Over the last day or so, I posted two polls on what you do
and do not want to see, content-wise, here at The Beat. Many many thanks to the hundreds of you who voted and commented. It generally confirmed what I know the regular, devoted readers of the site like to see, and we will be trying to do more of the industry analysis and news that everyone seems to like.

Also not unexpected, the most soundly rejected categories — entertainment news, top ten lists and celebrity photos — are in fact what drives about 90% of the traffic on the web, so downplaying that kind of material does leave us at a bit of a disadvantage.

I monetize this site — and raise money to pay the people who help me run it — with display advertising. Keeping traffic up is important to those advertisers and to the occasional networks and affiliate deals that I run. And sadly, if I started running posts entitled “10 best photos of Benedict Cumberbatch in the new Star Trek Movie” my traffic would climb dramatically. I don’t plan to do that, but in running this site for the very, very dedicated and engaged readers who have been here for the whole journey and keep coming back daily, there are a few things you can do to help the Beat. And, no, I’m not going Andrew Sullivan with a paywall subscription model. (Not yet anyway — let Sully try it out first.) But there are a couple of free easy things you can do to help this site stay healthy and independent.

* Click an ad from time to time! Just do it! Don’t click the same ad over and over, but I think you know what I’m talking about. Buy stuff from my advertisers and tell them you saw it on the Beat!

* Share!!! I’m pretty good on Twitter and Facebook but I could be shared more! Especially if you have a Google+ account. If you like what you see here, tell others! Tell Reddit! Stumble! Sharing makes you a better person.

* Spill! I can always use more tips and links. Not tips and links to other comics news websites, but the interesting and quirky and newsworthy stuff you get by hanging around your favorite creators Facebook page all day. Don’t be afraid to Tell The Beat!

I’m not putting the onus of supporting the Beat on my readers, but if you really don’t want me to post the stories that make up 90% of the rest of the internet, it won’t hurt to show your support for the site.

The Beat is 100% owned by me and independent. I’m a crazy nutter running a 2003 business model in a 2013 world! Very few other sites can make that claim, except Jonah Weiland and Tom Spurgeon. In fact, if you don’t like the Beat then go do all the things I just suggested for the Comics Reporter. But for those of you who are sticking around for the ride, let’s have some fun!


  1. This is probably a useless and overly complicated suggestion, so ignore if it annoys. Have you thought about maybe putting out some e-books? Maybe a more-in-depth version of a story you’ve covered on the site? I know other publications (well, okay, big name journalistic publications like The Atlantic, which I understand is a whole different ballgame) are supplementing their online advertising revenue in this way. Either way — good luck!

  2. I try to post one Beat article a week on Reddit. It’s a good contrast to some of the other inane sites on the web.

  3. I can do Top Ten lists?
    And post pretty pictures of celebrities?!

    Guess I should re-read The Beat Style Manual and Bartender’s Guide…

  4. One suggestion – limit the amount of an article you can see in RSS to drive traffic to the site. As I read nearly all of my articles in Google Reader, there’s no reason for me to visit the site. If I can only see the headline or a paragraph, I need to actually visit the site and then I can click on an ad.

  5. @Donnie – Alternately, they could put some ads in the RSS feed instead. Personally, I find reading on certain devices much more enjoyable through apps like Pulse, Feedly, etc., and more often than not skip an article if I have to click through to the site, even if it’s something I wanted to read.

    On the desktop, it’s different, but on devices, reader apps are the way to go, and headline-only RSS feeds are so 2010. :P

    @Heidi: keep up the good work and don’t cave to the pressures of the unique hit driven 24 hour comic news cycle!!!

  6. The occasional pics and celebrity stuff is really quite alright and sometimes, a funny distraction. BTW Thank you for NOT posting anything about Kim Kardashian. If I dont want to read the post(about celebs etc) I just move on to the next posting. Movie and tv stuff is relevant to this world as there are more and more comics folks who are working in those worlds. It would be great to see more news coming from the small presses and stories about the bigger houses producing comics but that is quite dependent on us, the contributors and the audience, right? I’ll do my best to provide more content as well.
    Thanks again, for NOT posting anything about the Kardashians, Honey Boo Boo, Swamp People, Chris Brown, or Justin Beiber.

  7. I looked at the poll about what to drop, and I didn’t see anything on the list that looked bad to me. Really, posting pictures of Benedict Cumberbatch is just part of what makes the Beat the Beat so I’d keep ’em comin’.

    If you’d added John Shableski’s list I would have been clicking all the radio buttons he named.

  8. Breaks my heart to read it even though I know it is true. You guys are consistently the most honest and dare I say intellectual site on the industry, and I’m hoping that we don’t have to ever see you guys resorting to the old cliches of hackneyed journalism like so many other sites have. Literally every other site I go to is nothing but spoilers for comics I haven’t read yet because I have a life, hucksters for the Big Two that give us information that could already be gleaned from the two million press releases per title both companies seem to be so proud of, and those dreaded “Top 10 Lists” you mention. I already cancelled my Wizard subscription long before they went under. I don’t want my comic industry info to be like what they were printing in their last years of publishing. That being said I do share a lot and will continue to share posts from your site. I don’t click on ads so much because I have you guys linked to my Reader account, but will try to do it at least a couple times a month. Keep up the great work…you and all your staff and I’ll do my best to support this gem of a site.

  9. I’m on my iPhone so I can’t see, but is there a donate button? I was going to say I’d be very cool with subscribing to both The Beat and Comics Reporter, but I’d be willing to just donate money, too. I didn’t think of that until just now.

  10. Put ads in the feed. I read almost all of my comic websites by Google Reader now. those that don’t include the full article in the feed wind up not being read at all.

  11. Regarding design, know its hard to go back to old site but maybe give this site background color like the beat warm yellow (gray is safe but nothing charming about it, could be at cnn or target), and give the interior pages the same space ratio as the homepage has with column size and more roominess, that middle column is off-putting.

    Think it would help your site a lot. ComicCraft gave you a great logo, you should run with that a bit….

  12. Also Scott Rowland, Google is phasing out feedbuner and already killed RSS ads. Those don’t make ANY money any more from what I’ve seen.

    BTW this is not a case of the Beat. I have great, remarkably consistent traffic and great authority and respect. It is not at a a level where The Beat is the only thing I do for a living however, and that is a problem.

  13. I have never seen an ad on this site. There are currently none today either. Maybe I have adblock or something, not sure.

  14. Ads only exist on the internet for people who don’t know how to block them. Yes, that’s somewhat selfish, but my need to preserve my computer’s security and personal privacy matter considerably more to me than the fraction of a cent that an ad impression is worth to The Beat or anyone else.

    That said, I visit the Beat several times a week and I’m a strong believer in the tip jar/public broadcasting model of paying for services I use. If I chip in $5, I’m relatively certain that amount would cover several years of my regular, ad-less readership, and that is what I would prefer to do. I doubt I’m the only person who feels that way.

  15. If more general entertainment discussion and pictures of British actors drive search engine traffic, yet aren’t rosily-regarded by regular readers, shouldn’t there be some way to post that sort of content without it showing up on the main page or in the RSS feed?

  16. I also like the tip jar method. Or best yet, all the above. Nonetheless, I will gladly click on an Ad, or two. Hell, I’ll do whatever I can because I do like what Heidi is doing and support it and her. Long live The Beat.

    By the way, I don’t mind if The Beat reports the bigger news stories, as I said in the other thread, a high tide will raise all boats.

  17. There is a tip jar on this site, right at the top of the right-most column. It’s marked DONATE and it’s a Paypal button. A few people donated a little bit yesterday and I won’t say no to more.

  18. More on RSS ads .Did not know that google was killing its service, but there are other options. I know Project Wonderful allows for placement of RSS ads. May be other services as well. (2,481 subscribers x 44.6 posts a week seems like a lot of impressions to me, but I dunno how valuable that would be.) Also, have you considered non-ad revenue streams? Maybe open a little store, sell some BEAT totes or coffee mugs, maybe a book collection of your best interviews or something?

    Best of luck with whatever you decide. I adore your site and love everything you guys write. No other comic sites compare in my opinion.

  19. I never would have known The Beat had a donate link. I had to disable four different filtering tools before I saw it.

    A text-only link wouldn’t be blocked, but unless it’s in 32-point bold text in the center column, I doubt anyone ever pay attention to it regardless.

  20. I like what Penny Arcade did with their Kickstarter. Maybe do something like that to help fund the site little. Pay X level get to put an article up on the site (guidelines of the content set by you) etc. I think it could be something the works well here.

  21. Hey – you took my advice! I’m clicking over here to read more from my RSS. And I’ve clicked on two ads…

  22. Whereas I came over to complain that they did just that. But I see that my suggestion wasn’t viable. :-( Honestly not sure that i’ll windd up continuing to follow the Beat regularly, because now it is more of a chore to do so., and i’ll need to consciously come here. But I do hope it works out,, as it would be a shame to lose another comics journalism venue.

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