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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Art of Otaku - Almost Here
Right now I'm laser-focused on Art of Otaku.

Our beta will launch on November 1st. The only way to participate in it though is to sign up for our newsletter at ArtOfOtaku.com

Don't be the only one left out!

(Beta members will get a 25% discount off the final price.)

Once we get Art of Otaku out of the way, I can't wait to tackle theOtaku and myOtaku.

We need something bold and exciting. A redefinition of our network. A return to core strengths. Something to shake things up.

In the meantime though, my mind is on nothing else but Art of Otaku. Too many people have too high expectations for it.

I even got a letter in the mail today from a myOtaku member writing that he can't wait for it to be released. My first piece of fan mail!

So, beyond the hype, how did Art of Otaku really turn out?

Well, it is what it is. It's an 815+ page guide to drawing anime written by 8 unique fan artists who show you how to draw a series of pictures in an expanded, step-by-step format.

No hype needed. If that's a description that excites you, you'll love it.

Hm...you know, the making of Art of Otaku was really interesting in itself. Do you think it'd be too much if I put a small chapter about all the trials and tribulations we ran into?

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Art of Otaku File Size
First, many thanks to Justin, who got our fourth server online. It's now distributing theOtaku's load, so hopefully you'll see a major speed improvement.

Second, let me talk about Art of Otaku's filesize, since it will be in PDF format.

Uncompressed, Art of Otaku is a whopping 300 MB. However, using some advanced PDF compression methods, we were able to get it down to around 25-30 MB.

It's still a big download, but those with a high speed Internet connection can laugh it off.

But how about those with dial-up or those who want something physical?

We're going to have a version burned on CD. Justin pioneered this idea and will be heading it up.

The CD version will feature our uncompressed guide (the 300 MB one) and will also come preinstalled with a menu and the latest version of Adobe Reader. It'll also have a very cool label.

Pretty neat, eh? We're going to try HARD to have it for launch on November 15th, but we might be a little late. The CD will, of course, cost extra (plus shipping and handling).

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Once Upon A Time
Long ago, I bought an ebook on speed reading.

It was OK. I learned a few things and was generally happy with the purchase.

However, one thing really irked me.

After I bought the ebook, I had to wait 48 hours until the owner of the ebook emailed me with information on downloading it.

Even worse, the download link was a generic HTML page with the link in plain sight. If I wanted, I could have emailed the link to everyone on my contact list. (Or even posted it on my blog here.)

I wonder how many people did that?

It's like paying to see a movie at a theatre and then finding out that there's a huge, unguarded door in the back and you're the only one in your row who actually paid to see the film.


That's why I'm pleased to announce that for Art of Otaku, we've licensed a very sophisticated digital delivery system.

Once you purchase the guide, you're given a special download URL right then and there. No waiting.

You'll be given 48 hours to download the guide (with a few download attempts allowed). After that, your link expires.

You're now in a theatre where everyone has paid for their ticket.

Cost-wise, it probably didn't make sense for us to have this delivery system. ..

But we won't ever let you be the sucker.

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Art of Otaku: Quick Review
I gave Dagger, our famed and excellent news editor, a sneak peak of Art of Otaku.

I told her to pretend she worked for another anime site and to be as brutally honest as possible.

Overall, her impressions were quite warm. On a scale of 1-10, she rates the entire guide overall as "a little over an 8." Not too shabby.

She also added though that some of our artist chapters are actually "closer to 10."

The big question came next: How do we compare to other anime drawing guides?

There was no hesitation. Art of Otaku by a mile.

"I feel like Art of O helps break it down for those of us (read: most of us) who can't piece things together just from looking at finished or near finished work. I guess it seems more friendly to me."

Sign up to learn about our November 1st beta. Go to ArtOfOtaku.com.

Comments (4) | Permalink

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

You Complete Me
A lot of you have been aching for more information about Art of Otaku, our next big project.

Well, if you're one of those people, don't go to ArtOfOtaku.com.

That's right, don't go to this link.


Because it will tease the heck out of you :-).

Also, try and find the hidden easter egg on the page. And be quiet, no spoiling it!

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Monday, September 26, 2005

I Know, I Know
Our sites have been unacceptably slow this past week. It's been atrocious.

We're going to add a new machine to our network very soon--hopefully this week. It'll rival our most powerful box in specs (Dual Xeon with 2 GB RAM).

It'll also be our fourth server.

Wow, we're growing. It was just yesterday we were on a shared web hosting account. Now we have four dedicated machines.

That's progress.

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Saturday, September 24, 2005

   Doing the Right Thing
So I accidentally forgot to cancel someone's Velegant account.

I saw that they were billed mistakenly yesterday. I immediately refunded it and apologized.

However, the person's bank had hit them with not one, but TWO overdraft fees. They stuck the person with a bill for almost $70.


Without delay or question, I reimbursed our former hostee the full cost of both overdraft charges. I even threw in a few dollars extra to pay for the transaction fees.

Sometimes you just have to accept responsibility and take the hit no matter what.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Banner Democracy
I had the idea of democratizing our most coveted ad spot. I'd like to know your opinion.

Our absolute best ad spot is the banner on theOtaku.com's main page. This is where people go to read about news and updates. It reaches the very core of our community.

So what if you could choose a day--any day--and own it with your banner in that spot? Your banner would be the only one there.. Thousands of people would see it, hundreds would click.

And what if the cost were only $25 or $35?

You could have a banner wishing a friend's birthday. You could have a banner wishing someone quick recovery from a sickness. You could link to your blog or to your art portfolio.

Anything, and you could afford it, since $25 for advertising on a major site like theOtaku.com is literally nothing.

It's just an idea I had. Tell me what you think.

It might just be worth a shot.

Comments (5) | Permalink

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Surrounded by Great People
I'm so lucky. I'm surrounded by such amazing people.

First, our very own Sara has volunteered to help me with editing Art of Otaku. She's already finnished one chapter and has done a terrific job.

It'll help us release the thing 30% faster.

Second, Dagger is doing an absolutely WONDERFUL job updating theOtaku. She's truly a perfect successor. My only complaint is I should have given her the reigns years ago.

Third, Gail and her husband have agreed to add commentary throughout Art of Otaku. Gail has a great voice and her husband is an accomplished artist, so this'll really boost the final product.

Fourth, I can't say enough about James and Justin. I recently had the most painful experience of my life, and they were two of the first people I confided in. They've truly become great friends.

There's plenty more, but I'll just summarize: I'm lucky to be surrounded by such great people!

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Thursday, September 8, 2005

Media, Media, Media
I can't repeat it enough :).

We're going to make some sweeping changes to this network. But all the changes are going to focus on our strength of building great media products.

As many of you know, I started Velegant Web Hosting two years ago. It launched alongside myOtaku. Since then, we've helped dozens of hostees with their website needs. It was a personal victory for me, since I hated the hosting industry myself and wanted to do better.

However, today I'm going to announce that we are going to stop accepting new hostees.

That's right, the service will be retiring. However, existing hostees are getting a huge treat. They're moving to their own server, which will guarantee faster load-times and more features.

I'd never screw over someone who had faith in one of my productions. :-)

So what will happen to Velegant.com?

That's going to be our new parent operation, dubbed Velegant Media.

I know, I know. Many of you are thinking:

"Why am I still reading this? Who cares, where's the new myOtaku??? Where's Art of Otaku???"

Don't worry--those are all coming great. Just thought you'd like to know that they'll all be published by Velegant Media now.

If anything, it'll be an excuse for James to make another of his amazing logos.


PS: necro64x sent me a video of the G4 myOtaku plug. It's thrilling news--even though the reporter in it is such a toad.

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