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New Sorcery 101 and Update (aka how I was fired for Christmas)
 dannysdomain - (kellhound1365)
 
08:38pm 17/12/2009
 
 
kellhound1365 posting in Sorcery 101 Community
New Sorcery 101 is up

And here is an update on all things that affect this comic.

Firstly, I've found an apartment. I'm moving in right after the holidays.

Secondly, not only am I moving but Sorcery 101 and all the other Veiled Truths comics will be moving to different hosting. So if the site is glitchy at any point until the end of January it's because both sites are moving off Keenspot. Why? Well, because Keenspot fired me. I got the email two days ago. Why did they fire me? I asked that question as well and got the response "We have multiple reasons." None of which they will tell me. It happened right after Scott Kurtz's ustream where I talked said Keenspot was only good for the newsboxes (which is true and I'm not the only person on Keenspot who's said that) and I'd leave once the newsboxes stopped being useful. Because they are EXTREMELY unprofessional.

And before now I've never gone into specifics, but since I'm fired here's stuff people who were thinking of joining Keenspot should know.

- They lost my books the first day of San Diego Comic Con last year because they just forgot which box they were in. Fortunately, they were found the second day and I still sold out. But fact remains for a little while they lost 100 books.

- I hope you enjoyed those iPhone apps because they are getting taken down a few days from now. I never got a sales report on them, never mind paid for them in any way.

- I have talked to several Keenspot artists (not naming names so folks don't get in trouble) and found they have never gotten paid on time for their books.

- After the original excitement over iphone apps was over, Keenspot basically forgot they existed. They have been sitting on Sorcery 101 chapter 3 since before August. But I guess it's good it didn't go up since I wouldn't have gotten paid for that anyways. (All of the above are why I'm printing Sorcery 101 books myself and not letting Keenspot print them.)

- There is almost always a thread is the private forum for Keenspot creators which is asking "So when am I getting paid?"

- It could be days before tech problems are addressed. Ex: From Scratch is still not on Keenspot's front page and the comic drop down hasn't been updated in a year or so.

-Keenspots booth at Comic con was a disaster as far as planning went. They had banners advertising artists who weren't attending and none of those had Keenspots logo on it. People didn't even know what we were for. Someone asked an artist behind the Keenspot booth, "do guys know where the keenspot booth it?"

- Someone with access with Keenspot's official twitter used it to fight with Scott Kurtz making everyone involved with Keenspot look bad. Then it was used to lash out at a Keenspotter who used his personal twitter to tell them it's not cool to do that.

- The newsbox and Keenspot ads frequently get "stuck" on comics by the CEO's brother.

But Kurtz helped me find some good hosting because Sorcery 101 is too big for all the usual places people use starting out like dreamhost. And some keenspotters, Kris Straub, and a ton more people are all offering help with website stuff. But there may be bumps.

So pass this livejournal post to any keenspot comics you read or anyone to considering applying to Keenspot. So they know what's up. And if Sorcery 101 goes down or I lose my domain names I'll leave it to you guys to guess why.

As of this morning Keenspot has privately told me why.

Also, keep pledging to Kickstarter.
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 tericrosby
 
06:52am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
[CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS MESSAGE]

"They had banners advertising artists who weren't attending and none of those had Keenspots logo on it."

All the stand-ups advertised comics by creators who were attending. These were 2009's booth banners:
http://blatantcomics.com/mockup1-boothbackdrop2009-lowres.jpg

DREAMLESS (ATTENDING: writer: Bobby Crosby)
MARRY ME (ATTENDING: illustrator Remy "Eisu" Mokhtar, creator/writer Bobby Crosby)
LAST BLOOD (ATTENDING: writer Bobby Crosby)
NO PINK PONIES (ATTENDING: cartoonist Remy "Eisu" Mokhtar, debuting NPP VOL. 1 at con)
THE FIRST DAUGHTER (ATTENDING: writer Mike Rosenzweig, promoting the made-for-mobile comic that premiered this week)

It should be noted that Keenspot officially comprises only one half of the 10x20 booth, the other taken up by Blatant Comics, a comic book company we have owned since 1997 that currently exclusively publishes in print the work of Bobby Crosby (all of which are also webcomics hosted on Keenspot). And it should also be said that Keenspot is not a democratic collective, it is a publishing company, and we have the right to promote whatever titles we see fit. You also have the right to dislike that, of course.

"People didn't even know what we were for. Someone asked an artist behind the Keenspot booth, 'do guys know where the keenspot booth it?'"

We readily admit that the con booth was not run well, we had an 8-foot long Keenspot logo for the table that was not displayed until later into the con for some reason.

"The newsbox and Keenspot ads frequently get 'stuck' on comics by the CEO's brother."

The Newsbox frequently gets "stuck" every once in awhile, and believe it or not, anytime it happens when a comic written by Bobby is being displayed is a coincidence (we can only think of one time this happened). Just as an example of "Newsbox fairness," from October 1st to today, YOUR comics have had 9 appearances in the Newsbox. Bobby's comics have had 3 appearances. Bobby produces four comics, as do you.

As we've assured you privately numerous times already, we will continue to host your sites for as long as you need us to, however long that is. I believe the dozens of members who have moved on from Keenspot in the past can back that up.

Thank you for being a member of Keenspot the past few years, and for letting us respond. We are sorry it had to end this way. As we've said before, we only wish you the best of luck as an independent cartoonist.

Smiles,
Teri Crosby, COO/CFO/co-Owner
KEENSPOT ENTERTAINMENT
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 lurdiak
 
07:20am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
lurdiak
It truly is a comforting thought that such a high profile company with a variety of well-known members who depend on them for revenue and distribution DO NOT HAVE AN ACCOUNTANT.
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 sophie_manx
 
07:30am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
sophie_manx
Ha burn lol
BTW Please keep us posted on were you will relocate!
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 kellhound1365
 
07:31am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
kellhound1365
Will do
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 tericrosby
 
07:35am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
We do have a CPA, but not a full-time accountant on staff, no.

One of the reasons we offered a new contract to all members two years ago (referred to internally as the "New System" contract) was so Keenspot members could be put in charge of their own income and revenue streams entirely. Like Kel, most active members agreed to that that contract, which allowed them to begin handling their own ad sales and collecting 100% of the revenue directly from ad networks and advertisers they choose to work with.
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 lurdiak
 
07:43am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
lurdiak
Well you seem to be using your lack of an accountant as some sort of justification for late payments or any other such mistakes.

They say the first step to correcting a problem is identifying it. Do you believe it is also the last step? Because if you acknowledge a problem and its cause, it's usually best for everyone if you take steps to correct it. Or would you rather have an excuse than a solution?
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 (Anonymous)
 
07:46am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
So, uh... why did Danny get fired?

~Ben Paddon
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 sophie_manx
 
07:48am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
sophie_manx: sweat drop
Yes pray tell. Giving the 'silent treatment' is kind of unprofessional.
picword: sweat drop
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 tericrosby
 
07:55am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
Like our last contract termination in July, it was something that was brewing for many months. It was not due to any one event, and we do not feel the need to speak about it publicly.
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 sophie_manx
 
08:00am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
sophie_manx
Copy Paste from my bud anonymous down there
"According to Keenspot's artist contract you are -->required<-- to state the reason for termination, and you have failed to do so, Teri. By your own contract you must provide the specific reason for your decision to terminate Kell's employment with your organization."
Maybe you won't tell us, but I think Kel deserves an answer
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 (Anonymous)
 
01:06pm 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
"we do not feel the need to speak about it publicly."

...or privately, apparently.
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 kellhound1365
 
07:58pm 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
kellhound1365
They emailed me a reason shortly after making the above post.
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 kellhound1365
 
07:49am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
kellhound1365
Hi Ben,

Just wondering are you confusing me with my main character or did someone else get fired from Keenspot?

Kel
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 (Anonymous)
 
09:23pm 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
It was late and I was tired.

<.<

>.>

..."That's what she said."

~Ben Paddon
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 (Anonymous)
 
07:50am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
According to Keenspot's artist contract you are -->required<-- to state the reason for termination, and you have failed to do so, Teri. By your own contract you must provide the specific reason for your decision to terminate Kell's employment with your organization.
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 krisstraub
 
07:49am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
krisstraub
Teri,

With all due respect, Keenspot desperately needs to decide what it wants to be.

Even with these rebuttals withstanding, there is a reason why Keenspot gets such a bad rap, and why the cartoonists you act as host to are at best unenthusiastic, and at worst miserable.

Most of your defensible responses still don't explain why your creators remain unaware of these issues. iPhone app payouts, revenue calculations, etc: when people ask, do you say there are delays, or do you just ignore them? Could you not even provide the answer you gave here, that some things are calculated on a quarterly basis, and that's the reason for the delay?

Keenspot is a small company with no staff to speak of outside of the owners (i.e. no accountant on staff)

That's the reason for the delay? Hire an accountant!! That is an absurd way to run a business that makes as much money as Keenspot is purported to. You can't make payments to your creators on time because you're short-handed? That is still your problem.

We've been in the process of completely restructuring the way

Would this restructuring and its delays be a continuation of the restructuring and delays that spurred six of us to leave in 2005? Or is this a new restructuring?

All the stand-ups advertised comics by creators who were attending. These were 2009's booth banners

We've all seen "Keenspot's" booth at SDCC in 2009. It was a Blatant Comics showcase, with Keenspot's creators pushed off to either side. To have a booth presence mismanaged year after year, as Keenspot's frequently is, is unacceptable this far down the road. This isn't the year 2000. You guys are supposed to be old hands at this. It reads as total apathy.

Bobby Crosby is sheer public relations poison. He must be making incredible money for the Crosbys for you to tolerate his appalling rudeness. He is unprofessional to a monstrous degree, both online and in person. The fact that the Keenspot booth looked like his private booth that the other cartoonists were crashing didn't help any.

But as you said, Keenspot is a publisher, not a democracy; you have a right to not have to promote everyone, but perhaps cartoonists should be made better aware of this to help them decide if they should bother attending SDCC under Keenspot's auspices.

Just as an example of "Newsbox fairness," from October 1st to today, YOUR comics have had 9 appearances in the Newsbox. Bobby's comics have had 3 appearances. Bobby produces four comics, as do you.

That's wonderful, except Kel's appearances could have been nine days total, while LAST BLOOD showed for three "accidents" of a week each. (I actually doubt that this would be done purposely, as it would be amazingly tacky. But it's still your problem to fix. Although I have been made to understand you are short-handed.)

As we've assured you privately numerous times already, we will continue to host your sites for as long as you need us to, however long that is. I believe the dozens of members who have moved on from Keenspot in the past can back that up.

Hosting is pretty cheap these days. Given Keenspot's responsiveness I am inclined to believe Kel's site will remain up not out of courtesy, but because no one will get around to removing it.

Teri, there is a tremendous gulf between what Keenspot presents itself as, and what it is in reality. You reserve the right to fly a BLATANT COMICS/BOBBY CROSBY banner on top of everyone's merchandise, so be it. You reserve the right to run a DREAMLESS newsbox for 18 days out of the month, so be it. You reserve the right to pay creators months and months past a reasonable deadline because you refuse to hire payroll as any sane company must, so be it.

Creators need to be made aware that that's how you believe in doing business.

I know it's not an easy racket. I don't envy your position in the slightest. But Jesus Christ.

Respectfully,
Kris Straub.
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 toonhound
 
08:03am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
Teri,

Here's the bottom line: you don't know how to run a business. You and Chris have amounted to nothing but good intentions, unfulfilled promises, apologies and hyperbole since Keenspot started in 2000.

Everyone involved in and aware of Keenspot know this. Only the people who are new to what you do, who are first reading your press-releases about Benderspink movie deals and iphone apps are willing to play along with your assertion that anyone over there has two fucking clues rattling around in their heads.

As someone unfortunate enough to be metaphorically living downwind from your company, may I ask of you two favors:

1) Stop pretending with us. We all know you guys have Keenspot on autopilot and are basically using it to fund Chris and Bobby's side projects. Have the guts to at least stop pretending around us. It's just insulting.

2) Maybe spend a little time in 2010 to actually restructure to a new model where you stop pretending to care about all these other cartoonists you're aggregating your income from. They're kids, Teri. Kids who think you're looking out for them. Kids like your kids. Who just want to make comics. Just cut them loose. Let Keenspot go. Focus on Chris and Bobby's work and either make it on your own merits or die trying. It would at least show you have as much guts as these kids you're making promises to.

And they are JUST kids, Teri. Jesus, I'm only 38 and they're kids to ME. Kids who have bought into the bullshit gold you're spinning in the press releases you send out to make Chris and Bobby feel better about living in a school and being mentally unstable respectively.

For some, unfathomable reason, they actually BELIEVE you when you say you're going to help them.

The fucking LEAST you could do, is try once in a while.

Sincerely,
Scott R. Kurtz
 
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(no subject)
 (Anonymous)
 
08:49am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
Super sorry to hear about this, way to be like the Chinese Government, Keenspot. If there's absolutely anything the little guy like me can do, let me know.

-Bagels
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 kellhound1365
 
09:01am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
kellhound1365
Thank you for politely responding Teri.

I just needed you to say publicly my site would be fine so that it wouldn't become a he said she said issue. Hope you understand that.

Best Regards
Kel
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 looniewolf
 
11:21am 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
Robert
Sorry, Terry, that doesn't jibe. I've long been a supporter and friend of Keenspot. I've long respected its business model and how it treated its contractors. But you know? Ever since you got rid of Gav and turned this into the Exclusive Crosby Family Business, I've been hearing more and more unpleasant things. Kel is not the only person to have been "fired" by Keenspot, and Kel's not the only person to have been mistreated by your company either.

So far Keenspot has managed not to go the route of WaRP Graphics and steal the copyright and stories of comics... but that's sure the stench Keenspot is starting to give out. Once I would have recommended your company for anyone who wanted to succeed in comics. Now? Now Keenspot is a poison pill and I can only recommend to those people I respect who are still a part of Keenspot to leave.

Robert A. Howard, Tangents Webcomic Reviews

P.S. - This doesn't mean I'm going to lessen my disdain for Scott Kurtz, mind you. I still have tremendous disdain for quite a few of his actions. But the next time he badmouths Keenspot, I think I'll doublecheck what he's saying before dismissing him out of hand. Rob H.
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 cains_underoos
 
06:54pm 18/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
Rin
I wasn't going to say anything since I am in no way involved other than by being a fan of Sorcery 101 (I admit that makes me biased), but I am extremely surprised you even responded here and curious as to why you are bringing this over to the Sorcery 101 livejournal community?

This could all be handled in private with Kel instead of coming over here to be defend your company's stance on issues. Something like this doesn't really need to be brought out in public or brought up in front of fans. As far as I am concerned, Kel has a right to post her criticisms because she is acting as an individual and not speaking as a representative of an organization. There are other ways to express your side of things than by singling out an individual artist or to work out misunderstandings with the same artist.
 
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Re: Keenspot's response
 ladyharken1
 
04:43am 20/12/2009 (UTC)
 
 
Zhanael Daiche
I'm an outsider, by far (I've only had a glance at Sorcery 101 some months ago, and I have nothing to do with webcomics except reading them), but I have to ask...why does Keenspot feel the need to defend itself from one person? That tells a lot more about the company than even the content of its response; it's worried enough about its image that it feels that unless the company defends its pride against this one person, it'll be doomed. Or something.

And to cover everything in one sitting, the rantings below of Bobby Crosby (relation of the owners, right? =\) gives the company an even worse image, especially if he's still hired on.

I'm honestly considering never visiting the comics I enjoy so I can boycott Keenspot...but then that would be boycotting the poor artists as well, and they don't deserve that. The Firefox addon NoScript will be a blessing in this, at least.
 
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