Bleep you, Penny Arcade.

You want us to give you a quarter of a million dollars – no, half a million dollars – no, a full million dollars just to take advertising off your site?

Why are so many webcomics people stuck in the 90s or early 2000s? What is it about people like Rich Burlew, David Morgan-Mar, and now Gabe and Tycho that make them think advertising is OMG the Ultimate Evil? Yeah, we don’t like ads on TV, and there are a lot of annoying ads on the Internet, but there are plenty of sites where ads are just part of the experience; you don’t have to accept the annoying ads if you don’t want to. And guess what: Gabe and Tycho don’t. Admittedly I don’t read PA regularly, but when I do I don’t even notice the ads.

How did this even get approved? Doesn’t Kickstarter have a thing about using their service to fund ongoing operating expenses?

The most successful webcomics creators out there are going to milk their fans of hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars just to replace one revenue stream that seems to be working pretty well for all parties concerned. If OOTS could raise one-and-a-quarter million dollars, PA could raise far more than that; it could challenge the ranks of the highest-funded projects in Kickstarter history. That’s hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars that aren’t going to projects that could actually use the money – and I doubt much of that advertising money is going to anyone else, certainly not any other independent creators. (And don’t you dare compare this to OOTS; that was a project to reprint actual books and produce actual content, a project to actually do something that could provide actual value for fans, not to stop doing something no one wanted them to stop doing to begin with.)

Nor do I buy the argument by Eric Burns(-White) that this money wouldn’t find its way to other projects. Maybe not other webcomics projects, but PA is a videogame comic. Its audience is precisely that which is most likely to fund videogame Kickstarters – hell, Gabe and Tycho have actually promoted videogame Kickstarters in the past. Nor is this going to set a precedent for future funding of webcomics, because again, this shouldn’t have been approved to begin with.

Of course PA’s legion of fans are probably going to give them all the money they want and more; hell, they might have achieved their $250,000 goal by the time you read this. But if you’re thinking of giving them money? Don’t. Instead, go out there and look for any other Kickstarter out there that could actually use your money. Any at all, any that looks like they might actually do something worthwhile with your money. I’d prefer some good came out of this whole thing if anything, as opposed to simply stroking Gabe and Tycho’s egos.

I may have more to say about this later, when Gabe and Tycho have had a chance to respond to some of the early response to this. But I’ll be honest: when I first heard about this I wondered if it was a joke. It reminds me of nothing so much as Black Hat Guy’s Kickstarter.

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