The Seattle Times' Pre-PAX Profile of Penny Arcade

Penny Arcade's 5th annual PAX, beginning Friday, is the newspeg for a 1,500 word feature in this morning's Seattle Times. The paper chronicles the 10-year history of the webcomic, from creators Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins meeting in a high school journalism class, up to its present-day gargantuan commercial impact. It's a success story that seems equal parts happenstance and just making the correct decision when the opportunity arose.

Some highlights:

• They admit click fraud sustained their early strips. "We would do most of the clicking", said Holkins. "You heard of click fraud. We invented that. We would click and click on them until it was $US 100".

• Robert Khoo, the biz brains at Penny Arcade, Inc., seriously believed in this strip. In 2000, he quit his job, worked for free and vowed to make the whole thing work inside of two months. He did. Khoo is the ideas and business guy and PAX is his show.

• They haven't screwed up their success by overcontemplating it. "If I looked at a strip and was like, 'Why does this strip have so many more views?' I could go crazy", said Holkins. "When you try to interpret that information, you can come to a lot of wrong conclusions".

Love it or hate it (Khoo understands they have a polarised cult/anti-cult status) it's an interesting tale of something small going well farther than anyone could ever have imagined.

We'll get a chance to talk it up with Krahulik and Holkins next week on the eve of the show in a one-on-one interview. Crecente also plans to hang around for the show itself.

"Penny Arcade" Creators Ride Their Webcomic to a Whole New Level [Seattle Times, and pic]


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