Today the James Taylor Online web site celebrates 20 years online! JTO was inauspiciously launched February 21, 1994, and while many things have come and gone on the Internet since then, thankfully JT and his devoted fans have not. Whether you’ve been here from the beginning or found the site today, thank you so much for being a part of our little community.
— Joel Risberg, JTO Webmaster
As is customary on these special occasions, some beloved friends of JTO were kind enough to share their best wishes.
Sorry, the JT video is no longer available.
Congratulations, Joel Risberg, on the 20th anniversary of JTO! Thank you for the fun facts, the articles, the online chats, and the longtime support of James, and his band. Thanks also to Laura Stegman for the great interview, and to Joel for the online chats and for other assistance over the years. It’s meant a great deal to all of us who have worked with James for so long. And, finally…thanks so much to the fans! We hope you love us as much as we love you. Please come and see us on the road this summer, and keep checking in with JTO!
xxoo — Kate Markowitz
James Taylor Online has done quite a bit of growing up in 20 years. Below you’ll find a timeline of the site’s various incarnations and milestones. Much of the information within the archived pages is now outdated and many of the links are now non-functional, but with that in mind read on…
- November 17, 1993 – My simple Usenet posting gets the ball rolling for alt.music.james-taylor, a newsgroup focusing on James Taylor. Usenet is now mostly just a fond memory, but at the time it was the primary method of discussion on the net. I was an undergraduate at Florida State University at the time and the Internet was still largely populated by university students, researchers, and technology professionals.
- December 1993 – Discussion in the newsgroup grows steadily and I begin work on an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), which is the Usenet standard of collecting information with the idea that it will head off having the same questions asked over and over as new readers arrive. The first public version of the FAQ wasn’t much to look at.
- February 21, 1994 – The nascent world wide web is too much to resist, so I work up a none-too-impressive page about JT. The first version of James Taylor Online is announced via this Usenet posting. At the time the site is hosted in my student account at Florida State. See the archived version.
- June 1995 – A big fan of the web site HotWired (an offshoot of Wired magazine), I send them an unsolicited article about my experiences launching the JT newsgroup and web site. They like it enough to publish it and later hire me to write for their site.
- Early 1997 – JTO gets a seemingly Halloween-inspired redesign and navigation is moved to frames. See the archived version. It’s also around this time that the site moves to the domain name james-taylor.com, which I first borrowed from the original owner and later bought outright.
- May 1997 – The site gets its first web-based discussion forum.
- December 1997 – News is now front and center and the site logo gets its first holiday-themed makeover. See the archived version.
- January 1999 – The frames are gone, never to return. See the archived version
- April 1999 – The color scheme changes to black on white along with the now-ubiquitous JTO shade of red called firebrick. There’s also a new focus on shameless marketing of JT’s CDs and videos. See the archived version.
- March 2003 – The Forum gets a modern makeover.
- February 21, 2004 – JTO celebrates its 10th anniversary.
- June 2011 – The site’s popular Forum gets an upgrade from Ikonboard to the more modern phpBB system.
- December 2011 – JTO re-launches using the popular WordPress content management system, which offers loads of new features and replaces a hodge-podge of hacks and cobbled-together tools added to the site over the years. Around the same time the chat room is retired, but the venerable Forum remains.
February 21, 2014 – JTO celebrates its 20th anniversary. Thanks for being a part of it.