The Oatmeal

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The Oatmeal
The Oatmeal logo.png
Web address theoatmeal.com
Type of site Comics, Blog
Available language(s) English
Created by Matthew Inman
Launched July 6, 2009 (2009-07-06)
Alexa rank negative increase 5,143 (April 2014)[1]
hover text
Matthew Inman

The Oatmeal is a comics and articles website created in 2009 by Matthew Inman (born c. 1981-1982),[2] who often goes by the nickname "the Oatmeal". The website features comics drawn by Inman, quizzes, and occasional articles. Inman lives in the Fremont area of Seattle, Washington, United States and his second published collection is How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You.[3]

As of 2010, The Oatmeal got more than four million unique visitors a month. In 2012, its annual revenue was around $500,000, 75% from merchandising and the rest from advertising.[4]

History[edit]

Inman started computer programming at the age of 13, and got a job as a programmer in Seattle at the age of 17.[5] He created The Oatmeal on July 6, 2009.[6]

After high school, he worked at SEOmoz[7] but was unhappy there, so he built Mingle2, a dating website, to support himself so that he no longer had to work for someone else. He advertised the website by building quizzes and comics to build interest in the website. His work is influenced by Gary Larson, who wrote the comic strip The Far Side.

He typically spends 12 hours a day or more on the computer, a habit which he developed as a teenager. Regarding the name of the website, Inman notes that he does not enjoy eating oatmeal and instead eats a lot of "dry" cereal. He recalls that he used to play the Quake video game quite often when he was younger and used the alias Quaker Oatmeal, which is how the website's name originated.[8]

Website[edit]

The information found in The Oatmeal's comics is researched by Inman. One comic typically takes Inman seven to eight working hours spread across three days.[5] The comics cover an eclectic range of topics, including zombies, cats, horse care, and English grammar,[9] with titles such as "What it's like to own an Apple product", "What your email address says about your computer skills", "How the male angler fish gets completely screwed", "8 websites you need to stop building", "How to name a volcano", "15-ish things worth knowing about coffee" and "How a web design goes straight to hell."[10]

When thinking of a subject to write about for the website, he picks something that he is interested in and writes around it. He usually works at home, but as he finds it difficult to do in long periods because of the lack of social contact, he often goes to a coffee shop to work. Inman finds that it is much easier to gain exposure for his work with the web than it would have been 20 years ago. He enjoys making people laugh with his work, and although he notes that he cannot actually see the reaction of others to his work, he still appreciates seeing the high number of page views that his website receives.[8]

As of 2010, the website got an average of 4.6 million unique visitors[6] and more than 20 million page views a month.[6] Inman and his website were featured on an episode of Last Call with Carson Daly.[5]

Merchandise[edit]

The Oatmeal's first book, 5 Very Good Reasons To Punch A Dolphin In The Mouth (And Other Useful Guides), was published by Andrews McMeel Publishing. The book was made available in the United States on March 1, 2011, in the UK on March 17, 2011, and worldwide in early May 2011.[11] It features many of Inman's handwritten comics like "Party Gorilla", plus 27 never before seen comics like "8 Very Good Reasons To Keep A Canadian As A Pet". The book also features a large pull-out poster that is 6 by 4 ft (1.8 by 1.2 m).

His second book, How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You, launched on 9 October 2012 in paperback on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and IndieBound. My Dog: The Paradox: A Lovable Discourse about Man's Best Friend was published in hardcover on 7 May 2013. Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants was published on 1 October 2013, also through Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and IndieBound.

In November 2013, Inman began a four-month sabbatical to write his fifth book, The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons I Run Long Distances, only creating four blog posts during this time. In March 2014, he announced the book's September 30 release date and has organized a "Beat the Blerch" 10-kilometer, half, and full marathon to be held in Carnation, Washington, on September 21, 2014.

Additionally, the author is funded by sale of informational wall posters, greeting cards, calendars, clothing, coffee cups, signed prints, stickers, magnets and badges.

Tesla Museum fundraiser[edit]

In August 2012, The Oatmeal launched a fundraising campaign on the Indiegogo crowd funding website to raise $1.7 million for the nonprofit organization Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe in order to purchase the Wardenclyffe Tower property (in Shoreham, Long Island, New York, about 60 miles from Manhattan, New York City) due to concerns about an apparent offer to purchase the site and develop it for commercial use. The goal was to raise at least $850,000 to buy the property and restore the facility with the hope of eventually building a museum on the grounds in honor of the man who built Wardenclyffe, the Serbian-American electrical engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla. The state of New York agreed to match donations up to half that amount if the fundraiser was able to raise $850,000.[12][13][14] On August 21, a donation from Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla Motors, raised the total to $792,000,[15] and later on the same day, the goal of $850,000 was reached — in just over six days.

A day later, the fundraising group exceeded its target after a $33,333 donation from the producers of the Tesla film Fragments From Olympus-The Vision of Nikola Tesla put the total amount raised at $873,169.[16] Donors continued to contribute after the goal was reached, donating over $1 million over nine days.[17] Including New York's matching grant, the crowd funding campaign raised approximately $1.7 million in six days, with the campaign originally slated to run 45 days.[18] Ultimately, the campaign (plus the New York grant) totaled over $2.1 million.[19]

The additional funds will be used to fund the cleaning and restoration of the property, with the goal to build a museum on the grounds.[20][21] Volunteers have begun work on the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, and recently unveiled a monument to Tesla.[22]

Legal disputes[edit]

FunnyJunk legal dispute[edit]

The Oatmeal has alleged that users on FunnyJunk, a content aggregator website, repeatedly infringed The Oatmeal's original content.[23] FunnyJunk alleged these accusations are defamation and demanded US$20,000 in damages.[24] Inman responded by setting up a $20,000 Indiegogo fundraiser for charity called "Operation BearLove Good, Cancer Bad". Inman named National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society as beneficiaries [25] and had raised $220,024 at completion.[26] He stated he intended to take a photo of himself with the cash, then send the photograph along with a satirical illustration of FunnyJunk's[27][28] mother "seducing a Kodiak bear" to FunnyJunk.

FunnyJunk's lawyer, Charles Carreon, attempted to shut the campaign down, alleging it violates Indiegogo's terms and conditions.[29] Carreon also filed a pro se lawsuit Carreon v. Inman et al in United States District Court for the Northern District of California against Inman, Indiegogo, the American Cancer Society, and the National Wildlife Federation in response.[30][31][32] On July 3, 2012, Carreon filed a notice of voluntary dismissal in his lawsuit against all parties without prejudice.[33][34][35][36]

Oatmeal Studios trademark suit[edit]

On November 21, 2012, greeting card maker Oatmeal Studios sued Inman and Recycled Greetings for trademark infringement.[37][38]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Theoatmeal.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01. 
  2. ^ Borders, Brett (9 November 2008). "Interview with Matthew Inman (Oatmeal)". Copy Brighter Marketing. 
  3. ^ June 2013 Wired page 56
  4. ^ Danny Bradbury. "The Oatmeal beat Funnyjunk, but other cartoonists aren't so lucky | Technology | guardian.co.uk". Guardian. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  5. ^ a b c "The Oatmeal, he's a cereal killer". Brand X. The Los Angeles Times. 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2010-06-22. [dead link]
  6. ^ a b c Inman, Matthew (2010-02-26). "The State of the Oatmeal". The Oatmeal. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  7. ^ Oatmeal (18 September 2007). "My Departure from SEOmoz". Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Episode for March 31, 2010". Last Call with Carson Daly. Aired March 31, 2010.
  9. ^ Carter, Matt (2010-01-19). "Guide to online entertainment". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-06-22. 
  10. ^ "Homepage". The Oatmeal. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  11. ^ Inman, Matthew. "The Oatmeal Book - 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides)". The Oatmeal. Retrieved 12 March 2011. 
  12. ^ Inman, Matthew. "Help me raise money to buy Nikola Tesla's old laboratory". Retrieved 21 August 2012. 
  13. ^ Voakes, Greg (August 15, 2012). "The Oatmeal's Latest Fundraiser To Save The Tesla Tower". Forbes. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  14. ^ Solon, Olivia (16 August 2012). "Indiegogo project seeks crowdfunding for Tesla museum (Wired UK)". Wired UK. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  15. ^ Backers raise cash for Tesla museum honoring 'cult hero', CNN.com, 21 August 2012.
  16. ^ Byford, Sam (21 August 2012). "'Oatmeal' Tesla museum campaign reaches funding goal after $33,333 pledge". The Verge. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  17. ^ The Oatmeal. "We just passed one million dollars. Now what?". The Oatmeal. "We just passed one million dollars. Now what?" 
  18. ^ "Tesla museum campaign exceeds fund-raising target". BBC News. 22 August 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  19. ^ "Let's Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum". IndieGoGo.com. Retrieved 9 May 2013. "$1,370,461" 
  20. ^ "Let's Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum". Indiegogo. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  21. ^ "Web Cartoonist Raises $1 Million For Tesla Museum". National Public Radio. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  22. ^ "Monument unveiling at Wardenclyffe 9/23/2013". Telsa Science Center at Wardenclyffe. Retrieved 27 December 2013. 
  23. ^ Hutchinson, Lee (2011-06-02). "The Oatmeal vs. FunnyJunk: webcomic copyright fight gets personal". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  24. ^ Hutchinson, Lee (2012-06-12). "Lawyer demands $20,000, so webcomic raises $100,000 from the Internet". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  25. ^ "FunnyJunk is threatening to file a federal lawsuit against me unless I pay $20,000 in damages". The Oatmeal. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  26. ^ Matthew Inman (2012-06-11). "BearLove Good. Cancer Bad.". Indiegogo. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  27. ^ "Twitter / Oatmeal: Also, just to be clear I d". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  28. ^ "Website war earns big bucks for charity | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News". KOMO News. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  29. ^ Golijan, Rosa (June 2012). "Cartoonist turns lawsuit threat into $100K charity fundraiser". Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  30. ^ Can I Sue You People? Troll Lawyer Sues The Charities The Oatmeal Supports Accessed:June 18, 2012
  31. ^ Thier, Dave (2012-04-18). "Lawyer Charles Carreon Suing The Oatmeal, American Cancer Society and National Wildlife Federation". Forbes. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  32. ^ Carreon, Charles. "Charles Carreon v. Indiegogo, NWF, ACS". Archived from the original on 2012-08-13. 
  33. ^ Electronic Frontier Foundation (July 3, 2012). Charles Carreon Drops Bogus Lawsuit Against The Oatmeal Creator.
  34. ^ Lee, Timothy B. (2009-10-04). "Carreon claims victory, drops his lawsuit against The Oatmeal et al.". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  35. ^ Ha, Anthony (2011-01-04). "FunnyJunk Attorney Charles Carreon Drops Lawsuit Against Oatmeal Creator". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  36. ^ Clay, Kelly (2012-04-18). "Funny Junk Drops Frivolous Lawsuit Against The Oatmeal". Forbes. Retrieved 2012-07-06. 
  37. ^ Mullin, Joe (2012-05-17). "The Oatmeal sued over trademark by “Oatmeal Studios”". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  38. ^ Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 (2012-11-21). "Oatmeal Studios Responds To The Oatmeal Lawsuit: “We Are Simply Trying To Protect Our Name”". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 

External links[edit]