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.
Inside Elvis InsidersMay 03, 2005 | Other
GeeBee wrote on May 09, 2005
As a "member" , I have to say the experience has been a disappointment. The "activity" on the board is often vapid. There are a few very knowledgeable members, but since so much of the activity on the board consists of chatter -- reminding me more of high school corridor chatter than reflective analytical conversation -- many of the more knowledgeable members stay away. And, as many of these sites seem to do, it has become cliquish (high school again?!). The strong features I think are the information on Elvis Week and Birthday Week and the 10% discount in Memphis. I check the site now and again for some news, but rely more on this site for real news and reviews. P.S. Before the snide comments that might be posted, let me say that I happened to have had a great high school experience, was very popular, dated a lot, played a lot of sports, etc. But now I'm 52 and an avid fan. I am seeking insight and information, not membership in a sorority! LOL
U.S. Male wrote on May 10, 2005
I totally agree GeeBee. I didn't renew my membership because of some of what you said.
Teacher wrote on May 13, 2005
I've been a member of the EI since it first began as the Collectors Club. I'm an Elvis information junkie and I share a lot of that information by posting it on the message board there. But a lot of people would rather comment on photos of Elvis or bash his associates than try to have in-depth discussions on the man, his music and his legacy. Now that a chat room has been added to this club perhaps the chatter will be taken there and the board will focus on more meaningful conversation.
buyep01 wrote on August 11, 2005
The Elvis Insiders Club that I recently joined cost me $30.00. The way the picture of the package you are going to get for becoming a so called member, looks like it is gonna come in a nice folder with letters and you know the works. I got an envelope in the mail that contained a Green membership card a generic members certificate some stick on with the insiders logo and a pin on of the same. I was dissapointed because the way EPE built it up the only way you could be closer to Elvis is if you slept in the meditation gardens 24/7 all the latest news they said (this site has all the latest news, not the insiders) I get on the site there is 2 1-3 minute videos, and they add one ever now in then with no sound of snow, Elvis on a horse and some pictures of letters written the live cam from the bedroom is boring it looks at a tree and its not real time you have to hit back and wait and get an updated view oh but you do get 10% off on shop Elvis and $2.00 off of parking at graceland and little things like that. I would save my money I wish it was an real site that showed members never before seen things and the newest items out, by the way they are only going to advertise their product. Here you See a lot more than you do on the insiders site.