Maybe I didn't make this clear enough when I wrote the blog, but I did say:
"The only obvious problem is that this steals impressions from sites that depend on advertising."
I'm not ignorant of this issue, it just wasn't the point of this article.
What I wanted to write about is the features and designs of these "thick clients", since some think they might eventually replace web clients for some content. iComic is a good example of something that makes the client side experience much more pleasant than hopping across many pages with contradictory ways of experiencing their links, forums, archives, etc.
I'm also surprised nobody pointed out that in my talking about thick clients of the future, that I presumed it was the content creators who would be providing such clients. Of course, that's NOT the case with iComic, which was written by a third party not related to the creators. That raises some interesting issues: barring an official access API and rules (like Amazon and Google have), is any such client a "thief"? And how reliable are such unofficial apps - HTML scraping is notoriously brittle.
Also, here's a question to the comic creators: are you in the content business or the HTML business? If technology changes and people want a different kind of online experience, how do we get to a point where the content can still make money? Would Keenspot write a thick client, one that served ads and shopping to the reader? Or offer an API and rules to the effect of "if you show the comic, you must show the ad and link to the store"? Or does that require too much coding, too much non-content stuff around the simple idea of putting comics on the net where people can see them?
I don't have the answers, I'm just trying to see where client side internet technology is going.