The Modern Tales syndication service allows webmasters to place a constantly-updating version of their favorite comics in the Modern Tales family on their own websites. At any given moment, the latest episode of the syndicated comic will appear within your own web page. Your readers will be drawn back to your website to follow the comic (which is, of course, the same reason that newspapers and magazines carry comics). Some percentage of those readers will follow the link back to Modern Tales or one of its sister sites, and eventually choose to subscribe, to gain access to the archives (which is, in turn, analogous to buying a Dilbert paperback). So: your site gets more repeat visits, and our site gets a stream of new readers who would never have found us before. Everybody wins.
Not every Modern Tales family comic is available for syndication. In some cases, the format of a particular series might make it technically inappropriate for plopping into the middle of another website. In other cases, the cartoonists themselves have not chosen to put their work on the syndication cart (the artists own all the rights to their work, and have full power to decide what happens to it). In other cases, a comic may be cancelled or completed (rendering syndication meaningless, since there will be no updates for your site).
A complete list of Modern Tales family comics currently available for syndication, as well as a little snippet of code for each comic, can be found here:
While we don’t require registration or prior approval for use of this feature, our artists do appreciate knowing where and when their comics will appear. Be sure to pop us a note and let us know! We might just link to your site in our newsletter (um, no promises)!
Great concept, Joey, but how does this correlate to the current concern people have about “reaping” comics and depriving creators of pageviews? I know the subscription model of MT makes advertising pageview counts more moot, but there’s still the issue of “drive-by” sales of stuff like shirts, etc. that are fueled by ads on the main page.
I imagine there’s a raging debate on this over at the TAC boards, which I’ll visit soon.
“I imagine there’s a raging debate on this over at the TAC boards…”
Not really, so far. Probably partly because readers, who make up the majority of TAC regulars, aren’t interested in business model issues, but mostly because Modern Tales creators can control with a click of the mouse whether or not we can allow syndication.
I was probably one of those who clamored the hardest for a syndication feature – I want to reach out to other people’s sites, and to new readers, more than I want to do extra work to maybe, possibly, sell a T-shirt.
Impressive, but what I keep reading is that one of the biggest headaches for popular web-comics is high bandwidth usage. Does this system reduce the problem for the syndicator by allowing webmasters to keep a temporary file of the art on their own server between updates, or does it actually increase the drain by being more-or-less an automated deep link?
Please accept my apologies if the answer is obvious from the code provided in the examples — I’m a comic fan but not entirely computer savvy.
It potentially increases the drain. We’ll watch that carefully. I’m in the process of upgrading our server capacity greatly, for the sake of launching webcomicsnation.com, so my calculated risk is that we can handle it.
MT traditionally operates well below its upper bandwidth limit — because most of our content (the archives) can only be seen by subscribers. There’s actually only a small amount of content on our site (or on our syndication service) that can be seen by someone who isn’t paying us money. Sites that have bandwidth problems typically also have large free archives — the larger the archives, the more bandwidth one user can potentially consume in a single sitting.
It’s always a delicate balancing act, though. Always. We think we’ve got it under control, but will always be vigilant to make sure we can handle it.
Ah, pants. I wanted RSS. RSS AGGREGATION j0.
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