Robot 6

Webcomic launches as Facebook app

Ricardo Porven claims that his webcomic Donnie Goth is the first comic ever to be distributed entirely as a Facebook app, with no outside website and no other way to view it. In his press release, Porven says, “Facebook had all the tools I needed to run a successful webcomic. And the viral capabilities to position it for rapid growth. It was the perfect fit.”

That may be, but putting all your eggs in the Facebook basket seems to limit the potential audience somewhat. Aside from that handful of folks who aren’t on Facebook, many users (myself included) shy away from apps because they require you to turn over personal information. When I clicked on the Donnie Goth app, Facebook requested permission to share my “basic information,” which includes my name, gender, user ID, list of friends and “any other information I’ve shared with everyone.” Admittedly, all of that is already out there on my Facebook page, but the idea of handing it over in a neat package to an outside entity give me a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. On the other hand, if I could simply click over to the page, I’d do it — and maybe even “like” it.

It may be, though, that Porven is calculating that the intensity of the experience for those who do use apps outweighs the loss of Facebook-shy readers like me. He has already used MySpace to boost traffic to his original site, so he has every reason to be optimistic that Donnie Goth will go viral on Facebook.

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Comments

5 Comments

“requested permission” Nope, good luck to him though.

I’m interested, but I’m not a Facebook user. Ah well.

A Facebook app? That seems like a very dated idea. Has anyone told him about Google + yet? Yeah not nearly the userbase that Facebook has but at the same time it doesn’t have to be closed behind a wall like Facebook and G+ is a much more friendly environment for this sort of thing.

I would be curious to see how he’s making it work though.

Hello everybody. First off, I want to thank CBR’s Robot 6 for covering my webcomic app launch. And big thanks for bringing up some issues I had considered originally, but was hoping wouldn’t be a huge barrier to trying out the comic.

Admittedly, I included the authentication script in order to receive stats and counts of how many installs the app had gotten. Basically to have a benchmark of how it was going. I know that many apps have abused this feature and I’m dealing with a lot of prior bad experiences of spamming and automatic posts to users’ profiles, etc.

But I am willing to listen to feedback and make changes to appeal to a wider audience.

Suppose I removed the authentication app and the need to install the app, effectively allowing anyone, even non Facebook users to view the strip, would that make people more likely to try it out?

Thanks again everybody for the comments. Feedback is an important factor to make the experience better.
RIcardo Porven

***UPDATE***

I have researched the whole user authorization issue and found that Facebook is actually encouraging app developers not to use it if it is not needed for app function. So I removed it. This makes the comic avaliable to everyone, even if they’re not a member of Facebook. You can check it out at http://apps.facebook.com/donniegoth/

The next episode, “Girls” will be up by this weekend.

Thanks everyone for their comments.

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