One of our readers emailed us this report on the "The First Annual Online Survey Of Elvis Websites". The fact that we printed it was not that we did well in the results (thanks for the support!) but that that Elvis Central International really made an effort to collect the opinion of the visitors of Elvis websites. We thought it was a great addition to our website reviews. Those represent our opinion, these results represent "yours". The results match our own opinion on "the best" websites around the WorldWideWeb and we'll make the effort to at least get the same score next year.
One hundred and eleven (111) surveys were distributed. Forty valid surveys were returned - a 36% response rate. This relatively low response rate was disappointing but nevertheless provides a statistically valid sample. Typical mail responses rates are between 40% and 60%.
As expected, respondents with their own website(s) or a close association with a website gave maximum scores to those sites. As this is a research bias, we adopted what is termed 'trimmed mean scoring' - this process deletes the extreme high and low responses. The effect is a more effective (stable) research result by eliminating bias. It is particularly effective when researchers are dealing with a small sample, as in our case. In order to give a robust result we are only listing sites that received at least 10 votes ie. sites a reasonable number of respondents were familiar with. Again, this avoids the introduction of bias due to very small numbers. The official Graceland site received a large number of votes - we have deliberately excluded it from the findings as we want to focus on non-EPE efforts.
A total of 38 sites received at least one vote or award nomination. The following sites (minimum 10 votes) were the top rated sites identified by the survey (average rating in brackets):
Elvis Information Network (9) ElvisNews.com (<9) For CD Collectors Only (8) Elvis World Japan (7) Flaming Star Norway (<7) Paul's Elvis Page (6) Jordan's Elvis World (6)
Two sites clearly stood out in the voting (no other sites received more than 24 votes):
Elvis Information Network (37 votes) and ElvisNews.com (32 votes)
Respondents commented that these were among the best designed sites and were easy to navigate. Respondents liked the short, up-to-date news and information presented on both sites. Some comments were: "I like the way news on EIN is updated every few days", "ElvisNews.com is well presented with current news" and "EIN has the best variety of news and information"
These comments were repeated numerous times. This compared to only a few comments about other sites like "I like the real audio" (Jordan's Elvis World) or "I visit For CD Collectors Only for the latest bootleg news"
Respondents also had some words of warning for Elvis Information Network and ElvisNews.com: "How long can ElvisNews.com keep getting scoops?" and "EIN pages are taking longer and longer to download, I don't have the time to wait."
The issue of download time was a frequently mentioned topic. Apart from EIN, there were numerous comments about how long the Apache Elvis site takes to download: "I really like the Apache Elvis site but it takes so long to open!!", "Apache Elvis is too slow" and "I used to visit Apache Elvis but I haven't the time to wait for it to download"
When we tested both EIN and Apache Elvis we found the sites to load quickly. However, our technical set-up is state-of-the-art - it is likely that the problem is occurring for users with older computer set-ups (and we note these are probably the majority of users!!).
Another issue mentioned by several respondents was a perceived trend to less comprehensive links pages on many sites. One comment expresses most sentiments: "Are they scared of the competition?"
1ST Annual Online Elvis Survey Awards
The following sites were nominated for special awards:
Best Design: ElvisNews.com
Best Information Site: Elvis Information Network
Best Feature: Media Monitor, Elvis Information Network
Best CD News: For CD Collectors Only
Best Audio Site: Jordan's Elvis World
Best Recording Information: Masters and Sessions
Best Links Page: Apache Elvis
Best Visuals On A Site: No nominations received
Several respondents queried the need for our survey given existing web ring polls. It was because of these existing polls that we introduced our survey. The web ring polls have no statistical validity. They are 'self-selection' polls where responses generally come only from those with a particular (vested) interest in voting. As this is not a representative sample of the total audience the results are not statistically valid. Having said this, we are not putting web ring polls down - they are a useful tool for web masters to get ongoing feedback. However a valid survey like ours is also needed.
Elvis Central International is independent of any fan club or web site. We are both professional researchers by day and Elvis fans by night. As we found out through the survey, there is apparently another group called Elvis Central on the Internet and operating out of the US. We are not associated with this site in any way.
There was also some criticism of our listing of sites. The list was never meant to be exhaustive (there are simply too many sites to list) and views on which sites are the major sites vary depending on who you talk to. The fact that some popular sites were not listed should not be taken as a sleight against those sites - the list was prepared after scouring the links pages of a variety of sites. As expected (and welcomed), many other sites were mentioned in the voting.
We hope you find the survey results interesting. We will run another poll in early 2001. We hope that the next poll will result in even more responses, making the survey bigger and better.
And finally, a big round of thanks to all of you who took the time to give us your views. We appreciate it!
Elvis Central International: Gary and Greg (February 2000)