On the bottom there is always this small link: "about ElvisNews.com" where the people behind the scenes use to hide themselves :) My curiosity was born and I want to know: who are those guys (or girls?) who are working so hard to give us the latest news every day for the last six years? What are their goals? What makes them tick?
First I had to make some inquires about where to find them. After a few clicks I got myself a post office box in the Netherlands; so my guess was that they are Dutch, which would make the conversation a lot easier for me. After a few mails they agreed to meet me and do this interview.
Hi, thanks so much for coming and for your time. I hope it won't interfere with today's update? Is it okay with you that we do this in a 'question/answer' way?
Yes it is.
Q: The link on the bottom on the site, about ElvisNews.com, suggest that you don't want to be known as individuals. Are you privacy freaks? Is it okay for me to name you by your first names?
Yes it is and no, we are no privacy freaks, but there are already enough Elvis fans thinking they are more important than the man himself.
Q: I can live with that. With how many editors are you working on this site? And please not only a figure!
Lex: At this very moment 3: Kees, my wife Loes and I. There are a couple of regular authors that come up with something every now and then.
Kees: And there are of course the readers of ElvisNews who keep us informed on items we missed.
Q: How many hours a day does it take to do the job? And how do you plan this into your personal life (if you still have any)?
Kees: I don't think I want to know the answer to that question ... but probably too much for a sain person. The thing is that we only have to work on the site when we find interesting material to add to the site. Most of the work is finding the material, this means that several times a day we have to surf the World Wide Web checking our usual sources and newslinks we receive from our readers or through alert services. Besides finding the news we always try to check it, we don't want to be a rumour site. Writing reviews and articles is time consuming too, but listening to Elvis is not that much of a punishment:). Counting the hours it is easily 2 to 3 hours per day.
Lex: Nowadays it depends mainly on the availability of the other two and on what I am doing technically. If I have inspiration to build something new, I can easily spent 4 or 5 hours an evening on the site. Content wise I am less interested lately, and I keep it to the necessary. My wife is more addicted to (communicating through) the internet than I am, so it doesn't interfere with my personal life. I just IM her if I want to talk to her.
Loes: Hmmm, so I am an addict according to my husband. Thanks dear! But he is telling how it is: I love my pc. I used to work only on my own site, but since I noticed Lex' decline of interest in the site I offered to help more. On ElvisNews I only used to 'do' the reactions of the readers (editing them) but now I am learning to help Kees more with the news. It takes me about 1 to 2 hours on a busy day, depending on the news of course!
Q: What are the agreements about who will do what and when, or aren't there any?
Lex: When we started out (in plain html pages) it was pure 50-50 between Kees and me: design and content were done together. Later on, after we migrated to a database driven site the technical part became completely mine (since that is my day time job too), and Kees took more of the content part. Of course changes are still subject to discussions between us. I guess the others will talk for themselves.
Loes: I am not doing anything with the images on the site, simply because I am not capable of doing that in a satisfying way. As said earlier: the reactions are 'mine' and I try to function as a spelling checker on the other parts of the site. Today in History was a big item for me; I spent a couple of months on that one. All the rest is just how it comes...when you've got time: you do the news!
Kees: With Lex as man behind the site that makes me and Loes the two on the front of the site. I can proudly say that ElvisNews really kept up with the technique. As Lex said, we started out as a weekly html site build in FrontPage, with a page per item, but we did not expect that there would be so much news on a guy that moved to the real Graceland in the sky thirty years ago. Redoing the site and adding all the old content to the database forced us to devide the work. Together we designed the site and navigation, then Lex took on the technique, I the news and ongoing business and Loes was so kind to add the archive to the database. Today we have close to 8000 news updates and over 1000 articles and reviews on-line. And that is not counting the over 1000 shop items, 300 walppapers, close to 200 pictures, complete lyrics database, song base, encyclopaedia and day by day covering most of Elvis activities on a day by day basis. Guess we have been busy the last six years.
Q: Are you making a lot of money running this site, in other words: are you guys rich?
Loes: Yes they are rich, that's why I married one of them :). I have to say this: I am very rich to have such good friends in them, which is far more important than money.
Lex: Yes, now we work as a hobby. Just kidding, mr. Presley still consumes a lot of our income (although it is getting less lately for me). The site generates some income, but we need that to pay for the server, databases, domain names and such, and of course to pay for those miserable releases we would normally never buy :).
Kees: We think we could make a lot of money, if we wanted to, just look at sites like Elvis Unlimited and bigger fan clubs, but we don't want those troubles, and we don't want to spend our rare free time making packages sending out CDs, books and those "Burning Love" candles.
Q: How many visitors do you have a day?
Lex: That is impossible to say, it completely depends on the definition one uses. Besides that it depends a lot on "Elvis in the news", like each January or August. Anyway, our web analyzer tool says there are between 5,200 (Feb) and 6,000 (Mar) visitors a day this year. Those are not unique, so if you check the site twice a day (with more than 20 minutes between them) you're counted twice. Because of the nature of our site, I suspect a lot of people visit it several times a day.
Kees: We designed the site that way. If you enter the main page you immediately see if we added news or articles. If you want to go deeper, looking for special information, you have to use the menu.
Q: I noticed some new gadgets, like ElvisNews mobile, Chat with Elvis in "Just Ask Me" and of course the RSS thingy. Who is responsible for that? And since I am running a site of my own: can I learn that too? (Please notice that I am blonde) :)
Lex: That's me. The mobile thingy was made because I had a course at that moment which I wanted to use directly. The chat was just for fun, and to be honest, I didn't write the chat engine itself - that's available for free on the Internet. I did write the interface to fit it in our site (and communicate with that free service). The RSS newsfeed is a popular "push" technique as an extra service to those who want to use it. Beware: if you're lazy as I am you will loose a lot of fun in "browsing" the internet. Most of my favs have such a feed, and I hardly visit the sites anymore... I just read the articles through my RSS-reader.
Of course you can learn it, it only depends on how much time you want to invest in it, and if you have no feeling (or talent as some call it) for it... it will take a LOT of time.
Kees: These gadgets are "extra's" as we call them. We focus on the news, but also try the new features, like the RSS-feed, to spread the news easily. But it is something that requires knowledge,