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Online pledge drives
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NatGertler
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2001 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an idea that I posted elsewhere to good response, and this forum seems to be a fertile ground for it:

From the reports I hear, when folks set up an online tip jar, they tend to see a fair amount of tipping during the first couple weeks, and then it fades away to nothing. This doesn't surprise me; I expect people who gave are likely to think "I've already given", and not think about renewing their contribution. Others don't want to tip a strip they just started reading, and by the time it's part of their lives, the tip jar is just part of the visual noise and the page design. (And others are just cheap SOBs, and there ain't no beating that!)

But what if you didn't have the tip jar out (at least not out front and visible) all the time? Instead, every third month you have the tip jar out for one week. Pledge drive time! The folks who already gave know its time to give again. The folks who didn't already give but find the strip worth it will be inspired to think about giving. The cheap SOBs... will still be cheap SOBs. You won't have to feel like a beggar all the time (just 1/13th of the time!) And people may not fully understand the tip jar concept, but pledge drives, they know about.

I think this could work. But then, it's all just theoretical for me; neither my Average Panther minicomics nor my random comics generator, One-Armed Carl are meant to be profit sources.

Thoughts?
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Max Leibman
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2001 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Y'know, when people start veering away from the begging, "tip jar" metaphor and towards a PBS, "publicly-funded" metaphor, I start to become more interested. (Valid as the tip jar may be in the real world -- a lot of my friends are Coffeehouse Musicians, and in the busy months they can make tens of dollars a week. Which isn't much, but it's a lot considering the majority of them are essentially just screwing around, having a good time and getting laid because they're "musicians.")

It occurs to me that some of my favorite shows are shows I've only ever seen on PBS (I've never seen Monty Python on TV except there, for instance, and ditto for Doctor Who). Moreover, the current #1 station for Adult Males Age 18-35 here in Omaha is a publicly-funded college station (or, it was. I believe it was sold. I'm not sure, though, I stopped listening a couple years ago when it switched from classy, underground Feddy-Jones-Band- and Dar-Williams alternative to being shit-sucking and commercial Limp-Bizkit- and Kid-Rock-alternative). And both run regular pledge drives throughout the year.

It occurs to me as interesting that nobody takes that terminology to the fullest extent; people keep comparing the tip jars to PBS and talking about things like pledge drives, but I have yet to hear anyone refer to such ventures as, "Publicly Funded Comics."

You could steal some of the "prestige" (such as it is) of PBS by usurping their image. Publicly-funded, as in, "This is your comic. It's you, the audience, that we do this for." That sort of presentation might earn you a better response in this beggars economy.

-Max Leibman
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rstevens
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2001 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

max, that's borderline brilliant.

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rcar
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2001 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the idea. Has anyone tried it? I might if I get the gumption.
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rstevens
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2001 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i might be game. let mesleep on it.

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Max Leibman
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2001 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

max, that's borderline brilliant.


Thanks. I do my best for the Forum.

Of course, there's a fine [border]line between brilliance and lunacy...

-Max Leibman
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NatGertler
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2001 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Folks doing the pledge drive should probably make sure that it's clear how often the pledge drives are an how long they run. That way, visitors will know what they're getting, karmawise, for their donation -- 3 months of strips -- and they know they have to donate now, before the drive is over.
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Scott McCloud
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2001 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you gifts would be appropriate in that context.

Oooh! How about a marathon!! Chained to the drawing board/modem til I make my goal!
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NatGertler
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2001 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed. I think all should do thank-you gifts for certain levels of support. Of course, for higher levels you could just set your Cafe Press prices outrageously high! "For $50 plus postage, you get this t-shirt!" Maybe even have designs only available during the pledge drive.

But at lower price levels, I think every cartoonist should do an 8-panel strip about why Scott isn't Neil Gaiman.
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NatGertler
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2001 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Oooh! How about a marathon!! Chained to the drawing board/modem til I make my goal!"

Comics fans are too nefarious for that, Scott. We'd ENJOY knowing you were chained to the drawing board/modem. It would be a disincentive.

How about this: you set the amount of money you have to raise, and then you sit there with a hundred-page graphic novel you just drew but have yet to dialog. For every minute that you don't reach your goal, Winter dialogs a panel instead of you.
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glych
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2001 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, here's an idea-

At the end of the pledge week

It's pledge time again! For the next 72 hours I will attempt to stay up and do the "24 hour comic idea" in that time, this is my team, writer, colorist, and me, the artist.... For every hour that we see nada, nada get's done....

We will be on the internet (here's my aim and msn messenger to talk to us and tell us why you're helping or not helping) we will ost the best, and for you folks who pledge more that $15 (remember folks, this is a micropayment system) you get the addy for our webcam! To see us working! If you pledge more than $30 you get this t-shirt, for comic pledge 2001, and more that $45 get's a copy of the 24hour comic! if you pledge more than $100, you get the originals and if you're one of several to pledge that ammount you get to split the originals! but the person who pledges the most get's the most...so start them's clickin's!

-glych

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Doc MacDougal
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2001 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reference to PBS begs the question of whether there's a Corporation for Public Broadcasting in this analogy.

Doc.
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Max Leibman
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2001 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reference to PBS begs the question of whether there's a Corporation for Public Broadcasting in this analogy.


I would say not necessarily, but ideas regarding cooperative efforts have been raised for every other payment idea discussed on this board, so it would certainly be possible.

Taking the, "These are your comics," bit I mentioned above a bit further, somebody could probably set up some sort of publicly funded collective. The distribution of members' comics, i.e. who gets premium space on the site, and who's buried at the bottom of the list (and possibly even which comics are present at all), is voted on by people who donate money. They could also be given a vote on site redesigns, features to axe, new features to be added, etc.

I don't think I'd belong to such a collective, but it would be an additional incentive that the public could be altered -- a real stake in what goes down at the site.

-Max Leibman
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NatGertler
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2001 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2001-06-26 12:59, rcar wrote:
I like the idea. Has anyone tried it? I might if I get the gumption.
Some cartoonist on Comicon was planning to try it, but I don't know if it ever happened.
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Hodad
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2001 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, the Corporation for Broadcasting won't fund anything unless there is a significant public interest, so I don't think they'll be funding any online comics anytime soon. As much as I love intelligently produced comics, it's very much a niche market.

You'd be better off trying to produce a documentary on online comics for public television or for PBS.org, which could be an interesting way to attract a new audience. Carve that niche into a broad channel.

As a person who has now "donated" to two online comics so far (and will donate to more in the future) I would like to be reminded every couple of months when it is time to "ante up" again.

One further innovation might be to register as a 501(C)3 at least for the purposes of producing the comic. That would make my $10 per year donation tax deductible. I have no idea of the feasibility of this scheme.

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John2two
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2001 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hodad, glad to have you with us. Welcome.

I feel like a jerk for responding this way to your first post, but...

Have you considered that some creators' primary motive of supporting themselves might be kinda at odds with 501(c) status?

John
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Hodad
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2001 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad to be here. I'm a freelance public radio producer, so I'm very curious about how to pay myself to do the work I do. It would seem there are parallels between the two completely different media.

In order to attract serious donations, you would also want donations to be tax deductible. If you have a small pool of faithful readers, you would probably need to increase the amount of the average donation.

One of my favorite public radio programs is Negativland's Over the Edge on KPFA. Until recently, I've only ever been able to hear them on tapes, never in any manner approaching live. Now, they're on the Web, and the question is, how much do I donate to truly match my enjoyment with the material I hear? And, how high is that figure compared to the cost I am willing to donate to a strip?

A person can't be a non-profit, but a person can run an organization as a non-profit. If there are public service goals (you're artists, and what better public service than any kind of art?) then there are ways to even get money out of it, perhaps.

I have a ton of thoughts on public radio model, for its own sake and for its application to web-comics' sake.

Thanks for listening... To the artists here whose strips I enjoy, thank you very much. The Negativland site is at http://www.negativland.com/ote_live/index.html and I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in sound collage.




[ This Message was edited by: Hodad on 2001-06-30 23:37 ]
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NatGertler
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2001 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luckily, I think the individual cartoonists aren't aiming for "serious" donations. Tax-deductibility is probably a much larger concern when you're looking for those $300 free-seats-to-the-opera public radio donations than when you want a $3 donation with which you get to read a free two-page story.

(As far as non-profit status, it doesn't seem reasonable to me to grant it to a single artist who is trying to support himself on his work. Perhaps if someone were to create a central comics-themed arts organization that took in donations and gave grants, that might reasonably qualify, but I really don't think we need non-profits in this at this time.)
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Max Leibman
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2001 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NatGetler wrote:
Perhaps if someone were to create a central comics-themed arts organization that took in donations and gave grants, that might reasonably qualify, but I really don't think we need non-profits in this at this time.


Very true. It seems it isn't hard to make a non-profit in an online venture these days. Many of the more popular online comics pull in high non-profits every month. Webtooning is quickly becoming one of the most nonprofitable ventures that one could engage in.

Enjoying semantics waaaaayyy too much today,

Max Leibman

[ This Message was edited by: Max Leibman on 2001-07-02 10:58 ]
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