Otakuworld, origin of online kamishibai and home of approximately 200 kamishibai stories (not including individual chapters) has reached a crisis point; out of money. The problem boils down to bandwidth; Otakuworld consists of a large number of freeware to download. Downloads use bandwidth; bandwidth costs money. This cost used to be offset by the money from ads; however, with the ever expanding pages to put ads on, and the relative inefficiency of ads to bring customers, ad space has become extremely cheap. An ad that might have been $12 for 100 spots is now more like $.12 for 1000 spots. Bottom line: ads don't cut it.
Otakuworld has been a place where one knew that there was a wide selection and availability of kamishibai with few to no broken links. A kamishibai author knew that by posting their story on Otakuworld that their story would reach a large audience. Also it was a touchstone for communication; for fans to find the address of a particular author, and also links to resources (like this page).
Losing Otakuworld would be a terrible blow the kamishibai community. The only solution to date is that the visitors contribute to the upkeep of Otakuworld. The idea is that regular fans will charged $5 a month for membership. (There is talk that people who post things like kamishibais and dolls will have free membership for a few months, because they contribute to the sight in a different way). If this goes well, this will not only pay for bandwidth but also for extra features (like chat rooms) as well as update moreregularly. They plan to make it worth the money. Another comprehensive, centralized, site for kamishibai doesn't exist at this point, and will be a long way in the making. Otakuworld created the kamishibai player, and has been a support site for artists from its inception. Perhaps the Kamishibai community should support the difficult decision that Otakuworld has made.
Well, I guess I'll be writing the "con" side of Otakuworld going to a paysite. First of all, I don't quite understand how they can promise more frequent updates. They seem to be erratic, sometimes updating 2-3 times a week, while at other times not updating for 2-3 months. Unless they set a schedule, I doubt problems will be resolved. Right now, updating seems to depend on mood.
Also, isn't many of the downloads on the site contributed by others? Couldn't most of this site be held on another server? If Otakuworld was to put the site on a free web space provider, they could save a lot of money. I'm sure people would rather type a longer URL once, and make a bookmark, then have to pay $5 a month.
These are my views on the negative side of this arguement.
much thanks to Alex, Chris and Firefly for providing the links