in the book: Where we discuss the future of WDC

on: 2016-03-22 01:37:23

Xrott: Dear Tyler,
As you know, I've been trying to get involved with this site for a long time now and for whatever reason we never seemed to be able to come together. But never before was the site in a more critical state as it is now.

A lot of great artists have left the site a long time ago and the userbase is at its bare minimum.

As one last effort to get me working on this site, I want to buy this site from you.

There is just the one little problem that, if something goes wrong, I'm not really in a position where I could afford to maintain this site for very long.

So, as a safety net to keep the site up for as long as possible, here is my proposal:

First we both agree on the value of what the site in its current state is worth.
I will then start on working on the site and try as best as I can to make it self-sustaining and profitable, while we keep everything running under your name and you continue to pay for hosting and everything else as you already would without our agreement. Every expense you make, we write down and add it to our sum that I owe you.
Meanwhile, as I maintain the site, you will keep every bit of money I make along the way, until we reach our agreed amount plus all the expenses we've written down.
If we also make every recurring expense one month in advance, the only way I'll be able to pay you everything back is when the site is self-sustaining and I won't need the safety net anymore.

If, for some reason, I can absolutely not make the site profitable, I will give up any rights to the site, you can keep all the money I made up to that point and, since you said yourself that the site is under version-control, you can revert any change that I made.

And even when I manage to pay you everything, I will promise you that I won't shut you out of the site and that I'll listen to any concerns you may have. I also promise that I won't remove your name from the site and I will give you all the free advertisement that you want, forever.

You see, with this proposal, we both have nothing to loose and the site has only to gain. I really hope it doesn't sound too absurd to you.

If you want to, and to make me prove that I'm serious about this, I can even pay you a couple of hundreds in advance.

And I realize that it's probably a bit weird to make such an agreement with a complete stranger, so I'll answer any question you might have about me.

Anyway, as I've already said, the site is pretty much in a critical state right now. It was already looking bad when I made my other offers to help a little while back. If nothing happens soon, this site will be dead for sure.

So please, I beg you, let us come to an agreement and get this site back on the road.

Thank you for your time and let's discuss this,
Daniel Gr├╝nwald
Xrott: For everyone else:

What are your opinions on what I am suggesting?
Do you have some questions for me?
bookinbear: I don't personally know anything about the logistics required to run a website, so I'll keep my questions to what this proposal would mean for existing users like myself...

I'm guessing that the idea would be to use the home page/ the explore page to advertise and gain revenue that way? Personally this is the only thing I have thought of that wouldn't change the functionality of the site too much, but would keep it afloat.

However that raises the question of how to get enough users to make potential advertisers think that this site would be worth it to them? Advertise WDC on other similar websites? I'm not saying this would be a bad thing, I just want to know what your thoughts are.
Xrott: How one could monetize this site is a thing that I've been thinking about really long and hard.

Yes, ads are sadly a must. I will try, though, to keep them as unintrusive as possible and I will choose a ad-provider that seem the least scummy to me.
That will probably mean that I'll be avoiding Google's AdSense and will look at something I think is a more trustworthy source of ads like Project Wonderful, even if it means that it'll make less money.

The bad news is, nowadays with so many users that have ad-blockers and people that are trained to never click on ads, this model is likely not going to be sufficient anymore. This means that I'll have to look into other ways of monetization as well.

One thing I'm thinking about is offering a monthly donation/subscription service similar to Patreon.
I want to stress though that I definitely do not want to lock any critical features behind a paywall. After all, the point of the site is that anyone can contribute to a comic!
Instead, some examples of what I want to offer to supporters is, removing all ads on the site, a small place where supporters-only can have discussions and a small badge of honor next to their name everywhere it is displayed.

Another thing I might think about is a small merch-shop, where we could sell some things made by the community. Things like t-shirts, posters or prints of comics. Of course, only if the creator is okay with donating their work to the site.

On the topic of getting new people to the site, advertising on other sites is definitely a thing I'll be considering.
However, I feel right now it is much more important to improve the site, add some long awaited features like messaging or signing up without Twitter. Once we have a better site to show off, it'll be much easier to draw in new members.

As a side note, I also have a plan on how we could get some older members that have left the site to come back, but I'll keep this idea to myself until the time has come, where we can show them a new and improved WDC as well.

All in all, I think this is going to be a lot of work, but I'm definitely willing to do it!
Outer: Thank you for wanting to do this Xrott. I really hope Tyler sees this. I'd be willing to collaborate on this with you in any form, and maybe even help out financially if the opportunity comes, and depending on the cost, of course. I don't know if it would even be possible, but i hope that it could be a possibility, other than seeing this site die. Add me on skype : Sylzayz, if you'd like to discuss this further.
Apprentice: -From what I've noticed, Tyler seems to only check out the site every once in a while. I think it would probably be best to notify him about your proposition on some of his social media accounts. I see he's pretty active on his Twitter so that may be a good place to try.

-I'm happy to see Outer's willingness to collaborate. There aren't many of us left here on the site, so teamwork seems to be the best option. It is important that those of us dedicated to helping this effort keep in touch with each other.

-Seeing all of this is truly exciting. Honestly, I love this community of artists. So many of you are so nice and welcoming. I would love to see this site start to grow and develop once again.

-I want to let you know you have my support. I sincerely wish you the best of luck with your potential business venture with Tyler.
ams: Xrott, I loved the work you were doing with trying to improve the drawing tool!! (was that like more than a year ago?) Making a store would be really great. It might need a new user agreement going forward for all new books? (I don't want to lose the ability to do stuff with my work, but I'd like to let the site use it/sell it) but I would love having a poster of a WDC book ??? And WDC is like one of the only 2 sites I'd actually like to give money to. Probably not monthly because I couldn't handle that. But when I can. I'd rather spend a bit for "no ads" since I ad block everything. (Though I could probably trust WDC for non awful ads. There are a lot of places that promise good ads but...) Oh wow, though. I hope something works out!
bookinbear: I would personally be ok with designing one or two things like T-shirts or posters (I've made T-Shirts before) for free, if it helped to get the site going. My first thought though is making a high definition version of that picture I did with all the characters a few months back, but I own precisely none of those characters, so that would require getting a lot of permissions... However we could always come up with other things, like Xrott's version of the logo.
Xrott: Thank you all so much for showing your support! It makes me really happy to see everybody getting behind this idea.
If I'm honest, I was actually holding this idea back for a while, since I wasn't sure if what I'm suggesting was too crazy. I'm still a bit nervous about everything, but seeing you all is really helping!

@Outer Thank you very much for your offer, I will definitely keep it in mind!

@Apprentice Yeah, I don't think Tyler checks out this site very often.
I actually have his e-mail address from one of my earlier attempts to get to work on the site, but sadly he has a history of not answering them. On top of that, I'm also not really sure if it would be a bit too forward if I did this via e-mail. Anyway, all I'm saying is, I actually don't know how I should be doing this...

@ams I'm still working on that drawing tool every now and then. Not so much lately, since it gets really hard to keep being motivated if you don't know if anybody will ever be able to use it, but I actually posted a little update video last November (part one here).

Licensing is another, in my opinion, very important thing I've been thinking about a lot.
I think it would really benefit the site if we required a Creative-Commons CC-BY license for every new panel.
This would allow us to do some really cool community-projects and would make things considerably less confusing.
As it is right now, from a legal point of view this site is pretty much a mess. The new license would really help to make things so much clearer. Plus, I don't think most users would really care that much anyway.
I'd say, we try it out first and then if any problems come up, we can still offer a way to opt-out of it.

@bookinbear I wanted to let you know that I got your e-mail, but since you brought it up here as well, I'm going to answer you here:

Thank you so much for your offer!
You know, it's actually really funny that you came to me, since I was actually thinking about asking you if I could make a poster out of one of your panels. And then it turns out that we're both thinking about the very same panel as well!

I hope you won't be mad, but I was actually already in the process of vectorizing your panel.
Turning images to vectors is just a thing that I do for fun and your panel was so cool that I thought, I could turn it into a high-res poster and surprise you with the result once it's done.
I know, I probably shouldn't be doing this without asking, but as I said, it's mostly just a thing I do for fun and for myself.
(I've actually done it before with the very first panel from Outer in Rudy's comic.)
bookinbear: That is 100% ok by me! I cannot wait to see how it turns out. Also sell me that Rudy Tshirt someone, I need it in my life.
Xeno_Mezphy: Message Tyler on twitter. I seem to recall that my messaging him chronologically coincided with the creation of this book. @tylerjhutchison

At the very least he tweeted as recently as the 17th so he's somewhat active there. That's about as helpful as I can be though in the short term. :|
ams: Ah! Your drawing tool looks even better than when you were letting some of us try it out on irc! : ) I understand not having motivation for things that might not get used though :/ It seems like you have a lot of good ideas so I hope something works out. I want to keep checking back to keep up to date...!
Xrott: Hey everybody!
Back when I posted this I didn't realize that we were so close to both Easter and April 1st. I hope it's understandable why I didn't want to bother Tyler on those holidays. Now, though, that we're a bit away from them, I've finally decided to message him about it on Twitter.
I'm super nervous about this. I have no clue how he's going to react. Please wish me luck!
bookinbear: Good luck Xrott, you've got my support
greed015: I hope and he listens!
Jagtiger_SA: @Xrott About logistics: We need to do something about NSFW-ish content. All the advertising providers refuse to host adverts if there is such content. I saw a lot of examples, where websites had such issues (the reason DC placed SWF and NSFW separately), ending up with very dodgy providers or NSFW providers. We need at least some reporting/editing/mod tools (even such as delete own image). One thing I observed, it seems cache expires too fast and I had to reload megabytes and megabytes of images on single book when I visited it next time (needs checking). Something like pagination would help to get rid of loading earlier pages that needlessly consume my and website's traffic (good for option when user is not interested in a book or user needs to read latest updates to the book).
Xrott: Yes, I think I have a pretty good plan on how to handle 18+ comics and panels in the future.
I don't really know, if Project Wonderful would actually complain about the occasional more mature comic, though, seeing some of their top listed sites, which use their service have pretty heavy sexual themes.
I mean, officially they "do not allow adult content", but from what I've heard and seen, they only really want to prohibit ads on sites with downright pornographic content. I could be wrong, so I guess we'll have to see.

Lastly, to me, it doesn't seem like any pages on here get cached at all, so this is definitely noted and something I'd like to fix.
Yolanna: @Xrott: Did anything ever come out of it? It's really sad to see this site go. Though it's probably already failed since the interest waned so much. I'm at the point of life where I can actually donate to projects I like and Tyler previously talked about Patreon and I still think that would be viable way to support the site in addition to ads.
Xrott: Well, in my proposal I said that this would be my last attempt to work on WDC and this is still true.
Since Tyler didn't respond to my request, the next logical step is to open my own site. And that's exactly what I'm currently planning and preparing for right now.
I'll have more to say about that when the time comes.

I really don't think that there is no interest in a site like WDC. In my opinion there are plenty of other reasons why so many people left WDC and I can't really get into any of them while still being polite.
Yolanna: I definitely agree with you about there being an interest in a site like this. Like this being the point, not this one. :) I wish you luck in your attempt.
ShuGGaH: Hey Xrott. I also wish ya good luck with that project. Let us know when it's finished or ready to be tried out. :) I know it still must take a while, but I already look forward to a (hopefully) moderated "WDC" where the creator actually cares about the community and it's wishes or suggestions. :'D
Jagtiger_SA: I will be watching this space.
Xrott: Hey guys! I actually have some news:

While it will still take quite some time until it's done, I actually have already settled on a name for the site and also bought the domain for it.
The site will be called "Let's Comic!" and will be available under lets-comic.com

On top of that, I've started a development blog that is available under blog.lets-comic.com. This is where I'll occasionally post previews and updates on how the site is coming along, plus you get to see what the overall look for the site that I'm going for will be.

-- I've currently set the blog to be password protected, however, so to get access you need to enter "84377" first (without quotes)! --

Also it would be really nice if we had a more reliable way of getting in touch, seeing as I don't really check this site that often anymore...
ShuGGaH: I only check the site out to see if you've written something new 8D I've checked out the blog and it seems like you got pretty far with your site already. So it is possible to make an account on there soon? :o
Xrott: @ShuGGaH: I tried to send you a message to both your Deviantart and Tumblr accounts, but you don't seem to be active on either of them anymore. Is there any other way I could get in touch with you? It's kinda important...
ShuGGaH: @Xrott: Ah sorry, yes, I kinda abandoned these sites. You can send me an e-mail maybe? It's khiara@gmx.net