Via LP Cover Lover.
Via LP Cover Lover.
I’ve been asked if I’d like to redesign my local comic shop’s website, as I do that internet marketing thing for my day job and have been kvetching about the damned thing for ages. As it stands, it uses a Flash landing page and a color scheme that is, at the very least, difficult on the eyes, as it employs orange text on a white background, something I believed the UN declared to be torture in the mid-90s. I have some pretty clear ideas about what I want to do with it: blog integration, easily updated content, improved navigation, and making sure some very basic information (location, phone number, and hours) are available on each and every page, but I also wanted to make sure that I knew what to avoid, so I started browsing.
Names, addresses, phone numbers, etc have been erased to protect the guilty.
This popular comics shop’s site uses gray-on-gray text in its navigation and header (where the address is located) and while I appreciate clean design and white space, but I don’t know if a particularly buxom Mary Jane Watson giving readers a come-hither look is an image I’d use to promote my shop versus, say, a picture of my shop or text that describes the shop or this week’s releases or my shop’s blog, which could include the three previous items. I mean, I like large-breasted redheads as much as the next guy, but if I’m looking to find out what came in this week, that chick’s just in my way, man.
One thing of note: this retailer’s site does feature a well-written, informative blog that manages to sell and point people in the right direction without slapping NOT BUY on things and feeling smug about their superiority. Unfortunately, it’s hosted on Blogspot and displayed in a frame, meaning that the content isn’t associated with the shop in the eyes of search engines. In other words, people who get to the shop through searches looking for reviews and release lists would get the Blogspot version of the blog, not the one that’s on their site. You can also use that blog’s links to go back to the shop’s website in a window on its own website in a recursive loop.
This shop has a domain that I would pay real money for, if I were going to launch an online comics shop.
This is a local shop that’s very well-regarded for being an indie icon, where minicomics and small press books rule while the staff sneers down at you from on high. It’s interesting, then, that a shop that displays the new Kramer’s Ergot it its window has set up its virtual presence in the place where people debate whether Angel would be a top or bottom when having his way with Worf.
That said, at least they’ve got their contact information front and center.
Don’t do this. Just don’t.
These guys have created an ugly, ugly site (seriously, the below-the-fold on-page copy reads like it was created by a keyword-spouting bot) that ranks well for the term “comic shop.” Seriously, here’s a sample:
Comics for sale include collectible comics like Archie, Action, King, Paul Terry, Phantom, Seaboard, Superman, Batman, Detective, Fantastic Four, Green Lantern, Silver Surfer, Iron Man, X-Men, Spawn, Little Lulu, Hot Stuff, Richie Rich, GI Joe, Transformers, Warren Magazines, Wonder Woman, Vampirella. Used comics with genres like Anime, Big Little Books, Crime, Funny Animals, Religious, Romance, Mystery, Horror, Graphic Novels, Manga, TV Comics, Movie, Newspaper Strips, Sci-fi, War, Western and alternate and independent publishers Antarctic, Kitchen Sink, Bongo, Caliber, Valiant, Vertigo, Dark Horse, Whitman and Quality in reading grades as well as collector grade comics for sale.
Big blocks of keyword-heavy text may get you rankings (at least until Google changes its algorithm), but they don’t increase conversions one bit. Especially if the shop’s address is nowhere to be found. Nor did I catch the name of the shop until I noticed the smallish logo in the top left corner.
Finally, here’s a site that I can point out and link to because the shitty, shitty comics shop it was related to finally closed after clinging to the underbelly of the Las Vegas comic book scene for far too long. I went to Kool Kollectables once and hated it enough to write about it. It’s not just one or two things that made this website fail: every single page is an abomination and representative of exactly how most comic shops present themselves both online and in person. Spend some time and click around. Savor the Lady Death background images and suddenly-changing header graphics while you marvel at the the copiously-deployed BLINK tags and poor grammar.
Sometime next week, I’ll point out shops that I think do things very well and why. This time around, i won’t have to obscure any names. I hope.
I thought this was a very nicely executed short profile of an editorial cartoonist.
Let’s have a Black Celebration: A Certain Large Online Retailer Has More Stupid Deals For “Black Friday.”Comments Off | Posted: November 28th, 2008 | Filed under: Meta, Outbound Linkage | Tags: commercial messages
Amazon has some cheap as hell movies and TV on DVD and Blu-ray, including some deals that end at 11AM Pacific today, so click while he clicking’s good. Batman Begins for $4! C’mon, buy a few spares for your shrine!
Oh, I’m the only person that has one of those, huh?
Also, there’s a particularly good 50 albums from 2008 for $5 each sale happening in Amazon’s no-DRM, high-bitrate MP3 shop. While you’re at it, you can just go and buy Led Zeppelin for $2.99 I may not like Led Zeppelin, but that shouldn’t keep you from the rawk.
Hopefully, that’ll help you clear most of your Holiday lists quickly and allow you to focus on things like the stack of video games you bought yourself.
And again: Yes, I get some Amazon money if you buy through those links. I am, in the parlance, greedy as fuck.
Happy Thanksgiving from the gang at Yavin IV.
“Meddle,” performed on Later…With Jools Holland
“Stuck On Repeat,” performed on Later…With Jools Holland
Little Boots and her brother cover “Boyfriend” by Alphabeat
Little Boots performs “What Is Love” by Haddaway
Little Boots covers “Don’t You Want Me” by Human League
Litlte Boots covers “Bullet In The Gun” by Planet Perfecto
If you’re not en route to a relative or friend’s gathering, then here’s what’s waiting for you at your local comics shop.
If you wanted to write to Carla or Lance, here are their addresses. There’s also an address for Metro Entertainment. Jon there said that he’d make sure anything sent there would get to them. (I’d only send a card or something right now; it’s not likely they’re going to have much room for “stuff” at the moment.)
BICU, bed #4
101 The City Drive
Orange, CA 92868
BICU, bed #6
101 The City Drive
Orange, CA 92868
attn: Carla and/or Lance Hoffman
6 West Anapamu
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
It’s time for another one of those strips inspired by Alex Robinson’s Box Office Poison.
My Gotta Catch ‘Em All Picks are:
- The first, second, third, and fourth seasons of The West Wing. You can get them all, but those are the only ones I find essential.
- Band of Brothers, a nicely-executed adaptation of Steven Ambrose’s book about the “real” Easy Company in World War II.
- The first and second seasons of The Venture Brothers, a show I greatly admire for managing to pastiche, parody, and homage without ever feeling unoriginal or tired. It’s also hilarious. You’ll also find deals on Sealab 2021 andÂ Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
- The first season of The Wire, which will tell you enough to let you know you should buy the rest of this complex, smart, and surprisingly involving look at drugs and their impact on Baltimore. It and Deadwood are two series I’ve never finished because I didn’t want them to end. Yes, I can be a silly, sentimental sort.
- The complete run of Extras, the Ricky Gervais series that makes me cringe and laugh more than The Office, which is also on sale.
There’s other series that I thought were all right that you might more than me, like MI-5 (which took a severe nosedive with the end of its second season) and Black Books (which I’d love a lot more without the annoying Britcom Laughtrack). On top of everything else, the online retailer is discouting a lot of other DVD titles, so make sure you click around a bit.
(And yes, all of those are affiliate links that pay me a percentage in Amazon Credit. This allows me to buy books like Watching The Watchmen and The Dummies’ Guide To Burying The Homeless You Murder At Night.)
Edited To Add: Jason in the comments also informs me that there’s a pretty big sale on Criterion DVDs, too.Â So you’ve got that going for you.
From the Vintage Ads community on LiveJournal.
And now, back to the usual shenanigans.
Welcome to the most popular and longest running insurance column on the internet. In its various forms, Lying In The Actuaria Gutters has covered rumors and gossip in the insurance industry for twelve long glorious and quite scary years.
All stories are sourced from well-connected individuals. But I urge you to use your judgment and remember, context is everything.
The traffic lights are an indication (and only that) of how reliable I believe the story to be, based on source, context and gut feel. Red lets you know I think this rumor is bunk, but it is still being spread by the community. Amber indicates I think there is a heavy bias involved here, or it just seems a little fishy. And Green as far as I can tell (as far as I can ever tell) is the real deal, junior.
Nevertheless, do remember, Lying In The Actuarial Gutters is for your entertainment. Neither Fair Nor Balanced. Please don’t shoot the messenger.
NO ONE’S IN THE DC WHEELHOUSE
Cathy Donaghue, a customer care representative from Delta Consolidated’s Poughkeepsie branch was recently found using the office copier for her child’s school project, a clear violation of the employee handbook’s Workplace Equipment section. She was let off with a slap of the wrist by Marketing VP Dan Fahey, who you may remember recently admitted that he used the company-provided Lexus to go leaf-peeping in New Hampshire last month. What’s going on in Poughkeepsie? Is no one minding the store? With Delta Consolidated reducing site staff and outsourcing email customer care to India, now is not the time to make waves.
STEP ASIDE, DANIEL CRAIG
One of the bits of news I got from the Northeastern Insurance And Actuarial Management Seminar Series was that fans would soon see more adventures of Esurance.com’s popular Erin Esurance. Not content with having her regularly appear in ad spots during prime time television, Esurance has decided to create another short film in the style of their popular Carbon Copy project from a couple of years ago. No details yet on what sort of adventures Erin might find herself in this time. Could she be re-teamed with Space Ghost in another cult classic adventure?
WHO NEEDS PROPOSITION 8 TO MAKE THE GAYS DISAPPEAR?
Look for redesigned term life investment marketing materials coming from Anderson & Campbell in the near future. Why are they scrapping the previous, $25,000 print campaign that included folder, custom letterhead, brochures, and an envelope? Apparently, Anderson & Campbell CEO Marcus Waton didn’t like the image of a female couple that was included in the banner that appeared prominently in each component of the campaign. Speculation from those inside the A&C camp indicates this stems from Walton’s estranged daughter, who has been in a happy, committed relationship with another woman since 1997.
WHO IS THE DC INSIDER?
Since the blog that was originally up at http://www.dc-insider.blogspot.com has moved twice and has not reappeared again, suspicion rests on the recently-terminated senior claims analyst Raymond Costa. Costa was the only person to have been in the room during certain key meetings that were reported on the blog, including one in which Senior VP Maureen Rosenberg stated that they were going to “put Allstate’s nuts in a vise until they get some butter.” Other incidents of sexual harassment, misbehavior in the office, and abuse of company resources – see the story LITAG broke concerning the copier in the Poughkeepsie office – that were reported have been established to have occurred while Costa was on-site. Costa did not respond when emailed about the blog and the allegations made by the actuarial community.
Discuss this column at the Lying In The Actuarial Gutters Forum and add your request to what you want from future columns.
I’m still eBaying bits and pieces here and there, so look for seller ActuaryFan1. My social networking is pretty much all Facebook and Twitter these days, but I’m around at Bebo, MySpace, InsuranceSpace too.
Have a rumor about the insurance biz? Send it to LyingInTheActuarialGutters@gmail.com. You can also call or text it to 555-776-2323.
This one’s not funny1, but you should definitely read it and pass it on.
1“How is that any different than the usual?” There, I beat you to it, dickhead.