I have been an avid reader of the comics “page” for as long as I can remember. Page is in quotes since I rarely, if ever, read the newspaper anymore, instead I use a wonderful piece of software called Comictastic. Comictastic, available only for the Mac operating system, is, according to Andy Ihnatko,
Unfortunately, some of the comic syndicates are determined to force you to view the product under their control, their way and only their way.
The worst example, from my point of view, are those comics syndicated by “Go Comics.” (I’m deliberately not linking to their site, as I don’t wish to support their practices.) Any comic available through Go Comics shows up as unavailable through Comictastic. Other syndicates substitute an ad for the strip when it is scrapped from the page by my viewer.
I understand that the syndicate has purchased the rights to publish the comic, and that they want to exercise their exclusive control of the product. However, I am not going to buy a daily newspaper just for the comics. I am also not going to visit site after site, each of which is burdened with ads, to view the comics. As much as it pains me to no longer read “The Buckets” or “Pearls Before Swine,” that is what is going to happen as a result of the ham-handed read-it-on-our-site-or-else approach of Go Comics and others.
Newspapers are increasingly facing rising operational costs and decreasing subscriber numbers. Our way or the highway tactics like the comics syndicates are employing will reap the same loss of viewer numbers.