Did you ever wonder what spurred on the the webmasters of some of your favorite fan sites to spend hours on end in front of the computer bringing you a fun site to visit? In Soapdom's Site of the Month, you'll have the opportunity to find out!
Site of the Month, September 2003
Over 4, 700,000 people have visited Beth's Days of Our Lives Page to find out anything there is to know about The Day's of Our Lives!
Pictured at right: Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie, DOOL) with Beth of Beth's Days Page.
I couldn't help but be impressed reading that the 1,000,000th visitor arrived on July 14, 1998. The 2,000,000th visitor arrived on November 15, 1999, the 3,000,000th visitor arrived on January 20, 2001, and the 4,000,000th visitor arrived during the summer of 2002.
Apparently fans know a special site when they see it. So do company's. In October 1996, as Sony was developing their first website for Days, they offered to strike a deal to buy the content of Beth's website. However, the deal never got beyond the negotiating phase. Lucky for us.
With areas such as: Family Trees and Histories, Facts about Days Couples Wedding Vows, Special Letters & Poems of Couples, Classic Storylines, The Children of Salem, etc., any fan of the show, old or new, will find what they need in this well laid out and informative site.
Beth tells us that; "I began watching Days before starting grade school and first remember Doug and Julie and their time together at Doug's Place. In our household, I referred to Days as the "Doug and Julie Show." I rediscovered the show in about 1987 and became hooked watching the storyline of Emma's murder. It still remains one of my favorite stories of all time."
Beth's Days of Our Lives Page was created in August 1995 when few people knew what the Internet or World Wide Web was. In fact, NBC did not even have a website at all, let alone one for Days. At that time, Beth's page contained a list of Salem addresses, birthdays of characters, and links to the four or so other Days sites on the web, including Dustin's page, which was also brand new. It also contained a link to the opening theme. These few elements allowed her to launch one of the first Days fan sites on the web. She has won several awards and accolades over the years and in addition to information about the site being published in the various soap magazines, Yahoo Internet Life ran a feature article on the site in October 1996. Also, Beth's Day's of Our Lives Page site was credited as a source in The Soap Opera Encyclopedia by Gerard J. Waggett.
Pictured at right is Beth of Beth's Days Page with Bill Hayes (Doug, DOOL) and via the magic of the internet, Soapdom 'sat' down with the creator and owner of Beth's Day's of Our Lives Page to find out more about her and her site.
Soapdom: What inspired you to create this site?
Beth: Way back in the summer of 1995 (I can't believe it's been that long), I decided to make a web page about myself, as many of my friends were doing. The site started as a tribute to all of my favorite things, Days being one of them. I got started on the Days section and never even got around to starting the other portions. Days took on a life of its own!
Soapdom: How much time do you put into your site?
Beth: Over the years, as work and other factors have changed in my life, the amount of time I've been able to dedicate to it has varied. Some evenings I might just catch up on site-related email for an hour or so, while other days I might spend several hours, updating sections of the site. I can't even fathom the number of hours that have gone into it in the last 8 years.
Soapdom: Is it a labor of love, or do you anticipate earning revenue from it?
Beth: It's always been a labor of love, but success and popularity of a website brings huge maintenance fees. Ordinary ISPs and web servers don't have the ability to support sites that get large volumes of traffic. I've dealt with many wonderfully understanding system administrators who have helped me in numerous ways, while there have been many others who just kept piling on the fees. Panic sets in when I get a message saying, "your site is generating too much traffic for us."
Revenue from the site has varied over the years, with my out of pockets costs sometimes far exceeding any revenue. These days, with the small ads on my site, I just about break even with the fees I pay and the ad revenue. However, that doesn't at all take into account the hours of time spent on the site.
Soapdom: What is your favorite thing about the site?
Beth: I love the amount of fan participation it generates. While huge chunks of the site were created from lists I have maintained, and information I have gathered over the years, numerous portions have been added due to information from other fans. In a single day, I might receive a song title that was unidentified, a list of "special items" for a couple like Belle and Shawn, or an entire page of ISA agents, their time in Salem, the cases they worked on, etc. Fans have gone above and beyond to help add to the site in so many ways. I love the constructive criticism that helps make it better! The visitors to my site are the ones who inspire me to keep it up and running.
Soapdom: What is your least favorite thing about the site?
Beth: I am subject to the same problem many authors (especially web authors) face. I unfortunately find huge portions of my site copied on other websites on a regular basis, with no credits or links to my site. While I obviously have no rights to the characters themselves or the storylines of Days, I have always felt that the endless hours put into my site, provide me with some simple rights. In my mind, the organization of the content and the words used by me to describe Salem and its citizens are my property, but at this point, there is little protection for authors of web content. Authors of well known books don't seem to recognize a problem in using a website for his/her research and then not crediting it as a source. So, it does bother me that my work is often uncredited.
Soapdom: If you had your wish, what would you like to see happen with your site?
Beth: I always hope that Days continues to be a popular soap and a huge part of people's lives. This will keep people coming to the site, as they seek additional information on one of their favorite shows. I also envision that if the time ever comes that I can no longer keep up with the site, I will be able to pass it on to an individual who will maintain the information online for future fans.
The actors and actresses, both past and present, whom I have been in contact with about my site, have been wonderfully appreciative. Their support of fans is well known, and I have certainly experienced it with my site. As for the show, I would love to see them figure out a way to take advantage of the large internet community. While they have tried to involve fans through storylines, such as voting for JT's father, I would like to see them partner with fans in communities such as message boards, and with website owners regarding show history.
I have gained a little local notoriety because of the site. For several years I have gone to the Salem Days Fest in Salem, Illinois. Each year, people are surprised to meet me, which I always find very interesting. I've won the trivia contest at the festival each of the last several years as well.
If you are a DOOL fan, or know someone who is, then I would encourage you to check out this site and tell your friends about it. Beth has done a fantastic job. Be sure to sign her 'Guestbook' while visiting and let her know just how wonderful her site is!
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