August 03, 2005
Since 1997 or so I've been reading the daily comics via the Internet. Most of the major daily strips are syndicated, and those syndicates all have online archives of the material. In some cases the archives is two weeks old, in others it is current with what is in the newspapers. Reading the comics this way pleases me as I get to see just the ones I like, when I want, and without having to get newsprint ink all over my hands.
Since switching to Apple over two-and-a-half years ago, I've been using a great aggregator called Comictastic, that manages a list of all the comics I like and downloads fresh content for me everyday. It's like a Tivo for the funny papers. If you have a Mac, and like the funnies, get Comictastic.
About two weeks ago, however, I stopped getting updated comics from the King Features syndicate. It seems that they now want to charge for their content. I realize that the "Internet advertising as income" revenue model has never really worked for most companies. Charging for content that was formerly free is the latest effort to add an income stream by some outfits on the web.
If the content in question was critical to me, and they were the sole source providing it, I could see paying for having it. As long as my paid entry to their site removed all ads, flashing and blinking or otherwise. But if their content is not critical to my life I am less inclined to pay. And if their content is not unique, i.e., it is available from multiple sources, I refuse to pay.
Sorry, King Features, the comics you've now secured behind a paid subscription are available for FREE at the local library. So I see no harm in my reading them for free by pointing Comictastic to any one of several newspapers that make their comics available online every day, for free as well.