Comics aggregator supports King Features again, sort of

By | April 3, 2013

Recently, I wrote about why my comics aggregator stopped supporting comic strips distributed by the King Features Syndicate. In a nutshell, King Features changed how their comics are distributed in a way that (a) makes it much harder for my aggregator to scrape them, and (b) makes it 100% clear that they don’t want people scraping their comics.

They’re the copyright holder for these strips, so it’s their right to decide how people are allowed to view them. Aside from the ethical concerns with intentionally bypassing their restrictions, I frankly don’t want them to sue me. So free access to their strips through my aggregator is no longer an option.

However, all of their strips are available for your viewing pleasure at Comics Kingdom for the low, low price of $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year. With a paid subscription to Comics Kingdom, you can get King Features strips daily on your smart-phone, tablet or computer, as well as in email.

If that’s good enough for you, then you can go sign up there now and stop reading. However, if you’d like to get strips from Comics Kingdom all in one place with the other strips you read through my aggregator, then read on.

I have modified my aggregator to support displaying Comics Kingdom strips, but only for people who are entitled to view them. In other words, if you have a subscription to Comics Kingdom, I can set things up so you can view your Comics Kingdom strips through the aggregator. Here’s how it works:

  1. You sign up for an account at Comics Kingdom.
  2. You email me and tell me you want to read your Comics Kingdom strips through the aggregator.
  3. I provide you with a special email address on my server.
  4. You either configure your Comics Kingdom account to use that special email address, or you configure your email account to forward copies of your daily “My Comics Kingdom Royal” emails to that address (for example, it’s easy to create a filter to do this in Gmail).
  5. Early every morning, when the My Comics Kingdom Royal email arrives at my server, my server parses it and authorizes you to view the strips it contains.
  6. I give you a private URL for accessing the aggregator. When you use that URL, you are able to see the strips that were in your My Comics Kingdom Royal emails.
  7. To prevent my aggregator from bypassing Comics Kingdom’s security, each Comics Kingdom strip can only be viewed a few times through my aggregator by each authorized user, though even if you exceed that limit, you can still view the strip by logging into your Comics Kingdom account. Unless you’re in the habit of reading your comics lots of times, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Please email me or comment below if you have any questions. Please don’t comment if you want to set this up for yourself; use email for that.


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