Nine Years Old
PROGRESS REPORT BLOG
from Steve Dacri
January 28, 2009 - LAS VEGAS - Who would've thought I'd be sitting here, typing on this keyboard, and writing about this remarkable web site that began so many years ago. After 9 incredible years, we are still seeing an increase in the number of daily visitors and praise for this magical web portal continues to pour in.
It was actually 10 years ago when we bean to work of creating this web site, and so much has changed since those very early Internet days. At the time, people didn't really know what the Web was, did not have a clue about web sites and only a few had email addresses. We pushed forward, we introduced MWC to the world in 2000 and the rest, as they say...
It is interesting to read to words I wrote back in 2006, as it shows the progress we have made in building one of the largest magic web sites in the world.
I remained on board this long because I truly believe in this project and I can see from the response of our many thousands of weekly visitors that we provide a service that people like, and they use it. We are an information gathering hub, a magic PORTAL that will direct you to the places on the Internet where magic is presented. We keep you informed of the approved magic dealers where you can safely browse and buy some of the best in magic. We point out upcoming conventions and events and interviews with magic celebrities. Our Hall of Fame has grown and continues to grow as we add new pages to honor the greats of the Art of Magic.
And our Online Magic School continues to offer great courses that teach magic to all skill levels, and the growing number of students tells us that people like this feature as well.
As I always say, this is a work-in-progress that will never be finished. ANd the feedback we receive from our visitors is important to us. It shows us what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong, and it provides us with a direction as we continue to be a source for all things magic on the Web.
Thank you for stopping by. Don't stop telling us what you like or what you would enjoy seeing on this site.
A shout out to all my fellow members of the Panel of Magic Advisors for their support and guidance, and particularly to Tony Brook, our Founding member and the Director of International Operations for his tireless efforts to promote MWC and his great writing that appears throughout this site.
Onward and upward!
January 25, 2007
Funny, but I just read all of the stuff on this page, written on July 1, 2006, and it really says it all. Our progress has been considerable, This project continues to grow at a rapid pace, and with feedback from our visitors, we will continue to evolve and get better at offering information to the world, resources for magicians, magic enthusiasts, and every visitor that clicks in.
We strive for simplicity; we want you to be able to stop by on a regular basis, check out a schedule or list of events, read a few articles, buy something from us, or visit one of the many Approved Magic Dealers from around the world, visit the Magic Hall of Fame, read about the famous magicians from the past and present, and be gone.
Come back soon! And don't be shy...tell us what you like and what you don't like. We appreciate your feedback. We really do. You can email me directly here.
Today is July 1, 2006.
On July 1, 2000, this website went live as "hatsAndRabbits.com and I remember standing in the middle of the Kinko's off Trafalgar Square in London, with Jan, punching in the domain name and waiting for this new venture of ours to pop up on the screen. It seemed to take forever, and it probably did. Remember, this was 6 years ago. The Internet is amazingly young. The levels of development it has undergone in 6 years is staggering.
Finally, the movie played, and the landing page came up. Little did we know that this web address was going to enhance our lives as it has, and it continues...what a long strange trip it's been (sorry, couldn't resist the obvious reference and line)
We flew to Lisbon, Portugal that evening for the world introduction of the world's first magic portal. Less than a year prior to this, I must confess that I did not really know what a website was, and had no clue what a web portal was.
Yet, here we were, Jan and I, at the World Congress of Magic, otherwise known as FISM, in the gigantic convention hall, filming moments and magic tricks with many of the magicians who gathered there. We must have shot about 20 hours of performances, and many of those ended up on the pages of this magic web portal.
When asked to describe what hatsAndRabbits.com was, during a television interview in Lisbon, I said "it's a web portal. A channel. A Magic Web Channel. Jan and I looked at leach other and we realized how strong that sounded. A web channel devoted to all things magic. The magic web channel.
And the beat goes on.
Back then, most people did not even have an email address, and only a handful had a computer connected to the web. Now, most people have more than one email address and two or three computers. Life in 2000 could not exist without a fax machine handy, and the telephone. Today, life would be a lot less efficient without an Internet connection, and the average person has at least 2 telephone numbers in addition to an Internet connection.
In 2000 we had to convince people that the Internet was not a fad, that it was a really useful tool that was still it's infancy, and that the future will involve everyone on this planet becoming connected in myriads of ways. We had to urge people to consider getting themselves a computer that could be connected to the Internet and the value of establishing and selecting at least one email address.
Do you know of anyone in your life that does not have an email address? We know many. Some folks are just too set in their ways, and their age group did not grow up with the same exposure to computers, so they tend to not accept the web, and most have refused to learn anytihng about the web, which is a shame. We have made it one of our goals to help as many people as possible to learn enough about the Internet so they can take advantage of its full potential in every area of their lives.
POSTED March 22, 2005
It’s been five years since the magicwebchannel and hatsandrabbits.com were first introduced to the world, and a lot has changed in the Internet world since then, not to mention the changes that have happened on the planet.
When we first got the idea to create a web portal for the magic community, we were met with skepticism and doubt. I remember many people, magic dealers for one, who looked at me cross-eyed, as if the Internet was some sort of scheme or fad that did not require anything but a passing glance. My long-time friend, Tony Spina, who at the time was the owner of Tannen’s Magic in New York City, told me that the Internet was not ever going to be a money maker, and that there was no need to advertise on it. I tried to explain to him, and others, how important and huge the World Wide Web was going to be, and how people would eventually rely on the Internet for knowledge, entertainment and purchasing things.
It was an uphill battle. We spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to create the web portal that you are now reading this article on. Designs, pages, content, links, photos, contributors, graphics, and on and on…the main question I got when I spoke to people about the plan to create the greatest magic portal in the world…
Our primary goal has not changed. We wanted to create a place where people could go to find anything that pertained to magic. A portal is just that - a doorway into resources, a collection of links, articles, photos, news and views, shopping sources, clubs and organizations, shows, forums, and an ever-expanding listing of magic-related topics. As we enter our fifth year, magicwebchannel is still growing and evolving into a useful place, a central “portal” into all things magic. Be sure to read our goals and mission to see what we have been all about from the very beginning. .
I once said that this project was an ongoing exercise, one that would never really be finished. Based upon feedback from the magic world, and the ever-changing scope of the Internet itself, this site will continue to be enhanced and grow into a “must-visit” destination for anyone who is involved in, or merely interested in, the world of magic.
IN THE BEGINNING
After nearly twelve months of behind the scenes work back in 1998, we prepared to announce the project to the magic world, with a splashy introduction at the World Magic Congress (FISM) in July 2000 in Lisbon, Portugal. On July 1, 2000, the world’s first magic portal went “live”. I remember sitting at a computer in a Kinko’s in London, a few days before flying on to Lisbon, connecting to the Internet and looking at the site for the very first time. It was very exciting. It was also the beginning of a long, strange trip that we are still on.
FISM, we set up a large display booth in the exhibit hall, and arranged
to have a computer in the booth for people to check out our spiffy new
concept. We gave away literature and talked with magicians from all
over the world. We were the only booth not selling something, which
made us a curiosity to everyone who attended. We arranged a performance
area and invited magicians to present a magic trick or two for our cameras.
Many of the performances were wonderful, and the best ones were presented
on the Web, a fairly new concept at the time.
We also gave away collector’s souvenir magic wands, specially made for us in Los Angeles, to anyone who signed up for our free newsletter and gave us their email address (reently, one of these wands sold on eBay for fifty US Dollars!). That is when we saw how far we had to go.
Many people told us they did not have an email address, and many said that they saw no need for one. Others expressed doubt that the “email thing” would last, saying it was “just a fad”. Can you imagine that today? Admittedly, many do not use email even today, which is amazing to me, but then again, some folks do not even know how to turn a computer on. Some of the members of our Panel of Magic Advisors have to have their secretaries check their emails for them (I won’t name names here, but you all know who you are!).
Armed with feedback and a barrel full of names, we returned to California and began working to build the magicwebchannel (first named "hatsandrabbits.com") into a real live, working portal.
We have tried many things, and many ideas have failed, or disappeared from our pages. We have continued to add new topics, columns, and contributors. Some features have become more important than others, and some have turned out to be unnecessary. The Internet was once heralded as the ultimate medium, and although it has become much more important to millions of people, it is not the be-all-end-all that many predicted.
Shortly after the convention, the dot-com bust occurred.
were times when many companies sprang up, and millions of dollars were
being spent, and huge profits were realized. The so-called “dot-com”
boom came and went. Millionaires were created, and just as quickly,
many found themselves penniless as a result of the bust that followed.
It was during this peak and disaster period that our magic portal came
to be, and shortly after it was introduced in 2000, the bottom fell
out, and we lost a hefty sum of change. Our investors pulled out. We
were forced to re-evaluate things and make a decision to either cut
our losses and walk away, or re-group and try to survive. We chose to
stick with it. I am glad we did.
We went from a staff of ten full-timers, graphics designers, technical directors and programmers, plus a support group of ten part-timers, with a monthly burn rate of over $25,000, down to three people, almost over night. WHen the dust settled, we had spent over $150,000. Yikes.
I was forced to jump in and take over the work of the entire staff, with only a couple of helpers to carry the load and assist me in keeping the ship above water. I learned web design and programming out of necessity. My computer background saved us, and I began the task of keeping all of the balls up in the air, determined to make the magicwebchannel a viable web portal. It was not easy. It was a seventy hour work week for nearly a year.
We had a few advertisers, but not enough to pay the bills. My wife, Jan and I were forced to pay the bills ourselves. I slowed down to 60 hours a week for the next few months to get everything done. We had to scale down plans, eliminate some time-consuming features, such the Internet School of Magic, and shelve other ideas for the time being. The visitor count continued to go up, which was the only thing that kept us from walking away from this money-losing project. That, and the fact that many prominent people in the magic community believed in what we were doing, and as a result, supported our efforts from the very beginning.
The very first person to pledge support was Mark Wilson. He provided lots of feedback, and he believed (and continues to believe) in our ideas. He was followed by Milt Larsen, who suggested we set up a “Panel of Magic Advisors” to add credibility to our project, and as you can see from the list of people who signed on, we had the encouragement of the “Royalty of Magic” standing behind us. Gay Blackstone also joined in within days, and Walter Zaney Blaney jumped in. The list of Advisors shows the order in which they came on board. We continue to add others as well. Whenever we have an idea for a new feature, many of these people put their invaluable knowledge and advice forward. Without these generous individuals, magicwebchanel would not exist today.
we got to FISM 2000, many people offered their encouragement and support,
but none more than Tony Brook, who signed on as a founding
member and quickly accepted out offer to become the Director of International
Operations as well as a frequent contributor. We can’t thank Tony
enough for his continued work on behalf of magicwebchannel. Another
who aided us in those early times was Marvin Berglas.
Marvin continues to provide feedback, ideas, and advice on all aspects
of the magicwebchannel.
So, here we are in year five. I spend about twenty hours a week on magicwebchannel. Our webmaster, Karen, provides a lot of support, and a few part-time tech guys fill in the programming and graphics work. We are constantly looking for ways to enhance the site, and we have a lot of new features that will be popping up in the coming months. We have over 10,000 visitors a week, and we received hundreds of emails a month from visitors and contributors. The thing still doesn’t make any money to speak of, but it is growing and evolving to the point of breaking even, which is a very good thing.
We are evaluating a lot of the original ideas and features, such as the online school, performers directory and the Every Living Magician (ELM). We have decided to scale back our original goal of creating a listing of every living magician, as it has become too time consuming and, frankly, it does not make any money for us. Instead, our Performer’s Directory is about to pop up, which will provide a place for talent buyers to connect with quality magical entertainers worldwide.
The Internet Magic Hall of Fame is behind schedule, but still set to go. We have been working on the first inductees pages for over a year, and they will begin to appear in the next few months. Eventually, this feature will be a showcase for the world to see, a place where the world’s greatest magicians will be honored for their contributions and accomplishments.
The school is still a year away from happening. It will be an interactive learning experience, a place for magic enthusiasts to learn, and also a place for magicians of all skill levels to further their knowledge.
The most popular pages and features continue to be the weekly column, AbracaDacri, which pops up regularly, but not always every week. As I write this myself, I have to sometimes push it aside due to my other commitments as a writer, producer and performer, but I do my best to stay on top of it.
Another feature people comment a lot about is the GUIDE, which lists magic conventions and happenings, the best places to find magic resources, and important links to other magic web sites, and the “In Conversation With…” feature that Tony Brook so ably handles. We have also just started to update the NEWS feature. Instead of trying to keep up with every new thing happening in magic, we simply mention things that we feel are worthy, and add comments, gossip and rumors to the mix, just to make things interesting. Also, our MAGIC MALL is growing, and we will continue to add new products and services for magic enthusiasts all over the world.
are also very proud of our ongoing efforts to save the Endangered Cats
of our planet. We do this through articles and columns that increase
the awareness for saving these special creatures. We are funding the
production of a documentary entitled Vanishing
Cats and we will continue to report on the progress
of this exciting film. We are constantly adding new photos
and columns that feature the tigers, lions, snow leopards and other
big cats that we all love and want to see survive for generations to
come. We also support the very special place Big
Cat Rescue in Tampa, Florida. We applaud Carole Baskin,
Founder of this great place and urge people to visit and send donations.
The immediacy of the Internet allows us to scoop the magic publications, which often run two months behind in reporting magic happenings. We are proud to have been the first source for many magic events, and often find our articles and photos magically appearing in one or more of the magic magazines…a few examples: we were the first to report on the tragic Siegfried and Roy tiger attack, the magicians performing at the presidential Inaugural ball, the results of The Magic Circle elections, the identity of the S.A.M. president months before he was announced, the Magic Castle problems with one if it’s board members, the TG lawsuit, and many other important stories. We will continue to provide this service when we feel it is appropriate.
The most important asset we have is you, the reader. Without visitors to our site, we would be dead in the water. We continue to encourage your feedback. If you see something you like, tell us about it. And, if you see something that you do not like, we want to hear about that, too. And tell others to check us out.
The future is bright, the Internet is here to stay, and more and more people continue to rely on it for communication, learning, and entertainment. We hope more of you will “bookmark” this site and visit us on a regular basis, and take advantage of the many features we offer.
Disclaimer:The opinions expressed in this or any of our columns represent the opinions of the writers, and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Magic Web Channel or it's Esteemed Panel of Magic Advisors. (The lawyers made us say that.)
Main Store | Visit
Steve's Website |Contact
Buy Steve Dacri items
Contact our webmaster for any questions or problems with this site.
Copyright violators will be hunted down and locked into a locked room and forced to listen to Wayne Newton records while watching bad magicians on a large screen, over and over