IS300.NET - April 1, 2004

Kathy

Tazmanian Veteran
Joined
Jan 1, 2004
Messages
9,030
Launched in June of 1999, IS300.NET (http://www.is300.net) maintains its website community around the Lexus IS300 Sport Sedan currently with a membership of 19,000.

Using php software "phorum" which didn't require registration when the site first launched, IS300.NET switched to UBB that at the time was a cgi, flat-file forum software. Quickly outgrowing UBB, the community switched to Phpbb where it enjoys stability and room for plenty of growth.

A PhpNuke module ported to phpbb provides a content management system for the administrators of IS300.net, customizing it to work within their database. Additionally, the site uses X-Cart Store software for their inhouse ecommerce store selling accessories and parts.

The largest IS300 forum is the General Discussion, which concerns the basic aspects of ownership, maintenance of the Lexus Sport Sedan. Other forums are for specific areas like wheels and tires, suspension (Stop Drop and Roll) and power modifications (Go Fast Stuff). Ironically, the single largest forum on the site is the Off-Topic area called the Parking Lot. The community has quite a contingent of regulars there, many whom do not even own an IS300.

As an automotive enthusiast site, the membership is primarily male 18-40 years of age. Women are in the minority of membership although two admininstrators are women. The largest concentration of members are from California, the Northeast (NJ,NY), Mid-Atlantic (VA,DC,NC) and the SouthEast (GA,FL). Regional forums grew out of this particular dispersion.

Staff needs have grown over time and the site is currently maintained with 4 admins (Including two co-owners) and 30 moderators. Other staff positions manage content: FAQ Editor, Industry Editor (news), even a Jargon Editor.

IS300.NET plan for revenue has changed over the years. In the beginning relying on affiliate programs and paid advertising, IS300 began individual forum sponsorships. Currently primary revenue comes from .NET Parts Store (using X-Cart php store software) which has proven to be a very time-consuming venture still in its infancy.

Shying away from most conventional advertising because of the store's content and holding onto only a few key advertisers IS300.NET continues to expand its revenue base. Also in place is the the eBay affiliate program with Editor Kit that allows a "block" on the site with only IS300-relevant auctions listed. Donations are also encouraged with the donor receiving a Supporter badge.

IS300.NET occasionally has contests with trivia questions with the answers buried within the content of the site. Other occassional contests or giveaways include members and prizes from vendors and dealers to promote traffic.

"We've always tried to be more than just a forum - so to that end we try to create a lot of original content (reviews and how-tos)." says its administrator.

Owner/Admin Tony Schreiber says: "I've always loved things technical - I helped my Dad build a Heathkit television when I was younger and always took things apart and put them back together. I loved (and still do!) Lego building sets and video games and computers (had all the early game systems and a Radio Shack computer - the one with the chiclet keys). Throughout high school and college I focused more on creative activities (drama, art, radio). It wasn't until after college during my work as an audio/video post-production engineer that I got back heavily into computers. In 1995, I helped start an ISP in South Florida and my love with the Internet began. Development, programming and creative/technical management has been my career since that time. My first emotionally-driven-purchased car was a 1994 Mazda Miata. I still have it, in not-quite-so-stock trim. Miata.net was the impetus for most of the changes I made to the car as well as the main inspiration to create IS300.NET."

Tony works full-time and has a family he enjoys. His automotive hobbies and the site occupy most of his free time. "I do all the accounting and business-related activities for the site and store so that keeps me pretty well occupied. Steve (Co-Owner/Co-Admin) handles the customer and vendor relations and our army of moderators and admins keep the forum in line."

"What I really enjoy is developing new features or sections of the website and seeing them come together. The recent .NET Jargon File is a great example. I feel the site is a continual work in progress, so there's always something to do or tweak or refine. There's also an indefinable warm and fuzzy feeling I get when I think that I was the one who started the community that now exists. It's selfish to think that way, but it's a guilty pleasure I enjoy occassionally."

The Admin Zone congratulates IS300.NET as Featured Forum. May your membership grow as they enjoy the ride!
 

rex_b

Fanatic
Joined
Feb 18, 2004
Messages
3,754
Good ole .net . I have been there from the basic beginning. She was my first forum to participate ever. Fun times.

I give her 5/5
 
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