J-Comi Starts: “450,000 DLs, But Nobody Bought a Thing!”


Ken Akamatsu’s free manga distribution serviceJ-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.

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    Avatar of Keichi
    Comment by Keichi
    22:35 27/11/2010 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    That's kinda sad for him... but I still lol'd.

    Avatar of Seravee
    Comment by Seravee
    22:41 27/11/2010 # ! Quality (+0.9)

    I didn't expect anything else from those greedy japanese, or so they would say...

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:30 27/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Money always money ...

    Avatar of Yoshii-kun
    Comment by Yoshii-kun
    23:39 27/11/2010 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Well, if he was asking for donations......

    Avatar of HouseLife
    Comment by HouseLife
    04:52 28/11/2010 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    I was under the impression he had gotten ahold of some 'per hit' ads or some such that virtually guarantees payment over a certain amount of hits per day. Or something... honestly I'd love to know more about how one can do effective internet advertising on their web pages and get payments OUTSIDE of porn sites. Anyone know where to find info like that?

    Avatar of alidan
    Comment by alidan
    02:39 28/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    dont current webcomics in america pay enough for some people to live off the income? is it that fucking hard to set up a system like that for a manga? seriously, the fuck is he doing, his manga got 450K downloads, if it was a web comic site that would be the equivalent of 90million page views, in one fucking day, you telling me he cant tun profit off that kind of bandwidth and 450k unique views?

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:46 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    Next week: "Pleas donate: A personal appeal from J-comi founder Ken Akamatsu"

    Avatar of Darkrockslizer
    Comment by Darkrockslizer
    04:36 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Well what did they expect, luring in people expecting not to pay anything for what they came for.

    Avatar of Azure Xuchilbara
    Comment by Azure Xuchilbara
    09:46 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    If he makes a picture of Reimu holding a small donation box on the front page using his artstyle, I wouldn't mind coughing up $50.00...

    Oh, and there better be EXPLICIT waki exposure~

    *licks rim of helmet*

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:14 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Views don't mean shit if they dont buy anything from the ads (at least as far as amazon is concerned).

    Also 450k downloads != 450k downloaders and I have no idea how you're turning 450k downloads into 90 million hits.

    Avatar of toyNN
    Comment by toyNN
    14:26 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm sorry you just can't put up a site like this then immediately bitch that *free* isn't really free. And that you've got a suck profit-model expecting all these click-throughs to just happen. Wait a month anyway you big baby.

    Avatar of Shippoyasha
    Comment by Shippoyasha
    15:12 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I just wish him the best. People keep ratting on these mangaka like they are rich and hold onto vast empires of money-raking ventures, but it's just not true. These artists needs the support and I'm sad to hear the naysayers think it's some exploit by a rich man to sell goods that are equivalent to 'second hand goods'. Where is the fan-love in all that?

    Avatar of alidan
    Comment by alidan
    16:21 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)


    when they ditch publishers, go online, and deliver 1-2 pages a day, ill throw them a few $ through donations, but if they bitch on behalf of publisher they can go fuck themselves.

    this guy needs to get his buisness model to include ads on the page that are bought, 1$ per 1000 page views is the worst i have ever seen ads go for at worst he could make 450$ at best he could make 45000 it depends on how they are set up.

    Avatar of alidan
    Comment by alidan
    10:05 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    450K x about 200

    a page hit add can get between 1$ per 1000, up to 179$ per buy

    Avatar of Megidola
    Comment by Megidola
    02:29 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    J-Comi itself takes 0% commission with the advertising revenue going to the authors, so maybe some people would be willing to donate to it.

    Although so far the only author is also the site owner, so maybe not...

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:08 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well I guess he would make more money if they downloaded from his site and then just donated X dollars/yen, instead of giving X to amazon to buy something they don't really need and then amazon giving a little cut to the site.

    Though getting people to donate would be very troublesome.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:14 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, webcomics make their money on merchandising, selling prints, stickers, tees, etc.
    He ought to try that.

    Selling fashionable (couldn't tell which gender it was for) underwear as a tie-in to a harem manga series? I mean, the ads are in the pdf, even.
    Seriously poor product placement, imo.

    Avatar of TNinja
    Comment by TNinja
    23:59 27/11/2010 # ! Neutral (-0.2)

    What is this buying he speak of?

    Avatar of BlaqCat
    Comment by BlaqCat
    00:52 28/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.4)

    It's funny because that's pretty much exactly what would be said. That or commentary about thieves/beggers , etc , etc.

    Avatar of Taiga-sama
    Comment by Taiga-sama
    00:30 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    At least Japanese also love free things, so 2ch cannot blame us on manga scan site like onemanga / mangatoshokan etc. heh.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:36 29/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Except here the stuff was given away so no, it's not the same.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:12 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    lulz, as if you don't just pirate your anime and manga.

    Look in the mirror.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:11 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Srsly, no reason to lol. He had the right idea but he's doing it wrong. He should 1- use p2p to distribute and cut costs, 2- have general ads to support the site and 3- add the foreign audience.

    Hope it works out somehow.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:30 29/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hit reload and 2-4 posts pointing out all the same type of crap is on sankaku are deleted.

    Hypocritical beyond all belief..

    Comment by Anonymous

    Sharring is carring lads

    Avatar of Megidola
    Comment by Megidola
    02:29 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    ...but nobody carres.

    Avatar of DK
    Comment by DK
    13:01 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    And those Japs accuse US of piracy!? Whatta bunch of hypocrites.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:35 29/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh yeah like we still don't pirate a shit-load? In case you haven't noticed HE put those up FOR FREE, hence why everyone downloaded it, it's not piracy if you give it away.

    Avatar of Manjix
    Comment by Manjix
    23:01 27/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Kinda sad for him.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:51 27/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    I'm not sure Amazon affiliate links are the best method of gathering revenue these days...

    Avatar of Carrot_Glace
    Comment by Carrot_Glace
    22:46 27/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    I already have love hina bought, in spanish. I'll try in japanese now.

    Avatar of gundam4ever2
    Comment by gundam4ever2
    22:51 27/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    I wish him the best of luck.

    Avatar of Carrot_Glace
    Comment by Carrot_Glace
    04:54 29/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Me too! He's a living treasure.

    Avatar of Free
    Comment by Free
    22:38 27/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.5)

    "come on, buy something! My wife is asking for a new hand bag!”

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:01 27/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.8)

    Your avatar + comment = facepalm priceless

    Avatar of alex251
    Comment by alex251
    04:15 28/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.4)

    someone tell him to put a "donate" button on the site

    Avatar of molitar
    Comment by molitar
    01:19 28/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.4)

    Instead of trying to get them to buy something.. He should turn it into an Ad driven site. Make the money on showing ads related to anime goods and manga.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:42 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Do that kind of stuff really works? I mean, then artifact should be fucking rich by now...

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:38 29/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    He is fucking rich.

    Avatar of g0dslay3r
    Comment by g0dslay3r
    23:11 27/11/2010 # ! Good (+0.4)

    got the entire collection 2 years ago and am completely happy with it

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:18 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    oh I am laughing so hard right now. Sucks for Akamatsu, but just remembering all those 2ch comments from the likes of the onemanga debacle. Seems the Japanese weren't any better themselves after all their high horsed jack assery.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:50 29/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You're talking about yourself right? This is nothing like the OneManga situation, with OneManga they were scans that were not given by consent of the author, here Akamatsu PUT THESE UP FOR FREE HIMSELF, it's not pirating if you give the shit away, it's like complaining someone stole your car when you handed them the keys and opened the door for them, 2ch is right here not wrong.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:36 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I want this to work so other manga series will take a download route. But man, ads that people have to click through to by something just won’t do it.

    He needs to set up a donation link. People do donate.
    He needs to use another ad thing that pays by clicking through. Does Ad sense work there?
    He needs to offer things for sale, through that site, that no one else has at the moment.
    450k downloads? That’s a lot of traffic. Point that out to other people that pay you to post their ads on your site. Even if, as we all know, the click through rates are never that great.

    Come on man. Don’t let this flop and give the manga industry a better example of why the net won’t work for their future endeavors.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:53 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    450k downloads in itself is not really a huge number.

    Point is, most people HATE ads. Hell, there are browsers that include mechanisms to unsee them. I can't think of 450k as a significant number because not many people would fall for online ads. To make real revenue out of ads, you need BILLIONS of click-ins and downloads to increase the chance of some fool clicking in on those ads by the dozens.

    To reach that billion click range, not only must he increase public exposure to his website(via ads about the site on printed media and Old Media, because word-of-mouth and otaku searchwillpower is only so much), he must also increase incentives for people to go to his site.

    He can start by adding a GODDAMN FORUM, which I think is some of the easiest way to not only attract a lot more visitors, but also regulars. That's just one example on top of my head.

    If he truly wants to feed off ad revenue, 450k ain't enough. He needs more infrastructure on his currently barebones site so that it gets a lot more hits and sure-as-hell a lot of regulars.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:08 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Billions of clicks? Are you delusional? That would be every internet-connected human being on the face of the earth, visiting his site.

    Avatar of Artefact
    Comment by Artefact
    15:25 28/11/2010 # ! Astronomical

    He doesn't know what he's talking about.

    Avatar of SnooSnoo
    Comment by SnooSnoo
    01:28 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Once more series are added to the site I'm sure more people will visit, and hopefully some will fork out money to support the site.
    The additional of dojinshi is a very lucrative notion. Since most if not all dojinshi are very limited, if he can get past the legality issues than more power to Ken.
    I do hope his site becomes successful, that way the old-fashioned publishers will finally realize digital releases are the way to go.
    Oh and while they are doing that, some translations would be awesome too.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:49 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    He mentioned that it's the day lag on Amazon that caused the misunderstanding in his latest blog post (few hours ago) and apologised properly.

    Can't give any exact figures due to Amazon's rules, but it seems to have been pretty decent.

    Seem to be profiting from sales of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei volumes, energy drinks and USB keyboards as well, thanks to the referrals to Amazon.

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:15 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Seeing how this whole thing ended up being just some misunderstanding due to Amazon tally lag. Maybe Artefact should edit this?

    Avatar of tora
    Comment by tora
    09:05 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    This is Amazon’s lag.
    Check his latest tweet.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:49 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    I think his revenue method is wrong.
    There's no way in hell I'd buy something from some ads, but I would gladly donate money to directly support the authors of the manga I like.

    Avatar of Artefact
    Comment by Artefact
    15:28 28/11/2010 # ! Impenetrable

    There's a reason beggars are poor.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:46 29/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Many of them couldn't control those reasons, ask the children with no parents in India, or the families that get the raw end of governmental bullshit in third-world countries, or the single men that get no type of governmental aid simply because of the stereotype that it's always the man's fault that he's homeless.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:59 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Then why are you HERE? This site is exactly like what you're complaining about..

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:40 28/11/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    note that they said BUY from ads, did not suggest once about the site itself

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