Courtesy of EPE we had a look inside the new Elvis Insiders website. What do you get “inside”?
The website is the follow-up to the Elvis Collectors Club website which was part of the official Elvis site. Now the former collectors club members have their own site. The site has a very modern design partly matching the new "Elvis Lives" campaign design. The navigation is o.k.; most features are available through big animated banners, so you can hardly miss them. The forum opens in a new window for some reason.
Besides the look and feel we also had a look at the content of the site and the exclusive features:
The Elvis Insiders Forum
This forum is a very active forum, the many members talk about a lot of subjects, and the addition of official contributions from the EPE staff are interesting for the fans. The content from the previous site has moved to this new site.
The Graceland WindowCam
This special feature drew all the attention in press releases; luckily for the “ElvisOutsiders" the stream was picked up easily by knowledgeable fans sharing a view only Elvis (and his girls) knew. The image from the webcam showing what Elvis saw when (or should we - knowing Elvis' daily routines - say "if") he opened his upstairs bedroom curtains. The image is too big for the site though, pushing the site out of the browser window.
The Image Gallery and The Audio & Video Gallery
EPE made some clear choices regarding the use of images of Elvis. We only see fifties images or images of "personal items" and footage from the fifties and sixties. We guess that the three (!) images (a shed, Elvis' personal bible and Elvis in the studio playing a fagot during the filming of "Loving You") in the photo gallery and the three movies in the video section are the start of a broader collection, just count the free footage on the "2nd To None" message board / website.
Insiders Member Spotlight
The "Member Spotlight" section is fun for collectors to get to know each other, but we'd rather see more Elvis on a site (and club) we pay $30 for.
Insiders Chat Room
Since we're not the "chatting" kind of fan we skipped this feature, but looking at the activity on the message board this will probably be a busy place.
This section had two screensavers; the Graceland Christmas 2004 screen saver and the "He Dared to Rock" screen saver. Both have been available on the official website for free... so we hope for the ElvisInsider members that these two are the start of a collection of "exclusive" features.
Besides these "exclusive" features the members can edit their profile, get to know each other in the Member Directory and get some partner specials and discounts. But the items featured are not really Elvis (Checks, Hard Rock Cafe and Zippo collectors).
The official text from the press release reads: "as an Elvis Insider you have access to many great ways to get to know Elvis even better. The videos and photos, the chat room and message board, the discounts and all the other benefits are here just for you". Looking at the site the first conclusion is that the features mentioned in the press release are available; the website is well designed and the fans are active on the message board. But the final conclusion must be that this site is still very much "under construction". We hope for the ElvisInsiders that EPE will add new content; for now, we remain happy ElvisOutsiders.