The webcomics blog about webcomics

Did Somebody Say That WOWIO Checks Are Going Out?

Mmmmmm … no. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite. A WOWIO “publisher” (that is, content provider) who wishes to remain anonymous received the following from Kristin Ellison, Editorial Director of WOWIO in response to a query as to when payment could be expected:

Unfortunately I don’t have any update on when payments will be going out. I hope to very soon and will be sending out an email to all the publishers when I do. As an apology and a thank you for your patience while we go through this transition, we will be paying an additional 5% late fee to active publishers (those with books currently on the site) and a 2.5% late fee to in-active publishers (those who have removed books from our site). We hope this will help illustrate our commitment to our publishing partners.

Our source adds:

For what that’s worth. (2.5%, apparently.)

Anybody else in receipt of communications from WOWIO regarding payment? Let us know what you’ve been told. While we’re waiting, more on from WOWIO’s payment woes from Van Jensen and Platinum’s Hero By Night debacle from Rich Johnston (links via √ā¬°Journalista!).

  • Speaking of 500 strips, Brooke Spangler of A Girl And Her Fed joins the august ranks of high-achievers. Even without the constant threat of vendetta visited upon my person, I really enjoy reading her stuff in the morning. Check out today’s celebratory strip, full of extra AAAAAAHHHHHH!
  • Via Danielle Corsetto:

    Just a quick reminder that MY FAVORITE WEBCOMIC KUKUBURI BY RAMON PEREZ returns today! Wooooo!

    Wooo, indeed. Go check it out.

Well now.. that’s a HUGE load of crap. DO they think they’re going to win back people by slapping them on the hand for daring to remove their books because they have NOT been paid for over three weeks now??
Excuse me … but someone needs to FIRE the person who thought that was a good idea.

Platinum went from quietly screwing over one or two creators, to now playing around with a whole bunch of people’s money. This is wrong, I hope they are all stopped and put out of business.

All these businesses do is raise a bunch of VC, then burn through it, hooking creators and making them think there’s something solid under it. And it’s been happening since 1999, and I’m sure it happened long before that.

Why would anyone want to get involved?

$93,000.

There OTTER be a law!

I think there are a whole bunch of them, actually.

As long as I remembered it was a mad grab for venture capital and not a way into the comics industry, I’d sign up too!

It’s NOT a way into the comics industry? Shit! I was hoping to get a nice shiny laminated official Comics Industry Membership Card.

Oh Chris! You make it sound like you joined WOWIO in 1995 and they helped you found Keenspot. WOWIO is what it is, and for everyone it was a paycheck, and today it’s a late paycheck, and six months from now it’ll be a promise of a paycheck. I just want you to get what is promised to you. The opposite has happened to me too many times. I’m gun-shy.

Understood. I’m not defending WOWIO’s late payments. I will follow WOWIO to the gates of Hell to collect what they promised us.

I’m just saying, MOST new companies are unsuccessful, whether they’re funded with millions in venture capital or $20,000 they’ve gathered from area dentists looking to invest.

Comics-related new companies, doubly so.

Comics-related new companies that pay Platinum Studios to acquire them for reasons beyond me, infinity so. [robot's head explodes]

Ohhh, they PAID Platinum Studios to aquire them! I’ve been wondering why on Earth a real company like Platinum would have even passing interest in buying Wowio.

Chris –
First you put all the debt in a box. Then you label the box “assets”. Then you sell shares in the box. Then you change the name of the company to “Enron”, and claim you actually went out of business ten years ago.

[...] “Unfortunately I don’t have any update on when payments will be going out. I hope to very soon and will be sending out an email to all the publishers when I do. As an apology and a thank you for your patience while we go through this transition, we will be paying an additional 5% late fee to active publishers (those with books currently on the site) and a 2.5% late fee to in-active publishers (those who have removed books from our site). We hope this will help illustrate our commitment to our publishing partners.” – Wowio editorial director Kristin Ellison [...]

It’s really not fair of WOWIO to punish artists for something that is WOWIO’s mistake, especially with cutting the extra cash for people who’ve removed their books. Bad move to artists, as well as bad publicity to their customers.

Hope that the issue is resolved ASAP.

[...] quarter 2008 (which ended in June, assuming they use a standard calendar). Their Editorial Director told a publisher that she didn’t know when fees would be going out, but to apologize for the delay, [...]

“$93,000″

We’re all happy you were able to participate in a pyramid scheme for most of the year and get almost 100k of someone else s money before the entire thing collapsed.

C’mon Scott – pyramid scheme isn’t fair here. It’s not like WOWIO was collecting it’s venture funding from widows and orphans.

And why begrudge Crosby making cash off of WOWIO’s seemingly spectacularly bad business plan (well either a bad plan or a badly executed one – it’s hard to tell without looking under the hood more). It’s not like Crosby did anything wrong and I’d rather creators collect badly spent venture funding than bars and party promoters.

If this article by Van Jensen is correct, the amount of money owed to WOWIO’s former owners depends upon its short term revenues.

It was pretty much a win-win for Platinum: Either WOWIO loses money and Platinum scavenges some unseen ancillary rights (and the ability to say “We published ‘Project Name’ by Mr. Now Famous Creator” at their next venture-capital/Hollywood pitch) for the cost of scuttling an acquisition, or WOWIO manages to start making money at which point Platinum pays the bare-minimum pittance.

I don’t think it was a pyramid scheme, just some short-sighted assholey capitalism buffered by bankruptcy laws.

First of all, Chris has a habit of publicly blurting out numbers and figures. It’s his thing, and I get it, but I find it unprofessional and off-putting. Maybe that’s just the way I was raised. You never discuss your salary with other adults.

2nd. 90k is a huge number. That’s 3 years of a teachers salary and more than most families make. The number, I feel, deserves a little respect. If you make that kind of money from something like Wowio good on you. Bank it, invest it, put a kid through college. Just don’t brag about it on forums.

Again, that’s just me. Maybe other people feel differently about it.

Another thing that bothers me is that 90k is someone’s money. That’s money Wowio spent to try to make their company work maybe. That’s a part of some investors lost revenue for the year. Right? I mean 90k just doesn’t come from nowhere.

I’ve been through this once with UGO. They were sending me checks that made me sick to my stomach because I had never gotten a check that big in my life for a month of doing nothing but having a website. It felt like every week I was benefiting from an accounting error.

I dunno why it makes me feel so uncomfortable. Maybe that’s why I’m not making 90k on pdfs this year. I like working with people to build things and exchange things at a reasonable rate. I’m not looking to work some system.

Wowio, from the beginning, felt like people trying to work some system and now everyone is just shitting their pants now that it’s not paying out. No shit, assholes. It’s been a house of cards from the git-go. What did you think?

I see people saying “That last Wowio check came just in time to pay some important bills.” Come on. Really? you’re banking your mortgage on Wowio?

I’m not buying it.

WOWIO was a legitimate business, not a pyramid scheme of any sort (it was the exact opposite, actually). The majority of our ebooks downloaded from WOWIO included three full-page advertisements (including a video commercial embedded into one of them) paid for by some of the largest businesses in the world, including EA Sports, Vonage, and Verizon Wireless. Verizon Wireless alone spends over $1 billion (with a B) annually on advertising, and they chose WOWIO as one of those ad venues.

It’s not the fault of any contracted publisher that WOWIO was not able to make their legitimate business plan work for them successfully, if that is indeed the case. We all did our level best to deliver our fans to their site, and spent a lot of time and effort (and ad money, in some cases) to do so. Our payment is far from “free money,” whatever anyone says.

Though the revenue numbers we generated from WOWIO were first made public by a WOWIO employee, not yours truly, I apologize for offending Mr. Kurtz’s delicate sensibilities. From now on I will make an attempt to limit the faxing of my tax returns solely to close-minded newspaper cartoonists who refuse to believe how successful I am.

The only thing I ever found fishy or strange was when I found out that Chris’s numbers WERE being shown around to other publishers to get them to sign up, including myself. I think it’s pretty lame to accuse Chris of bragging about numbers. I’ve never seen that, and on the contrary, in conversations i had with Chris, he always seemed bewildered at the level of downloads and success.. maybe Wowio didn’t anticipate that, and maybe webcomics help break Wowio’s piggy bank as well?

And to accuse people of being involved in a pyramid schemes, is really stretching, and probably insults an awful lot of independent creators who found a way to monetize their product without selling out. At the core of Wowio’s business model, it works… FREE BOOKS, and having high paying ads embedded on page one. That makes sense. And the research I did some time ago to find out where the money was coming from (before I signed up), the money paid to Wowio by Verizon or EA Sports was a DROP IN THE BUCKET to what they spend on ads.

I know it’s sickening to think that 90k is a drop in the bucket, because to many cartoonists who get by on 20k shitty day jobs, that’s like 5 years of living to them! But the reality is… 90k is a drop of shit in the corporate buckets. Which makes it even sadder that Platinum or Wowio can’t pay their creators.

As for people waiting to pay their bills, I did talk to one creator who is a publisher who pays his creators, and he wasn’t banking on living off of wowio, but when he signed the contract and tracked his earnings, he DID expect that money to actually show up, and when it didn’t it threw off his budget and he’s without his car now. Yeah, say Boo-hoo, or call them assholes all you want, but that’s the reality of this, people have contracts that aren’t being lived up to by the other end. How is that the creators fault?

Why should it surprise you that people spout off confidential information, DJ, that’s a Friday for you, right? You have no problem doing it yourself, why get on someone else’s ass about it?

Chris has publicly talked about his and Keenspot’s numbers for years. I watched him powerpoint their annual sales figures at a Comicon panel.

It doesn’t matter that people like EA has a that much money to throw to advertising. I understand that too. The problem is whether ads in free PDFs will give them any kind of a return on those ads. Which they won’t. So you won’t get repeat business and Wowio will start running out of advertisers fast. Which they did.

Wowio has been nothing but red-flags from the beginning. And from what we’re hearing checks started coming in later and later almost immediately. If you counted on them to pay your bills…I dunno. Doesn’t sound very sound to me.

I think there’s a big difference between announcing your personal salary (which I’ve NEVER done) and announcing the amount of ad revenue (or ad-related ebook revenue) generated by your company during a given period. That sort of thing isn’t limited solely to public companies traded on the stock market, and it’s much-appreciated information to certain folks studying the burgeoning, mysterious webcomics field.

That said, Keenspot hasn’t publicly announced any revenue figures for at least four years (as far as I’m aware). And WOWIO’s contract is with Blatant Comics, not Keenspot, despite what that PUBLISHERS WEEKLY article says. Blatant’s WOWIO figures were only released publicly because they had been previously announced by a since-fired WOWIO recruiter/editor and I was specifically asked for an update by multiple journalists covering this story.

So to state that I regularly go around publicly “bragging” about my revenue figures is a bit laughable. It’s from the “My Pet Peeves About Chris Crosby” list that Mr. Kurtz likes to drag out every once in awhile for old times’ sake.

VISIT SUPEROSITY.COM FOR ALL YOUR COMIC STRIP ENTERTAINMENT NEEDS

God, Chris. I haven’t talked or even given two shits about what you’re doing for years. It’s hardly a return to the old days of 1998-2001.

God, Chris. I haven’t talked about, let alone given two shits, about anything you’ve been doing in years. This is hardly a return to the glory days of 1998-2001.

Um… scroll up?

LOL

Don’t you have better things to do then troll around shitting on people left and right or putting on your “holier than thou” cap? Maybe go play a video game or something, chief.

I only expose confidential information when it’s for no good sonsabitches up to things. The reason it surprised me about them using Chris’s stats, because in light of everything coming out, it made me think maybe there was something more going on or that was being done on purpose to rope in more webcomic creators even though they knew it wasn’t going to hold or be the norm. But I don’t think there was anything diabolical going on now. You’re right, people leak confidential information all the time. I guess it matters as to why you’re doing it… to make a profit, or to expose the truth or raise a red flag.

Whatever DJ. You exposed confidential information for the same reason everyone else did: personal benefit.

You’re the one acting holier than thou. I guess we’re all supposed to forget that you were a die-hard cheerleader that slime-factory now that you’re an “activist.”

suck it.

Here’s seriously hoping that one day, for whatever reason, you actually can grow up just in the slightest, and that maybe some day you’ll have some semblance of actual responsibility in life. With these kind of posts, you’re just wasting it and making yourself look like a tool. Keep on digging!

If I dig long enough will I reach you, DJ?

Whatever. You act as if the 10 seconds it takes me to come here and post is some indication that I got nothing else going on in my life.

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