Matthew Inman will be speaking about “The Blogosphere” at SearchFest 2010, which will take place on March 9th at the Governor Hotel in Portland, Oregon. Tickets are available now. To purchase, please click the following link.
1) Please give me your background and tell us what you do for a living.
I used to work for SEOmoz, and eventually quit to found an online dating website. I built it in 66.5 hours using a rapid development framework called CakePHP, marketed it using a quizbait driven linkbait campaign, and sold it to a bigger company 6 months later. It’s now one of the biggest free dating sites on earth. I worked there for about a year creating viral content, quizzes, and comics which drove milllions of pageviews, so I eventually came to the conclusion that I wanted to create a website where the viral content itself was the product. I found it awkward to constantly be creating linkbait campaigns for clients in order to drive SEO, so The Oatmeal was born. TheOatmeal.com is my flagship site; it’s 7 months old and currently receives 4.5 million uniques a month and close to 20 million page views. I code, draw, write, and market everything on the website.
2) Clearly, your income doesn’t just consist of comic book sales. Can you talk about the different ways you monetize “the Oatmeal”?
Comic book sales account for most of my income, but I also run adsense and I had a donations system set up for awhile to cover my expensive bandwidth costs until I figured out the merchandising end. I now sell posters as well as comic books.
In the fall a full-sized book is coming out which is published under Andrews McMeel, so you’ll be seeing The Oatmeal in Barnes n’ Noble, Borders, Amazon, and everywhere else. The royalties I collect from this will hopefully allow me to phase out using adsense.
3) Being as visible as you are, can you talk about how you manage your social media communications and how you distinguish those that bring value from those that don’t?
Honestly, I just create great content and social media success naturally follows. I don’t really believe in the idea of "doing social media," other than posting links on my facebook fan page, chatting on twitter, or submitting things to digg – which isn’t a particularly daunting task. I’m actually quite abusive to my followers on Twitter; if they criticize me I usually will insult their mother or threaten to roundhouse them in the junk.