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
No Ordinary Love: The Sonny & Carly Site
Stace Wakefield, Webmaster
No Ordinary Love: The Sonny & Carly Site, affectionately known as NOL, is a wonderful website dedicated to General Hospital's Sonny and Carly (played perfectly by Maurice Benard and Tamara Braun).
Stace Wakefield is the site's owner, although she quickly assured me that she couldn't do without a dedicated and talented staff.
“Our site designer and my Administrator Camilla and I couldn't run NOL without help from our moderators and designers,” Stace shares with Soapdom. “Lesley did our original main page banner and site design. Lily is an amazing help with code and updates and just completed a huge project of implementing our redesigned site and banner. Our moderators -- Cat, Jann, Lesley, Cathy, Manon and Megan -- have the patience of saints during this time when Sonny and Carly are going through hell. Our site is a "bash free zone" and when tempers are running high, it's a full time job moderating to keep the board fun, polite and decent. We couldn't exist without them.”
Stace graciously took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few more questions for us here at Soapdom.com.
Soapdom: What inspired you to create this site?
Stace: No Ordinary Love (NOL) was created to give Sonny and Carly fans a safe haven to share thoughts and information on this dynamic General Hospital super couple.
Unfortunately, many of the consolidated General Hospital message boards are nothing short of war zones where fan bases snipe at one another day in and out. We wanted to create a place for dialogue in a respectful, non-hostile environment.
The initial website and message board was created at breakneck speed to coincide with the closing of the wonderful website WickedGames, which was our fan base’s home base for two years. Since the NOL launch, we have expanded the features of both the website and message board to continue to meet the growing demands of the Sonny and Carly fan base.
Soapdom: How much time do you put into it?
Stace: Between all of the volunteers working on the website, it’s probably equal to about three full time jobs. Luckily, we have some of the most dedicated fans in the soap world and everyone pitches in when they have time and thoughts to offer.
Soapdom: Is this a labor of love or do you anticipate earning revenue from it?
Stace: It is a complete labor of love for all of us at NOL. We really want to avoid the commercialization of the site and keep it run by the fans for the fans. The website is financially supported by generous donations from our site members.
Soapdom: How long has your site been running?
Stace: The website launched in May of 2003 and has generated more traffic than we ever imagined (over 1 million hits a day). We currently have close to 5,000 members and it grows tremendously daily!
Soapdom: What is your favorite thing about the site?
Stace: Like most of our NOL members, I think I spend too much time on our message board. Since we launched our new features expanded message board in August, we’ve had over 350,000 posts on topics relating to everything from your favorite Sonny and Carly scenes to chatter about American Idol. It’s a great worldwide water cooler where we can gather to discuss the day’s show and upcoming plot twists.
Soapdom: What is your least favorite thing about the site?
Stace: Like every other webmaster, it’s the maintenance. It takes a lot of time to make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed – everything from updating the home page to making sure all server issues are resolved.
Soapdom: Do you have any anecdotal stories to share with us about something that happened to you as a result of running this site?
Stace: The funniest thing that happened since the message boards launched involves my family. My family knows that I watch the show, but had no idea I started the website. My sister is an occasional General Hospital viewer who fell in love with Sonny and Carly. She was surfing the web and found NOL during a search. She started posting with the group and about a month later she realized that her sister was running the website. She sent me a private message asking if it was me and we had a great laugh.
Soapdom: If you had your wish, what would you like to see happen with your site?
Stace: I really don’t know how it could get any better than it is right now! We are excited, and still a little overwhelmed, by the incredible response of the Sonny and Carly fans in making NOL their home.
In the future, I hope we’ll be able to add more volunteer writers and reporters to the main website to cover the wonderful love story of Sonny and Carly.
Soapdom: Do you have any comments you like to share with the actors your site honors?
I know our whole entire fan base feels honored to have actors of the caliber of Maurice Benard and Tamara Braun portraying the emotionally complex characters of Sonny and Carly Corinthos. Maurice and Tamara bring depth, charisma and passion to their characters daily and the storyline would not be the same without them. I would also like to thank them personally for the nuances and personal investment they put into every scene of this great love story.
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