September 10, 2018
We are thrilled to announce that NHN Global has acquired Smack Jeeves. We have much respect for the unique community Smack Jeeeves has grown into and remain committed to serving the greater webcomic artist/reader community. NHN will utilize our financial resources, experience in mobile development, and scalable infrastructure to create a more enriching experience for artists and readers across different channels.
Dan will still be your first line of contact. Please let him know if you have questions, comments, concerns, and ideas.
Looking forward to working with you all.
Check out Dan's News Post on the Forum:
I've got big news.
For the last 13 years, I have been the sole developer of Smack Jeeves Webcomic Hosting. I started working on Smack Jeeves when I was 17 years old and a junior in high school. I wanted to start a web business that had some intrinsic value beyond mindless entertainment (my previous endeavor was an online game called Samurai War). At the time, being a gamer, I was a huge fan of the webcomic Penny Arcade (I still am!). Also at this time, a lot of people I knew and people I didn't know were talking about wanting to make webcomics. Webcomics seemed to be the thing, so I threw caution to the wind and jumped in. After spending a few days brainstorming edgy names, I settled on Smack Jeeves, and the site was born.
Smack Jeeves is a very special place. It has a legacy and a future. There's a generation of people out there who reminisce about the "good ol days" of Smack Jeeves. We've gone through several eras. In the early days, when the internet was still basically the wild wild west, Smack Jeeves had the feel of a little mom and pop shop just getting started. After a while, a community formed, and that community was fun and silly and also downright trolly and argumentative at times. Things were pretty wild, and controversial, and some people preferred it that way. Well, that all kind of boiled over and a bunch of the mods quit like they were leaving a bad relationship. We had our first significant redesign in 2009, and along with that, we launched a new forum, with a calmer intent in mind. From there, we entered a bit of a golden era, with lots of really great comics on the site, and the most traffic we've had in our history. That didn't last forever, however, and with the entry of corporate-backed platforms who offered to pay artists to be on their platforms, we started to lose some of our "market share" of the comic community. We couldn't compete with those models because we didn't have any money. But we remained committed to providing the best services we could with the resources we had. And it's worked. Smack Jeeves is still an awesome place with awesome members. It continues to evolve, and we're really lucky to still have a lot of old timers with us. For me personally, Smack Jeeves has been in my life for over half of it. It's extremely important to me. And most of all, Smack Jeeves has always been about the people who use it, and that's what makes it special.
In July, Smack Jeeves was acquired by NHN Global, the USA branch of NHN Entertainment, a Korean mobile entertainment company. NHN also operates a webtoon platform called Comico in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia. With this acquisition, NHN will be investing Smack Jeeves as a platform and I will continue to remain on board, building Smack Jeeves going forward. Smack Jeeves will continue to be about the same things we've always been about: free and premium easy-to-use webcomic hosting with full customizability, open to everyone (subject to our content policies), fully respecting creators ownership rights, and more recently, helping to empower creator monetization. NHN is absolutely on board with our mission and continuing to keep Smack Jeeves the special place that it is, and keeping the things that make it unique. The goal moving forward is to emphasize our strengths.
I'm going to talk about some of the benefits of our partnership with NHN, but first I want to talk about some of the reasons behind the decision. In the last few years, we've managed to continue to thrive in the face of the big new platforms. I made the decision two years ago to start working on Smack Jeeves again full-time. I've done this at the cost of my own personal aspirations and health. Despite being a web developer, web development isn't really the greatest career choice for me, due to my own long term health issues. I would be much better off in a more physically active career, and that's something I've been working towards since 2013. In the long term, I do hope to transition out of web development, or at least out of being on a computer all day every day, which is what I've been doing for the majority of my life. So that's a personal reason behind my decision. That said, ultimately my interest lies in the future of Smack Jeeves. It was clear to me from the beginning that NHN would be a great partner moving forward. With NHN's investment we can make Smack Jeeves the best version of itself it can be.
From now on, the development and maintenance of the site is no longer going to be a one-man operation (yay!). We're going to finally be able to hire developers and designers, which means we'll be able to work on new features, and larger projects, at a much faster pace than we (I) have been able to in the past. We've been working on a roadmap for the site, and I'm really excited about where we're heading. A lot of long-standing features are on the roadmap, as well as new ones. Also, we're considering some larger projects which I wouldn't have been able to accomplish on my own.
One of our mutual goals is to grow the site. I have a lot of creative ideas for how to accomplish that, and I'm hoping we'll be able to execute them. And it's not just about getting more comics on the platform - it's about bringing more genuine readers to Smack Jeeves.
Stay tuned for updates. We are starting to look for developers, and I'm hoping we'll be commissioning some design work pretty soon as well. If you're a web developer yourself and you have an interest in joining Smack Jeeves and wearing a monocle to work every day, I'll be posting some of the job openings soon, so keep an eye out. This is significant news, so as always, feel free to ask questions or express your concerns. And if you read the whole thing, congratulations and thanks for staying with me.
Dan Liebner, a.k.a. Admin