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Dilbert on Free Internet Content November 1, 2007

Posted by David Card in Media.
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Fairly thoughtful column on “Giving Stuff Away on the Internet” by Dilbert creator Scott Adams in today’s Journal. His blog — which generated approximately zero in ad revenues — resulted in a profitable book. But when he took down his archives, to “protect” book sales, boy, did he hear about it.

    I’ve had mixed results with giving away content on the Internet. I was the first syndicated cartoonist to offer a comic on the Internet without charge (www.dilbert.com). That gave a huge boost to the newspaper sales and licensing. The ad income was good too. Giving away the “Dilbert” comic for free continues to work well, although it cannibalizes my reprint book sales to some extent, and a fast-growing percentage of readers bypass the online ads with widgets, unauthorized RSS feeds and other workarounds.

I have no idea how he “proved” the cannibalization. But if an artist believes it, does it matter?

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