Diesel Sweeties and Project Wonderful
By stern on May 29, 2007
Warning: a lot of references below aren't exactly work safe. I've tried to hide the Clicks Most Likely To Get Filtered at least one level deep.
My latest daily chuckle comes from R. Stevens' Diesel Sweeties. The online version is a strong PG-13 or mild R rating; the syndicated version (which has happily appeared in the Newark Star-Ledger!) is not quite PG on a saucy day. There are just so many things to love about this strip: it's pixelated, so it has that retro videogame feel; the humor including the strip titles is equal parts surly and subtle; and it's merchandised so you can share the really good panels or sub-panels. If you believe that androids really do dream of electric sheep, there's both a T-shirt and an online strip to share your point of view (click on the link in the T-shirt description to backtrack to the original comic with android dreams, the surrounding strips veer into some exercises left for the reader to explain). I'm looking forward to wearing my pixelated Maple Leaf shirt to Toronto this weekend.
Being the nerd and n00b games theory student that I am, though, I'm equally attracted to the advertising mechanic run by Project Wonderful. They accept bids for small ads below the online DS strips, currently running about $1.50 per day, and the continuous auction inlines the top bidders. With the strip getting north of 40,000 impressions a day, that means that for about one-third of what I spend on coffee a week, I could get a quarter-million ad impressions. It's a tempting trade-off: cut down on robot juice and juice up the personal blog?
On top of all this, DS just oozes "web next" aggregating pheromones: Stevens lets you use strips for non-commercial purposes, like posting one in your blog provided you host the image yourself (Why not? You're more than likely to link back to the online comic and drive more traffic). The T-shirts are some of the more fun atoms derived from bits, and it's how he makes money (Monetization of something that's free?!!?) I have spent more on DS T-shirts this year than on newspaper subscriptions, including my online one-timers. And the advertising model has both a floor and a ceiling that any artistes, auteurs, and low-budget bohemians can adore.