What I Always Wanted To Know About ElvisNews.comBy Lilian van der Hoeven, June 23, 2006 | People
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,
Ton Bruins wrote on June 23, 2006
Lilian, a very nice idea to do this interview. I enjoyed reading it. Loes, Lex and Kees keep up the good work and thanks for a great (the best) Elvis site !
Dorulet wrote on June 23, 2006
Yeah, a great article... You guys are great... i must say that i don't even check my messenger list more often than i visit this site... Keep up the good work guys !!
Ciscoking wrote on June 24, 2006
Just keep on doing this great job.....it`s fantastic and very informative....
Natha wrote on June 25, 2006
A few times a day I visit the ElvisNews site, just to get the latest information about the Elvis world. It is amazing to read so much news every day. Also I did not expect the site to be 'Dutch', as it doesn't show at all. Great informative site. I hope this site will continue 'forever'. Appreciatingly yours, Natha
Lefty wrote on June 26, 2006
Time and again I am impressed with the job fans outside of the United States do with our greatest American Icon. Along with Elvis Is Still Active In Norway, ElvisNews.com is the very best of the best web-sites. Thank you for taking the time, energy, and effort to do a fantastic job. I visit your site everyday.
Renan Augusto wrote on June 26, 2006
Very nice. Keep up the good job fellas.
Elvisy wrote on June 26, 2006
I wish to thank Lilian for the wonderful interview..........I enjoyed getting to know who is really behind all this wonderful work.Thankyou Loes, Lex and Kees and all the rest that are involved in giving us this great stuff. You guys have a wonderful sense of humour that sen I'm sure the great Elvis himself must have been smiling listening to your comments, it sure made me do! I must admit I have been browsing tons of sites on Elvis but keep coming back here which should say alot about the work you guys put in. Thanks so much once again. Luv, Tangerine
vegaselvisfan wrote on June 27, 2006
great interview. thank you. glad to get to know all of you better. i've been a regular visitor here for several years. you have *the best* elvis website !! no need to say more. :)
byebye wrote on June 27, 2006
Yeah, -the best Elvis website!
Tony C wrote on June 28, 2006
I agree with all of the other postings. This site is the best Elvis site on the web, and the only one I check daily. Never have I been so up to date with Elvis news. Thanks, guys, you are very much appreciated.
SendToTodd wrote on June 29, 2006
What a fantastic insight to the guys and gal behind his amazing site. Fans over the age of 40 think that we know it all, but we don't. We might have been there and even touched the man, but it is easy to forget that Elvis can still touch anyone's life. ElvisNews is a terrific site, and these people need every fans support.
Jth wrote on June 29, 2006
A good read, but I would have loved to see the question "What's the most annyoing thing that visitors post?" and I'm guessing it would be the constant question: "Where can I buy this cd/book/dvd"? - there should be a new section on Elvisnews.com called "This is where you can buy the Elvis stuff"
bray1977 wrote on June 30, 2006
Excellent interview. I really enjoyed that, just as I enjoy everything about this site. Keep up the great work guys. We appreciate it very much.
Rob Wanders wrote on July 01, 2006
I enjoyed reading this interview. I appreciate your (lots of) work.
Jordans-Elvis-World wrote on July 09, 2006
Excellent expose' on what has to be the ABSOLUTE best Elvis News related site on the net! And it's great to know some fans from Memphis are on your friends list too.. :) Now that the secret is out Lex, you have to come back to Memphis and un-brainwash me!Folks, his secret was so big - that he brainwashed me so that everytime I attempted to say "Lex" and "ElvisNews" in the same sentence, all that would come out of my mouth was the word "Diaper" instead. Not a very nice thing :) Again, congrats to everyone here that continues to make this site what it is!
Peter@EM wrote on July 24, 2006
Hi guys, I just now read the interview - believe me: ElvisNews is BY FAR the best Elvis site on the wwweb. Congratulations and thanks for doing such a wonderful job. Where would the Elvis world be without ElvisNews.com? Where would the fans be, where would the fanclubs be? This is exactly what we need to have! I've been a fan ever since "Elvis Telegraph", in fact: I still have the prints of that site. I was so amazend and happy when I discovered "Elvis Telegraph" that I printed every page ;-).... Please - keep up the good work!!