Just before Rikki Rockett launched the official Poison website in the late '90s, the cyberspace world for Poison was undoubtedly dominated by "The Official Unofficial Poison Website" -by far the best Poison fan site for it's time- which was the inspiration for the first spanish version of poisonfanclub.net in 1998. Fast forward 12 years, we have a chance to interview Scott, the owner and webmaster of poisonwebsite.com
Hello Scott, first of all, the inevitable question... Why a Poison website?
I graduated from college in 1996 and was working for the university, helping to redesign their website. At the time, I was excited about web development. The web was so new and so small. It was easy to put together a cool website and get a lot of hits because there were so many people coming onto the web, but not a lot of content yet.
I was (and still am) a huge Poison fan. In 1996, pop culture was pretty unfriendly to 80's bands, so I naturally looked for people online with whom to share my interest. There was one Poison site online at the time - and it was rarely (if ever) updated. So I decided that I'd make a much better site and practice my web development skills at the same time.
I spent a good part of December, 1996 typing up lyrics and other information, and I officially launched the site on January 1, 1997.
What was the hardest part to do? Did you get help?
The site wasn't that hard to make. I used Microsoft FrontPage as an editor; a program I'd learned to use in 1996. I'd spend a few hours a week doing updates. It got really fun when it exploded in popularity from 1997-2000. I didn't receive any help with the design. I did, however, receive many tips, emails, and content from some pretty cool fans of the site.
How did you promote your site?
I networked with other Poison fans online and made sure that every Poison site (no matter how poorly designed) had a link to my site. I made sure that I was displayed on all the major search engines (back then, Yahoo! was king!). But it was mainly word of mouth because of content. I made sure that I added new things all the time so I'd capture all the fans who were searching for anything Poison. For example, I had a guitar and bass tab section. I posted photos that fans sent to me. I reviewed every Poison album as honestly as I could, and I invited feedback. I found Matt Smith (the original Poison guitarist) and posted an interview with him. I even had a "band of the month" section where local bands all over the world could promote their music on the site (and, in exchange, provide copies of their album for a monthly contest). It was a lot of fun running this thing! At its peak, the site was pulling in about a thousand hits per day. It pulled in over a million hits during its 13 years online; most of which were from 1997-2002.
Which was your favorite section?
That changed for me from time to time. But overall, I'd say the "news" section. It was updated more often, and that's what drew people back time and time again. Probably the most fun, however, was the "band of the month" section.
Why did you choose poisonwebsite.com as a domain?
Well, a guy named Jonathan had a competing site with the domain of poisononline.com, which would have been my first choice. Rikki took poisonweb.com, so I thought I'd get something close to that.
Do you have any story related with your site that you'd like to tell us?
Yeah! In 1997, Capital Records linked to my site as the "official" Poison site for a short time before creating a Poison site of their own, making this site the FIRST "official" Poison site on the web!
In March of 1998, Rikki Rockett (who had just launched poisonweb.com) wrote me an email and asked me to label my Poison site as "unofficial" because too many people thought it was the official Poison site! That's why I called it "The Official Unofficial Poison Website".
Do you feel that your site was successful?
Beyond any dream I had when I started. I never thought it would be such a hit for so many years. It's cool, because I'd get messages or emails from many people who told me that it was their first and favorite Poison site online.
Are you satisfied with the work done in it?
My work from 1997-2002 was very satisfying. I had fun adding new things and improving the site as a whole every day. I started to lose that after 2002 for a couple of reasons: poisonweb.com was launched and was heavily promoted (even though the content sucked on that site – it still does!) so my traffic went down. I started working full time and started dating my future wife - so I had much less free time. There's nothing worse than a website that dies a slow death from neglect and I was a bit ashamed that I let this site die that way for those last 7 or 8 years.
Why are you retiring?
I wanted to pull the plug once and for all because the fans don't want to see an out-of-date site. I simply cannot dedicate the time to compete with awesome sites like poisonfanclub.net. So why waste people's time with an out-of-date site when they can see the real deal?
It was also more fun in the 1990's because there was an underground feel to the site. Poison was broken up. There was really no promotion for the band anywhere. The real die-hard fans were hungry for any information that I could give them because they couldn't get it anywhere else! I had a really loyal following during this time.
Why do you decide to join your site to ours? What can you say to your visitors?
Simple: poisonfanclub.net is the most comprehensive, well-done Poison site on the web. That's where I go when I want Poison news. It makes sense that I'd send my viewers there as well.
To all the people who visited my site: all I can say is thank you. I had a blast and I certainly hope that the site was as entertaining to visit as it was to create.
Shameless plug: I still run the official Britny Fox website at www.britnyfox.com
. Interesting factoid: Rikki Rockett was a guest musician on Britny Fox's 3rd album, Bite Down Hard. Any Poison fan should love Britny Fox (especially their Long Way to LIVE album from 2001!!)