Kickstarter Wrap-Up, & The Return of Club PA
Anyone who has been around the site for awhile knows that we aren’t shy about trying new things business-wise. They don’t always work, but I want this to be a place where we make bets on things. Funding the site via a Kickstarter campaign was just such a thing; in addition to being experimental, it was one of the first steps we took toward moving backward in time. It reminded us of when we ran the site essentially on donations, which was something I really liked doing. It was only two of us back then, so it was a very different proposition financially. Still. Going that route was incredibly instructive personally and professionally. Here’s what I mean by that.
1. Most People Don’t Actually Care About Ads
They actively block them, or they think of them as completely normal. Because we hail from another era of the consumer Internet, and also because we are who we are, ads were always something we struggled with. “Site Takeover” type ads are commonplace now, when that used to be considered unconscionable. We tried to come up with a model for advertising that was as humane as we could do it - breaking down the editorial/business wall and taking direct responsibility for the ads we placed was a big part of that. As a result, people found the ads useful. So, when we tried to fund things another way with Kickstarter, we got feedback that people actually liked the things we were trying to remove! It was an eye opener, for sure.
2. We Want To Make Things
This is probably the biggest one, and it’s something we learned directly from the campaign: I don’t want big projects and big bets on things to be “stretch goals,” or special in any way. I want that to be completely normal. Like I said in December, we’re swinging the tiller toward “making new things,” or really investigating the things we’ve already made (finally). That’s the “gear.” Lookouts Novel and Thornwatch are both go, and that was just January. Downloadable Content: The Penny Arcade Podcast Season 2 just wrapped, but I don’t think we’re going to stop doing it. The mic headset I use for it is about eight inches from my left hand, I could put it on right now and record a fucking podcast. I’m pretty sure it’s back for good, and I want to thank readers (listeners?) for being patient.
Advertising will return site-wide in 2014. It’s not something most people even care about, and I can pay salaries with it. We’ll also continue to seek out companies who have worlds we want to play around in for projects. BUT. A fully armed and operational Club PA has returned: no ads, feeds with full content, early access to comics, shows, and podcasts, hi-res strip and show downloads, and more. There’s a higher tier with an exclusive Pinny Arcade pin and a ten dollar PA store gift card code every six months, if you want to go that route. Going this way lets everybody - from people who don’t really care, to people who care the maximum amount - get what they want from us. Look for more information on Monday.