- Posted by Johanna on May 5, 2010 at 8:07 pm
- Category: Digital and Webcomics
More speculation on reasons behind Zuda’s decision to drop competitions: Jim Gourley (link no longer available) has a lengthy theory that it’s due to most recent (and last for the site) winner Eldritch gaming the system with unfair help:
… there’s no question that a relationship existed between [David] Gallaher [writer of High Moon, first Zuda winner] and [Drew] Rausch [creator of Eldritch]. That wasn’t evident at first, but what was evident was that a major player in the Zuda establishment, and one of their top talents, was openly making statements about who he favored to win the contest. Gallaher has a huge following on the site, with well over 2 million views of his popular and critically successful High Moon. …
Suddenly, Rausch wasn’t the only one pimping Eldritch to the world. David Gallaher’s social media sites began spreading the word –- in a major way. From the middle of April on, he gushed about the book so much that it would have been easy to get confused and think Gallaher was a member of the Eldritch creative team. The effort was so profound that there’s no question he was trying to influence his fanbase to vote for his associate’s book. In defense of Gallaher and Rausch, there was nothing in the contest rules saying that such marketing was illegal.
Gourley goes on to point out that Rausch later posted a full explanation of how the Zuda voting system worked and then started giving away original art and other prizes to those who voted for him. Gourley speculates that Zuda’s contest structure had been gamed sufficiently that future competitors would easily be able to take advantage of the system.
Gallaher shows up in the comments to say, “I think the logic is flawed to imagine that I had a huge influence on April (or any month’s competition) — when so many other influencers are out there. … I think the article focuses on just a small part of a much, much larger tapestry.”
For additional reactions, Robot 6 talked to several previous competition winners about the changes. What stands out to me is how much the contests became about marketing instead of the comic strip — one calls it a “marathon”, a month full of non-stop self-promotion.