January 30, 2020, was the 20th anniversary of the launch of CoasterBuzz. To commemorate the day, we present CoasterBuzz: 20 Years Buzzed, a series of stories and articles about the last 20 years of the amusement industry as seen through CoasterBuzz. In the second chapter, CoasterBuzz launches to a rough start and a reboot before growing out of control.
Read more in CoasterBuzz: 20 Years Buzzed.
That's really great. I feel like I've read bits and pieces of that over the years, but that's really the first time I've seen it thoroughly summarized. Is it safe to assume that the site wouldn't have survived without your domain sale?
I found Coaster Buzz through one of the those niche fan sites for SFOT during Titan construction. The name is escaping me, but I remember that it was really well done. The kid that ran it eventually started working at the park and is now an oncologist (we have a lot of common Facebook friends).
It's interesting how message boards have evolved. At some point, I probably frequented a dozen or more. It's down to about 4 or so now and Coaster Buzz and one other local one are the only ones I really look at daily or post on frequently. Like Coaster Buzz, that other one has seen a similar progression: less posting, a smaller core group of people doing the posting, and the quality of that posting is generally quite a bit better than it was 15 years or so ago.
Selling the domain name and having the club is what saved the site (next chapter talks about the club). The latter was deliberate, but the sale was just dumb luck.
What's interesting is the contrast though, even in those days, about the relative value of domain names. Why did my name fetch $100k? Objectively, I think rollercoaster.com was worth more, but it only got $45k or something in that range (though obviously the new temporary owners had no working business plan to monetize it).
For fun, I pinged the seller of popworld, and they want over $200k for it. Good luck with that!
Selling the domain name and having the club is what saved the site (next chapter talks about the club).
Gee, thanks for the spoiler alert...
Finally got around to reading the first two installments. Great stuff, and really cool to read about the behind the scenes stuff that happens that most of us forum readers and contributors are completely unaware of. To hear that the site almost didn't last beyond a couple years seems weird now, as I've practically taken for granted this place will always just be there. Well, not really, as my first experience with an online community disappearing was Danimation, which you mentioned, and then Coaster-Net some years later.
I started visiting CoasterBuzz in 2000 or 2001 while I was still really active on Danimation, and not coincidentally I signed up as a member in March of 2002 when the latter site was going through some changes and becoming more about Dan, the site owner, and less about the RCT and enthusiast community (one major change that didn't last long was a rename of the D-net forums to "RCT Bitch", for whatever reason). Not too long afterward the forums went away altogether as Dan wanted to use it solely to showcase his career. Recognizing and appreciating CoasterBuzz as a more...mature community (even in my late 20s at the time, I was one of the older members of Danimation), I had already become fairly active, so it was a smooth transition to CoasterBuzz as my go-to site for most things coaster related. That said, I was still pretty invested in Coaster-net during this time and for probably the next decade or so, and was even honored as a forum "elder", which granted me useless bragging rights and membership to a club I never cared to take advantage of. That site went through significant changes in the 20-teens, if I recall; the forums existed on a new platform for a while, and now they're gone entirely (I'm kind of surprised the site still exists). It sucks to wake up one day and find the entirety of your posts and contributions gone forever.
And as I write this, I'm reminded of several other websites I frequented over the last 20 years that focused on roller coasters, RollerCoaster Tycoon, or NoLimits, most of which have gone belly-up. CoasterBuzz seems to have maintained a formula for longevity. Whether entirely intentional or not, well done.
I'm glad someone is enjoying the early chapters. I didn't really think that anyone would care that much about this stuff, at least not relative to some of the forthcoming topics.
Being the developer of the forum itself does have that advantage, that nothing every gets lost. The early posts are formatted a little weird and have embedded signatures, but it's all still there at least. We're going to move the PointBuzz forums soon to the hosted forums, since that site doesn't rely on the forum for other features, so we can concentrate on the content separately (PB has been consistently two versions behind).
What a cliffhanger!
Really enjoyed hearing the story of the sale of the domain. That must have been one intense experience after hearing the offer of $100,000 and realizing what impact it could have on your life in so many different ways.
If it ever happens again, might I suggest asking for...
Looking forward to chapter 3...
Promoter of fog.
I'm enjoying these immensely. It's fun hearing about the early days and getting a lot of the back story on how this came to be. I'm looking forward to future installments!
13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones
My mind is blown by what domain names were (are?) worth... That’s just unreal. I wonder if someone snatched up google.com and held it for ransom? Does this explain why Kings Island’s website is www.visitkingsisland.com?
But then again, what do I know?
I don't think they're worth that much, I think people just hold out hoping they'll make what they think they're worth. How many places do you go that are the ultimate basic name? It didn't work out for pets.com back in the day. Dyson doesn't need vacuum.com.
I wonder if someone snatched up google.com and held it for ransom?
He honestly didn't think the transaction would go through. Google ended up buying it back for 6006.13 (sort of looks like Google) in a publicity stunt of sorts and then doubled the total for charity.
But yeah, especially back in the timeframe Jeff is talking, domains changed hands for crazy amounts of money.
It's a fun read. Jogs my memory of various things like the shirts, being told to change my original GTTP screen name :) You talking about getting the T1 and back then I was like "That's so much bandwidth!!"
My how times change.
June 11th, 2001 - Gemini 100
VertiGo Rides - 82
I love reading these things, partly to live vicariously through your story (I simply don't have the cojones to start anything entrepreneurial) and partly to understand how Coasterbuzz came to be. I think a large part of the value of domain names was because this was before search engines were THE way you browsed the internet. The few I used in that period were slow, ugly, and not very accurate. It wasn't totally off the wall to imagine that someone would just type rollercoaster.com into the address bar and see what popped up.
Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."
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