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< Piro >

an older color work from my 'warmth' - Tobari Saeko

"buried in concrete"

Saturday - March 10, 2001

[Piro] - 14:20:00 - [link here]

Funny thing about concrete. Did you know that it never stops curing? Ever notice how in hot weather they will often hose down an exposed concrete surface as it sets up? That's because water is necessary for the chemical process of 'curing' to continue. If the surface of a new concrete pour dries out too quickly, the surface will be weak in comparison to the main bulk of the pour. This is why sometimes you will see 'spalling', where the surface of the concrete breaks away - the surface isn't as strong as the rest of the concrete. This happens because the workers didn't keep the concrete wet enough while it was curing.

As long as water is present, concrete (or more specifically, cement - concrete is technically a mixture of cement and aggregate (stones)) will continue to cure ... basically, forever. The chemical process doesn't stop. The Romans invented concrete way back long ago, and some of that Roman stuff is the hardest concrete on earth.

Concrete isn't an impervious material. Water and air can and will penetrate it. An organic mass enveloped in concrete will decay after time. The fact that when concrete cures, the chemical process releases a lot of heat also helps the initial breakdown of organic material. After time, This leaves a void in a concrete pour that can weaken the structural integrity of foundations and caissons. This can, and has, raised the threat of serious structural failure in large buildings before.

aiyaa...I think I've been listening to way too much Wumpscut this morning.

I've been pretty happy with the comic lately - I think the drawings are halfway decent, and I'm pretty satisfied that the story is now moving along at a reasonable clip. Largo and I have way too much insanity to cram into strips this month, but we will do our best.

That's about the only thing I'm happy about with. Neither Largo or I have been keeping up with rants, I haven't answered hardly any email, I haven't done a new sketch or colorwork for Fredart in almost a month, and I desperately need to finish the color drawings of Largo and Piro for our next t-shirt design.

And then there are all the other little side projects for MT that are starting to percolate. Tsubasa has recruited two very talented seiyuu (voice actresses) to be the voices for Kimiko and Erika - a very exciting project. In fact, he's also been working on lining up a few music groups in Japan to produce some OP and ED tracks. Spiffy, huh? The potential for us here at MT to produce some multi-media content by this summer is very real. The only thing is - there is a lot of front end work that I need to do to get everything started. Largo and Tsubasa have done a lot, and are waiting on me to do my part. So, with all that work to do, you'd think that I could knock a good chunk of it away this weekend, right?


Unfortunately, It's crunch time again at work. I expect that I will have to work Saturday and Sunday both this weekend and next weekend, as well as late into the evenings during most of the week. This is not good for Megatokyo. Frankly, I am at a loss as to how I will deal with just getting the comic done for the next two weeks.

I know you are all tired of hearing me whine about how much work i have to do, so i'll stop with the angsty stuff.

I'll leave you to wonder why i started this rant with a discussion about concrete.

< Largo >

you're already here.


Sunday - March 11, 2001

[Largo] - 20:46:01 - [link here]

I learned a new word over the weekend, it is monetize. Apparently, to monetize something is to change it in order to make money off it. It's an e-commerce term, one so vile that the venom associated with it drips from my lips as I write these lines.

Some of you may have seen the slashdot article on Saturday, found here, regarding efront. For those that have not, the deal is this; over the weekend the icq chat logs of the CEO of efront were leaked out, causing both embarrassment and enlightenment on a number of levels to a number of people. I spent a large part of this weekend reading over the logs, trying to make sense of them. The things this ad banner network did to hurt and steal from websites makes me ill.

I'd like to detail the accounts on this site, I'd like to list each item by villainous item on what was done, but I won't. I spent the better part of the day thinking about how to approach these revelations. I've watched my friends get hurt and robbed by ad banner networks, and it has been hard for me to digest. However, when some of my friends still depend on these revenues to pay rent - it becomes hard to do an all out assault against those networks, even with as many unconscionable acts as efront has performed.

Instead, I want to offer a solution, rather then be part of the problem, so the following is an outline for what I think should be the future of revenue making on the net. What things to avoid, and what we need to encourage.

First off, the big one - Ownership. Never, under any circumstances sign over ownership of your website, never for no amount of money unless that money is enough to buy you out for good. One common tactic of ad banner networks is to pay an upfront sum to 'buy your rights' then promise you control of the site and a commission. This sounds good, but what can happen is if they want to ditch you and exploit you, they simply stop paying you. Then a few months roll by as they make money on your banner ads, all the while not paying you for it. Then they get you to 'opt out' of your contract and give up the revenue they promised in exchange for you getting back ownership of your website. Basically, they exploit and rob you for a few months, and then leave you how they found you, and it's completely legal.

Pop-up ads, please kill whoever came up with these. Thanks!

Portal sites, I don't believe there is any future in a portal site concept, people do not go to a website because it is part of a network of non-related sites, the idea that you can cross-market a webcomic with the selling of a vacuum cleaner is not going to cut it. I am open to the idea that someday, ad banner networks will understand their sites' demographics and could then provide a reasonable match of product to consumer, but right now that isn't going to happen. So avoid these utopian pyramid schemes for now.

Demographics, website operators need better tools to analyze their readers' interests and establish in a documented form, just 'who' is really their target audience. You can't sell something to people unless they are open to the idea, unless you have a really sweet commercial to spark interest - which in the case of banner ads - is never the case. The one exception I've found to this rule is that cool Penguin Computing banner of the giant Godzilla sized Tux the penguin stepping on Microsoft's offices, but I digress.

Pageview inflation, one of the biggest mistakes in the arena of ad revenue is the idea of paying people on a per/pageview basis. Once a contract is signed and it's based on pageviews rather then uniques, the webmasters will pull simple tricks to increase the number of pageviews, this includes breaking a comic over multiple pages for instance, or breaking the site into many pages. I'm not saying that's wrong, but while one or two pages for a site is fine, some sites abused this to an extreme, by say - putting up a webcomic that takes 30 pages of clicking per issue in order to drum up money. As a result, ad banner networks got wise and demanded everyone go to a unique/ip pay rate, to give you an idea of what this would of done to MT, had we been on a pageview pay rate with such a network, and then went to a unique ip rate, we'd lose 50% of the money we were getting. This sort of thing is what killed a lot of websites. A point of fact: In order to force out some websites who refused to renegotiate their contract pay rates - ad banner networks have used the refusing to pay tactic I outlined in the ownership paragraph above. (pageviews are counted as any page loaded from the site, no matter if it all comes from one person. Unique ips are just that, one ip address per person, per day)

I'd rather see ad banner networks using a formula that pays us so much per pageview, and so much per unique ip address, with a greater pay rate on the uniques, so as to balance out websites who's unique address's are way lower then their pageviews, and still not punish websites that do well with pageviews. The black & white system in place now is neither fair to websites, nor does it make any logical sense.

I think a simple understanding needs to be had with these ad banner networks, they view websites as chattel to be bought, sold, and worked in the fields until death. It's a very modern business approach. Many of us who run websites, don't do it because we want to make money, we do it because it's our creation, our art, and in some cases, our lives. Banner networks and even companies who want to advertise on websites need to realize they are dealing with creative people, not business sharks. The same type of dealing you would do with an artist is what is required for webmasters.

Click thru payrates - not going to happen, they suck, and the idea of paying people only if someone clicks on the banner is not only stupid but it goes against the very concept of advertising. Commercials exist so the merchandise being sold is kept wandering around in your head, not so you will go out and immediately buy that new item. Advertisers want you to always be thinking of the product. The rules of commercials need to transcend into the rules of web-based advertising, same concept - different medium.

Finally, before you ever sign a contract with anyone, get a lawyer, or make sure you really do understand what it is you are signing. Never take the other person's word on it, because when it comes down to it, the only thing that matters is what is on that contract.

Unless you can afford some really good high priced lawyers later on to dispute it.


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'megatokyo' is a registered trademark of fredart studios llc.