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Monday, December 12, 2005

myOtaku Thoughts: Issue #1
I spent about 10-12 hours this weekend thinking about the new myOtaku.

(My brain is quite sore now.)

I think it's clear to everyone that there are a lot of incremental upgrades that we could make to the service. More customizability, more features, more this, more that.

However, while I don't doubt the importance of these incremental improvements, I think that's the wrong frame of mind to approach the new version.

To explain, first let me give some background.

When I conceived myOtaku v1.0, my goal was for it to be a platform to help create mini-celebrities.

An odd goal? Perhaps. But here was my thinking:

A user is browsing the fan art site. They see a beautiful work and want to learn more about the artist behind that work. They click to visit the artist's myOtaku site.

Wam! They can now see all the content the artist has submitted to our other sites, get linked to the artist's personal website, find out some biographical information, PM/email/guestbook them, and even read about what's going on in their lives.

To that end, myOtaku has been pretty good. A lot of our artists and members have become 'well known' in our community. myOtaku lets them express themselves further and communicate with the people who enjoy their work.

However, as myOtaku evolved and more customizability was offered, things kind of broke (or at the very least, bent).

Here's one reason why...

I'm scared to visit myO sites. Really! Now, when I find a piece of fan art I really enjoy, I'm terrified to click the myOtaku profile link next to the artist's name. I'm afraid of having a site load with 50,000 images, eye-squeezing colors, and an embedded video clip.

So how do we fix this?

One idea is to have a gateway page that leads into a person's blog. I think it's a fine idea, but needs a LOT of thought to work properly.

What do you think?

Comments (8) | Permalink

Friday, December 9, 2005

Slowly But Surely
Here's a photograph of the CD version of Art of Otaku. It's coming along well.

(We're going to have a very neat CD slip cover too.)

Comments (7) | Permalink

Thursday, December 8, 2005

   Happily Ever After
Got a call today from the company I posted about two days ago.

It was from the head of promotions. Cool guy. He apologized for the incident and said that he was as shocked as I was to hear about it.

It was an over-eager intern. Shrug, I was there once myself, so no hard feelings.

I'm just happy we didn't overreact.

Comments (1) | Permalink

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

More Than Flipping Burgers
Do you love Art of Otaku?

Why not promote it? And make some money on the side.

Now accepting affiliate members.

Comments (1) | Permalink

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

You're Nothing, Nothing Without Ethics
I'm really proud of our team's level of ethics. I honestly believe that an organization simply cannot succeed unless it holds itself to the highest ethical standards.

Recently, we received two emails from different people suggesting a news story to run on the site.

The first email was standard business fare from someone with the company featured in the story. This was well and good. We receive lots of these.

The second email, however, was from the same person pretending to be one of our normal visitors! (We log all the technical details of people who use our contact form.)

How did he pretend?

He used a free email account with an anime-esque name. Then he made something like 85 spelling/grammar mistakes in the email. He also put a lot of "^_^"

I was obviously appalled. Not only was he lying to manipulate our perception of what our audience wanted to hear, he even insulted our audience's intelligence with the # of spelling/grammar mistakes.

(Not to mention my intelligence, that I wouldn't notice.)

Even worse, the company he represented is well-respected and huge in the anime world.

I thought about running a big feature on this on theOtaku.com. I thought about blocking all news items about said company until I received an apology. I was pretty heated.

However, Justin talked me out of it. He told me that two wrongs didn't make a right and that we should take a higher road.

I'm so proud of the ethics on board.

I'm blogging about the incident without mentioning any names. I also sent a stern email to the company that they shouldn't engage in this kind of behavior.

I just hope it gets read.

Comments (6) | Permalink

Monday, December 5, 2005

Kurosawa Kudos
Anyone else a huge fan of Akira Kurosawa? He's my vote for best director of all time.

My top 5 films from him are:

1. Red Beard
2. Seven Samurai
3. Hidden Fortress
4. Yojimbo
5. Ran

I just rented Ikaru; Roger Ebert said that was his favorite Kurosawa movie, so I have high hopes...

Most people have only heard of Kurosawa, but don't know anything about him. If you're one of these people, I *highly* recommend renting Seven Samurai as your introduction.

All of his movies are (1) really entertaining, (2) have unforgettable characters, and (3) are really deep and loaded with symbolism.

I can't think of any other director who consistantly made so many 4-star films. It's really amazing, each movie is better than the next, and he made dozens of them.

Plus, there are lots and lots of samurai and fight scenes (except for Red Beard, which is about a doctor).

Strongly recommended. Just ignore the black and white.

Comments (1) | Permalink

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Referral Program
I've had so much energy lately. Right now I'm putting the finishing touches on Art of Otaku's affiliate program, which will pay an unheard of 50% of the sale price to you.

Why am I so excited about this program?

Because it was an affiliate program just like this that got me interested in the commercial web almost a decade ago.

The offer was for eToys.com. At the time, they promised to pay I think 15% of all sales to people who I referred.

I had owned a small music/RPG/gaming site and linked to them. I didn't expect that anything would happen.

Four months later, I got a check in the mail for $150. I was stunned. And I started to take my site more seriously. After eToys and fast forwarding a year or two, I joined an affiliate program to promote a newly launched retailer called GameStop.com (I know, they're huge now, but when they launched no one had heard of them).

I was actually GameStop's #1 sales referrer. At age 16/17. I spoke often with the affiliate manager there and she even sent me a free Dreamcast as a Christmas gift.

That was ages ago, but now I'm excited that perhaps this program can inspire and spark others to follow a similar path.

Best of all, it's win/win, because the referrals should help us get our 500 sales goal, so I can cut a royalty check to each of our 8 artists. They really deserve it and I've been killing myself trying to get there.

Sure, I could have probably offered 20% or 30% commission on sales, but that would have been boring. I'm all for doing really cool things. ^_^

Comments (5) | Permalink

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Art of Otaku Theft!
I have to be light-hearted about this.

A few people found a small scripting error that allowed them to illegally download Art of Otaku.

All the people were from a site I had spent money to advertise on. How do I know this? I have very good tracking in place ^_^.

Needless to say, I fixed the scripting error and won't advertise there anymore.

However, I think I handled it well. I sent a polite email to all the people who had illegitimately downloaded Art of Otaku. There were 4 of them.

I took the blame for the scripting error and told them that they should consider formally purchasing Art of Otaku, if they liked what they saw.


Because I always remember people who invest in one of our productions. I try my best to do great things for them :).

Comments (9) | Permalink

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Art of Otaku Milestone + New Referral Program
First, thanks to everyone for making 150 copies sold a reality. We're still quite a distance from the 500 we need, but 150 is a very nice number indeed.

As I said, volume is the BEST gift I can give to the artists who worked with me for so many months to bring this to fruition.

Right now they can put on their portfolios/resumes that they co-wrote a guide that sold 150 copies. Not too bad, but we can do better.

So here's one way we can do better.

Starting today, I'm putting together a referral program. If you have a website and refer a sale to Art of Otaku, we'll give you 50% of the sale price.

This is an unheard of amount, but again, I want to push volume. You can create your own banners/buttons for it, whatever.

Since we have an order tracking system in place, all you have to do is link to a certain URL and, if there's a sale, you're paid for it via PayPal.

There are more details, but drop me an email if you're seriously interested (just go to ArtOfOtaku.com for that).

Comments (3) | Permalink

Sunday, November 27, 2005

   I'm Back
These last few days, I've felt re-energized. I've felt like my old self, the person that would stay up all night to fix minor details on the site and would always be thinking of new things to add.

That old self is back, I feel. I hope to demonstrate and prove that in the coming days.

Comments (4) | Permalink

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