How to Make It Clear That You're Joking (rerun)

This comic is another rerun, but there’ll be fresh comics on Fridays starting next week.

This seems like a good time to discuss the ugly, businessy side of things. Anybody who gets into web comics in hopes of making tons of money is an idiot. My only goal for Basic Instructions when I started was that it would be a good creative outlet. It has been, and still is, that.

That said, it would be nice to make a living off of this thing.

Ad revenues are down. Way, down, and not just for me. My understanding is that across the web ad revenues are dropping at a dizzying rate. There are ways to get more money from ads, most of which are pretty distasteful.

As an experiment, for the next month I’m going to include a brief text message and an Amazon Affiliate link at the bottom of every comic I post. If you go to that link and buy ANYTHING on Amazon, I get a small percentage at no cost to you. I like this idea because it is voluntary, doesn’t slow down the site, will display in the RSS feed*, and as a customer I feel comfortable endorsing

Thanks for your time, thanks for your patience, and thanks in advance for clicking this link and buying pretty much whatever you want at


*The few of you who are still using my original RSS feed do see a small ad. It doesn’t actually make any noticeable amount of money. If it bothers you, I apologize and invite you to subscribe to my newer RSS feed that does not have that ad.

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Reader Comments (62)

> If you're talking about trojans or Loyd ads
I guess Scott rather has ads for dating sites in mind, eg scantily clad Philippinas looking for a husband. Could be worse if you ask me. These guys ( specialise in dating (they don't say so on their website, but they asked me once), I wouldn't mind. Heck, maybe I would find me some romance. Consider the donate button firmly pressed in that case. If it's a boy eventually, Scott will be his middle name.

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterM. Möhling

Why is it that I've read all of the comics, yet I never remember the reruns?

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Goetz

Ditto for the UK Amazon site. EBay a possibility? Also could you have a "donate" button like Wikipedia? I've never actually donated to Wikipedia despite using it for business and leisure virtually every day but I COULD if I wanted do. With BI I can't or haven't noticed where I can. Hmmmm I just realised now I feel like I am suggesting treating my favourite comic writer like a homeless beggar..... Well Scott, as long as you don't spend ALL of the money on booze. You know Newcastle Brown Ale like what Leonard from TBBT and Clint Eastwood drink? Newcastle's my home town. The only people who drink NBA here are either retired or crazy but generally both. That catches Clint admittedly. In fact Clint almost recues it, but not quite. I was once in a gay club in Manchester (long story) where they sold half bottles, never seen that before. Apparently in some places you can get it on draught. That is just plain wrong. These days, a cheeky little Rioja is far more likely to be downed in the environs of Newcastle. Admittedly followed by Drambuie and Whisky. OR perhaps a Black Sheep Bitter, or a Workie Ticket, Radgie Gadgie etc. Well I suppose I'd better stop before I start rambling....

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike Geordie Brown

Hey, is it possible to get a connection to as well as to I can't use .com, the shipping expenses are prohibitive, but I use all the time, so getting to it through your site would be a good way to help you

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiemo

As much as I love these comics, I know for certain that I would never read them in the books*. They would rot in my shelf, and I see no point in spending a larger amount of money if Scott only gets a fraction of it. So for me, it would make more sense to donate to Scott directly. I try to remember to click on ads from time to time, hope that helps.

Scott, maybe you could add a flatr button. And if you really need cash, you could ~tempt fate~ **

* I'm sure the books are great. It's just that I wouldn't read them.
** if you don't get it,

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterderari

Any amazon link for european users?

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBas

I buy TONS of stuff from Amazon (mmmmm - stuff - my favourite). You will make a small - no, probably at least a medium - fortune from my purchases alone, but i DO NOT BEGRUDGE YOU A PENNY!

(If it were not for my Amazon habit, I could probably survive on my teeny-tiny pension. As it is, my hopeless addiction almost bankrupts me. It's nice to think that one of my hopeless addictions is now helping to finance the other)

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaddy

what makes you more monies?
1)read from website (no addblock)
2)read from free android app (or ios)
3)read from paid android app (or ios)
4)RSS feed
5)Please specify

Note from Scott: Reading from the Website makes the most ... maybe. The paid android app gives me a little money when you first buy it. The website gives me a fraction of a penny every time. So, it depends how many times you're going to look at the webpage.

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIdoj

I would be willing to pay you a $1 a year for the priviledge of reading your webcomic.

Now you just need 300,000 other readers just like me and you should be able to comfortably afford to spay and/or neuter your cats.

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBonhomous

I guess I'm on the new RSS feed too, but I certainly wouldn't have a problem with ads there.

Or you could do it properly and do product placement in the comic itself. Just kidding. No, really. (see, it's even relevant to today's comic)

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Since you already have a PayPal account, why not put a Contribute/Buy Me A Drink button on the homepage? Might not bring in much but I'm sure there are some out there that would click once in a while, and I think it would be pretty unobtrusive compared to many kinds of ads.

And secondly count me in with those that don't mind ads in the RSS feed.

Note from Scott: I had one and am planning to put it back. I removed it in a panic/on a whim (there's no word I can think of in English for a panicked whim. I bet the Germans have one) Last Christmas there was a blogger running a charity where you could give money to buy toys for needy kids. She got the donations, announced how much she'd received, and was about to go buy the toys when PayPal suspended her account, announced that hers wasn't a legit charity and said they were keeping the money. Kinda made me distrust my donate button. my understanding is that the whole thing got sorted out in the end. I should have the button back soon.

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBill

I'm clicking that amazon link now!!

How about posting ads to your own books? I didnt know about them until

In fact everything in your store could be more promoted IMO.

How about making your iphone app $1 next week? I would "donate"
in a flash!

Note from Scott: I am considering kind of a "Freemium" model where the site continues as normal, but for a small subscription fee I e-mail you high rez copies of the comics before they go out to any of the papers, Cracked or the site.

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTony

Spiffy! I buy a lot of Kindle books, I usually download them directly to my device, but for you, I can get them through the Amazon site and then load them on the Kindle later.

March 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I order stuff from Amazon semi-frequently and would be happy to use your affiliate link to do so. Can I bookmark it or something, so that I can access it easily every time I need to visit Amazon?

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Just wanted to let you know that I enjoy your comics immensely and have disabled my adblocker on your site.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I think your comic is the funniest on the web, so I clicked on the link and bought some things. I'm not sure if it worked, though. I didn't see any mention of using Amazon Affiliates on the website or in the URL as I checked out. At any rate, I bought your newest book, so I hope that helps!

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRJT

I run a Flash blocker, because I'm not running Windows. Beyond that, ads get free rein in my browser. Pop ups are the worst offender.

An Amazon affiliate link is a reasonable compromise--and it is RSS friendly. I would link to the merch under every comic, too. A simple, one-line text pitch is very reasonable. If it doesn't blink or move then it's cool.

Buttons are superior to links. People like shiny buttons. Again, no blinking and no moving.

TO SAVE THE LINK (someone asked,) just right-click the link and choose add/save the link to bookmarks/favorites.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSoul of Wit

About the clicky adds; how far into a site do we typically need to go for you to see $? Is clicking the Geiko add enough, or do I need to enter the zip, or even more? I'm all about maximizing the effort to energy ratio.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTeelabrown

Let's cut out the middle man. 1) How much to buy an appearance in the comic itself? 2) How much additional for control over how I am being depicted?

March 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersoobawls

I never even see the ads on your site, my brain just blocks them out. I'll try to remember to use your UK amazon links as my portal to Amazon.

I like the idea of the 'premium' pay site with some sort of (cheap for Scott) perks. However, I'd subscribe to the current site anyway, just to keep getting laughs. The "Donate Now" PayPal button would also be fine but I'd probably forget to re-donate later unless reminded.

Are there any other similar sites using any of these methods who you can go to for some guidance / advice?

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSimes

I also support an affiliate link to as it has far friendlier pricing for aussies than Also, some mentioned the idea of a yearly subscription and others suggest putting the ads back on the RSS.....I propose a two-pronged attack. Ads on RSS or $5/year subscription for ad-free RSS. (Maybe $10? Don't know how much you make off each person per year from ads but an equivalent amount would seem reasonable for the ad-free version). This way people who support you can choose which way they'd like to support you- I personally would gladly subscribe to a comic as excellent as yours.

March 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMagraal

The funniest thing about this comic is that by now, many men do in fact like certain ponies.

April 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLewis
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