November 5, 2008
Comics.com Revamps; Major Archives Now Free; Ability To Embed Features
United Media launched their revamped Comics.com site
, which has gone to a free model that stresses a huge amount of archived content -- you can now see 21,000-plus Peanuts
strip on the site -- an interface that I believe is designed to feature advertising, and a few bells and whistles set to encourage on-line social interaction and dissemination, including the eyebrow-raising option of anyone being able to embed them without paying to run them.
Alan Gardner has a long review
: basically, Content 10, Design 3. Daryl Cagle in Gardner's comments thread indicates that his editorial cartoons syndicate isn't participating in all the features, and I share his surprise over the complete endorsement from other contributors for free dissemination. So while the immediate commentary is going to be about how the site's user interface functions, the most significant factor of the news is what this will mean in terms of United Media's ability to find profit on-line, and how this can be seen a significant divergence from what some other companies have tried -- even past United Media efforts. It's hard to shut the Big Box of Free once you've opened it up, and I'm always a little suspicious of syndicate efforts on-line because I'm not always sure that a syndicate and a creator benefit in the same way from how something is disseminated on-line.
Needless to say, I'm very interested to see where they try to go from here, and if anyone follows them.
posted 4:25 pm PST
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