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Status of the Webcomic Hosting Market

I know "hosting" isn't really the right word for Comic Genesis or WebcomicsNation because they do a heck of a lot more than give you space on a server and bandwidth to the Internet. No really we're talking about "webcomic services" that turn self-publishing a regular (or multiple) webcomic with all of the bells and whistles you can dream up into a relatively simple task.

Lately folks have been writing about their WCN experiences: Bob Stevenson, Ping Teo, Phil Kahn and Brian Hogg just to list a few.

Having looked at a lot of options over the years you essentially have 3 types of approaches: (1) pay services; (2) free services; (3) do-it-yourself scripts. WCN falls into (1) obviously and while there have been many comparisons to Keenspot's Comic Genesis, CG falls into (2). Keenspot's (1) offering is KeenPrime does not have a pay service because despite the existing website for KeenPrime, Chris Crosby confirmed for me that they are no longer offering that service.

Re: Status of the Webcomic Hosting Market

I think KeenPrime was closed from accepting new members ages ago; most of the users got spotted; and the only other member just switched to ComicGenesis. (see thread)

Re: Status of the Webcomic Hosting Market

One problem I see with hosting services that are affiliated with more prestigious lines of comics, is that it creates a perception (rightly or wrongly) that your work is only an amateur effort. If you are on Comic Genesis or Webcomics Nation or ComicsSherpa, does that mean your work isn't good enough for Keenspot or Modern Tales or newspaper syndication? A self-hosted site or collective sites with some degree of membership exclusivity won't have the same stigma.

Even a site that ONLY offered webcomics hosting wouldn't be so much a problem. It's when the same host also runs a premium comics line that creates the unfortunate comparison problem. You've got the pay-to-play stage under the same tent as the professional stage. And even if your strip is actually better than anything on the prestige sites, there's no escaping the context of being in the 2nd class bin.

Maybe this perception is purely imagined on my part. But if there is anyone currently on Comic Genesis/Webcomics Nation/ComicsSherpa who wouldn't rather be on Keenspot/Modern Tales/United Media, I'd really like to hear why.

Re: Status of the Webcomic Hosting Market

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

Thanks - Crosby did confirm that for me and I will edit the post.

I do think it would be wise for Keenspot Inc to change the Keenprime page though. You would not know they were out of business from looking at their website.

What I have not gotten an answer on though is why Keenspot pulled out of the paid hosting service in the first place. From what I've gathered they never really even got around to charging most (all?) of their customers in the first place.

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

Re: Status of the Webcomic Hosting Market

Joey Manley's picture

An artist of the stature of Jay Stephens would certainly be welcome on Modern Tales, or, for that matter, probably on Keenspot or even in United Features' lineup (the man has his own nationally-broadcast Saturday morning television show, after all), but he has chosen to be on WCN. I can't speak for the other services, but there are a lot of advantages to being on WCN over an edited portal -- not the least of which is the ability to control your own business & manage your own destiny -- two options that were previously only available to those who were able to be webmasters as well as cartoonists (or at least to those who had friends/business partners who could be their webmasters).

Joey
www.moderntales.com