The Secret History of Convention Scene (and Our Almost Anniversary)
I did not want to let the month of March go by without acknowledging that this is actually the 10 year anniversary of the launch of Comic Book Conventions.com, the predecessor of Convention Scene. In the next couple of months, I hope to start a dialogue with everyone about what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong, but for now, let’s celebrate with a look back at how it all began,and if you have time to post a response, let us know how long you have been following my sites or share a memory of your own.
It all started with a poster. Seriously. My foray into the World Wide Web began with an assignment to create a poster for a class in Photoshop I was taking, back around 1998. Having had the idea for a while to start a website listing all the events going on in Florida, I used the assignment as an opportunity to create a nice collage of images of celebrities taken at conventions (mostly by resident Convention Scene photographer Dwayne Gill) and launch my first website…FASN, The Florida Autograph Seekers’ Network. Located at GeoCities, the site is long gone, and I don’t even have a screenshot of it, but it paved the way for everything to follow.
My next launch came in March 0f 2000: Comic Book Conventions.com. This was my first attempt at using actual web design software – Adobe GoLive. Made from scratch myself,
the site was primitive, largely ignored at first, and often went months without an update.
I considered Comic Book Conventions.com just a warmup, though. My real target was my next website – Autograph Alliance, launched in August of 2000. Replacing FASN, Autograph Alliance was supposed to do for the whole country what FASN did for Florida. And it worked. For awhile.
Thinking to create a network of sites under one central domain, I moved Autograph Alliance under the domain of Massive Universe and made plans to do the same thing for Comic Book Conventions.com.
But a funny thing happened along the way. In 2002, I decided to buy a template and do a redesign of Comic Book Conventions.com. And lo and behold, I got an advertiser…Capital Associates. Still with us today in the form of Capicons.com. And I got more advertisers.
Comic Book Conventions.com was making money. Autograph Alliance was taking a tremendous amount of time and wasn’t making money. The writing was on the wall. It only made sense to concentrate my efforts on what was working, and that meant Comic Book Conventions.com. And so I did.
And Comic Book Conventions.com had a great run. The site grew in popularity and word of it spread throughout the industry. Slowly but surely it became the place to check when you were planning your convention schedule for the year. But as the years went on, I felt like the site was stuck. While I watched other sites grow and evolve, I felt trapped by Comic Book Conventions.com stagnant HTML, riddled with bad code that I could never hope to clean up. Sure, I rolled out a few changes and
improvements as time went on, but I knew the site could be more. I wanted it to be more. I knew it would be more.
For years, I began making plans, always telling my friends, “Next year. You’ll see. A whole new relaunch.” But funds set aside for programmers always ended up going for something else. So I waited. I waited until I found the right pieces of technology that I could knit together myself to create a superior site, one with a database of events, and a true archive, and RSS feeds for whatever you could possibly want.
So in late 2008 I began putting it together. While things did not come together in time to launch it for MegaCon 2009, I finally pulled the trigger in May of 2009 and Convention Scene was born, the latest in a long line of my internet endeavors. And I know Convention Scene has its detractors, those who long for the simplicity of Comic Book Conventions.com. But while I’m taking a look down memory lane today, I’m also looking ahead to the future. I still believe Convention Scene is only reaching the tip of the iceberg of its potential. But that’s a conversation for another day. For now, I hope you enjoyed this look back and will stay with us for the ride to come.