Way back in the day when I was focused on Sexy Losers, the site bounced around from server to server because it always seemed to require more bandwidth than the provider wanted to give. After one bill of over $250US I decided that the only way for me to have Sexy Losers online somewhere is if someone would host it for me. At first, it was the Stile Project, who put the most vile adult ads possible on it. As more and more ads were being placed on the site without my input I decided to move to KeenSpace, another free hoster with ads but the ads were much more managable and less offensive (although the argument is that Sexy Losers was itself pretty offensive, it didn’t take itself seriously but those ads were serious and thus creepier). During this time, I should note that I never made a penny from any of these ads, and at the time I was more focused on avoiding another $250 bandwidth bill than anything.
I ended up leaving Keenspace because even though Sexy Losers was the most popular comic on it at the time, Keen would never promote it or share in the advertising money, despite it saying that it was possible. After a few Keen honchos said some disparaging words about the comic, it was time to leave, and a reader who had a server said I could host SL there if I ran some ads, and that’s where it is today.
I had the opportunity to meet this person last year, and one of the things he had said stuck in my head. He said that the ads on the site helped pay for his college tuition. In my recollection, the ads never made any money, and I received very little ad money myself, although he did renew my domain a couple of times.
Hence the story of Sexy Losers was how I was making money for other people but very little of it for myself. That bandwidth bill scared me so much I let other people host the site and pocket the ad money, while all the time I was working for them for free. Pretty stupid, huh?
I guess the lesson I’ve learned from all this is that if you’re doing work on a free site that collects ad money, you’re basically working for someone else. All your hard work is profitting other people. And you think they’re doing you the favor by letting you host your work there.
After that meeting I knew I had to get depression comix off Tumblr/Wordpress.com and onto a site that if it had to have ads, the money would not go to someone else. Even if the money was a pittance, I would at least know how much money is being made off of my work and would get my share of that pittance.
At some point I’m going to move Sexy Losers to a place I can control. It makes no sense to continue having it online not doing anything for me. I won’t be able to put ads on it probably, but I will be able to link it to a shop that would sell merchandise or something that would have the possibility for some kind of revenue.
The lesson here is that my work should have been more important to me, and I let other people profit by it because I did not believe that it was good enough to make my own money from and that I was just very lucky to have someone host it for me. No, the important thing is to control your own work, and if other people are making money and you’re not there is something very wrong.