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Weblog:   iLike iComic
Subject:   "Theft" feedback
Date:   2003-11-26 09:12:14
From:   invalidname
Maybe I didn't make this clear enough when I wrote the blog, but I did say:


"The only obvious problem is that this steals impressions from sites that depend on advertising."


I'm not ignorant of this issue, it just wasn't the point of this article.


What I wanted to write about is the features and designs of these "thick clients", since some think they might eventually replace web clients for some content. iComic is a good example of something that makes the client side experience much more pleasant than hopping across many pages with contradictory ways of experiencing their links, forums, archives, etc.


I'm also surprised nobody pointed out that in my talking about thick clients of the future, that I presumed it was the content creators who would be providing such clients. Of course, that's NOT the case with iComic, which was written by a third party not related to the creators. That raises some interesting issues: barring an official access API and rules (like Amazon and Google have), is any such client a "thief"? And how reliable are such unofficial apps - HTML scraping is notoriously brittle.


Also, here's a question to the comic creators: are you in the content business or the HTML business? If technology changes and people want a different kind of online experience, how do we get to a point where the content can still make money? Would Keenspot write a thick client, one that served ads and shopping to the reader? Or offer an API and rules to the effect of "if you show the comic, you must show the ad and link to the store"? Or does that require too much coding, too much non-content stuff around the simple idea of putting comics on the net where people can see them?


I don't have the answers, I'm just trying to see where client side internet technology is going.


--Chris (invalidname)

Full Threads Oldest First

Showing messages 1 through 7 of 7.

  • "Theft" feedback
    2003-11-27 01:14:08  anonymous2 [View]

    "I'm not ignorant of this issue, it just wasn't the point of this article."

    It was downplayed far too much. It's a big issue, which raises the moral point of whether these apps are stealing from websites. Heck, it has to fake REFERER information to do it, which should be an indication that this app isn't on the up and up.

    "is any such client a "thief"?"

    If comic creators are going through extra lengths to protect their documents, such as hotlinking bans, that should remove all doubt. A hotlink ban is like saying "I don't give permission for you to directly access these documents". Whether accessing them though trickery and fakery can technically be called "stealing" is something that is a debatable issue; whether it is a copyright issue and copyright violation is not so debatable.

    You raise some good questions. The bottom line is, the content providers don't want to be nailed with the bill from these kinds of clients. Hypothetically, let's say 100% of the comic readers used these clients. That would mean that all of the bandwidth would be footed by the comic creator, without a cent received through advertising support. A lot of comics would go down in a hurry.

    Basically what I forsee happening is a technology war between these kinds of reapers and the comic artists as they try to beat the reapers. For example, perhaps one day cookies will be used to make sure it's a browser asking for images rather than a reaper. Or pages will be scrambled with javascript. If this happens, I do believe we will see a decline in the comic reading experience, not an improvement.

    All because people are too lazy to bookmark.
  • "Theft" feedback
    2003-11-26 10:28:54  anonymous2 [View]

    Good point about content providers writing thick clients. The nice thing about iComic is that it's easily extensible: someone who would like a standalone UI to reading comics doesn't have to deal with grungy GUI issues. There are many advantages to this (witness the success of Watson and other aggregators). Perhaps, as others have pointed out, the author of iComic can extend the GUI to include display of advertising in addition to the "donate to me" links--really, arbitrary links--capability already there.
  • "Theft" feedback
    2003-11-26 10:22:59  anonymous2 [View]

    At least one comic artist provides an iComic plugin for his work: http://www.applegeeks.com/

    FWIW, one can write links to the main site, store, etc etc, into the plugin, which I have done for some of the plugins I've written.
  • "Theft" feedback
    2003-11-26 10:19:22  hejazzman [View]

    Hey, here's an idea.

    If the problem is that people seeing the comic through such client do not see the banners, then
    why not embed the banners in the comic image?
    I mean, instead of serving the banner as a seperate image, buddnle them.

    Like:
    [@][@][@] <- panels
    [=======] <- banner

    How about this? You can even randomly flip the top and bottom banner/panel arrangement, as to prevent thick clients from using image cropping to leave the banner out).

    Nickos Venturas







    • "Theft" feedback
      2003-11-27 00:55:47  anonymous2 [View]

      1) That's a lot of extra work for comic creators, don't you think?

      2) Unfortunately your suggestion does not incorporate the current way banner ads are sold and counted.

      3) It's far easier for everyone JUST TO USE A BOOKMARK.
      • "Theft" feedback
        2003-11-27 07:28:43  hejazzman [View]

        1) No, comic creators won't have to do a thing.
        The only thing needed is a simple join of two images, the banner and the comic panel. Trivial, and it can also be automated.

        2) The comic + banner can be the link to ad.doubleclick.net or wherever. It is also trivial to write a servet or something to automatically produce the bundled image from a banner and a comic image.
  • "Theft" feedback
    2003-11-26 10:18:55  hejazzman [View]

    Hey, here's an idea.

    If the problem is that people seeing the comic through such client do not see the banners, then
    why not embed the banners in the comic image?
    I mean, instead of serving the banner as a seperate image, buddnle them.

    Like:
    [@][@][@] <- panels
    [=======] <- banner

    How about this? You can even randomly flip the top and bottom banner/panel arrangement, as to prevent thick clients from using image cropping to leave the banner out).







Showing messages 1 through 7 of 7.