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Sad day for Smack Jeeves

ozoneocean at 12:00AM, Dec. 8, 2019
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It's a sad day for Smack Jeeves and independent webcomics comics in general.
In case you haven't heard Smack Jeeves was acquired by a Korean mobile content company NHN. They've proceeded to minimise the community there and hijack the platform to promote a selection of sleek, generic, comics that all look the same.

The owner basically sold the site out from underneath the community and walked away. Whatever his reasons this isn't a good thing: webcomics hosting sites are nothing more than a gallery for the community members to display their work on. Sure we work extremely hard to set and maintain these sites but the reality is that it's the members who make them what they are. The community of people that put in millions of hours of work to create stories and art, work hard to keep tight schedules and build good relationships with their audiences, networking across social media to build recognition and even paying for advertising! It's THESE people that truly make a site and that is what was sold out.

Not only that, but it's THAT which NHN truly wanted access too. They couldn't give a crap about the coding on Smack Jeeves, the brand or anything else. What they wanted was that tailored internet traffic so they could hijack it for their own needs.



We at The Duck Webcomics understand that more than anyone
We were approached by the SAME company last year, before Smack Jeeves rolled over and handed the keys to the castle. We worked for months on the deal, providing all sorts of details they asked of us and writing reports and things. What we refused to provide them with was access to any of our user information or the artwork. We also made it very clear that the site would not be sold without retaining the current management, protecting the community, and giving us autonomy to manage the site and do what was in the best interests of the community at all times! It seemed at the time that they were amenable to this, but then the deal fell through. Now we know why ;)

It turns about what they really wanted was to strip the site and use it as they saw fit.



Drunk Duck has been through this exact process
15 years ago with Platinum Studios and again a few years later with Woiow publishing. Except both times we managed it far better: The first time our creator Dylan Squires (Aka Volte6) joined the company when he sold the site so that he was able to watch over the community and be an advocate for it, which he did extremely well. When Wowio took over Skoolmunlee and myself (Ozoneocean), were retained as admins of the site and we made sure we could speak up for the interests of he community. That was firmly in our minds during the acquisition talks with NHN last year!

There are precious few non-corporate, independent webcomic hosts out there that support diversity of style, talent and creativity. In the early 2000s there was just Drunk Duck and Keen Space (later Comic Genesis). Much later on Smack Jeeves and Comic Fury came on board. Tapas and Webtoons are just corporate sites that restrict content and promote comics of a certain type. You can host there but you'll always be second class citizens (the same way Keen Spot considered Keen Space/Comic genesis). At the moment the only real webcomic community sites left are The Duck Webcomics and Comic Fury.


I'd advise account deletion
Creators and readers with accounts and comics on Smack Jeeves should delete your accounts and move to The Duck Webcomics and Comic Fury.
NHN wants to steal the hard work you put in to build your readership so they can transfer your readers to their own corporate comics instead and leverage your data for marketing purposes. They don't care about you and will make changes to the platform without consultation or proper communication. Believe me, we KNOW what we're talking about here, we know from the inside.

We'll be talking more about this on the Quackcast, out on Tuesday.

comment

anonymous?

Amelius at 10:23AM, Dec. 11, 2019

I know DD has always been supportive of the comics-- but a number of LGBTQA creators and readers have mentioned a negative culture toward them on the site and said they don't come here because of it. I think it's far too late to reverse course and lay down some rules-- the people saying these things are respected and important members of the community and loathe the idea of being "censored". As for thread, youtube banned a deplorable right-wing conspiracy nut and convo devolved into people saying "Sure, nazis should be allowed a platform because free speech" ignoring the fact that hate speech is not a protected right, and it is their entire ideology. People playing devil's advocate for antisemitism and asking "who decides morality?" was such a horrendous take that I nearly left this site for good.

ozoneocean at 9:47PM, Dec. 10, 2019

I can't recall a post actually defending hate speach :( On DD we want people to be comfortable whatever their views but if someone says something out of line I'll politely talk it over with them in a PQ. Threats, citing rules, or consequences aren't a good way to go. I've been down that route before and it leads to bad things. If they don't respond though you take it further...

ozoneocean at 9:09PM, Dec. 10, 2019

For that week need a LGBT person to oversee that. We've always been supportive of LGBT comicers since the early days :)

Amelius at 10:32AM, Dec. 10, 2019

I definitely understand energies getting spread thin! You do a ton of work here, I wouldn't expect you to join them over there haha! I meant more like a cursory glance, because some folks are acting like it's an over-sensitive PC hellhole and that's not really what's going on. It's not perfect, either. Just lamenting how ours is right now... Honestly, I have no idea how we would mirror them in our current state nor am I entirely sure we could. I think it would require more mods with the time and energy to recognize and shut down some of the insidious things people say in our forum that drives away and alienates certain creators, most notably LGBTQA+ creators. It's not hate-speech level but it's there, and certainly the thread defending hate-speech didn't help our image any.

ozoneocean at 4:17AM, Dec. 10, 2019

Thanks Amelius, Skyangel, Abt, :) @Amelius - I'm afraid my energies are spread too thin to invest in another online community/ I wish the DD forums were as active again. What about their community would you wish was mirrored over here?

Amelius at 1:54PM, Dec. 9, 2019

Regarding the CF forum culture though, don't put much stock in rumors and see for yourself. It is an incredibly active and friendly forum, and very inclusive. I actually wish our forum was more like theirs.

Amelius at 11:39AM, Dec. 9, 2019

I really appreciated hearing about the bullet-dodge you guys did when they approached you about buying up DD. Thank you so much for standing up for the community and not letting that happen to us (again!) Sorry my post on this went off rails in the forum, I'm afraid to set foot in the forum after my last reply. I don't need another urgent care visit for stress.

Abt_Nihil at 6:38AM, Dec. 9, 2019

My question would have been the same as Paulie Blade's... I actually started out on smackjeeves, so I'd hate to lose all the comments I received over there... or rather, to lose the opportunity to revisit the memories associated with that period in the early 2000s. However, I haven't been active there for ages, so I guess I'll just let it sit there for now. I know they can't claim my IP, so I guess it doesn't matter to me.

skyangel at 3:56AM, Dec. 9, 2019

We started off on DrunkDuck and the first thing that impressed me most was the wonderful community spirit here and the huge enthusiasm on both sides for reading and making comics. When that chaos with Platinum happened, DrunkDuck just crashed without warning leaving all of us dazed and confused. Many left at that point but my heart was still with the Duck so although I began uploading on SJ as well I kept our roots here and it was always my greatest desire to see The Duck back up on it's feet again in the way it is today, and in the 10 years our comic has been here I've never regretted it once. The Duck community has always supported us well and although the internet as a whole has also changed a lot over time this site has always retained that same vibrant enthusiasm on both sides that I felt when we first arrived, so your post only underlines yet again just how wonderful this site still is. Thank you guys!

dotcrossbuns at 11:54PM, Dec. 8, 2019

"Not welcoming to adult comics" isn't much of a downside... at least, not from my point of view.

ozoneocean at 10:29PM, Dec. 8, 2019

Comic Fury is a good choice. Kyo has a lot of integrity and he's protective about his site. There are a lot of good features there and freedom for the members. On the downside I hear the culture in the forms isn't as ways that nice and they're not welcoming to adult comics to quite the same level as us, I'm also not a fan of their web design, but they are a good solid site and should be a great host for your work!

dotcrossbuns at 10:17PM, Dec. 8, 2019

Too bad. I really can't be sad about content restrictions, but I see they've mangled the web design in their pursuit of "sameness" and broken all external links to their comics. ComicFury looks like the best choice at this point -- that and/or my website is where future projects will be hosted.

ozoneocean at 9:17PM, Dec. 8, 2019

That's a really enlightening perspective Hushicho! I hadn't quite seen it in that way. I haven't heard of Paperdemon before either!

hushicho at 7:53PM, Dec. 8, 2019

I would say good riddance to bad rubbish for SmackJeeves. The Duck and PaperDemon are the only two sites I really participate in. PaperDemon isn't a main webcomic site, but it does have a really great webcomic functionality that is being gradually upgraded and a fantastic community, so I'm sticking with them. I have genuinely enjoyed The Duck so far, coming back to it after many years away, and I'm very glad to see that it continues to be one of the best sites around. It's wonderful that after all this time, that crazy duck is still here for us. I'm very grateful for that.

hushicho at 7:39PM, Dec. 8, 2019

SmackJeeves was a garbage fire of a site that built their site up on the backs of a diverse group of creators, then turned around and decided they were too good for those same creators. They asked users, most of whom were donating VIPs supporting the site, and promptly ignored them. I left the site years ago, and I can't say I'm particularly surprised. Years ago, I urged everyone to walk away from that site. It's sad, but it's also completely unsurprising. But I can't shed a tear for yet another unexceptional, exploitative host who embraced stricter and stricter censorship and was never there for most of its creators. The Duck is far superior with its independence and encouragement of its creators who aren't all-audiences. I hope it stays that way.

ozoneocean at 7:14PM, Dec. 8, 2019

Thanks guys. Yes, SJ was a great site... It's such a shame to see this happen to them. @Andreas_Helixfinger thankyou so much for that huge compliment! And thanks for becoming a high level Patron! We'll sort that out for you this afternoon.

Andreas_Helixfinger at 1:12PM, Dec. 8, 2019

You know, for a while back I was kind of considering hosting comics on SJ in the future, but now I see that's not gonna happen. This is the stuff that just makes my blood boil>:(EVERYTHING is becoming so corporate now!! EVERYTHING out there is becoming so one-dimensional and dull and souless now, I HATE it!!! Why can't these people just leave us who just wanna create and tell stories out of passion and cheer indulgence in peace!!! (Sigh) I love you guys<3 I love this site<3 This site is one of the few websites I know that still stands with its community^^ Sites like DD are sanctuaries of freedom of expression and humane communication, where variety, originality and exchange of ideas can still flourish, with a fantastic forum, colorful and wonderful creators and administrators, and the richest library of comics, hosting some of the most unique stories and most beutiful artwork I've ever seen^^ Count on my love and my support for this site, I belong here<3 Thank you so much, you guys<3

marcorossi at 11:43AM, Dec. 8, 2019

So I have a mirror on SJ too, and I follow some comics there. Many of the authors whom I follow were pissed off by the changes and migrated to their own websites; while I was spotlighted in SJ (so I was somehow privileged) I have exactly 0 views since the change to now. I'll wait a bit, but I think it's likely that I'll stop publishing on SJ (whatsd the point if nobody reads?). I understand why, from a commercial point of view, their strategy makes sense, but from my point of view it's just a problem.

lokpolymorfa at 11:39AM, Dec. 8, 2019

That's a big yikes.

PaulEberhardt at 11:25AM, Dec. 8, 2019

This is today's internet for you, I guess. I've never posted anything there but there's some favourite comics of mine I used to follow. Moreover, many people still wonder what has happened, so thank you for this very insightful blog entry. As it happens I just sent the link to a comic creator I know.

Ayaluna at 10:45AM, Dec. 8, 2019

I tried to get from them some answers about the bugs (to publish) and the no visibility for our projects. No response so goodbye SJ!

ShaRose49 at 9:45AM, Dec. 8, 2019

Yeah, in a way, this really is too bad. I never had readers on SJ though, at least, hardly any, so I’ll keep my mirror there for now, but we’ll see what happens. Come to think of it, SJ was actually where I started out. But Comic Fury was where I got an actual audience, so I’m very thankful for that, and for communities like this one.

ozoneocean at 8:24AM, Dec. 8, 2019

No problem!

Paulie Blade at 7:39AM, Dec. 8, 2019

@ozoneocean Thanks for the reply. Yeah, I'll keep the mirror, but I'm not holding my breath for any popularity spike, as SJ was always my weakest mirror even before this "update".

ozoneocean at 6:15AM, Dec. 8, 2019

That's a real shame about your HTML and stuff Aristo, and I agree Scott D. They have a welcome place here. The real sad thing is that Smack Jeeves had a LOT of good features set up to support its members, it was a really good setup for its creators.


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