One year after Platinum acquired early digital comics publisher Wowio.com, they have decided to push it to the side of their operations, what President and Chief Operating Officer Brian Altouinan calls “leaving WOWIO outside of the new “peripheral vision” of the company.”
Which, as far as I understand it means that Platinum will stride forward and possibly finding itself unexpectedly tripping over Wowio’s still-owing Second Quarter 2008 Payments.
It is this outstanding bill to many publishers, are number of which are still in business, that has caused much criticism and embarrassment. The digital publisher had been very successful at signing up content, paying publishers up to dollar for each piece of content read, but without the dollar coming from the reader, and little sign of sponsorship, they burnt through their finance fairly rapidly.
When Platinum purchased the company, they changed the rules, only paying publishers when there was a sponsor for the download, seeing readership numbers and content provided drop – and little sign of any repayment debt owed for the last period operating under the old payment model. At the time the reason was that they were waiting for funding – but any investment would have likely to have been interested in working on new content rather than paying off old bills.
Nevertheless Brian does commit to the company to paying those bills, in a letter to publishers saying “YES, we are going to honor the commitment of paying the Q2, 2008 royalty obligation. We will have a definitive date for that payment shortly and we will be communicating updates as we get closer to cutting those payment checks.”
Brian asks publishers to bear with Wowio, promising an exciting twelve months. While they’re out of sight of Platinum, presumably, retaining the original technology team, the content team “bolstered” and a new LA-based sales/markering team. And pushes the recently trialed “Gifting for a Cause” option, where you can donate to a charity and send a specially marked Wowio book to a recipient. Which you know, is quite clever as word of mouth goes. If it, you know, takes off. I look forward to seeing some very inappropriately-linked comics and charities. That’s just the Bleeding Cool way.
Oh, and yes. My 24 15 1/2 hour comic, Soul Less, is still on Wowio… somewhere…