Ken Akamatsu’s free manga distribution service “J-Comi” has launched (in beta form) to much fanfare with the complete Love Hina collection, but Akamatsu is publicly lamenting the fact that it seems all the users are too miserly to buy anything from his affiliate links, putting the project’s future in doubt before it is even out of beta.
He worries about the state of affairs in a recent Tweet:
“W-wait! We have over 450,000 downloads of Love Hina but not a single purchase on our Amazon Affiliate account!? This won’t even do for a test, come on, buy something!”
2ch is less than sympathetic towards this “affiliate begging.” It also questions his wisdom in attempting to sell people copies of a manga which is out of print, available dirt-cheap second-hand, or already owned by many of his readers, or expecting them to start by buying the last volume of a different manga entirely.
Another possibility is present, as Amazon’s affiliate tracking statistics are not real-time and lag a day or so behind actual results, so his sales may simply be lagged – though the fact that no-one involved with the project seems to know this is hardly reassuring.
For those not familiar with the system, Amazon only pays out if a user buys something after visiting through a link (and only within 24 hours), and affiliates are in competition with each other as the last link used prior to the purchase will generally get all the sales commissions in the basket.
Amazon.co.jp also pay by far the least of any of the Amazons, so it would probably not be a terribly lucrative option for a business of this type compared to the other advertising options on offer.
Fortunately, Akamatsu does seem to have some other advertisers so all is not lost, yet.
In other comments Akamatsu has suggested not only would he like to try hosting other out of print manga, if possible he would like to try doujinshi as well (though these are a legal minefield), but he suspects the complexities of regional licensing rights (they are owned by different companies in each territory) may preclude any international service for manga.
Such talk may well be premature – if he cannot secure a revenue stream the site will never be viable, and the marketing acumen on display so far does not bode well for J-Comi’s future.