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Tapastic vs Webtoon vs Self-Hosting

skullamity

4-Stripe White Belt
#21
.Also, Smackjeeves has just had an update with a new look, so they may be one to look out for, but I've never really went for that site as I'm happy with Comic Fury.
I go the self hosting route because I'm a member of hiveworks and it is required, but as someone who previously worked at SJ as a forums admin/community relations, I have a fun fact for anyone interested:

Comic Fury came about when an older member who was perpetually angry about not being allowed to crap up the forums basically said "fine, I'm going to make my OWN comic hosting website, with blackjack. And hookers." and stormed off in a tantrum and did just that.

This was a really long time ago, and in reaction to a clarification in SJ's TOS that made it clear that comics featuring hate speech/flat out screen grabs from pornography/anything that could potentially get them in legal hot water if they kept it around would not be tolerated, and the dude who broke off and made CF was very much in the "I don't understand that freedom of speech doesn't just mean that the government can't punish me and that it does not apply to private websites" camp. This may sound like I'm ragging on the dude, but I haven't worked for SJ for at least a decade and I'm actually kind of impressed that CF, the site that spite built, is still around and presumably doing well, haha. :)
 

JamieMe

Administrator
Staff member
#22
I go the self hosting route because I'm a member of hiveworks and it is required, but as someone who previously worked at SJ as a forums admin/community relations, I have a fun fact for anyone interested:

Comic Fury came about when an older member who was perpetually angry about not being allowed to crap up the forums basically said "fine, I'm going to make my OWN comic hosting website, with blackjack. And hookers." and stormed off in a tantrum and did just that.

This was a really long time ago, and in reaction to a clarification in SJ's TOS that made it clear that comics featuring hate speech/flat out screen grabs from pornography/anything that could potentially get them in legal hot water if they kept it around would not be tolerated, and the dude who broke off and made CF was very much in the "I don't understand that freedom of speech doesn't just mean that the government can't punish me and that it does not apply to private websites" camp. This may sound like I'm ragging on the dude, but I haven't worked for SJ for at least a decade and I'm actually kind of impressed that CF, the site that spite built, is still around and presumably doing well, haha. :)
What. The. F*ck.
 

skullamity

4-Stripe White Belt
#23
I just realized that the way I worded my initial post, which was done on my phone, made it sound like Kyo was angry that he, personally, was not allowed to post hate speech/porn screen grabs, but it was less that and more of a case of "I don't personally want to post that, but nothing should be taboo and I will fight for the rights of people who want to post that sort of stuff because freedom of speech."

That attitude was, frankly, baffling to me as a Canadian, because we do not have the first amendment here. On top of that, we also have more robust laws about hate speech and propaganda. At the time, the whole thing was pretty confusing and frustrating, but looking at it through a ten year lens I'm mostly laughing my butt off about the entire debacle.
 

JamieMe

Administrator
Staff member
#24
I just realized that the way I worded my initial post, which was done on my phone, made it sound like Kyo was angry that he, personally, was not allowed to post hate speech/porn screen grabs, but it was less that and more of a case of "I don't personally want to post that, but nothing should be taboo and I will fight for the rights of people who want to post that sort of stuff because freedom of speech."

That attitude was, frankly, baffling to me as a Canadian, because we do not have the first amendment here. On top of that, we also have more robust laws about hate speech and propaganda. At the time, the whole thing was pretty confusing and frustrating, but looking at it through a ten year lens I'm mostly laughing my butt off about the entire debacle.
Haha, probably me reading wrong. Tired eyes.
 
#25
I just realized that the way I worded my initial post, which was done on my phone, made it sound like Kyo was angry that he, personally, was not allowed to post hate speech/porn screen grabs, but it was less that and more of a case of "I don't personally want to post that, but nothing should be taboo and I will fight for the rights of people who want to post that sort of stuff because freedom of speech."

That attitude was, frankly, baffling to me as a Canadian, because we do not have the first amendment here. On top of that, we also have more robust laws about hate speech and propaganda. At the time, the whole thing was pretty confusing and frustrating, but looking at it through a ten year lens I'm mostly laughing my butt off about the entire debacle.
To be fair, it's a more interesting story than the others, heh
 
#26
I have a couple of mirrors so I'm just gonna toss this out here from the perspective of a web developer:
Becomics
This one is still in it's early stages, they have a neat little visual set up that turns your comic into a little movie, but it's still very much in Beta and can be hard to grow (not to mention a few security issues I've run into regarding accounts). I haven't explored their community either.
I hadn't heard of them before, but I'm kind of impressed by what I see.

Their interface isn't predicated on scrolling, though one can still opt to read comics that way, if they wish. To me, that seems like a great option for creators who might eventually want to put their comics to print, and don't want set up their creations in a fixed format. Also, the viewer supports animated gifs which, depending on the artist, might add a much more immersive experience, if they wanted to add a splash of animation to their series.

From what I gather, they don't have the social interactiveness that Tapastic has, though the community seems smaller and pretty friendly all around. I might consider posting some of my stuff here, once I have a better feel of it. :3
 

Batichi

4-Stripe White Belt
#27
From what I gather, they don't have the social interactiveness that Tapastic has, though the community seems smaller and pretty friendly all around. I might consider posting some of my stuff here, once I have a better feel of it. :3
In all honesty I have a lot of appreciation for how quickly their dev team has been in rectifying issues. For a little site I can usually get a hold of their helpdesk through twitter in an hour or so.
 
#28
How many of you do both self-hosting AND at least one of the other options (Tapastic/Webtoon/etc.)? Has that driven any traffic to your self-hosted version?

One of the things I like about my self-hosted page is I can customize the site to give viewers more access to my work and ways to support me (Patreon, online stores, ko-fi links, and so on). Do Tapastic, Webtoon, etc., offer anything like this besides linking up to Patreon?
I do both Tapastic and self hosted. Whenever I promote my comic, however, my website (self hosted ) takes precedent. I fell behind on updating on Tapastic because the upload method confused the heck out of me and I find it weird/hard to navigate... But but to answer your question, I haven't noticed a difference in gaining readership, unfortunately, but like I said: I stopped updating on Tapastic. Guess I should start it up again. I only have one 'questionable' follower..
 
#29
I'm on Tapastic, and I have a tumblr-hosted comic with a normal URL. I also post pages to my deviantart account since I've been on that site like 14 years and have the most followers there. Honestly, I did Tumblr because it was easiest; I'm working on getting a self-hosted site up but I am baaaaaad at websites so I need to either find a good template or hire someone to just make the thing for me.
 
#30
I prefer self-hosted because I can "sticky" the experience, manage the aesthetic, and create stronger calls to action. But Tapastic's provided at least a small audience that I don't think I would've reached otherwise -- and it tends to be pretty good at engagement with comments, at the very least. I haven't tried Webtoons yet -- because it's vertical scroll (and I create a page-style comic) and has a reputation for having demanding users that want long updates, I figure I'll probably hold off on it until I have a larger buffer.

I love what Becomics is doing. Their vertical scroll works better than Tapastic's. Their guided view lets you do what Comixology does, but edit the experience and transitions and animations yourself. The site and programming is still a little jenky, but it's in BETA. They let the reader choose from page, guided view, or vertical scroll format with the click of a button -- and that's a really exciting feature to see. If Becomics can build themselves an audience, create a community around their platform, and work out some of the laggy kinks ... I could definitely see it becoming the next big webcomics platform.

I easily prefer Becomics to Tapastic and Webtoons already, but there aren't a lot of readers yet.
 

Andy P.

4-Stripe White Belt
#31
I self-host and use Tapastic, and am considering expanding to mirroring on Webtoons as well, and my advice would be to do as many of them as you feel you can manage.
^ THIS - Pick the ones that seem to fit your target audience, but don't over-commit. Having a comic page buffer makes posting to multiple paces easier IMHO, you can queue up a bunch at once and you're not rushed to write good descriptive text or promotional announcements at the last minute.

In about a year from now I'll be forging into new territory with a new comic, trying something different and too technical for any of the 3rd party sites. Heck, I don't even know if I can overhaul a WordPress theme to work. So, I'll have to self-host.
 

DataBunny

4-Stripe White Belt
#32
I haven't tried Webtoons yet -- because it's vertical scroll (and I create a page-style comic) and has a reputation for having demanding users that want long updates, I figure I'll probably hold off on it until I have a larger buffer.
I can say I've haven't had that problem yet with Webtoons, and its definitely easier to create a following on there!

My main issue with Webtoons is that I don't get notifications for comments, and the quality of uploads isn't as good as on Tap
screenshot.422.jpg screenshot.423.jpg
At first I thought it was a resize/JPG quality issue - but when I look at these pages side by side on my PC it doesn't have that weird dithering effect - which is definitely something to consider if you're uploading to Webtoons! It doesn't handle small detail as well as Tap

That said I have more than twice the readership on Webtoons in less than half the time I've been on Tapastic. Tapastic is definitely not new creator friendly, and definitely focuses on promoting people that already have a decent following. I've seen spotlights go to people that are very popular offsite, which I've followed only to have them never update again? I do like Tap's ad generation option though, it's more reliable than Webtoons' Patreon system.

I have to say though, while I like Tap's comments, I don't like their forum. I found it so unintuitive, and it seems to be very buggy in that every time I've tried to use it it just logs me back out.

I'm curious about BeComics now, but I cant get it to load - what browsers are you guys using to view it?
 
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#34
Something else I've noticed on Twitter is many people keep their self-hosted website updating ahead of their external host. I've seen people go anywhere from a page to an entire chapter/issue.

Do any of you do that? Posting, for example, pages on your self-hosted site in advance of your Tapastic or Webtoon site? How effective do you think it is?
 
#35
Do any of you do that? Posting, for example, pages on your self-hosted site in advance of your Tapastic or Webtoon site? How effective do you think it is?
For me, I don't see a lot of crossover, and I do this. Most of my readers always read I, Necromancer on the same platform every time. Even the folks who follow me on my website or Tapastic and then become patrons often wait the extra week to read a new page on their preferred site rather than my early Patreon release, because they like to comment on that site rather than another.

I often update my website a day earlier than Tapastic. That's because I think my website's the best, highest resolution, most interactive and nicest-looking way to read -- and I would love for everyone who finds me through Tapastic to go over to my website eventually. But Tapastic's a very sticky experience, and that's why I maintain a mirror there.

Sorry, that was sort of me talking around in circles. I don't think it's been very effective for me when I've updated early on my website. It doesn't hurt anything, though, and so it is certainly worth trying for a little while! Perhaps if my Patreon were one week ahead of my website, and my website was one week ahead of Tapastic, I'd see more Tapastic users move to the website? I'm not so sure, though.
 
#36
That makes a lot of sense, actually, and it's about what I figured. I get the sense that people on Tapas, etc., stick to that site because it's easier to check all their webcomics at once instead of having to jump around from website to website. Google Reader was the big thing used back when I did my first comic, but that's long gone and while there are RSS feed replacements, none seem quite as universally used anymore.
 
#37
@skullamity I had to like that post for the Futurama reference! Lol...

Right now I'm running my comic through Tapastic & Webtoon. I like Tapastic because I get more of a personalized feedback/vibe with my readers. That being said, I'm also in this weird thing coz Tapastic has NO superhero comics section(I had to list my comic as an "Action" comic); I'm gettin buttloads of views- but it's almost like pulling teeth to get a subscribe or to get those viewers to support my work via Patreon(been on Tapastic a little over a year now).

Webtoons- like everyone has said, Ive surpassed my subscribes on Tapastic(Ive only been on Webtoon a couple of months); the views are lower(but picking up nicely). I know it's probably in regard to the fact that I didnt(and wont) reformat my pages into the vertical scrolling style. I upload there twice a week, and yeah I get a comment every blue moon that I'm still not uploading often enough. I hate the "no notifications" in regards to comments; sometimes I start looking through the pages for new comments- and then I give up and say "f*ck it,"

In the process of trying to start my own site. I hate it coz I'm not enthused with messing with Wordpress(or any type of coding/site building stuff like I used to be). But the only way I'm gonna get what I need is to do it myself.
 
#38
Do any of you do that? Posting, for example, pages on your self-hosted site in advance of your Tapastic or Webtoon site? How effective do you think it is?
echoing Donathin -- I only have experience with Tapastic, and I don't think it's effective there. I mean, heck, when I first came to Tapastic, I had 100 pages of content already available on my website... and only one or two readers actually went to my website to catch up. The rest were content to wait as it was slowly added to Tapastic over several months of updates.

Anyway, I have a self-hosted site and I mirror on Tapastic, and I find the "stickiness" that others have brought up to be the biggest con to that platform, and one of the big reasons why I still prioritise my main self-hosted site. It is extremely difficult to get Tapastic readers to engage on other sites, or to notice communication outside of the regular updates.
I made one of the small banners on my Tapastic page an ad for/link to my patreon, and every month I'd link to the latest rewards in the page descriptions to let people know it existed. A couple of times I linked to my online stores and patreon on my wall. Months later, one of my readers sent me a message: "Do you have a patreon anywhere? I'd like to support you!" Which, I mean, bless them! but I think this says a LOT about how easy it is to read a comic on Tapastic and never even notice that there are other off-site options. Tapastic is designed to focus on comics, and it's very difficult to communicate anything if you don't put it in comic format and interrupt your comic with it.
That said, on the whole I do like the community on Tapastic -- someone once described the community as Tapastic's "killer app" and I'm inclined to agree. People talk about how it's hard to build a following at first, but honestly, coming from the world of Just Stick It On The Web Somewhere, I was really impressed and surprised by how quickly people found and followed me there.

But ultimately my website is my home! I've seen folks say that maybe it's better to focus on existing hosting platforms rather than make your own site, but that doesn't line up with my experience. The readers on my website have a really different vibe, and it's so much easier to communicate with them and have fun extras and generally make the space my own. I like Tapastic, but I can't imagine making it my home base!
And, y'know, it's nice to know that I don't have to worry about decisions that Tapastic makes so much. If they do something weird that makes the place less good for me, then I have an established space already where my readers can find me.
 

NelmaThyria

4-Stripe White Belt
#39
I agree with a lot of what's been said already, but I'll throw in my two cents as well.

I don’t have my own site, but I post to tapastic and webtoons and have had great experiences with both. I’ve been posting to tapastic longer but have more subs on webtoons, which seems to be a common story. I format my pages with printing in mind, but I think they work fine in the vertical scrolling format. Although my comic probably isn't as easily read on mobile, and I have no idea what percentage of my readers are mobile-only (although no one's complained about it being hard to read yet, so I guess it's probably fine?) I definitely read comics that are hosted on their own sites, but I like being able to have a place where all of the updates for all the series I'm subscribed to are all kept together so I don't miss a page. So posting your comic to a platform can make it very accessible to potential readers who already use the site. I definitely think it's helpful to post your comic to multiple platforms in order to increase its visibility, but too many can be overwhelming. In addition to tapastic and webtoon, I also post my pages to deviantart, which I guess is an alright platform for single pages, but I'd like to move away from that soon. I have a handful of dedicated readers there who always comment, so a part of me wants to keep posting there for them...

I personally don't mind tapastic's endless scrolling; there's navigation on the left side (although you have to scroll through that too) and if you're several pages deep, refreshing the page will move the page you're on to the top a get rid of all the previous pages that were sucking up memory. If that makes sense. When I'm binge reading a comic I'll just refresh every so often to keep my computer from getting too slow. I guess it's an extra step, but I don't consider it too much of a hassle. I do love tapastic’s tipping feature (it's my understanding that they're working on adding it to the desktop site, but for whatever reason there are more hurdles to go through with the transactions there than through an app store). I consider tapastic my home base, but I am really looking forward to setting up my own site someday! I'd like to learn more web design first. Being able to have a cast page would be awesome.

As for webtoons, I love that they have a designated superhero genre (I have a feeling that has a lot to do with why I have more subs there than on tapastic) and it's definitely easier to browse comics that way. Within each genre, you can sort by popularity, recently updated, etc so there are more opportunities for your comic to be seen there. Their lack of comment notifications bugs the heck out of me too, though! I don't want to be obsessively checking every page for new comments, but I definitely don't want to miss any! And the fact that you can't see who's subscribed (at least as far as I know) adds to the impersonal feel of the site. I have received a few of the dreaded "it's too short" comments, but most of them have also included an "I love it though and it's worth the wait" so I still consider them compliments. And when I explained to one commenter how comics take time, and the reason my first episodes were longer was because I'd already had full chapters completed before I began posting there, they seemed genuinely apologetic and understanding. Webtoon's rating system is a little scary I guess, but for some reason my rating has been pretty high? It feels like a fluke honestly, I've seen plenty of popular comics with lower ratings than mine, and I have to imagine they've been given a ton of 10 star ratings.

Does anyone else have trouble logging in to webtoons though? That's been a frequent problem for me.

@Shazzbaa I actually bought one of your books because you posted a link to your store on your tapastic wall! So doing that got you at least one sale, haha. Tapastic might be "sticky", but I do appreciate that users have walls, and dang, even if webtoons just added avatars that would make the whole experience feel much more personal!

Whenever I update my comic, I only post links to tapastic, and yet I still get more subs per update on webtoons. I want to direct readers to tapastic since that's where I can earn ad revenue (however small) but if I did manage to meet the criteria for payments from webtoons, it seems like there's more money to be made there.

I've heard of Becomics but I haven't throughouly checked them out yet. They sound pretty great from what I've read here though, so maybe I'll give them a try!
 

SNOWDON

4-Stripe White Belt
#40
I self host, but in addition I started posting my comic from the beginning onto Tapastic and Smackjeeves (I also tried BeComics but their interface was less than stellar at the time and I wound up posting the entire first chapter all at once while searching for the prompt to set up automated page updates...which apparently wasn't there and not added until later).

I've only gotten 10-12 readers on Tapastic and Smackjeeves, haven't been back to BeComics.

I've thought about posting to Webtoon, been to their site a few times, but there's an issue. My comic has violence and nudity. Very much an R-Rated type of story, and I could not find a clear answer about whether or not Webtoon allows that sort of material. Tapastic, Smackjeeves and other sites have clear policies regarding that. You can post but you have to check a little box saying the comic is NSFW so they can filter it appropriately on their website.

Webtoon, though? Nothing I could find. So I haven't posted there yet.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Any information on how Webtoon approaches comics that aren't G and PG? I'm happy to get the comic in front of as many readers as possible just not sure I want to go through the effort over on a site that might end up taking the comic down the first time there's a nipple or a person exploding.