEARD of QC or PA than or whatever. So when they’re looking for sites to advertise on, I’m guessing it’s a lot more likely they’ll pick something they themselves have heard of.

Also I think in the case of my site, being at or near the top of the pageviews/impressions/traffic/whatever list on PW makes my site a lot more enticing to your average PW bidder as well. Gut logic would seem to indicate “well why would i bother advertising on a bunch of smaller sites when I could just put an ad up on the BIGGEST ONE?”

Economically these may not be correct decisions, but the human mind seldom works exactly as economy would seem to dictate.

WhatJeph said. I was trying to say that at comixpedia, butI actually was an econ major, so I guess I garbled it. The cost of finding a bunch of small sites is greaterthan just bidding on the one big one, especially when you aren’t awareof the price differential.

Everyone knows Paul Southworths everywhere love Fleen.

My thoughts thus far of Project Wonderful. So most people know that banner ads were a horrible mistake in the early 90s, they were over valued and a contributing factor of the dot com drop out. So what makes project wonderful different? Two things are immediately apparent. First, you bid on the ads, so its money up front, not based on click throughs. Second, and this is the important one, the demographic is not corporate but average folks (mostly with web comics). This is vanity advertising. People want to see their comic displayed on popular sites and will pay slightly rediculous prices.

Statistically, I am only looking at 0.25% to 0.5% of traffic click throughs. So if a page gets 5000 unique users a day, you are looking at about 12 to 25 people clicking your ads. If the site has less than 2000 unique users a day, the percentage drops again to somewhere in the 0.10% to 0.25% range. This is off the cuff observation so far from using the site for a little while, not collected and analysed data.

[…] “Hey, ever wonder why Wizard’s online site is so much better (and webcomics-acknowledging) than the print magazine? It’s because there’s two guys that pretty much run it by themselves, and they like webcomics.” – Gary Tyrrell […]

[…] been emailing back and forth with Rick Marshall since April or so; right after I met him, I wrote: Hey, ever wonder why Wizard’s online site is so much better (and webcomics-acknowledging) than […]

[…] in April, I wrote: Hey, ever wonder why Wizard’s online site is so much better (and webcomics-acknowledging) than […]

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