REVEALED: Whatever Happened To Kylebaker.com?

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One Spear Pitch from Kyle Baker on Vimeo.

Several readers were offended by this post, in which I snarked a bit on my old friend Kyle Baker for letting his name domain lapse. Although I know Kyle well enough to know he wouldn’t have been bothered, I took down the post and contacted Kyle on Facebook (since his kyle@kylebaker.com email no longer worked) and we had a brief correspondence. And then he posted Whatever Happened To Kylebaker.com? which is a total history of the portfolio website and the internet in one. Basically he felt the website was out of date and supplanted by social media, and newer ventures were more business targeted:

Last but not least was the kylebaker.com mailing list. Rendered obsolete by Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. I was even going to launch a message board a few years back, and realized there was no reason. Folks can either communicate through a social network or even post a comment on my blogs.

And all of these sites are free! I’m not paying for design, programming or maintenance. I’ve got more free e-mail accounts than I know what to do with, and even have a mac blog and FTP site I don’t use. It’s been ten years! Shit changes!

So the only reason to keep Kylebaker.com going was for the name. That’s like maintaining real estate on an eroding cliff. Why bother?


I still disagree with this fundamentally — for $10 a year you keep your name under your control and if your website is out of date…well, that’s what DNS pointers are for. However, Kyle points out some other aspects of the name I hadn’t considered:

Last but not least, I found that naming my website and business after myself was a hindrance in pursuing partnerships such as distributors and licensees. More than once I’d hear, “We don’t deal with self-publishers.” It didn’t matter that I was moving thousands of units, and that some properties such as “Nat Turner” had been very profitable when I was handling the marketing. Moving my cartoon properties to publishers such as Image Comics and Harry Abrams actually increased the properties’ value in the eyes of potential business partners. In retrospect, I should have named my company something besides Kyle Baker.

Which brings us to today. I’m currently an executive at a new entertainment company I co-founded, tentatively named after one of our planned properties. Over the next few months we’re releasing an animated comedy series and an online adventure game. There will be websites for the company, game, and comedy. I assume the sites will bear the names of the properties, not the personnel. We’re market-testing the names, among other elements of the enterprise.


Kyle’s main website can be found at qualityjollity.com.
Bottom line, who am I to argue with the creator of such things as this?
201011030248 REVEALED: Whatever Happened To Kylebaker.com?

While we’re talking style, check out Kyle’s new “Das Reingold” look:
201011030249 REVEALED: Whatever Happened To Kylebaker.com?

Finally, the sizzle reel for Kyle’s new venture is above and it contains some interesting business proposals. More later…

Comments

  1. Eh, I gotta disagree. I’ve noticed a huge trend among artists, and comics professionals. They’ve left behind websites designed specifically for them, and have moved on to just grabbing a blog (which is free) and using that as their official site! And now Kyle says we’re moving away from that, to just using Twitter, Facebook, and the like? Sad, sad, sad!

    There will always be a place for websites showcasing people’s portfolios, etc. Well, as far as I’m concerned. In fact, I just redid mine a couple weeks ago!

    http://www.nathanaaron.com (shameless plug)

  2. From what I’ve seen, a lot of artists who DO have Web sites don’t bother maintaining them because they do most of their art/blog posting on their DeviantArt pages. If I’m looking for the latest news on projects from, say, Joe Jusko or Adam Hughes, that’s where I go.

    Hell, even I’ve got a DeviantArt page, and I’m a writer (who occasionally cartoons):

    http://steveroman.deviantart.com

    As for self-publishing, I have two sites, one for the company, and one for the main project I’m releasing next year (both currently undergoing renovations):

    http://www.starwarpconcepts.com
    http://www.pandorazwieback.com

    And then there’s my JacketFlap page and the Pandora Zwieback Facebook page (both free), so I think I’m fairly covered right now without a self-titled site. But who knows what tomorrow may bring…?

  3. I, OTOH, can see his point: the closest thing I have to a personal website is a pimped blogsite and even that was too much hassle to maintain. Now facebook is my source of public promotion

  4. I agree. Owning your own site allows you to post content that could be unacceptable on social media sites such as Myspace and Facebook. And it’s also possible to provide feeds from a post on your site to all of the social media sites, allowing to reach a far greater audience. A wordpress site, that you own on your webhost, is easy to set up, maintain and anything you put on it can be disseminated anywhere you want. And while you can cross post from Twitter to Facebook, you can’t from Facebook to Myspace, meaning you have to do the same thing twice to get the news out. And while ebay and Etsy make it easy to sell product, they charge a fee. A little work, or getting some help and you can set up an ecommerce section on your own site and keep all of the money.

  5. The Beat says:

    You don’t actually have to run a site to keep an url. Domain registration is cheap and you can point it ANYWHERE YOU LIKE, including a free blog. I’ve set up several sites like this.

  6. Wow… the secret life of Heidi MacDonald… Has Raytheon contacted you about weaponizing that potato launcher?

  7. Todd VerBeek says:

    [sarcasm]Why have your own domain when you can set up a site on Geocities for free, and you can network with all your fans and colleagues through Friendster?[/sarcasm]

    I wouldn’t be comfortable depending on the whims of whatever corporation was currently giving me free use of their systems entirely on their terms (which I’d never actually read, and which were subject to change without notice). That’s a bit like giving friends your company e-mail address instead of having your own, or (in pre-portability days) having no phone number other than your line with Wireless Carrier X.

    Depending on a third party for this sort of thing is all well and good… until it isn’t any more, and that can happen faster than you’re prepared for.

  8. Kyle Baker says:

    I didn’t say I was giving up websites, I actually plugged two of my new websites in the post. I just said that I found no value in the domain name kylebaker.com. If naming a website after yourself is so essential, why can’t I find Jeffbezos.com? My name is Kyle Baker, I own my name for free. My name is also a registered trademark to prevent it from being used on cartoons I don’t make. My next website will be named after one of my other trademarks. My new game will be hosted on a website. Websites are great! ComicsBeat is a website! I’m sure it generates more hits and revenue than heidimacdonald.com. Heidi wisely chose a domain name with the word “Comics” in it so that people searching for comics would be directed here. Heidimacdonald.com is where Heidi keeps her personal vacation photos and such. I have a private Youtube page where I post videos of my kids’ birthdays and Coney Island trips. I also have those videos on a backup disk in case Youtube goes away. Everybody’s different. Personally, I don’t need a dotcom named after myself. That’s just me. The name’s available. You want it so much, YOU buy it.

  9. Kyle Baker certainly explains himself well; he’s always been on the leading edge of new media trends, so I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.

    He’s right-it takes a lot of work to maintain these sites and to self-promote, so he’s taking advantage of sites that will do more of the work for him. And places like Facebook is where everyone is anyway–plus, no doubt, his fans will gravitate to wherever he decides to hang out.

    As a self-publisher myself, I’d love to have that kind of freedom!

    Hats off to Kyle for always being out in front and not worrying about “conventional wisdom”!

  10. The Beat says:

    >>>If naming a website after yourself is so essential, why can’t I find Jeffbezos.com?

    I think Kyle won that round!

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