More ComicMix Cutbacks

Yesterday, news broke that ComicMix had quit publishing columns, a large segment of their original content. Today, site news editor Bob Greenberger responds.

I can no longer use outside talent for the news space. Some will do so on a pro bono basis but for the foreseeable future, it’ll be me doing the news, reviews, and interviews.

Wow, that’s a lot for one person to take on (speaking as someone who knows). I hope, even with other cutbacks, that Bob is being fairly compensated for his additional work on the site. Bob continues:

A frustrating element has been that some of the stories and interviews I’m really proud of, have gone with barely any notice or comment which is [a] shame.

I can think of one possible reason for that: the site had no RSS feed. People these days (especially those who put link posts on traffic-sending big sites) need an easy way to know there’s an interesting reason for them to visit without having to remember to do so on their own. (Which won’t happen — there are too many other distractions.)

According to Bob, there are still plans in place to move forward:

The technical delays behind Phase 3 have been very time consuming and daunting but when it launches, should change the playing field a bit and we hope in positive ways. Of course, it should have been live months ago along with a home page redesign but I remain hopeful.

It’s a shame that the site’s history has been so choppy. In order to complete with established players, a news and review site needs something different, and ComicMix had that with its original online comics. But insistence on doing things their own way — like hand-coding software when there were established packages that could be used and customized much more quickly and easily, without the bugs that bedeviled things like comments — often made observers wonder.

The site also had a very large group of contributors and workers from the beginning, even before it was generating any revenue. Maybe not all of them were being paid, but showing up to conventions with a staff of 10 and a con suite made some wonder how they could afford it all. They were a great group of people, but whenever I spoke with them about plans, they were long on aspirations (we’re going to provide a new blogging platform!) but short on details (why would anyone want to choose you over established players, and what do they get out of it?).

Once again, I’m reminded of a lesson I first learned on Usenet. The world doesn’t work like Field of Dreams — they won’t come just because you build it.

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