April 2008


I received a surprising number of responses to my rather whiny artist’s statement about not making any money off my website, too many to reproduce in whole. I have compiled edited highlights. Many of your suggestions were intelligent and practical and you will see them implemented in the weeks and months to come, just as soon as I have completed the Herculean labor of getting off my ass.

 

Hey Tim,

I like your comics so much! Keep up the great work, etc..
BTW, what's with the crazy day of the dead, Mexican with a sombrero looking
dude in the latest comic? I'm from Brazil so it just sort of stood out.
Cheers,
Andre

Andre Cunha,

It does look pretty Mexican, I know. But I do research my visuals and I swear that figure turned up in a google image search for Sao Paulo or Rio. Now, looking again, of course I can't find it, plus I get distracted by all the asses. You guys are the ass capitol of the planet, man. How can you stand it?

Tim Kreider

You must be a Brazilian at heart then because you draw the best cartoon asses
I've ever seen.
Cheers,
Andre

Andre,

Check out this week's cartoon [30 April 2008].

Eu sou um brasileiro!,
Tim


7 April 2008

Hi Mr. Krieder -

I discovered your site sometime last fall, and have since slogged through your entire accumulated archives… Thanks for sharing your talent with the rest of us.

In this week's cartoon and Artist Statement I saw your angst about your lack of income, and I thought of a couple of things in response to your attitude toward making money off of your website. I don't understand why you'd feel a need to be apologetic about the prospect of doing so. More specifically:

" that is not the sort of thing we do around here..."

Why the fuck not???? If people are enjoying what you do and finding value in it (as evidenced by the fact that they keep coming back for more), why not make them to contribute to (or, as it sounds in your case, simply establish) your bottom line, especially if it enables you to keep on cranking out the 'toons? Why feel guilty about that in the least? Holy shit, bro, rake in as much as you can! If you eventually find yourself drowning in a sea of disposable income, you can assuage your guilt in the manner of Bill Gates, by starting scholarships for young artists, or buying clean underwear for your friend Boyd, or something like that. That's capitalism, and it's nothing to be ashamed of: you do something valuable for people, and people pay you so that you can keep on doing it.

Once you get over your sense of guilt at making money doing something you enjoy, we can tackle your second remark:

" advertisers are not exactly clamoring for access to the audience..."

I'm no expert on the best way to "monetize" your site, but as far as hosting ads goes, probably the easiest thing to try is Google's Adsense program:

http://www.google.com/adsense

They don't give a rip who hosts their ads, how much/little traffic you have, or (for the most part) what kind of site content you have; anyone - including starving artists like you, and bored engineers like me - can sign up. When someone visits your site, their software checks your site for keywords, and puts up "relevant" advertisements. How much money you make depends on how many folks see the ads, and how many actually click on them. Don't know what your site traffic is like, but consider my own sad little enterprise:

http://home.comcast.net/~prestondrake/index.htm

The real moneymaker there for me is the sale of motorcycle tire-changing tools (which, obviously, involves considerable physical labor), but last summer I figured I might as well have these folks stare at some ads when they stop by. Since that time, my per-day average is about 113 visitors, 1 click, and fifty cents. Google mailed me my first check for $100 last month. Woohoo! I expect you have some idea of your site traffic (hopefully it's considerably more than 113 visitors per day), so you can scale your expectations accordingly.

And maybe it won't put your name in the billionaire's list next to Bill Gates, but it'll help pay the bills. So get over your guilt, and earn a living. :-)

Best Wishes -
Mitch

Mitch,

I think you misunderstood my remark; I have no objection to becoming rich as Bill Gates, rolling around naked in my vault of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck and fucking as many groupies as Gene Simmons. My disdainful comment that "that is not the sort of thing we do around here" referred specifically and only to placing ads on the site. I have to admit I'm kind of intrigued by your suggestion because frankly the idea of a couple of hundred extra bucks a month sounds pretty enticing at this point. I'm not sure I can explain my reservations in any way that will make rational sense--it's very visceral and squishy, just a vague ethical/aesthetic squeamishness.

Did you know that MAD magazine has started running ads? Well, they have. I don't know how old you are but if you're anywhere around my age (40ish) you know what a crucial and formative influence MAD was on my generation of kids, and perhaps you can share in some of my sense of betrayal and disappointment that they would run real ads side by side with their hilarious fake ads that expose the empty hype and lies of advertising. Kids get duped and betrayed by ads very early on in life. Maybe you still remember the first thing you ever bought that proved to bear no resemblance to the thing advertised (X-ray Specs? Sea Monkeys?) and how ripped-off and stupid and sad you felt. It was partly because MAD ran no ads that you felt you could trust MAD. MAD had no agenda other than its vigilant and relentless mockery of all forms of bigotry, hypocrisy, and bullshit.

As an adult, advertisements still depress me. It depresses me when people advertising apartments on the "owners" section of craigslist turn out to be real estate brokers, or when bored and horny girls turn out to be software programs. I don't remember the figures for how many thousands of advertisements the average American is subjected to per day, but they're ubiquitous, unrelenting, an unavoidable part of the fabric of our daily existence, worse even than Ray Bradbury imagined in Fahrenheit 451. There are ads on the highway, on the subway, in supermarket muzak, over urinals. There are ads for other TV shows in the corners of TV shows you're trying to watch. There are TVs in elevators, in the backs of cabs, in freaking gas pumps. I think it's demeaning to be treated always only as a consumer, an audience, a target market, rather than as a citizen and a human being. David Foster Wallace writes about the soul-withering effect of the "professional smile" of service personnel. Lie detectors work because they measure stress levels, and lying is (kind of hearteningly) inherently stressful for human beings; I think it must also have some unhealthy effect on the human psyche to be lied to thousands of times a day.

Well my rhetoric is getting all het up here, as it does after too much coffee and not enough breakfast. I really don't mean to imply any judgment of your own decision to run thematically relevant ads on your site, which after all may well offer stuff your readers can use. (I use gmail for my personal email account, which does the same thing, and I find it amusing when it recommends Spam recipes, but slimy and invasive when it suggests self-help books on relationships.) For my own part, I feel like not running ads sets my site apart from the false and clamorous world of commerce, where the agenda is always the same: to get you to Buy More Shit You Do Not Need. The Pain is a sort of haven where the only agenda is my own crackpot