Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tech Tuesday: Whamix!

Among the many digital comic book readers out there I have tried, easily the worst is the Whamix! application.

I have a few problems with it. Navigation is not terribly easy, though slightly better than the IDW application mentioned yesterday. Their categorical listing is all over the place, and frankly, I have heard of none of their titles (this is my smallest complaint, as comic books are not my specialty). My biggest issue with the application is the inclusion of advertisements.

Now, I know that advertising and print media (digital print included) go together like chocolate and peanut butter, and that if I purchase any Marvel or DC title off the shelf I am going to see ads for a plethora of consumer goods. Same with most any magazine. I get that. Independent comic books are less likely to have advertisements, but there is always the possibility, be they for products or the company's own merchandise or titles. The issue I have here is that the Whamix! application has pop-up ads that appear when displaying a book. It is possible that when you purchase a title the pop-up does not appear, but frankly I did not care to take that chance.

If you want to include advertising, it needs to go in the media. I know we live in a click-through-count world where advertisers want to see how effective their advertisement is, but more effort should be taken in a media sales platform. The advertisement here is just the basic "make advertising money with your app" add-on that other free applications have. If I develop a lightweight application that might not really make many sales, then offering it free and including advertising of this sort makes perfect sense; particularly if it is something people could use, but are unlikely to take the chance that it is a) worth the purchase price or b) something they might actually need. If, however, my application's goal is to get you to pay me $1.99 for a comic book, then a pop-up ad that distracts your enjoyment is both crass and frustrating. If you really desire ad revenue of the click-through variety, then you need to include those advertisements in the media purchased, and develop your application in such a way that readers can click through in the desired manner. When a screen is only 7.76" x 5.82" and suddenly even a twentieth of that changes, you notice it. I can't imagine what it is like on the iPhone.

Bottom line; this is sloppy development. I would have to really want to read one of their titles to put up with this form of advertising, and unfortunately for Whamix!, they have nothing that seems thrilling enough.

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