How to Reveal a Shocking Truth to a Person Who's Not Ready for the Truth (rerun)

I just want to take a moment to thank everyone who let me know about this tumblr post about an android app that was "helping" me and 89 or so other cartoonists by giving people access to our comics with all proceeds going to the developer. His app has been pulled from the marketplace.

In the interest of fairness I should point out that I've not talked to the developer in question, and it's entirely possible that the whole thing is based on a misunderstanding. In fact, my policy has always been that people are free to occasionally repost my comics in other places as long as they leave my URL intact and don't edit the content. It was the fact that he was giving access to every comic I did and selling an app that was competeing with my Android and iPhone apps that was the issue.

An interesting side note. I tried downloading his free app, just to see what it did first hand. What it did was freeze up my phone.



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Reader Comments (32)

Missy's terror-stricken face in panel 2 - priceless and FTW!

March 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNH

Oh the irony, the truth is censorship!

March 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTan

The foul-mouthed-beaker joke is a tired one that I've seen/heard quite a few times, and might be tempted to chastise you for using it, but the framing is so amusing that the weak punch-line is easily forgiven. And seeing as this webcomic relies so heavily on format and delivery, I would go so far as suggesting you try and recycle MORE tired jokes in this manner, as I feel this would highlight the quality of the formal humor by contrast. Hell, you could make a whole category of comics like this, complete with its very own comic-strip of self-referential instructions. Tentative title: "How to recycle a joke like Scott Meyer". Has all this been said before, or am I on to something? It's like the golden rule of the lazy/brilliant artist: all around original content is not an absolute condition to artistic originality.
Also, that app seems like it would be fun, too bad the developer is an entitled ass.

March 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterborn in the nineties

At least 3 other cartoons I follow regularly got "aggregated" by this guy, without permission, or remuneration. And of course he was displaying his own ads to make money off it. So if there is a misunderstanding it's that he thought theft was okay.

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYanni

What if what we call paranoid schizophrenics are actually sane people whose words are changed by our alien overlords as they leave their mouth? They tell us about the aliens that secretly control us, but it comes out as "Satellites sending signals to my teeth." They may then go genuinely insane from being unable to speak their minds, or if they do not they end up in an asylum for their ramblings anyway.


March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterInnominate

Waaay back in the days, before RSS ruled the world, I actually made a program like the Android one (although without the adds), so I can relate to the basic idea: Having easy access and unified progress tracking of comics is great when you read a lot. Times has changed though and RSS work really well by letting the artists control the flow of his creations, so I see little need for such a program anymore. And making money from other peoples products without any agreement or reimbursement? Bad karma.

Guys like Chris Hanel should tone down the rhetorics though. Hearing him hammering on about alledged copyright infringement being theft is just like hearing RIAA lies. It is simply incorrect and it muddles the issue. I am thankful that you refrain from such hyperbole. Depending on how the comics were presented in the Android program, I would not be surprised if it was actually legal. One could see it as a very specific browser with a very specific ad-blocker setup.

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterToke Eskildsen

Some of the comments left on your iPhone app are hilarious. This comic was good as well.

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJason A

Hi Scott,
I am an Android developer but out of respect I wouldn't plug my software here (at least I don't think I have [although my name is a clue {oops plug}]). So alternatively I think it's disgusting a developer would do that, unless, the only criteria being: it was free, ad free, and open-source. I would of offered to do this for you but you already have an app, and that's the meeping truth - although I can't handle it.

And lol at "truth you up" - I'll be working that into my daily conversation for a while!

Note from Scott: AGREED! If the app had been free, and the individual comics all had links back to the original comics site/store, that would have been a different matter. That's why I tried to check out his app.

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJawfin

The Android App story sounds like perfect material for a BI comic!

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSimes

Meeping awesome. And meep that meeper who was meeping with your meeping comics, mothermeeper.

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdmiral Antelope

I love the fact that the Content Rating on your app is "Low Maturity" - that's about my level!

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJonB

Does Missy really have only three toes on her right foot? :-)

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWim

Meeeping with the bosses of the day job?

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermohrorless

Is this what happened with R2D2, also?

I don't get why someone would want an app that linked you to 90 webcomics. The point of an app like the BI app is quick, easy access to your favorite comics. If you have to wade through 90 comics, you might as well use your phone's browser.

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBill

I'm so MEEPing glad that problem got fixed. If I were you, Scott, I woulda MEEPed that developer up!

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbeetman5

"the meeping truth"....

Didn't know about the apps. Went and got both. Thanks!

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Boban

Buahahahahaha! Errr, maybe I should say "meeeeeeeeep!"

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCrystalis

Now I'm hoping there's an uncensored version of beaker's songs out there somewhere.

BTW, Scott, isn't it better not to include the actual comic in the RSS feed? I think you're missing views because people can just read it there...

Note from Scott: There have been many conversations about my RSS feed. You are right that I'm leaving money on the table by putting the full comic in the feed and not making people go to my site. On the other hand I know people who have changed from a feed like mine to a link-only feed, and they claim to have lost a huge chunk of readership instantly. On the third hand, it can be argued that that loss isn't really a loss because I'd be going from not making money from them reading the comic to not making money from them not reading the comic.

In the end, I haven't changed the feed as yet because it just didn't feel right. I'm beginning to change my mind, though. Opinions?

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDutchy

Selling somebody else's content without permission is like scraping the ice cream residue out of empty containers in the dumpster behind Baskin-Robbins and selling it. It's just... um...

Excuse me. I need to look into a business opportunity.

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave H

@born in the nineties check the copy right date. that is all

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChaotk

It's possible to greatly underestimate what a mobile phone app with shady motives can do to your phone. Best not to download anything that you don't trust. Yes there are limitations, but there are ways around the limitations - sometimes, anyhow.

Re old jokes recycled, this of course is a comic drawn in 2008 being repeated. The comics drawn -this- year are dated 2011, just to mess with us. So, if you heard the "Beaker talked dirty" joke from President Bush - well, he may have been a reader. Or maybe this is the explanation for the peculiar sound that appeared to be -his- voice.

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Carnegie

To be honest, had it not been for that app, I would never have known about your comic, as well as several others. Now, I'm an avid fan, and for that, I'm hella grateful to that guy.

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessie

Don't try to draw feet.
You can't handle the feet.

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLolita M


March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Hey Scott,
Im abt to reveal to you one shocking truth.

I Subscribed to the basic instructions rss feed, got really hooked and ended up reading ALL
your comic strip in one sit from beginning to end (actually its more like from end to beginning).
It just f**king hilarious!!!!!

Keep it up!! And i hope im nt asking for too much bt, unless u r charles schultz, enuff wid d rerunsss.

I'd love it if all of you webcomic artists on that list actually did get together and make a combined app that would feed all of your posts on a smartphone app. A combined app would be even more awesome than your separate apps.

March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJara

As for that app. Every webcomic has an app. The problem is that if I wanted to follow all my favorite comics, I'd have to install over 20 apps -- one for each comic -- on my phone. That would get to be a big pain, which is why I installed the app. And honestly, because of that app, I have visited the website for each and every one of the comics that I liked, because when I have a day off, I like to use the bigger screen on my PC. I never would have found BAsic INstructions if I hadn't used the app.

An app like that is needed. A "one stop shop" for webcomics would be beneficial to the developers, readers and authors alike. If this one app is a bit in the "grey market," why don't you guys get together and create your own? I would purchase it.

March 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterINkyA

@Scott: "In the end, I haven't changed the feed as yet because it just didn't feel right. I'm beginning to change my mind, though. Opinions?"

Basic marketing principle: do not put barriers between your customers and your product. If you have a channel and it is maintaining an ongoing relationship with a potential customer, do not switch it off because they may never come back.

The web model is "give stuff away to the world and a tiny %age will pay = an income". Getting to the world is what your RSS feed does. But if you later make an implied statement "It's no longer free, suckers, I need the money" it sounds whiny and people resent it.

Hang on in there giving stuff away - you're talented and the wealth will come eventually.

PS Be sure to tell us in good time when we can place orders for the 2013 calendar. Thanks.

March 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSimes

Not having the comic itself in the RSS is certainly an option that some comics uses. It does lower their priority for me, which means I'm still glad that there is a feed, but I only check them in bulk once in a while as I don't like switching to standard browsing when I'm catching up on my feeded comics. It really is second rate RSS.

I understand that most comic creators want to show advertisements. Some do it in the RSS feed, which you might consider? Check out the RSS for Dinosaur Comics, although it seems that the advertisements there are for Dinosaur Comics merchandise only and not generic banners.

As for the logic "On the third hand, it can be argued that that loss isn't really a loss because I'd be going from not making money from them reading the comic to not making money from them not reading the comic", then I sincerely hope that it is not your opinion. Of course it is a loss. Perhaps not a monetary one, but less people are gifted with your work. I highly doubt that you started making webcomics only to make money.

Oh, and +1 for not having multiple apps. In fact I don't have a single specifi-comic-app installed. They are much too cumbersome. It's RSS whenever possible and very few non-RSS-comics as favorite links.

Note from Scott: If I did feel that way I'd have changed my RSS feed long ago. As it stands, I just seriously consider it when the bills come due.

March 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterToke Eskildsen

On the topic of censoring Muppets, you should look up the Censored version of the Count's song.

March 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStrangelet

for the RSS feed, one option I've seen that I find pretty agreeable is to keep the comic in the RSS, and also have ads as RSS updates.

March 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkraney

Yeah, but they can't censor his gestures:

Totally lost is it when I saw this for the first time and had to hit rewind a bunch of times to confirm I saw what I saw.

March 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDavid
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