All that exists on the site right now is a Rorschach symbol (doubled, mirrored Rs), which link to the above-mentioned email address. Not a whole lot going on to tell us if this is the legit beginning of a viral marketing effort or something a nerd threw together to get in on the hype to come. I was actually talking to someone at Warner Bros about how there are no major Watchmen fansites that already exist, sites that could, like TheOneRing.net, become THE online home for that particular film.
Well, what do you know. It turns out that rorschachsjournals.com is registered to one Michael Regina, better known as Xoanon, one of the guys behind The One Ring. What’s interesting is that Regina and Warner Bros have a bit of a history, with Regina getting very uppity about WB going with bluetights.net as the official ‘fan’ site for Superman Returns (read up on the fiasco here). I guess the good people at WB are forgiving (and I’m not saying ‘good people’ in a snotty way, the publicity types there are uniformly great) and have hooked up with Mike officially on this one.
At least that’s my assumption. Mike may have had the same conversation I had with someone at WB and taken the initiative to start a Watchmen fansite all his own, although this launch feels more like viral marketing than real fanning. Which is part of what irks me about fan sites that align with studios – I can see why the studios want to co-opt the fan sites and spend a couple of bucks to control the buzz among the hardcore, and I can see where the fans want to get into bed with studios for not just money but access (the Harry Potter fansites get flown to England every year for set visits and junkets while I get zilch. I’m not whining, just stating the facts of the business), but to me it seems like there’s no way for a fan site to get into bed financially with the studio and wake up clean. If you’re the official ‘fan’ site for the movie, how can you service the fans with actual truth?
For Mike Regina this seems to have gone beyond fan site stuff, anyway. He registered the URL under the name of Type40 Internet Marketing. Mike’s also on the web selling a movie called The Many Worlds of Jonas Moore. It seems that online shilling is where old webmasters go to retire. In the meantime, keep an eye on the site and see if anything interesting pops up in the weeks before Comic Con. My guess is that we’ll know most of the cast of Watchmen either just before or during Con.