The webcomics blog about webcomics

On The Topic Of Webcartoonists And Webcartooning

It’s Day 2 of our Comixpedia Linkapalooza, as they release the 2006 edition of the People of Webcomics list; lotta movers, shakers, and Friends of Fleen over there, so be sure to read, digest, and commentate.

Speaking of traffic stats & business breakpoints (c.f.: last Friday’s post), an update:

I’ve gotten replies from more than a dozen creators either offering to participate or supplying information; that’s heartening, but it doesn’t get us to statistical significance. Given the wide range of experiences out there, we won’t really get any good numbers without a lot of responses, but I’m willing to allow for some wide variations in accuracy and run numbers with a modest-sized population, as long as we all acknowledge that smaller populations = less accurate results.

To that end, I’m setting 31 Jan 2007 as the deadline to decide if you want in on the survey or not. If you’re willing to participate, bug your fellow creators (it will be very helpful to get as many members of the pro- and semi-pro collectives as possible — I’m talking to you, Dumbrella, Blank Label, Dayfree, Keen*, Modern Tales family, and others too numerous to list). Email me (gary) at this website (that would be fleen dot com) to say if you want in.

If I have at least 100 respondents in the pool, I’ll send out the questions and give a week to ten days to respond. Right now, said questions are still in development, but they will include measures traffic (unique IPs per month, averaged over three months ending 2006, most likely), age of the webcomic, frequency of updates, income derived from subscription/donation/merchandise/ advertising/services, conversion rates, and anything else I can think of. Calculations will be done as quickly as possible.

All questions used will be disclosed here at Fleen, as will methods used, any assumptions that materially affect the outcome; raw data (minus identifying information) will be made available to anybody else that wants to run their own analyses. This is your chance to get a snapshot of what the business of webcomics looks like, but to get a lot you have to give a little. Think it over.

I think posting this during the holidays is going to cut down on immediate responses, and I think that you may have to do some active recruiting. (Just posting a call to action and waiting for it to go viral is a strategy that’s disappointed me too many times– and note that I’m talking about articles on Comixpedia or essays that got Slashdotted, so it’s not like nobody saw the requests.)

You can probably coax a hundred respondents in, but I don’t know how much of the upper end of the economic scale will be represented… top webcartoonists are choosier about the press they chase after, and some of them feel like they’ve been asked to participate in community activity after community activity with no end in sight.

(I, um, have probably helped wear their patience down over the last two years boosting things like OhNoRobot and Clickwheel. Sorry about that, chief.)

But then again, there’s not that huge a gap between the biggest and the second-biggest, some of which are compulsive helper-outers.

I’d recommend you use points of contact within those collectives– Crosby, Manley et al– and communicate with them about what you’re trying to accomplish. If you talk to, say, Sam Logan and then he talks to the other artists on Dayfree, that’s a lot more effective than you talking to Dayfree, the concept.

Good luck!

I AM TOTALLY A HELPER-OUTER.

I’ll run this by the locker room, Gary.

I’m working on an automated way for your (and anybody else) to gather this data by making a simple URL request to the server, and getting a parseable XML file in return. If you’re willing to be a guinea pig for the new, much more ambitious, WCN API, I’ll make the open stats part of it a priority. I’ll also provide you links to various scripts that can take the XML and turn it into database records and/or CSV files, if you want them in that format instead.

For Gary, anything.*

*As long as I do not have to break up a relationship or get arrested.

If my participation would be helpful, although I doubt it would be; almost noone reads my comic, I’m happy to give it.

Consider Boxcar in. I’ll run the survey by everyone and we’ll tear your whole fucking world apart.

[...] Creators! The deadline for being part of the statistical analysis project is 31 January; we’ve got about 30 responses, but we’ll need 100 or more to make it statistically significant. To recap: all raw data (minus site names/identifying details) will be made available, along with statistical methods. [...]

[...] Gary Okay, what with all the responses I got for what Chris Hastings (congrats on getting past those ‘bandwidth exceeded’ errors, Chris!) called the science fair project, 48 of you were willing to share data. Deadline was a touch over 10 hours ago, with only one contact since the 11th. [...]

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