Posted by Brian Reynolds on April 05, 2000 at 02:43:21:
Jon McClenahan commented in a previous topic about the need to spend money advertising web based creative endeavors. While I'll never deny the power of the advertising dollar to bring definite results, I do believe the internet has loads more tricks up it's sleeve that can be exploited for free rather than resorting to traditional costly advertising methods.
SNAKEBITE (-I do SO want to see an action movie starring you. Just add an exclamation point to your name and the rest just flows!) suggested that word of mouth is useful, but ultimately less effective than an ad campaign. I suggest the opposite, -that word of mouth is INCREDIBLY effective, virtually cost-free, and far easier to generate than you might at first think. There are no shortage of web phenomena I could point you towards that illustrate my point. Here's a few of my favorites:
And never forget the ferver that a simple dancing baby can create.
The internet is an endless, open ended road of entertainment for people, and since your creativity is not restricted by censorship or audience demographics you can basically sit back and create whatever you can imagine that appeals to you personally. People will come. Or, as Joel Hodgeson (creator of Mystery Science Theater 3000) said "We don't ask 'Will people get this?', we say 'The RIGHT people will get this."
Take a good look at all the links I posted above. Each one of them is the product of a single creative individual who put something clever together which appeals to a large group of people. Of course none of the sites started out as anything special, -merely one person's desire to share something particularly clever / twisted that they'd envisioned. It was the quality of entertainment that keeps bringing people back or continues to bring new people into these sites.
The last two sites I mention above specifically got their attention largely from small downloadable sections of their site being shared from one person to the next via email attachments. You may even remember receiving JoeCartoon's "Frog Bender 2000" or Victor Navone's "Alien Song" in your mailbox. I know I got each at least three times from different people.
Y'see, the thing is that the internet is in fact SO large and diverse that often it becomes difficult to seperate the wheat from the chaff. If you go to your average search engine and type out "Funny cartoons" you'll be bombarded with thousands and thousands of possible choices that match your chosen criteria. Probably 97% of those search results will be time wasting crap. But consider the likelyhood of finding something entertaining when your buddy over at Nickelodeon, Dreamworks, Animation Nation, UCLA, AOL, or two doors down the hallway sends you an email saying "Hey DUDE! Check out this groady animation I got off of JoeCartoon.com! It totally rulz!"
Personally I'd say that this is the kind of advertising that the no money on earth can buy. And because Joe Average is *just* now starting to discover all the entertainment the internet can provide the door is left WIDE open for those of us who are creative enough to come up with the ideas which WE find entertaining. We as artists and animators are generally considered to be among the most recognizably inventive creators on the planet. I guarantee you that anyone working in this industry right now who's worth his salt can come up with an idea or two which will cause the general public to bookmark his webpage and eagerly return in order to see what new entertainment he can provide for them.
And really who are you going to be competing with? Certainly not other artists or multimedia corporations. No, what you're going to be competing with is the boredom / interest level of the audience that discovered you in the first place. It's a snap to find an audience if you have even a token amount of creative ingenuity, -the trick is to hold onto that audience once they find out about you. "Internet addiction" gets it's definition from people who can't pull themselves away from the computer. There are no commercial breaks on the internet. There are no time slots. There are no schedules. In short there's none of the usual timeframe reminders to people about how much time they're actually spending viewing the web. All they know is that they want to be entertained, -and that's where the danger lies. People will always make room in their time schedule to look up the latest piece of entertainment you've created, provided of course that you actually create that new content on a consistent basis. For instance, ask yourself how many of you would continue to visit this very webpage if you weren't certain that something insulting, enlightening, amusing, and above all else *new* would be there the next time you visit. I know I wouldn't. If that were the case I'd spend my time visiting something like www.cnn.com, a chat room, or even the public library where I can rest assured that I'd find something interesting that I hadn't seen before.
It's getting late now and the monitor is swimming in front of me, but before I go I want you all to take a look again at www.sluggy.com. Take a look at how long he's been doing these comic strips. This effort is coming from a guy who started his strip simply because it was fun and people enjoyed it, not because he was a known quantity and someone paid him a bunch of money to put it together. But look at the following he's generated. Look at the amount of merchandise he has available. If you're still not convinced, try calling Plan 9 publishing and ask how well the book compilations are selling. And all that because he doesn't disappoint his audience.
In summation, there's no advertising budget that can compete with one mantra: "Creative ingenuity WILL find an audience on the internet, and that audience WILL persist so long as you continually keep them entertained."
Now attach any number of potential revenue generating schemes to that mantra and profits are the only end result you can expect to see.
Thanks for your time.
Post a Followup