Debate and Discussion

The Health of the Duck
smkinoshita at 10:02AM, Oct. 26, 2011
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I know I've not been too active lately, but something's been bothering me for awhile and I've decided to voice it.
How healthy is the Duck?
I've just seen a LOT of my favourites go silent.  Some decided to leave for other hosting sites, others just seemed to die off.  I know my own comic's had some serious schedule slip, and I'm just wondering if life has gotten in the way of a lot of the Duckers I follow or did the changeover really turn some people off? If it's the latter, what can we do to help reverse the trend?
Hawk at 12:28PM, Oct. 26, 2011
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There's no denying it, this has been a rocky and uncomfortable transition for the Duck, and some authors and users have left to try out other hosting options.  There is less activity on the forums overall.

As much as it might seem like it, I wouldn't take it as a sign of the Duck dying.  Community webcomic hosting always has its fair amount of user turnover.  Some authors move on to self-hosting, and others move on from creating webcomics to other hobbies.  Readers follow the comics to wherever they go or find new ones to read.

Our most recent turnover has seen some big changes in the userbase, and one of the positive results is that it's bringing new blood into the community.  New comics are emerging and previously oscure ones are starting to be noticed.  You can see just by noticing how different the top ranking comics are now compared to before.  So in my opinion the turbulence has had the unexpected upside of providing new exposure for comic authors.

And I do think things will start to pick up again.  Even with the bugs in the system, the Duck is a free webcomic host getting most of the things right, and there are still good people here.
El Cid at 8:06PM, Oct. 26, 2011
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The thing about trends is that it all depends on where you start measuring from. Compared to how we were doing before the facelift, yeah, we're doing worse by most measures. But on the other hand, we're probably doing better this week than we were last week, and better last week than the week before that. What we're going through right now is not so much a continuation of the old Duck but the very beginning of an exciting new Duck and from that perspective, the only direction we have to go is up. The forums are less active than they once were, but they're picking up, and they were never super active to begin with. I know that at least my comic and the comics I frequent have recovered to something similar to their usual level of reader feedback (at least the ones that continued updating). My outlook for the site is good, overall.
 
What can we do? Keep updating, and stay positive!
HippieVan at 9:19PM, Oct. 27, 2011
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I'm not quite as optimistic as you are, Hawk.
 
For me, I've had a finished issue of Izzy just sitting around for ages. I wanted to upload it, but I thought I'd wait until the changeover. Then I thought I'd wait until some bugs had been fixed. That never happened, and now I've abandoned the idea entirely.
  
I also haven't read any webcomics in months now because my bookmarks were all deleted. I would have to go through every one of my favourites(I have 71) and figure out where I left off. I find even the idea of that absolutely exhausting. And then I'm not sure if the new bookmarks I made would stick.
 
The only reason I'm still on the forums is because I have a lot of spare time and it's become more habit than anything else to check on it. If I were a newer user, I'd have been outta here ages ago.
Duchess of Friday Newsposts and the holy Top Ten
Have a comic milestone, a community project or some comic-related news you’d like to see in
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El Cid at 6:26AM, Oct. 28, 2011
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Hippie Van wrote:
…If I were a newer user, I'd have been outta here ages ago.
 
If you were a new user, you wouldn't have a bunch of bookmarks to recreate. For a new user, the only real problems this site has are that there are no stats, the comic browsing doesn't work right (it's always alphabetical), and the forums are clunky. The people with the biggest issues are us old-timers who remember how awesome the place used to be.
smkinoshita at 11:04AM, Oct. 28, 2011
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@El Cid:  And that's what I'm takling about.  The former users of the Duck.  I mean yes we're getting some new blood in but to use some business terms – obtaining new customers are many times more expensive than the costs to maintain old ones.
And that's my concern for the Duck.  I really do see everyone doing their best to bring the community back to life and I appreciate that. 
Allyndn at 11:16PM, Oct. 28, 2011
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I've tried to continue “as normal” since the reboot of The Duck. I keep thinking that eventually they'll get everything working again and maybe even better than before. In the meantime, both as a creator and reader, I'm frustrated. Like, I don't know how it is for the rest of you folks, but I can't edit my comic page. All those “Edit” buttons are non-functional. So, I'm stuck with a default page and I can't even put chapter headings up. As a reader, while I can save comics as “favorites,” and I can go to where I left off, I can't actually bookmark a page. The bookmark button doesn't work. Like, smkinoshita's “Super Temps” *is* one of my faves. First thing I did when Duck came back on line was “like” that comic (the “like” button is the only thing that works!). But I haven't been keeping up with it much lately, because I always have to locate the page where I left off, because my bookmark doesn't keep.

I think there's a lot of good content here. If the powers that be will actually finish the refresh of the site, work out the kinks, it will be as good as new. Maybe even better than it was. Hopefully even better.
El Cid at 6:49AM, Oct. 29, 2011
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If you want to edit your page, you should be able to do so using Google Chrome. They never did finish making the site fully functional on all browsers.
 
As for them finishing up, that could be a while because Wowio is short on funding at the moment.
smkinoshita at 10:20AM, Oct. 31, 2011
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@Allyndn:   I can edit my page just fine using Firefox, although I do know that the page editing options have been scaled back quite a bit.
Also, the actual layout editing for the comic is changed – you need to view your comic and then enter layout mode – it's a button on the submenu, upper right.
****
Now on to the subject of Wowio, there's not a heck of a lot we can do in regards to the lack of funding as far as pure profit-making goes, but could we sent up something like a “Kickstarter” fund to get more of the fixes going?  It might be too expensive for any one of us to sponsor but the Duck community as a whole might be able to raise enough funds to see the needed changes done.
ayesinback at 7:15PM, Oct. 31, 2011
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@smkinoshita – I kinda like the idea of a “kick start” fund, but I think there'd first have to be a list of what fixes needed to be addressed in what order – and getting that kind of consensus could be difficult.
 
I suggested in another thread getting a DD user survey going where we could try to identify addressable fixes in the order that a majority want to see things fixed – whether that's PQ alerts, stats on comics - whatever it is.
 
I'll help get together a survey.  Once there's an actual list, then setting something up on google like the DD awards ballots might work.
under new management
Hawk at 6:06PM, Nov. 1, 2011
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We already sort of did set up a kickstarter fund–ALL of us–in the forum of ads on our pages.  We're generating some of the content that brings people to the Duck to view those ads.  Based on that, I'd have a hard time donating money to the cause, despite my strong desire to see fixes happen.  Plus, if we did raise the money, it still falls down to giving it direction to Wowio and asking, “Can you please use the money to hire somebody to fixd these problems?”  We have no idea how Wowio would handle that or if they'd even accept it.

Then there's also the issue of Kickstarter having a rule that prohibits using their system to raise money for site-building, or so I've heard.

Though it's taking some time, I don't imagine Wowio ignoring The Duck forever.  It was an investment they made, and one that may just need some restructuring to make profitable.  Fixing its problems is part of the path to profitability, so I remian optimistic.  Either that or they sell The Duck to somebody a little more interested in taking care of it.
smkinoshita at 1:46PM, Nov. 16, 2011
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@Hawk:  You raise some good points.  I work in marketing and while yes, our content does generate traffic I think that the current forms of online advertising are ineffective and broken.  The ads are not targetted enough and don't offer the kinds of things that generate actions.  It's nobody's fault, it's a matter of innovation that's overdue.
And I'm fully aware of Wowio needing to be on board.
However, I disagree that we should attempt a user-survey to see what needs to be fixed most. 
My approach to fixing the site issues from a user-standpoint – if we went that direction – would be to create a list of issues, a cost estimate to fix them, and then use micropayments toward resolving them. 
A better approach to select which items need to be fixed would be from a business perspective – what things, if fixed, would generate more revenue for the site and thus create the incentive to get the other issues fixed to keep people from leaving.
joeyjarin at 8:09PM, Nov. 16, 2011
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How about kickstarting a new webcomic community ran by users? It'll be “open source”. It will suck at first but could grow exponentially. We wont be beholden to any corporation.
Chernobog at 2:57PM, Nov. 18, 2011
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joeyjarin wrote:
How about kickstarting a new webcomic community ran by users? It'll be “open source”. It will suck at first but could grow exponentially. We wont be beholden to any corporation.
Unfortunately, that might be easier said than done. It takes manpower, finances, dedication, and expertise just to get something like that running. And by that effort, you might as well just try Comicfury or something else already existing.
 
 
“You tell yourself to just
enjoy the process,” he added. “That whether you succeed or fail, win or
lose, it will be fine. You pretend to be Zen. You adopt detachment, and
ironic humor, while secretly praying for a miracle.”
joeyjarin at 2:31AM, Nov. 20, 2011
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Chernobog wrote:
joeyjarin wrote:
How about kickstarting a new webcomic community ran by users? It'll be “open source”. It will suck at first but could grow exponentially. We wont be beholden to any corporation.
 
Unfortunately, that might be easier said than done. It takes manpower, finances, dedication, and expertise just to get something like that running. And by that effort, you might as well just try Comicfury or something else already existing.
ComicFury? I'll check it out dude, thanks for the tip!
El Cid at 8:29AM, Nov. 20, 2011
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I don't see what's so wrong with this site that people are actually considering open source as a serious alternative. Comic Fury? Meh. From what I've seen, you're likely to get more readers and feedback posting your comic here, lame Duck or not, but there's no reason you can't post at both sites. CF has a very active forum.
Hawk at 4:52PM, Nov. 20, 2011
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There's definitely nothing wrong with mirroring your comic at other places.  If a site ever goes down (which they often do) you've got another place for your readers to go.
 
I've got my own comic mirrored in a few places.  I get the best feeback and involvement here at the Duck, though.
smkinoshita at 8:06AM, Nov. 24, 2011
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Comic Fury is an eyesore.  I don't mean to be mean, but … yuck.  Even if I mirror ST there, it will still be yuck.
Although honestly the least effective hosting I've encountered is Comic Genesis.  Not that their hosting is bad but there's no built-in community features and that's its primary weakness.  The Duck has the strongest community hands-down and that's why I'm here and will continue to support it.  Even if it does get really weird at the Duck nominations.
Allyndn at 7:04AM, Feb. 3, 2012
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I know this topic has been a bit dead, but… well… most of them have been. Last time *I* weighed in I was thinking Wowio was busy with their stuff and would get back to DD eventually. I have begun to suspect that Wowio is also gone. Just, like the Duck, there is still a website.

Evidence: the “latest” news on the Wowio site is over six months old.

Wowio is listed as a “an Alliance Acquisitions, Inc. company.” If you do a Google search for Alliance Acquisitions, you find that they administer a bunch of unrelated companies. They have a small “team” of people.

The language on the Alliance Acquisitions site is too familiar. I used to work for an educational software company based in Redmond, Washington. In 2000, the company was sold to an Irish company which seemingly existed solely to buy up educational software companies. The pitch we were given involved creating the “Amazon” of educational software. Having enough investment capital to truly innovate. All of the companies in the “family” (that's the word they used) would continue to work independently. Blah blah blah. Within a few years, everyone in the family had been shown the door. For several years after *that,* the “parent” company maintained individual web presences for the family companies and pretended that this confederacy of educational software companies still existed, though there were only about five people actually employed by the company and any programming work was done cheaply by contractors in India. Basically, they sold the intellectual property of the various companies until operating systems ceased to be able to run them, them they went out of business.

I suspect Wowio will sit until: A) AA finds someone who wants to buy it, or B) the site generates less revenue than it costs to keep the server running. And I suspect that DrunkDuck is a forgotten subsidiary of ignored Wowio. If someone knows otherwise, I'd love to hear it.
Genejoke at 1:10AM, Feb. 4, 2012
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Y'know that does sound feasible, sadly.  god knows what the truth of it is though.
lothar at 4:32AM, Feb. 5, 2012
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i predict that DD will simply drop off the internet one day (prolly in june)
with no explanation .
sucks for all the people that put so much time into this place.
i, for one , am glad that all of this happened , now i can go on posting pages to CF and i don't feel the pressure to draw anything new.
now i have all kinds of time to watch R rated movies and eat candy !
ozoneocean at 5:10AM, Feb. 5, 2012
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Allyndn wrote:
I suspect Wowio will sit until: A) AA finds someone who wants to buy it, or B) the site generates less revenue than it costs to keep the server running. And I suspect that DrunkDuck is a forgotten subsidiary of ignored Wowio. If someone knows otherwise, I'd love to hear it.
   
 
I've been to their offices. Nice place :)
I've also met the head guy, Brian Altounian a few times too over in LA and San Diego. Pretty personable, friendly chap.
 
From our latest  talks with the guy heading up DD “The Duck” (as they prefer it to be known) is still a priority and an important part of their portfolio.
  
OK, you can see Brian talking about plans on CNN here:
- http://www.youtube.com/user/Pleasureellis?feature=mhee#p/f/34/MEYe2d4euqs
And the very LATEST here:
- http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-737683
  
The vids are pretty technically focussed on business lingo, but don't be fooled into thinking it's bullshit and blather. He's just talking about making the company public and also describing what the company actually does in order to attract the attention of potential investors.
 
Everything at DD is still in a holding patten as they wait on that extra funding, but it's “coming”, because Wowio is becoming a public company…
The name of the main company has changed from Alliance Acquisitions to Wowio again to indicate that is the focus of the main company: Digital publishing.
 
If you want more current info on the company  and the guy in charge it's all in their respective Twitter accounts:
http://twitter.com/BrianAltounian
http://twitter.com/wowio
 
last edited on Feb. 5, 2012 5:27AM
Gunwallace at 11:08AM, Feb. 5, 2012
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The major problem I have with “the Duck” is the that they took away user advertising, such as Project Wonderful ads. Basically, they want to make money off of our content, but they don't want the creators of the pages to share in that revenue stream.
Watching that video, for all it's promise of public financing of expansion, and so on, just made me pissed off because the discussion was all about money and advertising … with no mention of the people creating that conent for them (characters were mentioned, but only as things to be more broadly marketed so as to generate more income).
I'm tempted to leave the site and delete my content because I don't see the value to me of their current model, nor do I see them changing things in the future. I particularly don't see the reason why any of the really popular comics on The Duck are still here. Every click you get on this site is, in the langauge used in that CNN segment, wasted revenue for your product and a negative growth potential for your brand.
Wowio need to modify their paradigm, buzz word, buzz word, buzz word, etc …
David ‘Gunwallace’ Tulloch, www.virtuallycomics.com
ozoneocean at 5:05PM, Feb. 5, 2012
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I'll post the same reply here Gunwallace:
 
There are two a BIG misunderstandings here:
 
1. User advertising on DD was always meant to be reimplemented, but it's just like the stats pages; Lawrence didn't get up to that by the time development paused.
 
2. Brain is talking about Wowio digital publishing, NOT DrunkDuck there. All that stuff about ads in content etc have nothing what so ever to do with DD, that is all about e-books and having ads inside the ebooks to make them really cheap or free.
 
Brian is talking about where our Parent company is headed, NOT us.
 
The reason I posted that and linked it is that when the parent company gets some money again, then WE will here and development can continue.
It's nothing to get mad about, it's just some news about what's happening behind the scenes for those interested or those curious about the lack of news there.
 
last edited on Feb. 5, 2012 5:11PM
Gunwallace at 7:43PM, Feb. 5, 2012
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ozoneocean wrote:
I'll post the same reply here Gunwallace:
 
There are two a BIG misunderstandings here:
 
1. User advertising on DD was always meant to be reimplemented, but it's just like the stats pages; Lawrence didn't get up to that by the time development paused.
 
2. Brain is talking about Wowio digital publishing, NOT DrunkDuck there. All that stuff about ads in content etc have nothing what so ever to do with DD, that is all about e-books and having ads inside the ebooks to make them really cheap or free.
 
Brian is talking about where our Parent company is headed, NOT us.
 
The reason I posted that and linked it is that when the parent company gets some money again, then WE will here and development can continue.
It's nothing to get mad about, it's just some news about what's happening behind the scenes for those interested or those curious about the lack of news there.
Yeah, I posted a reply in the other forum thread.
David ‘Gunwallace’ Tulloch, www.virtuallycomics.com
Product Placement at 9:45AM, Feb. 14, 2012
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ozoneocean wrote:
1. User advertising on DD was always meant to be reimplemented, but it's just like the stats pages; Lawrence didn't get up to that by the time development paused.
 
Those are features that they really should be putting priority into fixing. Every day they linger is another day where users with big comics, that track in many readers, could decide to leave this site. I've been paying attention to the way some of the big hitters have been talking in their authors comments; they're not happy with the way things are working, right now. If the popular comics go then site trafic will die down even further, meaning no advertisement revenue and this site will become a lost cause.

P.S. Those god awfull Smiley Central ads are pissing me off to no end; whenever my mouse touches them that fucking smiley starts yelling at me. I'm terribly tempted to make it my life goal to ensure the demise of that company, should their ads linger on.
Those were my two cents.
If you have any other questions, please deposit a quarter.
This space for rent.
El Cid at 5:06AM, Feb. 15, 2012
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One of the interesting things I've noticed is that some of the people who left the site (I'm assuming at least partially because they took away the user ads), haven't set up any ads on their new sites. I guess it's just a principle thing? Like, they just can't stand the fact that the company who provides them free comic hosting (*gasp!*) might possibly be trying to earn some revenue. For shame, Wowio! For shame!
ozoneocean at 6:53AM, Feb. 15, 2012
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El Cid wrote:
One of the interesting things I've noticed is that some of the people who left the site (I'm assuming at least partially because they took away the user ads), haven't set up any ads on their new sites. I guess it's just a principle thing? Like, they just can't stand the fact that the company who provides them free comic hosting (*gasp!*) might possibly be trying to earn some revenue. For shame, Wowio! For shame!
^_^
That is masterfully lol-worthy!
 
Genejoke at 12:28AM, Feb. 16, 2012
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It is funny but the problem for me it just seems too much effort for something I do half arsedly. 
ayesinback at 6:20PM, Feb. 21, 2012
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“arsedly”. :)
another benefit of DD: new words outside the americana experience




Just noticed on the bottom of the DD screen that Wowio reserves all rights (to the web design?) beginning 2011 through 2011. interesting
 
—-
25 Feb Edit:
 
Fascinating!  I just noticed that the line Now reads 2011 through 2012.  Don't know when it changed.  But A CHANGE OCCURRED!!
 
when?  How?  Why not other changes?!!??!
under new management
last edited on Feb. 25, 2012 2:58PM

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