Project Wonderful is NOT Webcomic Welfare

Project Wonderful: Project WonderfulI’ve been seeing posts like this one lately — griping about Project Wonderful in a way that really isn’t constructive criticism or even very realistic.

PW is an advertising platform, not a link exchange or some form of webcomics welfare. No one has any obligation to buy any ads on PW at all. Certainly, there’s no requirement that a webcomic site running a PW ad box also bid on PW ad boxes on other sites.

Why do higher traffic sites running PW ad boxes get higher bids (and probably more important to consistently higher bids — get ads from non-webcomic advertisers)? Because they’ve got more traffic and more people reading those ads. Some webcomics also offer the double whammy of a large AND FANATICAL audience. As an advertiser you pay for results. If the result, for example, is getting someone to come check out your webcomic then although small sites ad box prices may be cheaper, the price at large sites, measured in terms of actual person coming to check out your website, is often going to be cheaper still.

Does PW need to attract new non-webcomic advertisers (and publishers for that matter) to grow? Absolutely. There are many ways that could happen and I hope it’s on PW owner Ryan North’s list. But even when that happens it’s probably not going to change the way small webcomic sites experience PW.

As a publisher selling ad space (what you are when you add a PW ad box to your site) be realistic about what type and size audience you have to offer. As an advertiser (what you are when you buy a PW ad somewhere else) be realistic about what you want to achieve with your ad dollars. Plan out ahead of time what your marketing goals are and then focus on achieving them. That may include PW ads, but it may not. There are many, many ways to market a webcomic.

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Xaviar Xerexes

Wandering webcomic ronin. Created Comixpedia (2002-2005) and ComixTalk (2006-2012; 2016-?). Made a lot of unfinished comics and novels.

32 Comments

  1. I've always maintained that a mass-bidding option would help out PW's economy to no end. I've created a (very) primitive tool to enable mass bidding via Project Wonderful, and you can find it here. This is the first version, just uploaded tonight, and to be honest it sucks pretty hard – but it does pave the way for improvements.

  2. All clicks aren't equal. You need buyers to be able to target different audiences in a way that is impossible with mass bidding. it would depress prices across the board.

  3. I agree with you that all clicks are not equal, and that a major draw of the PW system is the ability to target your advertising with precision. However, I disagree that adding a mass-bidding option would result in a depression – an official mass-bidding system would run alongside the existing system, not replace it, so users always have the choice of placing individual bids or mass-bids.

    What the mass-bidding system aims for is to reduce the hidden price of advertising on smaller websites. The smaller sites generally get a better CPC rate, but people go for the higher-traffic sites because even though the cost per visitor works out more expensive, the cost in time invested is greatly reduced. The mass-bidding system addresses that problem.

  4. Time will tell. If the system ends up causing more harm than good, I'll discontinue it. If it brings more money to people in general, then it'll have proved a valuable experiment and maybe Ryan will create an "Official" version within the PW system. It's early days, yet.

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