Review Fix: How was Tapastic born?
Chang Kim: Tapastic was born from my personal experience as a webcomic reader. I enjoy the content, but had to go through so much work to be an avid reader, constantly re-bookmarking my place and having to remember to return on certain days among many other difficulties. As I continued to look into the state of webcomics in the U.S., I realized that there were a great deal of inefficiencies for both the readers and the publishers.
Being aware of the systems for Korean webcomics I knew that there were better ways to serve independent digital comics to benefit everyone. Thatâ€™s where the idea for Tapastic, a Youtube style service built for comics, was conceived.
Review Fix: How is the original idea different from what it has become?
Kim:Â The original idea had to be a lot closer to what U.S. webcomics were used to in terms of the format and navigation of the site, but now that weâ€™ve had a million monthly unique visitors weâ€™re ready to start playing with innovation more.
For instance, we just released our â€œPagelessâ€ update with allows readers to continuously scroll through content. Both they, the readers, and creators have the option of organizing from Newest to oldest like say, Tumblr, or Serial (oldest to newest) for longer narrative works and organization. Itâ€™s so simple and yet oddly not readily available in most places. Independent sites have a â€œstart here,â€ â€œfirstâ€ or â€œnew readerâ€ button, but always display the most recent episode first (and without spoiler alerts). We already know that the new pageless layout helps readers consume more content which helps readers gain more page views and either earn eligibility toward or benefits within our programs.
We also discovered that webcomics are a space where many are trying to make money, but just donâ€™t know how or are limited to serving ads at low end CPM or trying to make their money through merchandise. The later can work well but ends up treating the comics themselves as a highly authentic, but still just a marketing tool for that merchandise.
Like others we started by setting up a program for creators starting to bloom and onward to take advantage of the high advertising rates we can bargain for due to the collected reader traffic of the Tapastic platform at large, but hope to offer new solutions in the future.
Review Fix: What makes this company special?
Kim: Our Silicon Valley connections, tech startup tenacity, and the passions of our team members for our platform and those on it are the beginning of what makes us unique. What makes Tapastic special is the creators who have become an integral part of the platform.
Tapstic users are the ones who have created an unstoppable community of independent comic publishers. From some of the most popular content creators like Devin Bosco Le to community leaders like Toiim and Tato and Korean breakthrough publishers like Kim Song. Their personality, constant contributions and involvement with Tapastic make us who we are. Without exceptional people like them we would not be the same company.
Review Fix: Why do you think it works so well on YouTube?
Kim: It works well as a Youtube style platform because YouTube has unlocked the key to creating a community and a zeitgeist around video content. Weâ€™re building that community and zeitgeist around comic content with Tapastic. In addition weâ€™re also striving to satisfying both the needs of readers and publishers beyond whatâ€™s currently available to them.
Review Fix: Why should comic book fans check out your service?
Kim: Comic fans are about to discover their next love. The creators on Tapastic have infinite flexibility to offer their own story to readers. What we have to offer is not limited to what publishing houses are certain will sell. Readers have the opportunity to discover individual comic stories that speak directly to them.
We also provide simple tools that make reading your new favorites astonishingly simple and modern. With a simple login all of their content is automatically bookmarked where they left off and you can collect series into your reading list much like Netflix.
Review Fix: What do you think you have to do in order to get it to the next level?
Kim: Among many tasks that weâ€™ve set out for ourselves one of the next big challenges is the evolution of comics content. Weâ€™re on a constant mission to educate and reward creators who think ahead and adapt their storytelling for the digital space. Right now a lot of creators are still using newspaper strip formats and physical book formats, which is good if thatâ€™s one of the creator goals, but they often do so at the expense of the format that people are reading online or digitally.
Weâ€™re also investigating ways for webcomics to be more monetarily viable for content creators while still growing their readership.
Review Fix: What are you guys working on now?
Kim: As we have an awesome community of creators and readers, we continue to listen to our usersâ€™ feedback, prioritize on the feature requests, and try to deliver the oft-requested features. For one, weâ€™re trying to enhance our mobile app experience – though we have Tapastic apps for both iOS and Android, those are relatively simple apps and weâ€™ll add more features to those apps.
Weâ€™re also taking a deep dive into helping more of our existing independent publishers just starting out or on the cusp take their next steps on Tapastic.