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First Post Previous Post This is the latest post This is the latest post GPF News for January 26, 2015

 

Hey there, folks. Yeah, I've been silent a lot lately, so I'll start off with my usual apology. My life has been exceptionally hectic for the past ten months; you can read the past two News posts for a deeper background on that. I'll only follow up on that to say that we're a bit more stable at the moment, but my life outside the comic has consumed most of the "free time" I used to have in past years. As such, I've been able to keep up with the main comic itself, but just about everything else has been on the back burner. Until our housing situation becomes a bit more permanent (i.e., we finally sell our old house, finally find a new house to buy where the deal doesn't fall through, and stop renting), I imagine that situation isn't likely to change.

So I stole away a few moments to finally write the News post I've been meaning to write for weeks, as there are a number of items that I need to publicly address...

A hearty thanks to our Premiums subscribers and donors: It's been far too long since I last openly thanked our many GPF Premium subscribers for their generous support. Likewise, there are some folks out there who, either in lieu of or in addition to being Premium subscribers, periodically leave generous tips in our Tip Jar, especially during the holidays. To these readers I am deeply indebted, and as always I am humbled that so many of you enjoy my little childlike scribbles. GPF has never brought in enough money for me to quit my day job and devote my full time to it, but it's been self-sufficient for years so it's never been a burden. If it weren't for the support I've received from you, our loyal readers, I likely would have thrown in the towel over a decade ago.

Of course, I'm always aware that there are many more of you who read GPF daily but otherwise can't financially support us directly. I'm grateful for each and every one of you as well. While they can be an annoyance (more on that in a bit), the ads on the site do make up the majority of GPF's income, so just by visiting us regularly you're still helping us out. I'm looking at ways to make GPF Premium more accessible and affordable, but until our subscriber numbers hit a critical mass, the ads are definitely here to stay.

Yes, I'm way behind on e-mails: As mentioned above, my life outside the comic has been pretty unforgiving. For the past year, I've gone through a major job transition and a move to a different city... a move, I might add, that is still technically in progress and has been for nearly ten months. As such, "free time" has rapidly become a foreign word in my vocabulary, and pretty much everything GPF related outside the comic itself has taken a back seat.

Sadly, my e-mail inbox has been one the casualties. While I still read every piece of fan mail that comes in, it's been impossible for me to reply to all of them. Unfortunately, several of those e-mails truly deserve thoughtful responses, but, well, as previously stated, time has not been kind to me lately. If you've written to me lately and are expecting a response, please review the "Before You Contact Us" section of the Contact Us page. The answer to many questions are already available in the GPF FAQ or elsewhere on the site. If your question is brief and will likely have a brief response, you could always ask on social media (Twitter, Facebook, or Google+), as it's easier for me to respond quickly there. If the answer you seek isn't already online, I do ask that you please be patient. I hate to leave anyone hanging, but I'll try to respond as soon as I can.

Possible malware in ads on the site: Unfortunately, some of the e-mails I've received lately have been reports of the GPF site being "hacked" and serving up malware. I can assure you this is patently untrue; while I'd never be so conceited and arrogant to say that could never happen, I can say that our server is probably one of the most locked down and secure webcomic sites online. You can check out GPF's reputation on multiple security sites and see just how squeaky clean our reputation is. That said, we've been fighting against pop-ups and malware-infested ads since... well, since we first put ads on the site back in 2000. And if it weren't for the fact that GPF wouldn't have lasted two years—much less sixteen—without ads paying for our bandwidth, I would have never put them on the site. (I was actually proud of the fact that GPF was initially ad-free, but then the cold hard reality of economics set it.)

The GPF FAQ has several entries devoted to reporting pop-ups and "bad ads", most of which have been a staple of the FAQ for many years. The same general advice that I initially wrote years ago still holds true. I have the capability to ban "bad ads", but only when I've been given enough information to identify them. Just telling me "There's a bad ad on your site" doesn't help; I need to know where it's coming from before I can know which ad to ban. This isn't always easy; many times malicious advertisers attempt to cover their tracks and obscure their true source. Some of the "bad ads" some of you are seeing coming "from" GPF may not have even been loaded from our advertisers; some bad ads intentionally delay deploying their payloads so it appears the ad came from a different site than the one that actually served it. That said, there's usually an ad visible on the site that will include a URL that we can attempt to track. Once a "bad ad" has been banned, it can potentially take several hours for the change to propagate through the ad supplier's inventory system. I should also some general safety tips for surfing online, such as running an up-to-date virus scanner and disabling, filtering, or completely uninstalling highly targeted features such as JavaScript, Java, Flash, and Adobe Acrobat. (If you have an absolute need for such features, most browsers now have plugins that let you selectively disable or enable them per domain. None of these are essential for the GPF site to function, although some optional features might not work correctly if they are disabled.)

And while it would be self-serving to point this out, one of the features of GPF Premium is the ability to browse the site completely ad-free. Without the ads, not only is our site guaranteed secure, but it loads significantly faster. Combine that with all of the other exclusive content available with Premium and it really does become a sweet deal.

GPF and Patreon: Another reoccurring question I've been seeing a lot lately is in regard to GPF joining Patreon, the patronage site that lets fans of creative works support their favorite artists. For those asking, yes, I'm aware of Patreon and yes, I've considered it for GPF. In fact, I had a informal poll on the Forum going and as well as an open query on social media to gather opinions. My biggest concern regarding Patreon is the fact that I pretty much already have a patron program in place: GPF Premium. Premium already allows our subscribers to support the site and gain access to exclusive content, all of which are deeply integrated into the GPF site. So far, I've only seen two potential advantages for Patreon over Premium. The first are potentially smaller subscription amounts (some artists allow pledges as low as $1 USD per month), something I've already been considering with Premium. (I've always been concerned that Premium might be overpriced, but I've had trouble deciding how much to potentially discount it.) The second potential advantage is to allow patrons to keep all their pledges across multiple sites/comics/artists in one place. While neither of these advantages are insignificant, for the time being I'm more inclined to continue with Premium, as it's already well established and it allows me to embed features deep into the site, which I can't do with Patreon. It's also one less middle-man to take a cut out of GPF's profits. I'm not discounting Patreon altogether and I won't say I wouldn't reconsider it if there's enough demand, but since Premium and Patreon seem to cover the same ground, it's easier to go with what I already know.

That's all I have to share for now, folks. I hope you're still enjoying Scylla and Charybdis. I don't recall if I explicitly mentioned it anywhere, but I decided to go ahead and let the story spill over into Year Sixteen. We're slowly but steadily approaching our climax, and I'd rather have the story progress at its natural pace than truncate it just to fit into an arbitrary time constraint. As always, I thank you for reading, and I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I've enjoyed writing it.