uI hope this email finds you well, and that I am contacting the right person.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Christopher Carter, and I am one of the owners of a leading online manga fan community.
I am writing this email to you for a few reasons. First and foremost, the timing of this email stems from the recent announcement about Viz' online magazine, Ikki, as described in this link: http://manga.about.com/b/2009/06/01/viz-debuts-ikki-new-online-only-manga-magazine.htm
The second reason for writing this email is more directly related to Viz' IPs and Brands, and how they relate to our website and community. Allow me to elaborate with a little bit of back story.
I am sure that by now, most everyone at Viz including yourself are aware of the huge online market for manga distribution. The numerous online manga readers such as OneManga, MangaFox and MangaHut serve as a great testament to this fact, despite their main focal point of English language manga. I am also sure that I do not need to go into detail about the 'grey-area' legality of such websites, and how this is currently a market share which, to the best of my knowledge - correct me if I'm wrong, Viz holds very little control and monetisation over.
This is where the relevance of our Manga Website comes into play. As mentioned previously, I am one of the co-owners of a Manga Community website; namely MangaHelpers.com. I am unsure as to whether or not you are familiar with our website, so I will give you a brief introduction. MangaHelpers is, for all intents and purposes, a very large international community (Asian, European, US and South American) dedicated to the promotion and appreciation of not just one or two IPs and brands currently owned by Viz Media, but dozens.
Our website came into existance originally as a forum community dedicated to translating manga from japanese into international languages due to the problems associated with print edition distribution and localisation of Japanese Manga series. In short; the speed of which Manga became available and readable to an international audience was so far behind the desire and demand of the market. Over the years we have grown from being just a translating resource, to an all out international manga community servicing dozens of brands and series on a weekly basis. Our goal, in it's purest form, is to make manga available to all fans around the world at the same speed which it is released in Japan; much like the goal of Viz Media itself.
The only problem is; we are operating independently and in a manner that does not directly (read financially) benefit Viz media outside of the social and viral marketing/PR and exposure a reputable website like ours carry. This is something that we, the four owners of the website, have been discussing internally for a long time on how to change. It has now come to the point where our resources, our strategies and planning, and our capabilities both technologically and creatively, all point in one logical direction: Co-operation with Viz Media itself.
MangaHelpers as a website is considered by many as _the_ greatest and most notable manga community in the world. We reach millions of visitors worldwide, and from there the happenings and activities of our members spread to virtually every manga fan site on the net which deals in online manga. Yes, even OneManga, MangaFox and MangaHut retrieve both volunteers/staff and member submissions from our community. We would like to think that over the years, we have served an integral yet unofficial role in making Manga brands known and appreciated on a global basis. It is through this indirect cooperation that we got the idea; why not go all the way?
It is true; there is a large market out there which is outside Viz' current reach. Our website, for better or worse, is at the center of this market. Anyone who has been following online trends recently will have noticed the success of online business models such as subscription and microtransactions in regards to gaming brands and IPs. These business models can easily be transferred to the Manga market, and we believe we have one of the most innovative and best approaches on the net for this. This is where partnering with Viz comes into play.
Our thought process is simple; Viz gets direct influence and control over the 3rd party market by teaming up with a reputable, stable and well liked online resource such as us, and we get to work with, develop and help promote something every one of us has a genuine passion and appreciation for. We have many valuable resources to offer; from global exposure and marketing possibilities to business models (advertisement sponsored, subscription, and microtransaction based digital distribution of online manga) that could potentially give Viz a very large newfound revenue source, to the hundreds of (professional) translators and image cleaners/typesetters who already publish their work at MangaHelpers for free; there are lots of possibilities and potential business ventures to be found. We even have the web framework for distribution and publishing of fanlations in place!
It is our opinion, and hopefully yours, that mutually beneficial partnerships like this at least deserve a deeper looking into.
I apologize for the lengthyness of this email though I hope what I have written has spiked your interest, at least to some extent. We are very interested in hearing your thoughts (and possibly concerns) in regards to the "wall of text" that is written above.
With that, I will conclude this email in hopes to hear back from you soon,