Read Barbarian Girl: The Burning Blade of the Badlands Part 1 by Gene Ambaum and Willow Payne
Unshelved comic strip for 4/4/2008

Perception is Reality

I've just finished reading quite a lot of emails on the Integrity/Product Placement issue. Thanks to everyone who took the time to write what were often long, thoughtful emails. And, er, you can stop now :-)

The vast majority of you didn't perceive this week's strips to be "product placement", nor to be a conflict of interest, period. You enjoyed this week's strips, and found them relevant and realistic. My favorite emails were the ones that said if we were trying to use our strips to promote this week's sponsor we were doing a damned poor job at it.

However a small minority was uncomfortable. That's mostly the word people used - they weren't angry or upset, they weren't accusing us of malfeasance. They were just... uncomfortable. Even though they accepted our explanation, they were still bothered in ways they found difficult to explain.

In our business, which relies entirely on our relationship with our readers, we can't afford to have people wonder why we're writing about something. You need to be able to trust us. So the lesson I've learned is simply to be more conservative. If we find ourselves having to explain why something we did is okay, we should probably rethink things. Because most people won't sit around for the explanation.

Meanwhile I certainly hope that, if you do feel uncomfortable about this week's little experiment in topic-targeted sponsorship, you will confine those feelings to us and not our sponsor. Because they're good people.

This Unshelved strip

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