Big Numbers: A Marketing Challenge

One of the biggest problems we have in doing ComicBase (or for that matter, Atomic Avenue) is trying to make big numbers meaningful. It’s the downside of running the biggest, baddest comic book database in town—at some point, you start to feel like you’re just babbling when you try to convey the sheer amount of information involved, or how much it’s grown from year to year.

For instance, ComicBase 1.0 contained some 20,000 issues from 297 titles—all the issues from every title I owned at least one copy of at the time. For the past fifteen years, we’ve worked tirelessly to add to the database, both in scope and in the amount of detail on each issue. First, it was hundreds of titles and a few thousand issues per version. Then it was thousands of titles and tens of thousands of issues per version. Within a few years, ComicBase had become the largest database of comics ever published, but we kept right on adding issues (and adding more detail to each issue as well). But how to put a face on this?

ComicBase 12 just added some 25,000 new issues (for a total of over 325,000!), and involved changes and updates to over 100,000 more—all since the previous year. It sure sounds like a lot (and it was!) but what if we’d settled for doing half the work: say, adding just 12,500 new issues, or making “only” 50,000 updates? Without some sort of context it all just seems like a bunch of large numbers are being thrown around, and there’s really no additional sales appeal conveyed by all our extra effort.

One place where I think we’ve done a reasonable job of it is on Atomic Avenue where, as I write this, some 610,000 comics are available for sale. The relevant comparison is that it’s almost seven times the number of comics available in all of eBay’s auctions, combined. Here, at least, it seems easy for folks to figure out that if you’re looking for a comic—any comic—there’s an awfully good chance you not only can find it on Atomic Avenue, but you’re likely multiple copies for sale in whatever condition you need (and you’ll also experience a lot less hassle in the process!)

But we could really use your help: What comparisons would you suggest if we wanted to talk about, say, the addition of another 15,000 cover images to the Archive Edition (for a total of over 200,000)? Is it meaningful to say things like, “It’s like discovering 75 long boxes full of comics that you’ve never set eyes on before!” or “If you looked at each comic in ComicBase 12 Archive Edition for just 10 seconds each, you’d need to spend over 277 hours to view them all!” Anyone got something more punchy or vivid?

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