Bad news for URC :(

Tuesday, February 13, 2001 10:17 AM
Here is part of an E-mail I received from Eric:

February 11, 2001

Attention Ultimate Rollercoaster Fans,

I unfortunately have bad news to report about the web site. Last night the server hosting the Ultimate Rollercoaster failed. There was a considerable amount of data loss and the site will remain down for an indefinite period of time.

The second piece of bad news has to do with financial problems related to the web site. Unfortunately, with the drastic decline in advertising and sponsorship revenues we are no longer able to cover our costs and may be forced to close the site.

We are currently looking for a potential partners, investors or buyers.

We appreciate our fans and will try to keep you informed about any news related to the server problems and future of the site.

Thank you again for your support.

Eric Gieszl
Ultimate Rollercoaster




I for one really hope someone can help save this site. Along with Coasterbuzz, URC is a great place to read and talk about coaster news and I would hate to see it close.


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Thank you Disney, thank you...
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Tuesday, February 13, 2001 10:31 AM
I sure hope that the site can be helped as well! Aside from Coaster Buzz,URC is the only other web site I go to when I want to hear rumors or news or just to chat.Thats a shame.
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Tuesday, February 13, 2001 10:53 AM
Yea.. I got that e-mail a few days ago too. I hope it doesn't have to close permanatly. It would be a shame if it had to close.

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Spring Break- IOA,BGT,Magic Mountain,Epcot,MGM
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Tuesday, February 13, 2001 11:02 AM
I just recieved this in my e-mail.


February 13, 2001

I thought it would be appropriate to send out a quick update regarding the situation with the Ultimate Rollercoaster web site. As you’ve likely read the site has been down since Sunday morning due to a server crash, which
we now believe was the result of a vicious hacker not a hard disk failure as previously reported. Unfortunately, the damage to the server is
going to take a considerable amount of time and money to repair. As a result
the site will remain closed indefinitely.

As also reported on Sunday the financial situation with the web site is
still a major concern, but to clarify the site was not closed as a result of this problem. The server crash only made the recent financial
problems worse because of the additional expenses that will be incurred to fix the situation.

At this time it looks like there is a fair chance of the site returning in some form or another in the near future. Some important decisions will
be
made in the coming days. In the next couple of days we will forward an important survey about the web site. I ask that you please take the time to fill it out and return it. The information will help to guide us in our decisions.

I would like to thank everyone for their support and I will keep you
informed of any changes with the current situation.

Eric Gieszl
Ultimate Rollercoaster



Well there ya have it...

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Spring Break- IOA,BGT,Magic Mountain,Epcot,MGM
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Tuesday, February 13, 2001 11:28 AM
I feel Eric's pain. I've encouraged him to carry on if he can, but I certainly understand the financial problems. CoasterBuzz is kind of sucking my well dry too, but I think better times are ahead.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
*** This post was edited by Jeff on 2/13/2001. ***
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Tuesday, February 13, 2001 11:53 AM
well I hope we coasterbuzzers can help you for giving us such a great site to parooz and find all kinds of people like ourselves to chat with online.

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What is life without it's ups and downs
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Tuesday, February 13, 2001 12:21 PM
Ouch!
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Tuesday, February 13, 2001 2:17 PM
Jeff...
Probably not the best place to inquire... but here goes anyway...

Have you explored the possibility of an alliance with the parks to offer discounted tickets? We "Buzzers" should qualify as a group of 20 or more...

I would certainly purchase discounted tickets through the site for the parks I plan to visit (and do not have seasons tickets). And, for that matter, I would like to purchase my seasons passes, at a modest discount, through the site.

Success in ticket sales should increase traffic and improve the pricing leverage for lodging and airfare.

Ultimately, a "Rewards" credit card, offering rewards from a variety of parks could appeal to a large base!

Just one Buzzer's opinions... Best of success!

Dan
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Tuesday, February 13, 2001 2:28 PM
Jeff,

Other than visiting sponsor's from this site, is there any other way buzzers can help you out as far as finances go.

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Thank you for riding America's Roller Coast
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Tuesday, February 13, 2001 2:39 PM
We're exploring some new revenue models, because it's obvious that advertising alone isn't going to cut it. Heck, I've got about $1800 in hosting fees that I'm behind on. Short term, a particular advertiser that you all know is starting a 30-day campaign tomorrow on CoasterBuzz, so that'll help (hint: they have a really tall blue and silver thing).

We understand the market and we're looking for an opportunity. This was never intended to be a for-profit venture, but it does require money to operate.

Ticket brokering, in my opinion, is a business model destined to fail. It's not that it isn't a good idea for consumers, it's just not a good idea for the parks. They add cost in administration and compromise their gate. It also undercuts local promotions with grocery stores and soda bottlers. Do you think Coke and Pepsi would stand for that?

Interestingly enough, that seems to be one of the things that amusementpark.com is banking on (that and acting as a marketing gateway to parks, which is also pretty silly). I give them a year tops before they fold.

While on the subject, I know many of you have been contacted by amusementpark.com about acting as a "park ambassador" or some such thing. Others have been asked about licensing their content.

If you want to visit that site instead when launched, that's certainly your choice. If you want to leave sites like CoasterBuzz or Ultimate Rollercoaster in favor of a contrived VC pet project, we can't stop you.

Just remember who keeps it real, and keeps the enthusiasts in control of the information.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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Tuesday, February 13, 2001 3:08 PM
Jeff...
Points well taken. Given the choice between Coke/Pepsi or Coasterbuzz, the choice is easy for me. Besides, their aim is the broad side of a barn while Coasterbuzz is dead-center of the bulls-eye.
Last year, CP and KW weren't even part of my vacation plan, until I became a member of this portal! Thank you! You have something unique here.
My searches for "discount amusement park tickets" mostly yield Credit Unions and travel sites with no sign of amusement parks (except Disney). If Coasterbuzz shows up in the results, others (like me) will find the otherwise hidden treasures of the amusement park world.
Don't underestimate the marketing power and momentum that is building in Coasterbuzz.
The decline in advertising revenues is an opportunity on the other side of the coin!

Dan
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Tuesday, February 13, 2001 5:23 PM
This is a sad thing to hear. I am involved in the world of hosting and such but considering the relativley small costs for my site (I get free hosting from being part of a network) I still have to pay for pictures to be developed and such and the domain name. Advertising prices are down now except I see an upturn coming. Jeff, if anyone makes it through, it will be you. You seem extremely capable of managing things right. Good luck and to Eric, keep trying and find out who hacked you and make them pay :)

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Matt B
http://www.6flagsohio.com
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Tuesday, February 13, 2001 6:59 PM
Trouble is, at the moment there doesn't seem to be a good revenue model for the Web. Well, aside, of course, from sites that actually sell stuff...but even the granddaddy of those sites, amazon.com, has yet to turn a profit.
Advertising based on page impressions makes sense, and kind of follows the broadcasting model, but there is no way to monitor the effectiveness, which makes it darned near impossible to do a fair rate card. Click-through advertising is, in my opinion, pretty worthless because if the user clicks through the ad, he basically abandons his session with the current site. Partnering might be promising, but how much stuff does any particular person want to buy, anyway? Trying to sell the content doesn't work, because someone else will just give it away for free.
Eventually somebody will figure it out, but it's gonna take some innovation, and I just don't see that happening right now.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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Tuesday, February 13, 2001 7:14 PM
The problem isn't so much the metrics, I don't think, just that traditional advertisers (i.e., Coke, Ford, Bud, etc.) haven't really jumped in. We don't have well-funded start-ups anymore to buy our inventory.

There was a trend where people were writing off banner ads entirely because they allegedly weren't effective, an impression (pun intended) fueled by low click-through ratios. By that logic, every "impression" of an outdoor billboard, radio spot, magazine ad, etc., would be ineffective as well. There's something to be said for frequency. After all, if I asked who publishes a number of newsletters that keep you informed, I'm sure a few users would know I'm talking about the New York Times.

We'll see what happens. The Cedar Point campaign will help a little in the short term, I think.

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Jeff
Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
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