Submitted by Rebelsun on March 27, 2004 - 21:17
So how does HomestarRunner.com make money from their site? Can we adopt their biz model to webcomics?
by Anonymous - 03/27/2004 - 21:26
1. Umm, maybe you can E-mail them and ask?
2. Don't know their business model, perhaps you can explain it.
by hard - 03/27/2004 - 22:38
... or you can read the FAQ, which says they make their living off t-shirt sales.
by Kathleen_J - 03/28/2004 - 00:58
Yup...they make all their income from merchandise, and their philosophy is to keep the content of the site free, and entirely free of ads.
To pull something like that off, and make a profit or make a living, a webcomic right now would have to be in the absolute top .5% of popularity and marketability.
by Michael_Harker - 03/28/2004 - 02:46
yeah, they make money 'cause suckers like me buy their t-shirts...
as i have nothing insighful to add to this conservation, i'll just say, man, that site really and truly rules....
by William Beckerson - 03/28/2004 - 23:36
I figure it's the best chance any of us have right now.
by Anonymous - 03/29/2004 - 01:40
so what your saying is, somehow destroying penny arcade and the like is our only hope....
by Michael_Harker - 03/29/2004 - 01:42
that was i suggesting some sort of revolution...
by Shinmeko - 03/29/2004 - 16:46
How about sticking a whole bunch of super popular artists on an island and letting them kill eachother off?
by eldritchmonkey - 03/29/2004 - 18:20
Strike them down and you'll only make them more powerful then... ah it's too cheesy even for me to finish saying.
by William Beckerson - 03/29/2004 - 21:19
[quote:c0c15ad1d8="Shinmeko"]How about sticking a whole bunch of super popular artists on an island and letting them kill eachother off?
Wasn't that a Space Ghost quote?
by rniedojadlo - 04/02/2004 - 11:35
I believe there is hope for any aspiring cartoonist with an appreciation and understanding that you are not only an artist putting your work on the Internet, but that you are a business owner that must strategically market your brand.
The web comic market is still wide open and much of it is untapped. We are still in the infancy of comics on the web, so though some folks are currently successful with their business models....I also recognize that their way is not the only path to a career in Internet syndication.
Innovation, business awareness, and originality can go a long way in my opinion.
by Uncle Ghastly - 04/02/2004 - 11:48
Judging from what I saw at I-Con this last weekend, their merchandising sales must be through the freaking roof. I've never seen so many Homestar Runner T-shirts before. It seemed every panel I was on there were a couple of dozen people in the audience wearing Homestar Runner T-shirts.
by Anonymous - 04/02/2004 - 12:01
I posted a long essay on the three "mainstream" business models for webcomics in my blog today, and why it's a good thing for independent artists, in the long run, that making money on the web is difficult:
I'm sure there's plenty of stuff to argue with there. I probably won't even agree with myself in a few days. But, y'all might find it interesting.
by Uncle Ghastly - 04/02/2004 - 12:17
I was talking with J.D. Illiad Frazer this weekend about the webcomic biz and I told him that I really haven't had any real motivation to try to make a living off my webcomic. My hosting is covered, so I'm happy, and the little bit of crap-assed merchandising I do, I cover all my matterial production costs, so I'm happy. I'm one of those persons blessed with a day job that they think is the best thing in the world so to make a second job out of my comic just isn't that important to me.
As someone who makes his living from his comic, J.D. told me that he was really very envious of my position because doing a webcomic is a lot less stressful when you're not doing it for a living.
I suppose the real blessing is I don't have any sense of obligation to my readership at all. I've had people ask me why I don't have a donation button on my site and the reason is I'd feel too much a sense of obligation if I did. I'd be obligated to not suck. I'd be obligated to draw better. I've taken cash from them now I'm obligated to give them something in return.
As it stands now my desire not to suck is just that. My desire not to suck. My desire to try and draw better. There's not as much stress because this way when I do suck and when I do draw shit I'm only letting myself down and not the 55K+ readers who regularily tune in for free to view my attempts at not sucking.
Of course as my body begins to become more and more crippled I'm faced with the reality that I simply might not be able to continue doing what I do now for a living. Live performance is physically exhausting and studio performance is technically demanding. I'm already pushing my body past it's peek levels and I don't know for sure how much longer I can do this, which is scary. So who knows, some day I may have to fall back upon my webcomic, of all things, as a source of income. That's pretty scary too.
by rniedojadlo - 04/02/2004 - 12:20
Did read your blog, Joe, and found it to be interesting and would agree with that these are considered to be the "mainstream" business models.
I think the most common mistake that causes many web comics to fall short of a profitable future is the fact that the creators (with little knowledge of the principles of business growth) are too focused on pushing product and advertising slots too early to even tell if there is a market ready to consume their intellectual property. They forget there is a serious level of "grunt" work to be done in audience building.
In my opinon, building a consistent return audience would be most important step in any web comic's life cycle and for any cartoonist looking at their brand as a serious investment and potential career move.
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