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History of TheSamba.com
Detailed Site History
|The first incarnation of TheSamba.com, called "The
Type II and Type III Experience", was born on April 7th, 1997 because
Everett couldn't find any VW sites on the Internet that continuously updated
their content. Originally conceived to display pictures of his own cars
and from the many California VW shows he had attended over the years, Everett added
the literature page about a week later. By the end of April, the site
included a Facts page, What's New, photo categories, and the "Transporter
In the months that followed, Everett enhanced the site by adding his favorite links and a classifieds page for "parts he had lying around". The site grew rapidly because there was so much technical data, literature, and photos to be added. A few people also began contributing their own photos and information to the site .
On July 9, 1997, Everett changed the name of the site to "VW Planet". Some of the new features added in 1997 included a "free services" page, a Guestbook, and the Feedback page. Everett next added a lot of Type 3 technical info and photos, the "Art" page and the search function. By the end of 1997, he had automated the Classifieds and included a search function. By now, the site had a relatively large following because of the free Classifieds, wealth of photos, and technical information.
Everett continued to improve the site throughout 1998 by adding sections for Shows, Extras and the FAQ. May 1998 saw the addition of a new Classifieds engine, making placing ads much faster. With a new name, a tribute to his beloved dog, TheSamba.com came into its own on September 23, 1998.
Throughout 1999, Everett added content and improved the site. In February, he modified the Classifieds to display 25 ads per page, making loading faster. In July, he had to split the Photo ads into categories - Type 1, Type 2, etc... 1999 also saw the addition of the Postcards page, and several internal changes to speed up performance and further automate the site.
In 2000, the Literature section was re-organized by year, the Forums were introduced in March followed shortly by the Gallery in April. In July, Everett set his current email address. In August, he added a general site search and the ability to search the Classifieds by location. In November, TheSamba.com began accepting banner ads for VW-related advertisers.
TheSamba.com had a growing visitor base by 2001, with new content added daily. By September, Everett had to add pagination to the Classifieds photo ad summary listings, and new features including Polls, Chat, and the Newsletter were created. He continued to make various upgrades to the Classifieds and Gallery throughout 2001 and 2002.
Fall of 2002 brought huge changes to TheSamba.com, Everett re-formatted to entire site, removing frames and making navigation more intuitive. The first Samba Shirts and Stickers became available featuring the new TS logo. He also added new sections for Clubs and the Dictionary. September saw the introduction of the alerts feature in the Classifieds. In December he allowed sellers to Feature their ads on the Home Page to increase visibility. Also in 2002, the site web servers were upgraded to handle the increased bandwidth needs.
The site improved almost daily during the end of 2002 and early 2003. In February, the Clubs page was fully automated, a new Business directory was added in March, and that same month, Everett added the Featured Ads at the top of the categories in Classifieds. TheSamba.com was reviewed in the February, 2003 issue of VolksWorld Magazine and received the top rating of 5. That same month, Hot VWs mentioned the site as the place to visit for VW Classifieds on the Internet.
Everett compacted the Classifieds layout in April 2003, to more easily accommodate the over 60 new ads per day. Everett was interviewed for the March 2003 issue of NEATO's Old Bus Review newsletter about TheSamba.com's impact on the VW scene.
Major updates followed with a new version of the site FAQ and a new
full-screen Home Page layout in June. Everett added a new Chat in July, 2003,
and a faster Gallery search and new Forums format in August. There were also
major contributions to the Dictionary, main page Facts, and Literature Archives.
November 2003 was a dynamic month for the Samba. Everett added a zip code search
function to the Classifieds, in response to several requests from site visitors.
The first official limited edition Samba Poster (in a planned series) arrived
November 11, 2003, and sold out in 8 days.
In January 2004, Everett made some changes to the Classifieds section to increase
speed, and in February, TheSamba.com was moved to it's current server. In
March, Everett added the "Map-it" function in the Classifieds and upgraded the
Gallery to a new format to increase speed. We increased the Samba Shirt
selection to include pocket T's, long sleeved, and a wider range of sizes and
colors. In April 2004 we simplified the Home Page and Everett released the new Classifieds. Although almost
identical in appearance, the speed was dramatically improved. Now, users
must be logged in to place Classified ads or upload Gallery photos. Everett also added a Canadian Province search and allowed for multiple
State/Province searches. TheSamba.com was awarded Best Air-cooled VW
Website in the 2003 VW Trends Awards; the article appears in the June 2004