Actually, the more I think about it, I want this to succeed. I want Penny Arcade’s Kickstarter to succeed. I even want them to hit their million dollar mark if possible. Here’s why.
With all the Kickstarter money, Penny Arcade plans on getting rid of advertising. Assuming they believe this is a completely sane and rational idea, they have estimated that their current ad revenue, plus the expenses of vague new “making things” ventures they want to pursue, would require $1 Million dollars from fans to properly subsidize.
What’s the significance of cutting advertisements from their website, though?
Advertising paid for rent, wages, health insurance, utilities, all the normal stuff that you pay for when you have fourteen souls working together. That money keeps the lights on while we do the things people expect from us: thrice weekly content drops, two annual shows, the scholarships, Child’s Play, etc.
"Advertising keeps the lights on."
Here’s what Kickstarter has to say about that:
Kickstarter is focused on creative projects. We’re a great way for artists, filmmakers, musicians, designers, writers, illustrators, explorers, curators, performers, and others to bring their projects, events, and dreams to life.
The word “project” is just as important as “creative” in defining what works on Kickstarter. A project is something finite with a clear beginning and end. Someone can be held accountable to the framework of a project — a project was either completed or it wasn’t — and there are definable expectations that everyone can agree to. This is imperative for every Kickstarter project.
We know there are a lot of great projects that fall outside of our scope, but Kickstarter is not a place for soliciting donations to causes, charity projects, or general business expenses.
General business expenses including “rent, wages, health insurance, utilities, all the normal stuff that…keeps the lights on.”
This Kickstarter has no clear beginning and end, seeing as how they plan on doing this annually. There is no clearly defined end goal, since there are so many ridiculous goalposts set up on the road to $1 million dollars. The funds will be used to subsidize general business expenses in place of the now-missing advertising revenues.
(Interesting side note: we’re now in July. If their $1 million estimate is to account for the remaining ad revenues for fiscal year 2012, then PA is doing anywhere from $500,000 to $1.5M in ad revenues yearly already. Unless, that is, they’ve set a ridiculously high “end goal” based on absolutely no actual financial necessities, i.e. “it’s a cash grab.”)
Penny Arcade says that this should be kosher because “there is already a precedent for comics that have been published through Kickstarter before.”
Conveniently, Kickstarter actually links hopeful kickstartees to examples of successes in their FAQ, including an example of a successfully funded comic book, “reMIND.” Here’s the Kickstarter page for this project:
My name is Jason Brubaker and I’ve been working on a graphic novel for almost 4 years in my free time. It’s 136 pages for the first volume and who knows how many pages the second Volume will be. But for now I’m just trying to finish the first one and get it printed and sold.
This whole thing started out as an animated project almost 10 years ago but that took way to long so I switched gears and decided to make it a book instead. I’ve been posting new pages every Monday on my blog and talking about the process and what I’m learning. I have about 6 months before I am finished with everything and I was hoping to print it overseas early 2011 when the first volume is complete.
The 136 page, full color book is estimated to cost about $7,500 to print in China as well as some set up fees. Luckily in June I was awarded $5000 from the Xeric Foundation to help with the printing. Now I just need to collect the rest and anything over my $3000 goal will go towards making the books even better quality with a cloth bound hard-cover.
Jason’s project was well-received, and he made four times his estimated goal thanks to community input. But Jason’s project is nothing like Penny Arcade’s.
If it isn’t obvious already, Penny Arcade seems to have simply glossed over the actual details of how comics have been published on Kickstarter before, and are simply throwing out “there’s a precedent!!” to cover their asses for using Kickstarter funds to subsidize their revenues.
Again, Penny Arcade’s Kickstarter should be completely and utterly dead in the water, by all readily-available definitions of acceptable Kickstarter qualifications.
That’s exactly why I hope Penny Arcade SUCCEEDS!!!
If Penny Arcade’s Kickstarter is successful and actually pays ANY AMOUNT to the PA crew, it effectively nullifies Kickstarter’s stringent and well-planned safeguards against bottom-feeding idiots trying to have their life expenses subsidized by gullible morons on the internet.
This is actually great for any other artists and webcomic publishers online, because it means that they can cite Penny Arcade’s precedent as justification for starting a Kickstarter to fund their own webcomics!! You can simply write off “general expenses” as “the money I’m losing by taking down all of my advertisements,” and live off of charitable donations, happily cranking out all sorts of doodles and webcomics as long as your free money lasts.
Penny Arcade’s Kickstarter Is An Opportunity For All Other Web Comic Creators!! Now instead of subsidizing your hobby with a real job and actual money you’ve earned yourself, you can justify stealing money out of your fans’ pockets as a means of improving your product!! Instead of making your webcomic a labor of love, you can rationalize your sense of childlike entitlement to free money by simply writing it off as “A New Business Model!!!”
So, all you aspiring webcomic writers and producers, and anyone else that wants to live off of charitable donations from your fans by begging and pleading with them for their money, start supporting this Kickstarter!! Better yet, pitch in a few hundred bucks of your hard-earned money!!
If you donate enough, you might have the privilege of meeting the geniuses behind Penny Arcade for a few fleeting moments, entirely at your own expense!! Breathe the same air as some of the fattest, shittiest, most unprofessional webcomic authors on the internet for the low cost of any sum of money greater than $500!
Support your future Kickstarter dreams of living off of undeserved money by making the Penny Arcade Kickstarter a reality. Donate today, and secure your future career as a bald unfunny idiot panhandling on the internet for 15 years!!