As many of you know, last week Scott Kurtz (PvP) posted a rant about webcomics, bandwidth, and financial situations. It seemed to get a lot of peoples' attention, and attracted a good deal many opinions one way or the other. It also prompted a few of my readers to ask me in the forums how things were going on my end. I gave an answer, but I thought it best overall if I posted a spiel and let everyone know what's up.
First thing's first : Real Life itself is not in financial trouble. Even with ad rates going down, (we've gone from roughly $2 per thousand adviews to somewhere around $0.20 per thousand) Real Life (and keenspot) is making enough money to cover our bandwidth charges. JUST enough money.If the market goes south any further, we might be in trouble, but I don't see how it CAN go any lower, seeing as how it's already hit basically rock bottom. *knock on wood*
So, this means 2 things. 1) Real Life can stay on the net with no problems for as long as our revenue covers our bandwidth, and 2) I'm making jack squat out of the deal. A few months ago, right before ad banners went down the toilet, I was getting enough traffic to earn a 300$ check for a few months. Not enough to live on, but certainly enough to make my car and insurance payments for the month.
Now, however, since all our income is going to pay for our bandwidth, none if it comes to me. And the real kicker is that increased traffic isn't going to fix it - it's just going to keep it at the status quo. Back when I got those 300$ checks, my traffic was less than half what it is now, and my pageviews were about a third of current numbers.
So, we're in a real unique situation - we're not making any money, but we're not losing any money either. Now, this really doesn't bother me. When I started doing Real Life, I wasn't doing it to make a lot of money. I was excited that I'd be able to share my humor with people every day, and that continues to be what drives me to come up with a new strip each day. Like I said, I'm not doing this for the money....but it sure helps out when I can get it.
News flash, people - it takes more than just having a successful web site to make money. I never thought Real Life would be NEARLY as successful as it's proven to be, and it just keeps growing, thanks to you loyal readers. So you could call the site successful, relatively speaking. That said, I'm not exactly the epitome of an "Internet Professional". I work a day job fueling airplanes, making just barely enough to cover the bills.
So I'm faced with trying to find a way to support myself from this comic. Obviously ad banners aren't doing the trick, so I've got to go with what I can control myself. I try to sell some shirts, I'm trying to get a few things ready for the Comic Con, maybe get some other items set up here and there. Basically, I've got to start moving outside of just the daily comic. Rather than relying on the advertizing companies to bring in the money, I've got to rely on you, the reader.
I'm thinking of putting one of those little PayPal donation thingies on my front page...see if maybe I can get some direct support from you guys. Every shirt, mug, and mousepad you buy helps me out. And when I start getting some more Real Life items out there, you can help out by buying them and telling the people you know about them.
In a nutshell, nothing's gonna be changing. Real Life is going to be staying on for a good long time, as long as I have a say in it. And we'll see how things go as far as my income in the deal...even if I'm not getting any money for it, I still love doing Real Life, and I'll continue to do it for as long as I can. I can promise you that.