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The BigScreen Cinema Guide Turns 11



Check out our What's New page for a complete list of changes since 1995.

January 27th, 2006

2005 saw the celebrations of quite a few web sites turning 10 years old, and they nearly strained themselves patting themselves on the back for how long they have been on the web. For those of us web site publishers that were the true pioneers, the smoke from the candles was long gone and so was the cake. Alas, some of those early sites that I created are no longer online, or are being maintained by someone else now (my first such site done in October 1994, The Custard List, is still going strong), but my true labor of love came onto the scene right about this time in 1995.

The BigScreen Cinema Guide started out as "The Penguin Cinema Guide" but that caught the attention of a book publisher who thought I was trying to use their name to my benefit, and their lawyers gave me an early lesson in the "cease and desist" game that became very popular with many corporations in the late 90's and even to present day. Some battles are worth fighting, and some aren't, and thus The BigScreen Cinema Guide became the new name, and it continues to this day.

Back in the day, getting your own domain was a big deal. Thanks to a sharp-eyed friend, www.bigscreen.com became our new URL in 1996. Gone was the long URL that even had a ~ in it at one time, but we still see traffic coming in at those old addresses.

In 2000, we began offering movie tickets for sale online. What started as a novelty is now almost indispensable when it comes to getting tickets for opening weekend. Don't leave home without them!

In 2002, The BigScreen Cinema Guide released a unique option at the time, and that was a subscription-based level of access called VIP Service. For a low yearly fee, our readers could opt to block advertisements and enjoy great new features that enhanced the usefulness of the site.

The BigScreen Weekly newsletter was created in May of 2003, and I've lost count of just how many newsletters ago that really was. That was before anyone knew the word "blog" and to be honest, I still can't embace that term completely.

Over the years, the site has had to migrate onto bigger and better servers as its popularity increased. As we crossed the 300,000 monthly visitors and 2 million page views mark in 2004, it was apparent that a bigger and stronger server than ever was called for. In April of 2005, a new server went online and we haven't had a major downtime since. The new capacity opened up the site to more people like a river finally being able to flow over a dam, and we're continuing to grow in readership by leaps and bounds.

Many things have changed on the site, but the one thing that never changed was the attention to serving our readers with the best publication possible. So many other web sites have joined the party in displaying showtimes, but their attention to detail is no better than to all the other commodity information they provide. If one theater's showtimes are missing or incorrect, most of those sites are oblivious because they've got better things to do. We work with theaters to make sure that their information is up to date and accurate, and we put the pressure on those responsible when something is missing or inaccurate.

Another distinction that I am very proud of is that we read all the feedback E-Mail that is sent from our readers. Try to find a contact address on a portal sometime, and if you find one, don't hold your breath waiting for a reply. We've taken the suggestions we've received and turned them into features. We've listened when we've been berated for not being able to create a web site better than a five year old, but it's the constructive criticism we love best! Nothing gets my gears grinding more than to receive a well-worded feedback message pointing out a deficiency on the site...

When I saw "we" and "our" in my references to The BigScreen Cinema Guide, I am referring to the cast of people that I rely on for help, advice, and feedback whose assistance would be sorely missed if I were not so fortunate to be associated with them.

As The BigScreen Cinema Guide heads into its 12th year of publication, I would like to thank you for being a reader. After all, it's for you that this publication exists, and that goal is always at the forefront of what happens here. New features are being developed and/or in the planning stages. I hope to expand our coverage to more theaters, and my love for movies extends to home theater, so don't be surprised if you begin to see some features related to that as well.

Thanks again for reading The BigScreen Cinema Guide, and I look forward to continuing to serve you for at least another 11 years, and more!

Scott Jentsch

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