The year 2000 has so far been a pretty good one for me, but there have been two major disappointments as well. The first disappointment was of course the collapse of the comics division of Big Panda House. For those of you who don't know, Big Panda started hosting my website shortly after I got a book contract with Plan Nine Publishing, and soon after that, became the host for many other online comic strips, most of which are now here at Keenspot. Big Panda's collapse is a very sad story, which I really don't otherwise want to get into at the moment. The silver lining to that particular cloud, however, was the formation of Keenspot, which has been everything Big Panda could have been, and a whole lot more. My main regret about joining Keenspot is that I didn't join sooner.
As for my other disappointment, well, I seem to have lost a good friend this year, and I don't know why. This friend of mine is one whom I've mentioned in this column before. He is the one who sent me a new computer overa year ago, a great new Pentium II, 366 MHz, to replace my clunky old P120. He sent me this computer (and a few other neat peripherals) because he is (was?) a Bruno fan, and wants to see me succeed with my strip. At the time, he asked me to keep his identity a secret, as he didn't want people bothering him for computers, or money, or anything else, and I agreed. And I still agree to it, as I am still very grateful for his gift, and will never betray his trust no matter what.
But these days, I almost feel guilty every time I turn this computer on. Almost. I did not ask him for this machine, and I guess had I known what this year was going to bring, I would have turned down his gift in the first place. Hey, this rig has been a godsend when it comes to working on my strip, and being able to play Half-Life and Re-Volt on it is fun, but I could have scraped by with my old P120.
I had been keeping in regular contact with this friend of mine up until this year. Since then, it's almost as if he has dropped off the face of the earth (though I do know he's still online). I have written to him a few times, and have gotten no response whatsoever. The last time I e-mailed him, I asked if I did anything to offend him, but still, no response. So I have no clue what the problem is. If I did anything wrong, I'd like to know what, so I can explain myself, and offer an apology, if necessary. Or maybe there is/was some sort of misunderstanding somewhere along the line. I figure my best bet was to go public with this, in the hopes that maybe he'll happen to read this column, and get in touch with me. Believe me, there's nothing I'd like more than to be able to start off next month's Banter by saying that things between my friend and I have been straightened out.
Anyway, on to a topic that will seem even less pleasant for some of you: the necessary evil known as Banner Ads. I know that many of you loathe them, and generally don't go near them, when reading Bruno, or any of the other Keenspot comics. But folks, they help pay the bills around here. Bruno the Bandit is, and will always remain free to you the readers, and these ads help keep the site free. Which is why I'm asking you: please, if you see a banner ad on the Bruno site that even remotely interests you, click on it, and see what it's about. Doing so helps to put a few pennies in my pocket, but at no cost to you. Novice computer users may not realize that you don't even have to leave the site to open a banner ad's page. With most web browsers, you can just right-click on the ad, and choose the "Open in New Window" option.
At Keenspot, the Click-Thru Ratio for banner ads has been pretty low. Can't say I'm too surprised, as our comics are much more interesting than most banner ads. ;-) Still, clicking on these ads from time to time (even the in-house Keenspot ads we run) is a big help to us. A higher Click-Thru Ratio means more money for us, which means better service and (hopefully) better comics for you. 'Tis a win-win situation, and everybody goes home happy. So, if you love our Keenspot 'toons as much as we do, don't hesitate to click on the occasional banner ad. Knowing that you've helped us will give you that warm, glowing feeling inside that money just can't buy. Try it, you'll see!
Finally, in an item related to last month's Banter, the luggage that I lost on my trip to Atlanta in late June was returned to me a few weeks ago, thank God!! Well, most of it was. Apparently, somebody had been through my luggage during its travels, and they helped themselves to a six-pack of tube socks I had packed. Thankfully, nothing else was taken. But as my father observed, it doesn't say much about the value of the rest of my clothes when all a thief will take is my tube socks. Still, it's a small price to pay, methinks, for the return of my stuff.
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