A timeline full of truimph, defeat, and well... SpongeBob
The prequel- It all started in the summer of '01. I was
bored out of my mind, so I figured that I might as well make something productive,
like a website. So, I started learning a little bit of html. When school started,
I found out about... Blah blah blah. I'll cut to the chase. In February 02,
I had to make a website for a school project, so I figured that I would make
one about everyone's favorite sponge, SpongeBob. It ended up being called
Pineapple Under the Sea. If Falco gets to work, I might be able to put up
that website just to show you how far things (like my sanity) have come since
then. When the project was over, I figured that I might as well continue with
a site since at the time, there wasnt one good SpongeBob site around. I found
out that Pineapple Under the Sea was already the name of another site, so
after seconds of extensive thought, Sponge Zone was the best choice.
4-6-02- A legend is born. The first public edition of Sponge Zone
was released. It was also the first day that I registered spongezone.tk, which
hundreds of people still come through every day. The site was first hosted
at Freewebz, and theres still an old copy of it there. I think there was a
grand total of one image when the site came out, and here it is:
I bet you're glad I got better with Photoshop. For the first
weeks, I was borrowing pictures from nick.com like every other SpongeBob site.
In what was probably the biggest improvement ever in Sponge Zone, I figured
out how to get screen shots off the DVD at the end of the month. It took around
15 minutes or more to get each individual picture then. Now, it takes around
30 seconds. Oddly, the video game section was my biggest priority then, because
no other site had one.
5-02- I started working more on pictures during this
month. Sponge Zone's hits suddenly exploded on the 26th, I still don't know
why. But instead of my usual 50 visitors a day, I started getting 1,000 visitors
a day, which is what I'm still getting even now. Disaster struck for the first
of many times at the end of the month. I had massively exceeded the bandwidth
that Freewebz allowed, so my site was suspended. The search for a new host
began. I tried out Geocities, but I exceed my bandwidth there within the first
6-02- After two more unsuccessful hosts, I was getting
desperate. Suddenly, I came across a little site called Web1000. No ads, unlimited
bandwidth, plenty of space; It seemed too good to be true, because it wasn't
true (you'll see why later on in this story). Interestingly, on 6-14-02, I
updated with info about a SpongeBob chatroom. It's the same one that is now
being used on this very website. The rest of the month ended without anything
7-02- Early in the month, I continued with updating all
of the sections. I forgot to mention the people that helped me in the early
months of the site. Falco (He gave me a lot of merchandise pics, and helped
me make some important decisions), Marshall (Did a lot of the same stuff that
Falco did), and DoomBringer (All you people who have been coming to the site
for a long time might remember his work with the Video Games section) were
the main ones who helped out. I started making video clips that month, which
will continue to be a major feature in the future. on 7-29-02, 2 great things
happened. I reached 75,000 hits, and I created an animated banner that eventually
led to the current layout:
8-02- At the end of the month, I had to leave my surrounding
in Pennsylvania, to move to a new and different place. Connecticut.
9-02- This was a crazy month. The first guided tour popped
up then. Also, I first hinted about a big surprise that was coming. I said
would only take a few days to complete, but it kept getting delayed farther
and farther because of my lazy friend. It eventually became SpongeZone 2003
when I decided to make it for myself instead of waiting. Later that month,
I reached 200,000 hits.
10-02- At the end of the month, I got hosted on my school's
server thanks to my great buddy, Compbrain. I should have taken his advice
then and switched completely to the new server when I had the chance. But,
I had to learn it the hard way. You'll see why later, in the climax of this
11-02- I got DSL during the month! It effected the site
in many small ways. There was just more of the regular updating during the
12-02- The month ended happily, with more updates in
1-03- And just when you think everything is fine and
dandy, it all goes downhill. Around midnight on New Year's Eve, Web1000 shut
down my site due to "Copyright Infringement" as far as I know, I
never infringed on any copyrights. I'll never stop hateing Web1000. It's time
to tell the true story of what happened during those few dark days. It's a
story that hasn't been told before. My website was down, and there was nothing
I could do about it. If I tried to re-sign up for my website, It would have
been "the crime of theft of service and appropriate law enforcement reporting
will be made." So, I had no choice but to move fully to spongezone.shacknet.nu,
which was hosted on the school server, and I redirected spongezone.tk to that.
It would have all been fine, except for one major detail. Thousands of people
visited directly through spongezone.reallyrules.com, and there were dozens
of search engine posts and links to it. The people visiting wouldn't know
how to get to Sponge Zone. The real problem started 48 hours later. Instead
of leaving up the "Spongezone.reallyrules.com is closed" message
up permanently, It was replaced by a huge advertisement with numerous pop-ups.
So? Whats the big deal? Well, this wasn't a regular ad, it was a p*rn site.
Yes, that. The people at Web1000 disgust me. Instead of seeing a friendly
SpongeBob site, hundreds and maybe thousands of innocent children saw something
they should not have. The situation was terrible. I probably lost thousands
of visitors permanently because of the morons at Web1000. But for the second
of many times, Compbrain came to the rescue. He registered spongezone.reallyrules.com
under his own name, and set it to redirect automatically to the site at school.
Thanks to him, thousands more didn't see the debauchery of Web1000. Things
went back to normal afterwards. I started churning away at Sponge Zone 2003.
On 1-10-03, The new Sponge Zone was created. One of the main reasons was to
separate myself from the whole Web1000 incident. The second main reason was
because I didn't want SpongeBob Online to surpass my site in graphics with
its new layout. The final reason was because frankly, the old Sponge Zone
looked like crap. On 1-22-03, Sponge Zone 2003 was completed with the purchase
of a domain name, www.spongezone.net. The school had a few network problems
at the end of the month, but due to Compbrain's help again, the site stayed
up by being hosted on my linux computer at home.
2-03- The school server died in the middle of the month,
so the site was on my box at home again for about 10 days. Other than that,
It was a pretty normal month.
3-03- For the first time, someone other than me posted
news on Sponge Zone. Compbrain became the assistant editor/technical dude
of the site. Also that month, the chat feature was launched. It is currently
my favorite feature, and it will continue to be important in the future. Another
new item for that month was a video game created by me. There will certainly
be more of those later.
4-03- Sponge Zone turns one year old, and you start
reading this page. I spent most of the month attempting to make SpongeBob
Volleyball a playable game. Of course, there was also the classic April
Fools Day Joke at the beginning of the month. I'm pretty sure that joke
made half of my usual visitors leave. ;-)
5-03- Project Larry begins... and ends! Falco and I
spent hours getting the trivia bot up, and because of it, people finally
used the chat on a regular basis. Within a week, I banned myself from playing
trivia(nobody else could score while I was playing)... At about the same
time, the trolls that live inside of every server and deliver webpages to
you decided to go on strike. Of course, common sense states that anything
that could possibly go wrong will go wrong, so the site was down for a short
while. Near the end of the month, SpongeBob Volleyball was finally finished.
It's still madly buggy, but it was playable.
6-03- Another great project begins; this time it's
the forums. A webmasters work is never done... We switched to a new server
about halfway through the month. Just like usual, there were problems, but
Compbrain used his magical computer skills to fix them. With the new server
up, it was finally time to add what would become the most important part
of the site: the forums!
7-03- The forums finally go up!!! They became more
successful than I imagined. There were over 50 members by the end of the
first week. There were over 100 by the end of the month.
8-03- Other than a few new SpongeBob SuperPants games,
the month was pretty ordinary (if there is such a thing at the Sponge Zone...)
School started again, so the site slowed down a little.
9-03- I began to work on the SpongeBob RPG... which
I will probably never finish. It was a fairly normal month, with the regular
server downtimes and database errors...
10-03- There was the first giveaway/contest. I plan
on having more in the future after I pay off my hosting costs...
11-03- The school finally decided to kick me off of
thier webserver. I was using over 200 gigs a month, which was about 100
times more than the school site was using... I needed hosting quickly, so
I moved to 1and1 for a short while. The problem was that they only gave
5 gigs of bandwidth a month... which is how much the Sponge Zone used on
an average day. I had to put up a temporary site that had basically nothing
on it. I spent about a week trying to find reasonable hosting. It was difficult,
because at most places, 200 gigs a month would cost around $200 a month.
There is no way I could afford that, or any hosting for that matter. The
only thing I could do was put putting advertising on the site and buying
the best hosting I could afford. I ended up with Lunarpages.com, which has
been really speedy and reliable. By the end of the month, the site was completely
back to normal. Hannahbal became the first member to become a moderator.
12-03- The great moderator election!!! You, the visitor,
finally got a say in how the Sponge Zone was run. Mermaidman and SizzlinSean
were elected, and later promoted to Global Mods.
1-04- Another new year... Instead of making a completely
new layout like I did in 2003, I just made a new banner. Later in the year,
the SpongePants Maze series of games was released.
2-04- An eerily normal month. Nothing of importance
happened... except for nearly running out of bandwidth at the end of the
3-04- More bandwidth issues... Compbrain wrote an anti-hotlinking
script to stop the rampant theft of SpongeZone images. By the end of the
month, we were only 500 megabytes away from hitting the montly limit.
4-04- The SpongeZone went through a crazy PlantonZone April Fools Joke, it's second (and forgotten) birthday, and not much else that month. There was little SpongeBob News to go around, as this was during the dry period of the extended Season 3.
5-04- If I'm not mistaken, the last time I updated the links section was that month... Anyway, it was a decent month for Video Game news, as E3 happened then. And... AlbinoJoker became the thousandth member of the SpongeZone Forums, after less then 11 months of it's existance.
6-04- To commemorate the forums hitting a cool grand of members, I created the 1000 Members skin, which is still the default today. At the end of the month, the day for forums turned a year old, inspired by thoughts of unity and world peace, I made an offer to the admins of SpongeBobCrazy and The SquareBoard for a full merger, creating one giant SpongeBob community. Later that day, after hours of negotiations, the deal fell through. I decided to make Miles an admin and IZ a Gmod around then.
7-04- July was a reasonably quiet month, and it was when I attempted to start the first SpongeBob Wiki (which ultimately failed as well).
8-04- The Chat/Trivia sessions made a return that month, after a contest provided us with over 400 questions. After weeks of on and off negotiations and some internal conflicts at SpongeBobCrazy, the merger was back on. By the end of the month, I was tired of repeatedly running out of bandwidth so Frawls and I planned to get a dedicated server, which the site is now running on.
9-04- The merger finally occured on September 4th, creating United SpongeBob. The skins were moved over soon after. The forums hit 100,000 posts around then. By the end of the month, the site moved to the new server, allievating bandwidth issues once and for all. During the month, Viacom officially announced the existance of Season 4 of SpongeBob, with 20 episodes planned.
10-04- We spent most of the month fixing problems that came from moving the site to a new server. Frawley (partiallynothing) came to help (and destroy) that month as well.
11-04- Some random fool decided to attack the site at the beginning of the month. I'm still not sure why... Anyway, obviously, the greatest thing to occur in November was the release of the SpongeBob Movie! Overhyped? Never. It was well worth the wait. The SpongeBob Crime Wave began that month, with dozens of giant inflatable SpongeBob disappearing from Burger King rooftops nationwide.
12-04- We finally upgraded the forums to IPB 2.0, which yet again led to dozens of problems. At the end of the month, IZ and I decided to merge the rest of SpongeZone and SpongeBobCrazy, to create a full United SpongeBob. For my birthday, my friends baked me a SpongeBob Cake! :)
1-05- Just like every year, I created a new layout. This once, for the first time, was for United SpongeBob and not The SpongeZone. Although the sites are still not all that much merged, The Sponge Zone doesn't exist anymore. At the end of the month, a new SpongeBob controversy began, relating to the AFA and the We Are Family campaign.
2-05- My main goal for the month of February was to bring the Video Games section back to life and up to date. For now, that goal has been achieved. At the end of the month, I annouced that we would be creating the one main thing the site has always been missing: an episode guide.
3-05- During the month of March, the SpongeBob Movie came out on DVD, we hired three new moderators, and the episode guide came closer to completion. IZ created a forum skin based off of the new USB layout, titled "USB". We also started the regular feature of Threads of the Week.
4-05- The Sponge Zone turns 3, and you start reading this...
The Future- We've come a long way, but there is still much to do. As long as there are still SpongeBob fans out there, I will keep United SpongeBob running. In the next year, I plan on completing the Episode Guide and overhauling the Multimedia section. I'm going to be spending much of my time working on other websites, but this one will always be the most important to me.