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The History Of DBSTalk.Com
By Chris Blount

“Okay, it’s time for another DBS forum.” Those were the words I uttered to myself just before creating DBSTalk.Com. It was something that had been in the back of my mind for many weeks but would finally become a reality on that June day of 2001. This is the story of how DBSTalk was born and how we have grown into one of the best DBS boards on the internet.

Ever since 1985, I had been participating in all kinds of discussion groups both through dial-up newsgroup readers and, in later years, using web based discussion forums just like this one. Some may remember my name from other online services such as Genie and E-Town. I was the guy lurking in the background and occasionally posting but always observing and learning the inner workings of moderating and administrating discussion forums. Without going into a complete history of my experience with the internet, let’s just say, I had learned enough to begin the DBSTalk journey. I had also owned Dish Network equipment since 1998 starting with a 4700 and then eventually migrating to the Dishplayer. I'm an electronics technician by trade and love tinkering with satellite systems which is why I bought and installed my own C-Band system in 1993.

June 22, 2001 was the day DBSTalk.Com was born. The reason was mainly because I felt it was time to open a new door to DBS discussion. Many of the other forums were highly moderated with very strict posting rules. I felt that with all of the different online forums, it was time for one to try taking a different track. A place where not only DBS can be discussed, but other related and non-related topics as well and in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere. Sure, the idea wasn’t new but if executed effectively, I felt it could work in new a better ways.

I immediately created an account on the EZBoard system and began the creation process. Since EZBoard was…well…easy, the basic board was up and running within a few hours. The basic structure was present and through the coming weeks and months, I would continually tweak on the systems settings until I had just the right look and feel I wanted.

The initial posting rules were also setup. The basic premise was low moderation and freedom of speech (within the rules of EZBoard of course). As with anything, some of the rules needed to be modified over time but the basic ideals pretty much stuck and still exist today.

Now I needed a name. For the first few days (and this isn’t too widely known), the name of this board was Everything DBS. After looking through several different available domain names, I decided to re-name the board to DBSTalk mainly because it was short and easy to remember. The name also pretty much tells what we do here. Simplicity in a name, I felt, was the best way to attract visitors. The DBSTalk.Com domain name was purchased on June 29, 2001.

Over the first month, things were pretty hectic. Many visitors came here from other forums to “test” the terms of use. There were some pretty nasty exchanges but I felt it necessary to leave well enough alone until everyone was finished "venting". Luckily, amidst the trash talk, there were many threads with some very valuable information. In about three weeks, I cleaned up the forums and deleted much of the offending threads that violated our terms of use. After that, more people started visiting and actively contributing constructive information.

With the sudden increase in visitorship, I decided to start bringing in moderators. Mark Lamutt was the first to come on board August 13, 2001. He had been a Dish Network customer for quite some time and was ready and willing to help me out. August 16, 2001 we saw Steve Jay Mehs come on board. He was a 16 year old high school student who is more knowledgeable about DBS than many others I have seen that are much older. He’s is also smart and was ready and willing to take on the role as a moderator. Scott Greczkowski also joined us at the same time as Steve. I had been reading Scott’s posts in other forums and was well aware of his qualifications to be a moderator and then eventually an administrator. Scott is well versed in DBS equipment and has a strong background in computers. He’s my right hand man for taking care of server issues and forum problems. Eventually, I upgraded all of the moderators to administrators because of the strong service and commitment they gave. I could tell we were well on our way.

As the months went on, DBSTalk gradually grew. By January 2002 we had close to 150 members with 2500 hits per-day. With the growth came a need for yet another moderator. John Corn joined us February 17, 2002. John was a relative newbie to DBS and internet discussion groups but was well versed in sports and has one heck of a way of coming up with topics to discuss especially in the Potpourri forum. The vote among the admins was unanimous for him to join the team.

By March 2002 we had reached critical mass. We had over 200 members with 5000 hits per day. I knew that we had a viable forum and felt we needed to move to the next level. EZBoard worked well for us but lacked the features required to be competitive with other discussion forums. We were also experiencing speed problems along with several other issues that got downright annoying. I researched many different BBS’s (Bulletin Board Systems) and decided to move to Vbulletin on our own server co-located at an ISP. In order for us to expand, we needed the speed, versatility and bandwidth.

The move was probably our best idea. Since then, we have seen an explosion in visitors to the site. Now we have over 500 members and average 120,000 hits per-day. That’s over 3 Million hits a month! Everyday we get several "guest" visits from Echostar, DirecTV, Starband and other high tech companies. We also see visitors from countries all over the world such as Canada, Mexico, England, Europe and Australia. With this explosion we immediately brought in another moderator. Neil Derryberry on April 25, 2002.

Well, that about covers our first year in existence. I would like to personally thank everyone for visiting DBSTalk, especially those who have donated funds. Without your financial support, DBSTalk would not be where it is today. We look forward to another year of growth and hopefully new frontiers. Thanks to all and see you on the forums!