Dip In Numbers?

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Dip In Numbers?

Postby Thunt on Sat Feb 18, 2006 3:31 pm

I've posted this on another forum, but no one is biting so I'll try it here. For those who have a webcomic...

Anyone else noticing a small dip in unique visits this week? I'm thinking it might be because of exams. But then again, maybe I've peaked. lol
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Postby carsonfire on Sat Feb 18, 2006 6:05 pm

That was a nervous lol if ever I saw one. :P

Readers rise and dip. I wouldn't worry about one week. Look at your trends, instead.

My own readership is trending up, but, darnit, just not fast enough.
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Postby Pascalle of Lepas on Sat Feb 18, 2006 9:33 pm

we've been on the upward for awhile now, but it seems like we had a really crappy november 2005 for some reason...

But, I have noticed in the past that college finals cut into the hits slightly if you aren't in a growth phase. Holidays are pretty crummy about that too, because people are out having fun with real people instead of the Internet. 8)

Carson's right. You should look at the trends, or if you've done something different this week, watch next week as well, and if numbers keep dwindling, you might wanna rethink that change. :wink:
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Postby David_McGuire on Wed Feb 22, 2006 4:51 pm

One of the best things you can do to enjoy your webcomic is to not pay attention to your readership numbers at all.
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Postby Pascalle of Lepas on Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:50 pm

David_McGuire wrote:One of the best things you can do to enjoy your webcomic is to not pay attention to your readership numbers at all.


I'd have to say that the BEST thing is really to not let the numbers affect your perception of your work, either for better or worse. You can't let low readership numbers make you feel inadequate, the internet is a big place, and it's hard to get noticed, and conversely you can't let a large readership make you act like a total jerk.

not paying attention to your readership numbers is kinda rude to your readers and can even cheat you out of a neat experience.

The real key is, sorta like you said, to make sure that you're doing your comic for yourself because it makes you happy, regardless of the numbers.
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Postby DarkShive on Fri Feb 24, 2006 3:08 pm

If one starts to get too big a head about themselves, ask if their readership is greater than Penny Arcade's; that'll hush them up.

...unless, of course, you're talking to Gabe and/or Tycho...
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Postby carsonfire on Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:10 pm

Doing the work just to please yourself sounds good, but that's what I did for years on Elf Life, and what good did it do me? :P

Seriously, it's silly to say that you're not playing to an audience. An audience knows when it's being pandered to, but that doesn't mean you ignore them, either.

Shakespeare's body of work is considered some of the greatest world literature, but old Bill deliberately played to his contemporary audience in spades -- violence, sex, knockabout clowns, etc. So if your audience demands something, there's no shame in giving it to them.
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Postby DarkShive on Fri Feb 24, 2006 9:59 pm

carsonfire wrote:So if your audience demands something, there's no shame in giving it to them.

Yeah there is.
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Postby carsonfire on Sat Feb 25, 2006 6:31 am

Um... maybe we've got different definitions of "giving the audience what they want"? :P

I mean, webcomics audiences in great numbers demand gaming comics. Ergo, there's no shame in doing a gaming comic. If you introduce a character your audience responds positively to, there's no shame in bringing that character back.

On the flip side, if you've dreamed your entire life of doing a comic strip about mollusks, and find that almost nobody likes it, there's probably no shame in trying something else for a while. You could at least be learning more about a craft until someday you can create a *better* comic strip about mollusks.
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Postby DarkShive on Sat Feb 25, 2006 11:50 am

carsonfire wrote:Um... maybe we've got different definitions of "giving the audience what they want"? :P

I mean, webcomics audiences in great numbers demand gaming comics. Ergo, there's no shame in doing a gaming comic. If you introduce a character your audience responds positively to, there's no shame in bringing that character back.

On the flip side, if you've dreamed your entire life of doing a comic strip about mollusks, and find that almost nobody likes it, there's probably no shame in trying something else for a while. You could at least be learning more about a craft until someday you can create a *better* comic strip about mollusks.

Yeah that works.

Although, as tempted as I am to just leave my post at three words (it amuses me), I must point out that making a gaming comic is a risky path these days. It's a saturated market with several big names already at the top who will be hard to reach. Unless it is one's desire to make a gaming comic for their own amusement or their work is truly exceptional in some way, they should probably attempt a different genre.
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Postby bunnyThor on Sun Feb 26, 2006 12:46 pm

DarkShive wrote:
carsonfire wrote:So if your audience demands something, there's no shame in giving it to them.

Yeah there is.


Um, giving your audience what it wants does not always exactly equate to pandering to the their basest, least sophisticated, puerile urges...not that there's anything particularly wrong with doing *that* either, if your story supports it.

Above all, your allegiance should be to the presentation and authenticity of your story. If your story is a story worth telling, and is told with sufficient skill and artistry, then the audience will respond to it no matter the mood, the medium, or the morality. However if you constrain your telling due to personal or idiosyncratic peccadillos, your audience will be distracted and may be drawn out of the illusion far enough to shatter their willing suspension of disbelief and sully their engagement in the narrative.
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Postby DarkShive on Sun Feb 26, 2006 12:52 pm

Did you just skip Carson's post and mine that followed it?
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Postby carsonfire on Sun Feb 26, 2006 2:35 pm

bunnyThor's just a troublemaker... just like YOU! *ducks and runs away* :P
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Postby David_McGuire on Sun Feb 26, 2006 4:21 pm

Lepas loves art wrote:
David_McGuire wrote:One of the best things you can do to enjoy your webcomic is to not pay attention to your readership numbers at all.
not paying attention to your readership numbers is kinda rude to your readers and can even cheat you out of a neat experience.
How is ignoring how many readers you have rude in any way? It doesn't even affect them!

The biggest experience you'll miss out on by ignoring your readership numbers is obsessing over promotion more than your art and writing.
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Postby DarkShive on Sun Feb 26, 2006 4:25 pm

I'm not usually a troublemaker... though I admit I was being intentionally mischievious and vague when I posted "yeah there is" :D
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Postby carsonfire on Sun Feb 26, 2006 9:14 pm

David_McGuire wrote:
Lepas loves art wrote:
David_McGuire wrote:One of the best things you can do to enjoy your webcomic is to not pay attention to your readership numbers at all.
not paying attention to your readership numbers is kinda rude to your readers and can even cheat you out of a neat experience.
How is ignoring how many readers you have rude in any way? It doesn't even affect them!

The biggest experience you'll miss out on by ignoring your readership numbers is obsessing over promotion more than your art and writing.


Well, neither of you are entirely wrong, but you're coming at it from different perspectives, I think. It depends on your goal as an artist, doesn't it?

Someone who works to be a professional making money can't always afford the luxury of being obscure and independent. But if you're working to please yourself, and can afford to, why not?

Seriously, you want to be true to yourself as an artist to some extent, but I have noticed a tendency of internet cartoonists to make speeches about doing it "for the love of it", etc, which is remarkable in an avocation that isn't likely going to be very profitable, anyway. I mean, most cartoonists aren't in any great *danger* of becoming fabulously wealthy by accident.

The concept of the artist working to produce obsure internalisms, audience be damned, is a nice, noble sounding idea -- but the real artists in *history*, the ones who have made a difference, really are the ones who have played to the audiences of their times and have had some profit motive. To sound noble, you have to pretend that Dickens and Shakespeare weren't rewarded for their efforts. You have to believe that Walt Whitman wasn't a shameless self-promoter, who even went as far as writing glowing reviews of his work under assumed names. I'm sure Edgar Allan Poe at least made beer money.

Vincent Van Gogh, the tragic pauper as master craftsman and innovator, was the *exception* in the history of art, not the rule. And most modern artists can only afford the luxury of being obscure and diffident to their audiences if they have another good job, or at least a middle class family to back them up financially.
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Postby Pascalle of Lepas on Mon Feb 27, 2006 7:03 am

I just don't even understand why you'd bother putting your work on the internet in the first place if you don't care if anyone sees it. :roll: If you really want to do it for yourself, then you do, just like all the artists out there who create amazing things and keep them all to themselves. We put these things out on the Internet because at some level, we want other people to see it.
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Postby TdotOdot2k on Tue Feb 28, 2006 8:24 am

It's also an easy way to transmit your secret treasures to far away living family and friends!

....not that the banner below me has anything to do with anything >_> <_<
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Postby David_McGuire on Fri Mar 03, 2006 4:45 pm

Lepas loves art wrote:I just don't even understand why you'd bother putting your work on the internet in the first place if you don't care if anyone sees it. :roll:
Just because I don't obsess over how many people see my work doesn't mean I don't want anyone to see it.
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Postby bunnyThor on Sat Mar 04, 2006 12:28 pm

David_McGuire wrote:
Lepas loves art wrote:I just don't even understand why you'd bother putting your work on the internet in the first place if you don't care if anyone sees it. :roll:
Just because I don't obsess over how many people see my work doesn't mean I don't want anyone to see it.


Sooooo...you don't care how many people see your work, as long as the number is greater than zero. Could it be just one person? Does it have to be on the internet? Do they have to enjoy it, or even understand it? Could you just show your work to a random person on the bus and still get the same level of satisfaction?

I guess the question boils down to this:
Exactly what are you trying to achieve and/or receive with your work?
Exactly how does an audience facilitate that?
What qualities must your audience contain?

And for extra credit:
Are the desires you are attempting to fulfill healthy ones?
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Postby Kiwi on Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:47 pm

There's plenty of healthy behavior in between obsession and not caring at all.
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Postby DarkShive on Sun Mar 05, 2006 6:03 pm

When financial gain is linked to people visiting the site, there is plenty of reason to be concerned with and attempt to increase daily pageviews.
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Postby Tangent on Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:28 pm

Well, there are other reasons as well.

For instance, while I do reviews instead of comics, I keep an eye at my readership. I watch as it fluctuates, I try to figure ways to improve readership, or how to keep readership for that matter.

The reason I'm interested in the readership is egotistical, to be sure. I want more people to read the reviews so that more people will be exposed to the comics I've enjoyed. You can refine this slightly to explain webcartoonists: web cartoonists create a comic because they want people to read and enjoy that work.

The thing is... pandering to the audience doesn't always work. For instance, Dan Shive has quite a few people who feel nudity isn't a big deal for the comic, so we should see several of the (female) characters nude. The same holds true for Maritza Campos. But if you give certain people what they want... you risk offending other fans. It's easier to be conservative and not risk your audience.

I mean, sure, people might grumble about no nudity and stuff, but very few people would quit reading a comic they otherwise enjoy because of a lack of nudity. However, people HAVE been known to take umbridge over nudity, sex, or extreme violence... and may very possibly leave because of the direction the comic is taking, even in the short term.

Still, there are times when you as a creator should listen. For instance, Pete Abrams had "Oceans Unmoving" which proved unpopular with quite a few fans. Some people quit over it. Some of us only recently returned... and others still haven't. Pete refused to stop the story early, though he's ending it for now with BunBun returned to the comic and all that. And there is the problems with Wapsi Square that were discussed in my recent Roundtable about the comic - some people have commented after the fact that they're pretty much lost with the more recent comics.

Basically, there's a difference between pandering... and giving the audience what they want. If there is a large groundwelling of complaints and disillusionment over the path the comic is taking... if your readership is dropping along with the rise in complaints... then maybe you should shift directions. And sure, maybe you're doing it for yourself... but you're also doing this for your audience.

Why else would you post the comic on-line?
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Postby TdotOdot2k on Tue Mar 07, 2006 7:05 pm

I get random, but still frequent, requests to have my characters pose neud. I simply can't do it, out of personal preference. Sad too, cause I'm sure it would do nothing but INCREASE my viewership. T_T
Dotty wrote:I almost see those two as disgrunted DD readers. Celesto is the casual fan who snaps after enough cliffhangers and racist/dumb bad guys, and proceeds to kill them one by one. TIM is a step further. He's completely lost his mind after the SuperGreg arc and proceeds to insert himself into the comic with the goal to kill absolutely anything that moves, as it might become a secondary cast member if he leaves it alone too long.
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Postby Jamie on Tue Mar 07, 2006 8:45 pm

My numbers have actually picked up, but my forum is basically dead. Go figure.

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