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Ahem ...

I am now accepting orders for the holiday run of Infini-Tees. The price is unchanged from before, $15 for the artwork and $20ish or more for the shirt, depending on your preferences.

As before, you will receive the artwork and then be able to decide if you want to buy the shirt.

Also as before, I'll need a photo of the person you want pictured on the shirt facing the camera in the pose you want on the shirt (you should be wearing a t-shirt in the photo, and the photo should include your entire torso). The photo must be at least 1000 pixels wide. If you cannot get said photo without ruining the surprise, you can send me a good headshot of them, but be warned that I will have to graft their head onto someone else's torso, and the result will not be as good as if I had a full-torso photo of them.

Ordering will be kept open for at least one month, maybe more depending on the rate of orders. I just don't want to take more orders than I can fulfill before Christmas.

On a vaguely related note (in that it has to do with monetizing my comic) I have fielded a few complaints about my review of the Azor. Rest assured, I have no intention of turning my blog into some kind of biased version of Consumer Reports. That said, I have no qualms whatsoever about my review for the following reasons.

1. It came about organically. I posted a comic about my difficulty selecting a razor. I then blogged about the inspiration for the strip, and that blog post got a ton of comments. The traffic got the attention of two razor manufacturers, and they both ended up sending me a razor to evaluate. The review of the second razor will turn up next week. I'll mark it promenently as a review so you can easily skip it if you wish.

2. I gave the Azor a positive review because I was genuinely impressed with it.

3. I have never made a secret of the fact that someday I hope to make a living off of Basic Instructions. Unless you want PBS-style pledge breaks and begging, that means advertising, and if you look at the ads that run on my site (and almost all other webcomics) you'll see that they are almost all ads for videogames or other webcomics. Cartoonists need for the makers of other products to realize that our sites are a good way to put their ads in front of people's eyeballs. I have reputable companies interested in giving my site a tentative try, and I'm going to do whatever I can (without being dishonest) to encourage them.

Reader Comments (46)

Keep up the good job!

I sincerely hope you make *at least* some money from your hard work at BI. Thank you!!

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel

I support your efforts... the more that people can make a living producing niche comics, the more we will have delightful niche comics like this.

I also want to add a #4 to your list: you made no secret of the fact that Azor gave you those products to review. You framed the situation accurately, not trying to distort the type of relationship you had with Azor.

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

I have enjoyed your whole razor journey, though I am morally opposed to the trimming of any male facial hair.

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew the Great

I don't know how "vague" my complaint was; I said I'd prefer actual ads on the page to product-plugging blog posts. Tried to phrase a bit more respectfully and less agressively than I just did.

No one is saying don't try to make a living out of your great comic - far from it.

Clearly marking a blog post as a solicited "review" might be a tad more honest than just "oh wow, these people out of the blue sent me these razors and all these gels and creams and stuff and wow I really like them!" It would certainly be a bit more respectful of the reader.

Disingenous does not become you, Scott. Please do not become it.

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCled

Yeah, spelling errors. Sorry about them. No edit function here.

October 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCled

@Cled: He said vaguely related note, not vague complaints! :)

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwxyzwxyz

I have thoroughly enjoyed the razor journey (and even actually posted my own experience with men's and women's electric razors, much preferring those built for men on my female legs) - I've loved reading ALL the comments, and when the razor companies sent you samples, I had no doubt that you would review them for the benefit of all of your readers. You write an incredibly funny comic; your fans are intelligent enough to know that you're not just plugging some product because some company sent you free shit; the comments that get attached to your comics and your blog posts let you know what your fans think of you, and let us, the fans, laugh a bit louder and longer 'cuz we're mostly all on the same wavelength! 'Cept for Cled, here, of course. ;)

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBI Fan

Fair enough. Just as information, my eyes tend to skip right over any current advertising on your site, and I was actually interested in the Azor review. If I had been dissatisfied with my current razor, and if the Azor were easy to purchase in the US, at a reasonable price, then I might have bought one. As it is, there was no harm done.

If the advertising on your site became too obstreperous then I might be annoyed enough to stay away, but of course you can do what you like, and I expect some advertising. If it seemed to me that too many of your blog posts were turning into plugs for products, then I'd stop reading them, but would still look at the comic, which is a favorite of mine. And I expect to buy your next book. I bought the first. I know it's not easy to make money out of cartooning, and I hope it works out for you.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMP

Scott,
Surely if people dont want to read your opinions on stuff there's a very simple solution. Dont read it.

I liked your review. If I see one in the shops I'll give it a go because a cheap, functional disposable razor is something I'd use. Now if your review would have been for an expensive battery powered sonic type razor I wouldn't buy one as I think that concept is a tad stupid.

As the service you provide us is free, I really think people who go out of their way to complain about something as trivial as adds (or spelling) should just Gwen.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergoosemonster

No objection to you trying to put food on your table. Just would like enough information to put any product reviews in one of the following categories:

1. I bought this product myself and was so impressed that I decided to do a review.
2. The manufacturer sent me a free sample hoping that I'd give it a good review. I did, and wasn't paid for it. (I think it was pretty clear that this was the category of the Azor review)
3. Like number 2 above, but there was a definite implication that this could lead to further business, such as advertising revenue.
4. I was paid to do an endorsement. Doesn't mean that I wasn't sincere. Take it for what it's worth.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKap

1. Ads are honest. A promotional post ("review" of goods that were received for free) that is not identified as such is, at best, disingenuous.

2. The spelling errors I pointed out were my own. The sentence "No edit function here" could have been a clue. Close reading is a valuable skill.

3. I used to love this site. I still love the comics on those occasions when they are new material.

4. I have immense admiration for someone who can make an honest living out of his own creative work. The fact that Scott himself says that the next review he posts will be labeled as a review might be taken as acknowledgement that this is a good thing to do.

5. Ethics are important.

6. I'll leave you to flame me now. Bye and thanks for all the fish.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCled

It was rather clearly stated, to me anyway, in the September 20th post; that Scott had received a free shaving kit from King of Shaves and that he would post later about his experiences with the razor. I can't fathom how being quite openly honest about his intentions constitutes some sneak ad blitz. Perhaps more subtle and careful reading is needed for the people who feel they need to be outraged and offended by everything.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDuncman

Since the classic internet response of "don't like it, don't read it" always comes out, I figured I'd remind y'all (and by "y'all", I mean, "living in the south is affecting my words, but I still refuse to say 'soda' instead of 'pop'") that there are RSS feeds for just the comics, without the blog posts. Those feeds are:

Directly from the site: http://basicinstructions.net/?feed=rss2&cat=4
Via Feedburner: http://feeds.feedburner.com/basicinst-comics

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermissy

The heads for my Mach 3 are getting harder to find. I may switch to Azor soon.

BTW, thanks for pointing me to the conditioner method. It's working.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTom Flapwell

I like reading the things you write... both the comic and your blog posts. I have no problem with you reviewing products you like (or don't like). If we like the way you think (which is reasonable given that we like comics based on your life), then it stands to reason that we might like the things you like. I don't care how you learned about any given product. I assume your reviews will be honest, and that's good enough for me. (Even if I were an ethics troll, I'd be satisfied that you were forthcoming with the fact that you were given these products for free by the company.)

Sanctimonious does not become you, Cled.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNate

Scott I like your stuff and so also your reviews of products. And if you make money out of it, then great! Stop working and triple creation!

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterReader

Cled, please shut up now. You aren't as smart as a dolphin so don't steal their songs. (Although you obviously believe you are intelligent.) You were offended, so what. The fact that no one else has felt the need to go on and on about their sensitivities, you should get the clue that you're being petty. Get over it.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfemale fan

I thought the review was straight forward and honest. You got the razor for free after posting about your shaving woes. I trust you on that, and the review was very useful (I'll be looking for an Azor myself soon).

If you start "reviewing" "free" stuff every week, I'm sure that'd make me question your honesty. But, even if you do that, I'd happily read your reviews if they were funny.

Keep up the good comics and I'm all for you making a living.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTrey Jackson

One must be careful to not take one's perceptions as reality.

If one wants to have any kind of productive relationship with fellow human beings, one must be willing to not take such offense at opposing viewpoints that cause one to completely withdrawal from contact.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAC

It didn't bother me. You mentioned right in the post that they gave you the razors and gels. So long as you disclose this information and only pitch products in the blog post you actually like, there's no problem.

Of course if you start advertising crap you don't like or use, your recommendations will become meaningless.

FYI, you sold me on it. I ordered an Azor and shaving gel the same day.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Cled, I don't see what your problem was. Scott full disclosed the origin of his review. It's not uncommon for bloggers to be sent products to review, and there is nothing dishonest in accepting the offer, as long as 1) the review contains a disclaimer and 2) the author is honest about their impression of the product.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTim McCormack

Why must the review contain a disclaimer? Does ANYONE out there REALLY believe that something posted on a blog is an advertisement for which the blogger is receiving income? Scott, like others out there who blog, mentioned a problem he had. His readers commented. The razor companies took note and sent him free shit. I'm sure they did not ASK him to review their free shit, but knowing the blog streams initially generated by the problem, hoped that IF he reviewed their stuff, he'd speak favorably. He's not getting paid! Leave him alone! Click on the advertising links so he CAN get paid, and of course, buy HIS stuff! And as others have already said, you don't have to read the blogs if you only like the comics. And if somehow the politics of reading the blogs and/or the comics makes you uncomfortable, go read something else!
Scott, YOU ROCK!

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBI Fan

I don't mind a blog review. You sounded sincere, so if its honest, that's cool. And please make some money on this gig. I want it to keep reading Basic Instructions. I'm waiting for you to start reviewing those new rocket-propelled hats I keep hearing about. Or at least some advice on chin-straps.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRandomizer

I'm with Tim McC. Scott said some guys sent him razors and stuff. He tried 'em, and he liked 'em. Even if he didn't disclose his receipt of the freebies, it's not that big a deal. It's not a like a PC review site or a car review magazine where not only is the reviewer provided a freebie (worth much more than a razor), but a ton of advertising dollars.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenter408wij

God I HATE the smucking people who have to come around and gripe about everything! Just shut up! Who cares if you don't like the review? Don't read it then and leave the rest of the world in peace.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJames

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