The Oatmeal

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The Oatmeal
The Oatmeal logo.png
The Oatmeal logo
Type of site
Comics, blog
Available in English
Created by Matthew Inman
Website theoatmeal.com
Alexa rank Decrease 16,132 (February 2017)[1]
Commercial Yes
Registration No
Launched July 6, 2009; 8 years ago (2009-07-06)
Current status Active

The Oatmeal is a webcomic and humor website created in 2009 by cartoonist Matthew Inman (born September 24, 1982, and himself sometimes referred to as the Oatmeal). Inman, who lives in Seattle, Washington, updates his site with original comics, quizzes, and occasional articles. The Oatmeal has also made the transition to a series of books, featuring content from the webcomic as well as previously unpublished material.

In 2010, TheOatmeal.com got more than four million unique visitors per month. As of 2012, The Oatmeal's annual revenue was around US$500,000; three-quarters of that was from merchandising and the rest was from advertising.[2]

Inman's latest projects has been collaboration with Elan Lee in creating the card games Exploding Kittens, released July 2015, and Bears vs Babies released June 2017.[3]

Website[edit]

portrait of Matthew Inman, the creator of The Oatmeal comic
Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal.
Inman created the Tumbeasts as a joke, but they were actually used by Tumblr.

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.[4] The comics cover an eclectic range of topics, including zombies, cats, horse care, internet and English grammar,[5] with titles such as "What it's like to own an Apple product", "What your e-mail 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." [6] In "The State of the Web (Winter 2010)", Inman created the Tumbeasts as a reaction to Tumblr's regular downtimes, as a parody of the Twitter Fail Whale, and urged Tumblr to use them, which they did for a short time.[7]

When thinking of a subject to write about for the website, Inman simply picks something he is interested in. He usually works at home. But as he finds it difficult to do over 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 at 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]

By 2010, The Oatmeal got an average of 4.6 million unique visitors and more than 20 million page views per month.[9] Inman and his website were featured on an episode of Last Call with Carson Daly.[8]

In 2014, the website was awarded the Eisner Award for best webcomic.[10]

In 2016, Inman received the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award from the San Diego Comic-Con for his work helping others.[11]

Merchandise[edit]

The Oatmeal is funded by the sale of wall posters, greeting cards, calendars, clothing, coffee cups, signed prints, stickers, magnets, and badges, which yield a yearly profit of about $400,000.[12] However, he also sells other merchandise, including books.

Inman'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.[13] It features many of Inman's hand-drawn 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 × 4 ft (1.8 × 1.2&nbspm).

His second book, How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You, launched on October 9, 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 May 7, 2013. Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants was published on October 1, 2013, again through Amazon, B&N, 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 organized Beat the Blerch, a race in 10 kilometer, half, and full marathon formats, which was held in Carnation, Washington, on September 20 and 21, 2014.[14] All 2,000 spots originally offered for the first race day were sold out in 20 minutes, prompting Inman to open a second day for more runners to enroll. As of 2015, he is planning to expand Beat the Blerch to other cities and states.[15]

In January 2015, Inman, in collaboration with Elan Lee and Shane Small, launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for their project Exploding Kittens, a card-based, Russian-roulette-style game.[16] The campaign raised $1 million in its first seven hours, and $2 million in 24 hours, greatly surpassing its original goal of $10,000. After 48 hours, it became the number one most-funded card game on Kickstarter, and the twenty-second most funded campaign overall.[17]

Tesla Museum fundraiser[edit]

In August 2012, Inman launched a fundraising campaign, associated with The Oatmeal, on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo to raise $1.7 million for the nonprofit organization Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe in order to purchase the Wardenclyffe Tower property in Shoreham on Long Island, New York – about 60 miles from Manhattan – 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.[18][19][20] On August 21, a donation from Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla Motors, raised the total to $792,000.[21] 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.[22] Donors continued to contribute after the goal was reached, donating over $1 million over nine days.[23] 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.[24] Ultimately, the campaign (plus the New York grant) totaled over $2.1 million.[25] Inman features in Tower to the People, the 2015 documentary on Wardenclyffe by Joseph Sikorski, director of the previous Nikola Tesla documentary Fragments from Olympus.

The additional funds will be used to pay for the cleaning and restoration of the property, with the goal to build a museum on the grounds.[26][27] Volunteers have begun work on the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, and recently unveiled a monument to Tesla.[28]

On May 13, 2014, Inman authored a comic titled "What it's like to own a Tesla Model S - A cartoonist's review of his magical space car",[29] and a follow-up comic titled "Part Two: Man Vs. Motor"[30] in which he talked about Nikola Tesla, and Elon Musk, the founder and CEO of Tesla Motors. After publishing the comic, he tweeted Elon, saying, "@elonmusk I wrote a review of my Model S, and then asked you for a little favor here http://theoatmeal.com/comics/tesla_model_s ...",[31] inviting Elon to donate to the Tesla Museum. At 2 a.m. the following day, Elon responded by tweet: "I would be happy to help".

According to a later blog post by Inman, Musk called him up and pledged two things: a donation of 1 million dollars for the development and construction of the museum; and that a Tesla supercharger would be built just outside the museum, making the museum a part of his nationwide Tesla car recharging network.[32]

Legal disputes[edit]

FunnyJunk legal dispute[edit]

Inman alleged that users on FunnyJunk, a content aggregator website, repeatedly infringed The Oatmeal's original content.[33] FunnyJunk alleged these accusations are defamation and demanded $20,000 in damages.[34] Inman responded by setting up a $20,000 Indiegogo fundraiser for a charity called "Operation BearLove Good, Cancer Bad". Inman named National Wildlife Federation and the American Cancer Society as beneficiaries [35] and had raised $220,024 at completion.[36] 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[37][38] 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.[39] 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.[40][41][42] On July 3, 2012, Carreon filed a notice of voluntary dismissal in his lawsuit against all parties without prejudice.[43][44][45][46]

Oatmeal Studios trademark suit[edit]

On November 21, 2012, greeting card maker Oatmeal Studios sued Inman and Recycled Greetings for trademark infringement.[47][48]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "theoatmeal.com Site Overview". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2017-02-19. 
  2. ^ Bradbury, Danny (June 21, 2012). "The Oatmeal beat Funnyjunk, but other cartoonists aren't so lucky". The Guardian. London. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ "A very important shipping update from Bears vs Babies". bearsvsbabies.com. Retrieved 2017-06-30. 
  4. ^ Milian, Mark (April 7, 2010). "The Oatmeal, he's a cereal killer". Brand X. The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 11, 2010. Retrieved June 22, 2010.  This source is an archive of a now-defunct side blog of The Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ Carter, Matt (January 19, 2010). "Guide to online entertainment". The Toronto Star. Retrieved June 22, 2010. 
  6. ^ Inman, Matthew. "Homepage". The Oatmeal. Archived from the original on June 26, 2010. 
  7. ^ "State of the Web (Winter 2010)"
  8. ^ a b "Episode for March 31, 2010". Last Call with Carson Daly. Aired March 31, 2010.
  9. ^ Inman, Matthew (February 26, 2010). "The State of the Oatmeal". The Oatmeal. Retrieved June 22, 2010. 
  10. ^ {{cite web |url= http://www.comic-con.org/awards/eisner-award-recipients-2010-present |title=Eisner Award Recipients 2010–Present |location=San Diego |publisher=Comic-Con International |website=Comic-Con.org |access-date=July 13, 2015.
  11. ^ https://secure.comic-con.org/awards/bob-clampett-humanitarian-award
  12. ^ http://www.fastcocreate.com/1679437/how-two-of-the-internets-top-comics-names-turn-creativity-to-cash
  13. ^ Inman, Matthew. "The Oatmeal Book - 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides)". The Oatmeal. Retrieved March 12, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Beat the Blerch 10k/half/full marathon". Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  15. ^ Mills, Heidi (June 10, 2014). "How to Beat the Blerch". Outside Online. Mariah Media Network. Retrieved January 23, 2015. 
  16. ^ Lee, Elan (January 20, 2015). "Exploding Kittens". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved January 22, 2015. 
  17. ^ Lee, Elan. "Exploding Kittens Updates". Kickstarter.com. Retrieved January 23, 2015. 
  18. ^ Inman, Matthew. "Help me raise money to buy Nikola Tesla's old laboratory". The Oatmeal. Retrieved August 21, 2012. 
  19. ^ Voakes, Greg (August 15, 2012). "The Oatmeal's Latest Fundraiser to Save the Tesla Tower". Forbes. Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  20. ^ Solon, Olivia (August 16, 2012). "Indiegogo project seeks crowdfunding for Tesla museum". Wired UK. Retrieved August 16, 2012. 
  21. ^ Backers raise cash for Tesla museum honoring 'cult hero', CNN.com; August 21, 2012.
  22. ^ Byford, Sam (August 21, 2012). "'Oatmeal' Tesla museum campaign reaches funding goal after $33,333 pledge". The Verge. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  23. ^ Inman, Matthew. "We just passed one million dollars. Now what?". The Oatmeal. 
  24. ^ "Tesla museum campaign exceeds fund-raising target". BBC News. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  25. ^ Inman, Matthew. "Let's Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum". Indiegogo. p. 5. Retrieved May 9, 2013. 
  26. ^ Inman, Matthew. "Let's Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum". Indiegogo. p. 1. Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Web Cartoonist Raises $1 Million For Tesla Museum". National Public Radio. August 24, 2012. Retrieved August 24, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Monument unveiling at Wardenclyffe 9/23/2013". TeslaScienceCenter.org. Telsa Science Center at Wardenclyffe. Retrieved December 27, 2013. 
  29. ^ Inman, Matthew. "What it's like to own a Tesla Model S - A cartoonist's review of his magical space car - The Oatmeal". The Oatmeal. 
  30. ^ Inman, Matthew. "Man Vs. Motor". The Oatmeal. 
  31. ^ Inman, Matthew. "The Oatmeal". Twitter. Retrieved November 14, 2014. 
  32. ^ Inman, Matthew. "So, I had a call with Elon Musk earlier this week .." The Oatmeal. 
  33. ^ Hutchinson, Lee (June 2, 2011). "The Oatmeal vs. FunnyJunk: webcomic copyright fight gets personal". Ars Technica. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  34. ^ Hutchinson, Lee (June 12, 2012). "Lawyer demands $20,000, so webcomic raises $100,000 from the Internet". Ars Technica. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  35. ^ Inman, Matthew. "FunnyJunk is threatening to file a federal lawsuit against me unless I pay $20,000 in damages". The Oatmeal. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  36. ^ Inman, Matthew (June 11, 2012). "BearLove Good. Cancer Bad". Indiegogo. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  37. ^ Inman, Matthew. "Also, just to be clear I .." Twitter.com. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  38. ^ "Website war earns big bucks for charity". KOMO News. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  39. ^ Golijan, Rosa (June 2012). "Cartoonist turns lawsuit threat into $100K charity fundraiser". Retrieved June 12, 2012. 
  40. ^ Can I Sue You People? Troll Lawyer Sues The Charities The Oatmeal Supports Retrieved:June 18, 2012
  41. ^ Thier, Dave (April 18, 2012). "Lawyer Charles Carreon Suing The Oatmeal, American Cancer Society and National Wildlife Federation". Forbes. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  42. ^ Carreon, Charles. "Charles Carreon v. Indiegogo, NWF, ACS" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 13, 2012. 
  43. ^ Electronic Frontier Foundation (July 3, 2012). Charles Carreon Drops Bogus Lawsuit Against The Oatmeal Creator.
  44. ^ Lee, Timothy B. (October 4, 2009). "Carreon claims victory, drops his lawsuit against The Oatmeal et al". Ars Technica. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  45. ^ Ha, Anthony (January 4, 2011). "FunnyJunk Attorney Charles Carreon Drops Lawsuit Against Oatmeal Creator". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  46. ^ Clay, Kelly (April 18, 2012). "Funny Junk Drops Frivolous Lawsuit Against The Oatmeal". Forbes. Retrieved July 6, 2012. 
  47. ^ Mullin, Joe (May 17, 2012). "The Oatmeal sued over trademark by 'Oatmeal Studios'". Ars Technica. Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  48. ^ "Oatmeal Studios Responds to The Oatmeal Lawsuit: 'We Are Simply Trying to Protect Our Name'". TechCrunch. November 21, 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2012. 

External links[edit]