|June 12, 2001: We're On Hiatus, But... (Day 2)
Mail a postcard to a friend or Pick one up
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If you came to this page via a link, you may be looking for today's comic.
December 23, 2001: Short Downtime
Bah. Something screwed up, and as a result the site was down for a while. Sorry about that! To make it up to you, we'll have something new this week...
November 24, 2001: Occasional Art Thing #3!
Some nice bonus art while you wait, kids.
June 12, 2001: Occasional Art Thing #2, And An Important Announcement
Hi, folks. It's been a while.
I'll start with the two most important things I'm going to talk about. If you hate reading, just read these two points and we'll call it even:
1. YES, WE ARE COMING BACK!
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Still with us? Okay, now you get the angst. You've been warned.
It hasn't been a good year for the Web. Remember the days of the Internet bubble, when Amazon was worth $300 a share and we were all going to buy dog food online? Wasn't that sweet? Man, I miss that bubble sometimes. Its death took a lot of bad companies, sure. But it's taken a lot of good ones, too, a lot of them content companies.
We're a content company, in a way. There was, all along, the thought that somehow, someway, somewise, there might be a little bit of money in Waiting for Bob. Not a lot. But enough to pay our bills, and maybe buy some stuff.
(There are two words we have for anyone who thinks that you can only be a REAL artist if you starve for your work, and the moment you touch money you become corrupted beyond repair. Those words rhyme with "duck off".)
Ha. So much for that idea. (Man, I miss the Internet bubble!)
But all in all, the fact that the tech market collapsed, taking the ad banner market with it, and taking that whole "profitability" thing along for the ride, isn't why we needed to take a break. The reasons aren't really important. Just know that we chose to pause before we totally hated what we were doing, instead of waiting until we had no other desire but to burn everything down and scatter the ashes. We decided to put up a sign that said "on hiatus, back someday" instead of a sign that said "gone forever, goddammit".
So why talk about the market meltdown? Well, since we put up that sign, a lot of other sites have done the same. Some of them were useless dot-bombs, but there are those that really (really!) are good things, content sites that offer good writing and sharp opinions and cool art. There are a few of them that are working on "securing funding", and there are a few that have said "screw funding, we'll just do it anyway", and the majority just said "thanks for coming, now get lost".
And you know, we don't want to be part of that last group.
This time, genuine income won't be a goal, though it wouldn't hurt any (and this is a point we'll return to later). We're in it for the fact that it's FUN to make funny words and funny pictures and put them on a web site and have the world look at them. Self-sustaining is good enough, for now. Some sites have bandwidth bills in excess of $50,000 a month. Ours is $57 a month. That shouldn't be too hard to scrape up.
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So, that's the reason behind our pause. What about our return?
To start, in case you missed it the first time, WE DON'T KNOW WHEN IT WILL HAPPEN. We're working! We're writing and drawing, whenever we can carve out a block of time! But we don't want to announce a date until we have at least a week's worth of content ready for you. One of the things that led to burnout the first time was writing and drawing the strip three hours before (or after) the deadline day after day after day. Screw that, and the horse it rode in on. Before we start again, we're having at least full week of strips in the bank.
We will be back when we have at least a week of new content ready. Mark that on your calendars.
Second, we want to do some interesting things with the site. The most important is a redesign. The current site look is our second design, and it's an improvement over the first design. But now we must pull out Photoshop and Emacs again and make something new and spiffy. Third time's the charm!
We also want to add message boards. Beta testers, you'll hear from me soon. In the meanwhile, I want to know about board software you like, and what should be better about it. (I'm almost certain we'll need to our own software, but hey, try to surprise me!) Community is good. Community is fun. Let's try to build some.
And third, we're exploring alternate sources of funding. Admittedly it's only $57 a month (plus our time and blood and toil and sweat and tears, which is priceless) but that doesn't mean we want it to come entirely out of our pockets ... if people are willing to help us.
One big source of income is merchandising. We'll be looking at ways to put WfB on T-shirts, books, mugs, mousepads, baseball caps, anything you can think of. (Yes, we've already heard about Plan 9 Publishing. We're looking into it.)
We will also, in the time-honoured tradition of busking, have our hat in hand. It seems Paypal and Amazon are the two leading ways to run a tip-supported site, so they are what we will use. There will be extras of some sort when people give us lots and lots of money, we know this. Exactly what they will be, we do not know. We will let you know the moment this changes.
And most of all, we might just start experimenting. Perhaps not everything will be written to make you laugh. Perhaps we will add new characters, or focus on someone in the secondary cast (the people Garry Trudeau calls the "outthereers") for a while. After all, someone's been after us to spend a week writing the comic from Disco's perspective....
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So that is the state of the union. We know we are returning. (We talked about our plans for about an hour this Sunday, and it'd be a shame if we were both lying just to not hurt each other's feelings.) We do not know when it will happen. This is a non-update. But it is a non-update that contains no lies, and one whose time has come.
See you soon, folks.
-Doug and K@, yer humble creatives