Penny Arcade, a webcomic publisher and event producer, is trying to use Kickstarter to finance its web operations for a year so it can replace traditional banner advertising with a reader-centric model. Could traditional publishers learn something from this crowdfunding experiment?
You have to hand it to the guys behind Penny Arcade. What started out as a web comic a decade ago has since exploded to become a full-blown phenomenon that encompasses merchandising, video games and a convention (that tens of thousands of people attend) dedicated to all things “nerd.” You can potentially add reality TV stars to that list as Penny Arcade launched its own web series earlier this week to give fans a sneak peek behind their curtain.
The Penny Arcade guys (co-founders Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins) are like the R.E.M. of the nerd world. They appear to have managed their growth without ever blatantly “selling out,” and projects they pursue seem to be of genuine interest to them. Either that or they are insidious masters of disguise. But it’s because of this organic, intentional growth that I was surprised to hear about their new reality show. With people faking child endangerment and supposedly crashing White House parties to get on a reality TV show, why would these two, supposed bastions of integrity want anything to do with the genre?