I was hoping this episode about monetizing webomics would've produced some concrete numbers, like banner ad earnings per view, minimum views per day, etc, but those are things people tend to keep to themselves(understandably) so it's RARE to find solid numbers anywhere. Yahoo finance reported a statistical breakdown of 10 youtube content creators who made six figures on BANNER AD REVENUE ALONE(maybe The Duck should become the next "youtube" of webcomics with a similar ad revenue sharing system, or maybe not since youtube itself continues to lose embarassingly large sums of money each year):
James' convention anecdotes were both interesting and horrifying. Drawing 200 to 250 sketch cards at a convention over one weekend IS INSANE, that's like 10 cards per hour, 1 card sketched every 6 minutes. Good money but YIKES! I saw a guy sketch 100 cards live on ustream for 24 hours straight and it hurt just watching him. Not surprised to hear that people prefer buying sketches of established recognizable characters like Batman, Batman, and more Batman, instead of original material, especially in a bad economy. That phenomenon isn't exclusive to comics. But I'm like Ozone, I want original content.
And I want Batman too of course.
But how do we get people to buy original content? James has some interesting sales tactics: insulting customers, reverse psychology, catering to the masses by drawing Batman villains as a gateway drug to his work. Personally I'm much more comfortable browsing merchandise without the seller pressuring me into a purchase, so any kind of sales tactic would likely alienate me no matter how well it was delivered. Generally I buy based on quality of work, not how friendly the person is, but an unfriendly person could turn me off from buying excellent work, and a really friendly person could earn a sympathy purchase. It's awkward to walk away from a table empty handed after you've had a really nice chat after all.
James mentioned that you have to sell yourself as much as the work, but I wonder how, and what part of him he sold to push sales.
Overall, I thought the discussion for this episode was solid, but familiar. Making money, especially on the web, is a subject that has been covered to death, so it's hard to offer something new in this area that hasn't already been discussed, but a stronger emphasis on numbers, anecdotes, and tactics specific to the people and contributors on the show would've made it unique. Having a special guest on this episode helped keep it fresh and interesting tho.
Also, skoolmunkee must've had a sip of that Australian water, she played comedian to ozoneocean's straight man. Holy role reversal Batman!