James Taylor Online 30th Anniversary 1

Today the James Taylor Online web site celebrates 30 years online!

JTO was inauspiciously launched February 21, 1994 as a simple page on the then-nascent World Wide Web, 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

A JTO Timeline

James Taylor Online has done quite a bit of growing up in three decades. 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 Much of the information within the archived pages is now outdated and many of the links are now non-functional, but with that in mind please read on.

  • November 17, 1993 – My simple Usenet posting gets the ball rolling for, a worldwide text-based 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 was 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, 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 featuring congratulatory videos from band members Arnold McCuller, Kate Markowitz, and JT himself.
  • February 21, 2024 – JTO celebrates its 30th anniversary. Thanks for being a part of it.

Leave a comment

One thought on “James Taylor Online 30th Anniversary

  • Cindy

    I love this forum even though it is obviated by the FB page, I guess. (I am not on FB, so wish this was still *the place*. Joel – I feel like it’s time to roll out the top 3 (or how ever many you prefer) online topics!!! I was not a member back in JTO’s heyday because I was too busy in a job. But it seems from reading some archived material you guys had a blast!