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The Keenspot mass exodus

I really don't know whether to laugh or cry :( ... though it is making me nervous ... Schlock Mercenary, ShortPacked, MelonPool, Crazy Larry and ( if it not a joke ) CheckerBoard Nightmare...

Re: RE: The Keenspot mass exodus

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Ghastly wrote:
Well if Micheal Poe and/or Tatsuo Ishida decide to go indie then KeenSpot is really going to have to worry.
Well it's an interesting point. If a big value of Keen is in the cross-promotion then the loss of big draws will arguably reduce that. Here's what will be left of Keen after these departures: Andiwear!, Antihero For Hire, Eat the Roses, Everything Jake, Felicity, Lost and Found, Shivae Studios, Skirting Danger, Vigilante, Ho!, Wandering Ones, ADVENTURERS!, Gaming Guardians, General Protection Fault, Help Desk, RPG World, Sore Thumbs, College Roomies From Hell, Mad About U., Nukees, Zap!, Zortic, BoxJam's Doodle, Chopping Block, Framed, Men in Hats, Road Waffles, Sporkman, Superosity, Abby's Agency, Count Your Sheep, Friendly Hostility, Gene Catlow, Hound's Home, Queen of Wands, Sinfest, Striptease, The Suburban Jungle, Todd and Penguin, You Damn Kid, Alice!, Filthy Lies, Funny Farm, Newshounds, SSDD, Soap on a Rope, Akaelae, Alien Dice, Bruno the Bandit, Clan of the Cats, Dominic Deegan, El Goonish Shive, Elf Life, Errant Story, and Zebra Girl. (Plus Devil's Panties) The biggest names in terms of audience I would guess are GPF, RPG World, CRFH!!!, Errant Story and Sinfest. What else would you think has the larger audience of that list? You've also got to asterik several of the above strips b/c they are fall intents and purposes on hiatus even if they haven't acknowledged it.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Unless there really are unknown things going on internal to Keenspot I'd say for may newer or mid-level artists Keenspot still seems like a great opportunity. And there is little downside really, particularly if you're not making a lot of cash already because Keenspot's contract is so easy to get out of and Keen doesn't own anything of your work. So in and out whenver you need to. And the upside is still a great chance to boost awareness of your strip and maybe make some money from the keen swag operations.

When Altbrand was a going concern even that small group of artists - I think it helped a bit for everyone. Almost everyone from that group (save Case and me) were spotted and I have no idea why Case wasn't spotted - Gluemeat is consistent and funny. Maybe he never asked.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

[quote:ac3033ffe9="Ghastly"][quote:ac3033ffe9="Melonpool"]Orange you glad I didn't say that?

Not really, my father he was orange and me mother, she was green.

how's that go? -

I am the biggest mix-up that you evah did see?

Good times, good times...

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Chris Cantrell's picture

I just happened to check that site last night and noticed something about it happening tonight if you don't fall asleep. Guess I wasn't imagining things.

Haunted Pixel Studios www.hauntedpixelstudios.com

Townie's picture

... or "wecomicspace" or "toonspace", whichever you prefer

- Ben

[quote:e092b1f1ca="Anonymous"]I wanted to leave because green clashed with my wardrobe.
Willis! Stop posting while drunk!

Chris Cantrell's picture

I cannot make $5K a year with my comic after covering my hosting.

There, I said it.

Like you said, if you're not already in a position where you are drawing decent figures on your own I don't see a downside to getting spotted. Part of that is, of course, thanks to their very creator friendly contract.

Of course, we all know now that they were all leaving to start their own label so that mystery is solved.

Haunted Pixel Studios www.hauntedpixelstudios.com

Clint Hollingsworth's picture

I do the Wandering Ones on Keen, and that comic falls at about near the top of the lower third (around 3300 uniques a day) I make about $50 - $60 a month.

A lower level strip like mine with slow growth (I estimate I'd hit CRFH levels about the year 2066) jst doesn't bring in much. Now if you're a powerhouse like Waspi or Schlock, it only makes sense to grab your own destiny by the balls and squeeze what you can from it.

The lower echelon, (me anyhow,) have no incentive to leave. Keen owns the ad banners and the newsbox on my pages and that's pretty much it. I can put what ever merchandising on my page I want, as long as my fans will put up with it.

So, if I was a better merchandiser I could probably do allright, but being a programming moron, I'm perfectly happy to let Keen's scripts take care of all that.... stuff.

Clint Hollingsworth

The Wandering Ones Webcomic
http://www.wanderingones.com

RE: The Keenspot mass exodus

Townie's picture

I hypothesized in my Livejournal that they were all leaving to get an apartment together - with sexy results. Now that would be some Must See TV right there. Kinda weird how the artists who are leaving also happen to be appearing in a Reallife storyline at the moment. It's almost as if he knows these things in advance... Anyway, I figure it's just a sign that things are opening up and people don't have to group together in a collective to achieve success. That makes me hopeful to my own future if it's an accurate assumption. Also, I spelled Kristofer Straub's name wrong again. Lucky me this time it's the "ofer" part instead of not knowing which letter the name starts with. That's always more embarassing.

- Ben

Howard Tayler's picture

It's safe for Ghastly to say that one of the reasons *I* left was that I felt I could make more money independently. I've pretty much said as much.

It's certainly not the ONLY reason, though. Unless you're one of those bean counters who assigns a monetary value to everything, in which case I suppose there's a balance sheet SOMEWHERE that says it was all about the money.

--Howard

Schlock Mercenary

Steve Troop's picture

[quote:9191c1756c="pclips"]The fact is, Keenspot revenue to a given creator has never amounted to anything one could live off of. My understanding is that it comes in at a range of $50-$100 a week. Anyone with firsthand knowledge is welcome to correct me on that figure.

Your numbers are a little off. Most Keen artists make less that $100 every three months. Also, we pay for hosting our of the money made from advertising, then Keenspot and the artist split what's left over.

I might have stayed if I was making $50-100 a week.

Steve

Steve Troop's picture

[quote:cb368d297f="Ghastly"](hence why some Spotters are leaving).

Of course, that's just a theory. I realize I may have clouded things with the the recent post about maybe staying if I was getting $100 a week, but in reality, the money wasn't a major motivator in whether or not I left Keenspot.

So stop posting things like you know that they're facts.

Steve

Steve Troop's picture

I'll have to get back to you on that. I just asked the BLC people. I think I know the reason, but I don;t want to assume anything.

Steve

Steve Troop's picture

Orange you glad I didn't say that?

RE: The Keenspot mass exodus

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Well if Micheal Poe and/or Tatsuo Ishida decide to go indie then KeenSpot is really going to have to worry.

I'm surprised it took them this long to promote The Devil's Panties to Spot.

Steve Troop's picture

Ever seen "The Phantom Menace?" Remember the scenes in the senate where everyone was squabbling over details and nothing ever really got done? That's sort of like the 60-headed beast that Keenspot has become. It's incredibly hard to get anything done there. A few of us had some new ideas on marketing and such and tried to get Keenspot to act on some of them, but after months of waiting and seeing most good ideas shot down -- or worse -- told they were being worked on but seeing no progress after years, it seemed our only option was to pick up and go out on our own.

You've seen here at Comixpedia how bad Keenspot is about issuing press releases on the good things that are happening with the company. Internally, it's just as bad. E-mails get ignored. Tasks are left half-done. Disorganization runs rampant. I really like the cartoonists and the people over there, but they've got to evolve or die.

The six of are taking a chance to do just that.

Steve

WebcomicSpace/ToonSpace/ComicGen

[quote:51dc0f80ee="Ghastly"]I don't think it'll be either actually. Toonspace is already in use by another artist and webcomicspace is long, dull, and sounds a little too much like webcomics nation.

i was just link surfing as I sometime occasionally do, and found this:
http://mouse.webcomicspace.com/
(From trying to goto http://mouse.keenspace.com/)
i haven't really been keeping up with the whole KeenSpace name change that much, so I decided to google some stuff. Searching for "toonspace" i found:
http://hyro.toonspace.com
but then when I rolled my mouse over the archive links, it pointed to:
http://hyro.comicgen.com/ type links, but typing going to "hyro.comicgen.com" led me to "hyro.toonspace.com".

So when at first I was all "oh crap, I accidentally stumbled upon the new name(not even considering it may have been announced elsewhere)", but after some search I'm now more like "damn, Keen just probably testing out each domain name or maybe even going to give people a choice in choosing which to have".

Uncle Ghastly's picture

I've got to stop calling Tatsuya, Tatsuo....

.... KENEDAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!

TETSUOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

KENEDAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

Re:

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Twentyfour wrote:
Having a 2 hour conversation with Maritza Campos or Ian J. or hell, anyone who's been around longer than 2 years with a readership over the population of my hometown(12k)you could learn a helluva lot. They are where they are because they're doing SOMETHING right.
You don't need to be on Spot to do that. I'll talk to you. :wink:

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Keen pays the Spotters quarterly. The low end spotters make about $50 (so $200 a year), some of the higher end paycheques are over $700 (over $2800 a year).

Of course like I've said before, you don't have to be on Spot to get a cut of the advertising dollar. You can make money selling ads on Space... you know, provided you're willing to draw pictures of Jesus having sex (and really who wouldn't be?).

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:61bb1f22c6="Anonymous"]Ghastly:

Did you get the email I sent you today?

It contained your login to webcomicsnation.com.

Let me know if you didn't.

Everybody else: sorry for abusing the board in this manner.

Joey
www.moderntales.com

Indeed I did, and very excited I am.

We'll still get haikus though... right?

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:42c47b378d="Anonymous"]
Those figures can't possibly be right, they seem way too low.

Keep in mind that's only 50% of the advertising revinue minus what Keenspot charges them for the bandwidth. So it's 50% of the profits. The actual revinue potential of the comics is higher (hence why some Spotters are leaving).

Uncle Ghastly's picture

So you're saying that none of the Spotters left because of money?

I would have though some did.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:bc65ac1c6a="Anonymous"]I wanted to leave because green clashed with my wardrobe.

So what you're saying then, in essence, is it's not easy being green?

Uncle Ghastly's picture

[quote:02ed84deca="Melonpool"]Orange you glad I didn't say that?

Not really, my father he was orange and me mother, she was green.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

If you ask me, Keen desperately needs a 5th executive, everything always seems to be a 2:2 tie when it comes to a vote with the exec, an objective 5th person would get things moving because with all the ties nothing ever gets done.

A tech who actually runs things would be swell too.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Money and, of course, the women. It all comes down to money and women.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Or as Spot likes to insist "KeenSPOT pwn3z KeenSPACE".

Uncle Ghastly's picture

I don't think it'll be either actually. Toonspace is already in use by another artist and webcomicspace is long, dull, and sounds a little too much like webcomics nation.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

I used to listen to the Unicorn Song non-stop when I was a kid.

Loved the "humpty-backed camels" part.

RE: WebcomicSpace/ToonSpace/ComicGen

Uncle Ghastly's picture

They registered all the domains that looked like good contenders that way they didn't have to worry about someone else squating on it before they made up their mind. Still no official word on what the new name is going to be but I put my money on ComicGenesis.

I know that TentacledEpics.com has already been taken by somebody else.

RE: WebcomicSpace/ToonSpace/ComicGen

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Joel Fagin's logo for Comic Genesis looks pretty swell too.

Re: RE: Re: RE: The Keenspot mass exodus

KeenConspiracyNut wrote:
They all posted very similar messages and all seem to leaving on "friendly" terms ... I'm not buying it :(
Maybe the fact that Howard Taylor leaving was pretty widely talked about, and his success after leaving even more so. Why not follow in his footsteps if your comic has a pretty strong following and the 'Spot isn't increasing your readership anymore/at all. I can't say I wouldn't do the same were I in that situation Also, I can't post on Websnark for some reason... but if you haven't read whats goin on, go do it now -http://www.websnark.com/archives/2005/05/la_escuela_de_a.html#comments. There are few things in this word which make me laugh harder than a debate on the pro's and cons of all things KEEN interlaced with the webcomic world heavyweights exchanging comments on fellating one another. Christmas came early this year

Re:

KrazyKrow wrote:
The only real draw left would be the cross-promotion, which is really only effective at first before plateauing.
As far as I know Wapsi Square had the shortest term with KS, and Wapsi was only moderately popular before joining(stop me if I'm wrong here). Now, I'd say Paul has a powerhouse on his hands. Not bad for only stickin around for only.... a year and a half is it? I wouldn't say everyone used Keenspot for a quick thrill. I know countless artists who'd crap their pants if offered a spot on the Spot(myself included). Business relevance aside It's still a great place to be, you can rub elbows with some of the powerhouses if not some of the leaders in online comics. Even if you did just stay on for a year or two, the people you meet then could be the next Gabe and Tycho. Disney became a bit of a joke during it's last few years making 2d features. But it was still Disney. Being able to meet some of the people who've made it to that level can only make you better. Having a 2 hour conversation with Maritza Campos or Ian J. or hell, anyone who's been around longer than 2 years with a readership over the population of my hometown(12k)you could learn a helluva lot. They are where they are because they're doing SOMETHING right. Also, with comic groups popping up like weeds lately, every Johnny Cut'n'Paste can make a group for him and his friends and brag about cross promotion and selling t-shirts from Cafe Press to get more people to join.... Keenspot was the first(?) collective and is frickin HUGE. If I wanna find a new comic to read I just grab something new from Keenspot(or Dayfree Press) . They're aren't all winners but it beats the hell out of Googling "online comic" or looking through groups of 2-5 artists who go to Junior High together and wanna be the next Keenspot. Maybe Keenspot is becoming just a "name", but a name still holds power. Look at Nike shoes, people pay an extra $30 or more for a little swoosh on the side of their sneakers... and do you think anyone would give a damn about Pete being a pogostick if there wasn't the word KEEN at the opening of his webisode? Do you think Pupkin would be as reviled if it weren't rumoured to be on Keenspot? :D I think thats enough ranting for now

RE: The Keenspot mass exodus

Nah.

RE: WebcomicSpace/ToonSpace/ComicGen

I'm not too big on the slogan, tho.

RE: The Keenspot mass exodus

Okay, I've been out of touch lately, but what the heck is behind all this? Why is everyone leaving KeenSpot? Was it something the KS people did or something? I. Must. Know!

~Liriel

RE: The Keenspot mass exodus

Nah? Nah what?

~Liriel

RE: The Keenspot mass exodus

Oh... nevermind... just visited the front page here. Seems pretty obvious... :oops: ...I shouldn't visit the forum first XD

~Liriel

[quote:600e5beadc="Ghastly"][quote:600e5beadc="Twentyfour"]Having a 2 hour conversation with Maritza Campos or Ian J. or hell, anyone who's been around longer than 2 years with a readership over the population of my hometown(12k)you could learn a helluva lot. They are where they are because they're doing SOMETHING right.

You don't need to be on Spot to do that. I'll talk to you. :wink:

Only if he wants to learn from a man who is where he is because he's doing about EVERYTHING in the wrongest way possible :D

Re:

scarfman's picture

People are making a big deal of it but I doubt it's anything but a statistical fluke. People leave and join Keenspot all the time, and this week it happens that several of the more popular ones have hit a point where the creators can say, "Yep, I've gotten what I came for now. No point in my takin' up room someone else might like." They all seem to be amicable splits.

Townie wrote:
Kinda weird how the artists who are leaving also happen to be appearing in a Reallife storyline at the moment.
All of them? Sinfest is one leaving? I didn't notice that. But you're right, it is weird. Yet I shall leave speculation to others.

RE: WebcomicSpace/ToonSpace/ComicGen

Seconded. Logo looks great to me, but the slogan looks like a joke that's lost its punchline.

Re:

Eric Burns's picture

Ghastly wrote:
If you ask me, Keen desperately needs a 5th executive, everything always seems to be a 2:2 tie when it comes to a vote with the exec, an objective 5th person would get things moving because with all the ties nothing ever gets done. A tech who actually runs things would be swell too.
I think at this stage in Keenspot's development it would be in their best interests to hire a trained business manager to handle operations and decision making. Someone not of the board or top four -- someone whose job it was to make sure all the t's were crossed, i's dotted, agreements and contracts submitted, press releases... er, released... things like that. Someone to take the greatest natural resource Keenspace has -- Chris Crosby's unmitigated and unflagging enthusiasm -- and channeling it into honest productivity. Among other things, it would allow KeenCommand to continue to... well, have their own lives outside of Keen, doing the things they do, while ensuring the trains run within twenty minutes of on time.

RE: WebcomicSpace/ToonSpace/ComicGen

Y'know, ComicGen is a catchy name

Business-wise, I don't think Keenspot is as relevant as it used to be. The cost of bandwidth has plummeted, banner ad revenue has plummeted, and there are plenty of print-on-demand solutions to make it easy for an artist to self-publish.

The only real draw left would be the cross-promotion, which is really only effective at first before plateauing.

So in conclusion, everyone leaving Keenspot just used them for a quick thrill, like my ex-girlfriend did to me.

So would Bobby Crosby be Jar-Jar Binks?

pclips's picture

*chimes in late* My opinion is, frankly, that it's a numbers issue. You know how they all essentially said "It's a business decision, nothing personal"? I have every reason to believe that is true.

The fact is, Keenspot revenue to a given creator has never amounted to anything one could live off of. My understanding is that it comes in at a range of $50-$100 a week. Anyone with firsthand knowledge is welcome to correct me on that figure.

Now, free hosting plus 4 or 5 grand a year is considerably better revenue than 99+% of all webcomics, so the line to get in to Keenspot is long and impatient.

But the comics whose creators now make a full time living can all be assumed to be making 5 times or more as much revenue as Keenspot pays. For a Keenspot comic in that category, the creator is therefore making the bulk of their money from books and merchandise.

If they get to that strong of a fanbase, Keenspot really is no longer helping them, but holding them back. The difference between what Keenspot pays them and what they could get for selling their own ads and hosting their own site becomes too great for them to justify staying in the Keenspot fold.

So the time to join Keenspot is when you say "I cannot make $5K a year with my comic after covering my hosting," and the time to leave is when you say "I can definitely sell more than $5K a year in ads after covering hosting, merchandise aside."

This "mass exodus" was nothing more than a whole group of comics being prompted by Howard's success to reconsider that question. Now that Keenspotters are focused on that question, I think you will see a steady churn there, as some fly away and some new hot titles get recognition.

Assuming Keenspot adjusts to this model a bit, it certainly is in no danger of going away. Whoever said their revenue was shrinking, I think that's wrong. If I understand correctly, it's growing at a decent rate.

But where growth of Keenspot itself is concerned, they've got a problem now. They should seriously consider what kinds of incentives they can offer to keep some of those birds in the nest a while longer.

In the end, though, they will have to let the really popular comics go free. It's possible for an independent webcomic to break six figures in annual revenue (perhaps 1 in 5000 can), and Keenspot will never be able to offer any service worth their piece of that.

pclips's picture

[quote:7b99445aff="Chris_C."]Of course, we all know now that they were all leaving to start their own label so that mystery is solved.

I know, and that gives it an interesting wrinkle. Being such a total lone wolf, I tend to forget that some people put a lot of value on being "in the club."

I hate clubs. I've turned down offers at a number of webcomics collectives, explaining, "thanks, but I'm not a joiner." It's not that it's me against the world, far from it. I work very well with other creators. It's just that I want to define those relationships personally, on terms that are comfortable to everyone involved. I don't like being thrown in with a bunch of randoms and being told it's my pre-fab posse.

So it will be interesting to see what becomes of Blank Label Comics. They seem to be following more of a Dumbrella model and not trying to be Keenspot II, but the public details are lacking. Same server so shared costs, but not shared revenue?

If I have that right, it could work well. But someone will have to be the engine driving it and doing all of the thankless and neccessary scutwork. That's got as much to do with Dumbrella's success as anything else. And even if it falls apart or falls dormant, it will likely still result in more money in each individual pocket over time than they'd have made by staying.

In any event, it's clear that the Keenspot model becomes financially limiting to a comic when it reaches a certain level of readership. As long as that level is below the level required for a single creator to make a living, there will always be a chronic flight of large comics from Keenspot, whether singly or in bunches.

pclips's picture

[quote:98e97cbc3e="Melonpool"][quote:98e97cbc3e="pclips"]The fact is, Keenspot revenue to a given creator has never amounted to anything one could live off of. My understanding is that it comes in at a range of $50-$100 a week. Anyone with firsthand knowledge is welcome to correct me on that figure.

Your numbers are a little off. Most Keen artists make less that $100 every three months. Also, we pay for hosting our of the money made from advertising, then Keenspot and the artist split what's left over.

I might have stayed if I was making $50-100 a week.

Steve

Ouch, that little, even? I'd heard $50 a week last year from one of the higher-traffic titles, but I sort of assumed that was average and that it had since gone up. Then it makes even more sense to leave than I thought. You're bound to do better than that on your own.

Seriously, I wish you guys all the best luck and success.

Except for Straub, of course, because he pwned me. :oops:

pclips's picture

Hey, it's speculation and I said it was. I said anyone who knew better was free to correct me, and you did. Twice now.

But I do know some facts. Howard Tayler has said both publicly and privately that he left because the money would be better on his own. And it was. With leaving Novell, he needed a model for the comic that would bring in X amount of revenue, and Keenspot revenue wasn't cutting it.

I'm not telling tales out of school. He's said all of that on his site and I've been sitting next to him on a panel and heard him say it to the room.

If I assumed that these same economic factors (and his live demonstration of a more successful model) prompted a bunch of you at once to reconsider and leave, than I'd say it was a reasonable assumption to make, from what I knew.

But I'm happy to be corrected on the matter. What non-monetary reason compelled you all to leave?