The webcomics blog about webcomics

Welcome Returns

  • Kickstarter’s back! That’s not the odd part, that sound of a million webcomickers sighing in relief. What’s odd is the progression I’m seeing on the TJ & Amal Omnibus, which I promised a prediction based on the Fleen Funding Formula (mark 2) today.

    I’ve been refining this thing through several revisions, and I think the current model based on the Kicktraq trend value at the 24 – 30 hour mark is as accurate as anything is going to be. I had to come up with the limitation that it’s not appropriate for low backer counts (under 200 in that 24 – 30 hour period, it just doesn’t work), and I think that TJ & Amal and another recent campaign are going to cause me to find some new limits.

    In the case of TJ & Amal, that’s a hell of a drop-off from day one to day two; granted, some of that is undoubtedly due to the Kickstarter outage yesterday, but still. In campaigns where the FFFmk2 has worked well, there’s a day two drop off that ranges from slight (ex: here and here) to about a third (ex: here or here). Where the dropoff is more severe, the formula doesn’t work well.

    Which brings us to TJ & Amal, where numbers have dropped heavily from day one (day two: barely 15% of day one) and new funding has essentially bottomed out. My thought process is as follows:

    • The TJ & Amal campaign launched as close to midnight EST, meaning day one was a full 24 hours. Had it launched later in the day, there may have been a more equitable division between the first two days; at 13 hours, it was at about U$29K, which would have made the day 1/day 2 split closer to 66%/33%. Still a steep drop, but not the 85%/15% split we saw.
    • But even that drop would have put this campaign at the outer band of confidence in the formula. I think we may have seen an unusually-strong early response, due to the limited nature of one of the rewards (creator EK Weaver is printing 750 copies of an epilogue for the strip; this likely provided an incentive for most everybody that might have backed gradually over the 30 day campaign to get in early and ensure they’d get a copy).
    • TJ & Amal doesn’t just have fans, it has superfans; my impression is that there aren’t any casual readers of this strip. It’s your absolute favorite, or you were never going to buy the collection anyway.

    Which I think is going to add another usability limitation on the FFFmk2: An excessive day two drop (let’s say more than 50%) will make it non-predictive. I suspect at this point that TJ & Amal will creep up slightly, maybe adding another US$10K to its present total of US$45K, but not cracking the range of US$175K +/- 35K that the math would have indicated.

    Then again, it may get a weird late bump and meet the predicated range after all, but what I’ll really need are another dozen or so campaigns that meet the 200 backer limit, have day 2 totals under 50% of day 1, and the classic Kickstarter bowl-shaped progress curve. I don’t know what I’m going to do with multi-peak campaigns¹, and other such strange curves.

    And as long as we’re on the topic, I’m not sure what to do with the Camp Weedonwantcha campaign: it launched just before the Kickstarter outage — no doubt affecting day 1 totals — and the day 2 totals are not likely to get above the 50% threshold. Then again, the Penny Arcade marketing machine has not yet been fully brought to bear, so while we could have another strange curve ahead of us, I think this one will be explained more by super-high tiers getting snapped up.

    As of this writing, Katie Rice has 10 (of 20 max) backers at the US$250 level, 5 (of 5 max) at the US$500 level, and 3 (of 5 max) at the US$1000 level. Fewer than 5% of her backers acted quickly to get those high-value rewards, and contributed a full 26% of her funding total; that skew can’t be maintained, which means I may need to add a consideration for super-high tiers to the formula. It’s getting tougher and tougher to come up with a single calculation to predict Kickstarter success, but hey — all of these projects met their goals several times over, and that’s something to celebrate right there.

  • Also something to celebrate? The long-awaited return of the Goats website, with strips running from November 2003 to April 2010, six and a half years of glorious madness rescued from the aether, missing only the story guide I penned for Jon Rosenberg about the time he bought my soul. And just in case you wonder if Goats is still relevant, given that the last of the 1100+ strips here is nearly five years old, I will point out that just last week I saw a Republicans for Voldemort bumper sticker in the wild.

    And remember: the appearance of this revived website — like unto the breaking of the seven seals the the blowing of the final trump — is the harbinger of a resurgence in the very finest of beer-driven webcomics². Five years of bouncing around the multiverse won’t have made the story that Rosenberg still wants to finish any less weird. The End Times are a’coming³, and we get to go along for the ride. Testify.

Spam of the day:

… I am the sales manager at ******* Marketing. I was just looking at your Fleen: Try Our Thick, Creamy Shakes » I Would Vote For History’s Greatest Villain¹ If She Could Break The Spine Of This Winter website and see that your site has the potential to get a lot of visitors.

Wow. Wow. That was just pathetic. Try again.

¹ See also: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which would have been predicated to hit US$32.5K +/- 6.5K, and actually achieved US$61K thanks to a last-week surge. Multi-peak campaigns play hell with the predictions.

² And in case you’re wondering where the black and white strips back to 1997 are, they’re still there at the Wayback Machine. Start here.

³ Okay, fine, The End Times were a’coming in the past and must have been successfully averted because check it out: we’re still here!, is that better? Rosenberg can still tell the story of how the end of the universe was resolved. Sheesh.

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