esterday on Twitter I mentioned something I’ve been thinking about for a while now – The Honesty Box.
Every comic creator who runs their own website and checks the statistics now and again (just now and again, not obsessively… honestly) will have come across the same thing we have; in the list of search terms people have used in order to get to your site you see the words “download”, “scan”, “torrent”, etc, followed by the title of your latest book or series. It’s a weird feeling knowing that the people who are sharing and downloading your work are also (albeit accidentally) visiting your own site.
So, I wondered if there was anything that we, the creators, could do about it. Not in a GET REALLY ANGRY AND SHOUT ABOUT HOW YOU MUST STOP THIS NOW sort of way, but instead more like a “Hi search engine user, I’m the creator of the thing you just searched for”, kind of thing.
I just thought it might be good to actually address the situation in a realistic, non-hysterical, yet non-fatalistic way and explain things from a mid level comic industry creator’s point of view to those download searchers who end up on our site. So, The Honesty Box was born.
The header of the page contains many of the most popular search engine terms (broken down into single words and titles) which seem to be leading would-be downloaders to our site. The rest of the page is basically an honest, polite and hopefully friendly piece of writing explaining our position on the whole thing and how illegal sharing and downloading affects us as creators.
It’s not a solution, it’s not a deterrent, but I feel better for having done it and if other creators out there who are in the same position feel like doing something similar on their own site, I think that would be very cool.