Spinning the Web 

Snowboard.com community continues to grow in leaps and bounds

It took a special cable car to get all the servers, routers and other assorted computer equipment up to Rick Godwin’s new cliff-top home in Alpine Meadows, and a team of Telus workers to reattach his fiber optic connection to their Internet backbone.

Now, according to Godwin, he has "the biggest, fattest, fastest fiber connection in the Sea to Sky Corridor."

Speed was of the essence because an online snowboard community of more than 200,000 users strong has come to depend on Godwin and his brainchild, Snowboard.com.

This weekend you might notice the Snowboard.com banners on the sidelines of the Ripzone Snowboard Invitational competitions, which are part of the 2002 Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival. Godwin was given the space in exchange for banner ads on his Web site and festival-related press releases to users of Snowboard.com’s free e-mail service.

For Godwin, the banners represent the next stage in the evolution of Snowboard.com. While he has been several times more successful in bringing traffic to his site than other snowboarding Web sites, he has yet to earn the recognition of the snowboarding industry itself. With the industry in town, Godwin is hoping that the message will finally get through.

"I’ve been to the (SnowSports Industries America) trade show in Vegas and shook hands with all the directors and marketers for snowboard companies, and basically they can’t believe the site is as busy as it is," says Godwin.

They really can’t. According to Godwin it would cost at least $15,000 U.S. for a professional audit to verify Snowboard.com’s user numbers. It would cost $50,000 to get a copy of the Nielson ratings that supposedly rank Snowboard.com on the top of a number of reports. It’s money that he doesn’t have. At least not yet.

And without those numbers, snowboard companies have been reluctant to advertise on the Web site.

"For me, the ultimate proof is to go to the site and talk to any of our members," he says.

Snowboard.com went online a year ago last November, and at this time last April it already boasted more than 80,000 registered members. The community of users has swelled to more than 235,000 since, growing by 100,000 in the last four months.

At any given time there are between 2,000 and 3,000 users logged on to Snowboard.com, says Godwin. There are 16,000 visitors each day, or 500,000 a month, logging more than 6 million page views.

Every registered user can access more than 4,000 photos, 1,000 video clips and 70,000 pages of content. They upload and download between 800 and 900 Gigabytes of information every month.

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