British newspaper The Guardian has a look at our favorite web series, The Guild, and how it has taken the MMO community by storm and vaulted its way up into one of the most popular television series that's not actually on television. There's no question that The Guild's popularity online was fueled by the fact that it follows a group of people who spend most of their time online, and with a built-in audience the size of World of Warcraft's, you might think that all they had to do was get the references right.
But as The Guardian notes, success for The Guild isn't just a matter of hitting a niche audience. Felicia Day and Kim Evey say they spent eight hours a day emailing the show around when it first came out. And while the show is of course sponsored by Microsoft now, the whole first season was powered by hard work and donations. The Guardian attributes The Guild's success to "direct marketing of content to a niche peer group" -- find an audience, and then make sure they know what you're doing.
And of course, as a Guardian commenter notes, it doesn't hurt that the show is funny, and as Felicia told us herself, they've gone out of their way to explain and convey the WoW-related stuff to an audience that might not always play MMOs. The series is attracting a lot of attention these days, not just as an MMO story, but also a how-to guide of how to get a television series off the ground without actually being on broadcast television.