Thursday, July 28, 2005

Online Presence

For the better part of a decade, I've had a couple of web pages floating around on the web. One was a page dedicated to the UPN program "Legend," which aired for all of 12 episodes in 1995. Although I can say with some pride that it was the foremost site of its kind on the web (there were actually a few others), I took it down a few years ago.

The other was a page that started out as an archive for Transformers Action Masters Power Plans. For the uninitiated, "Action Masters" was the name given to a group of some of the very last Transformers toys created for the original line back in 1990. These were intended to be action-figure-sized representations of classic (and some new) characters, with transforming weapons and/or vehicles. The figures themselves did not transform. That's right, Action Masters were Transformers that did not transform. Although there was an explanation for this in the related fiction, this concept was heavily derided by many Transformers fans at the time (and since). But I've always liked them anyway, and they make up a disproportionally large part of my collection. The Power Plans were little charts that came on the back of the Action Master packages, detailing supposed technical components and their locations. These are not to be confused with "Tech Specs," which also provided bio information. Tech Specs have been extensively archived elsewhere on the web, but to the best of my knowledge, no other resource has existed, before or since, that covers these bits of Transformers documentation.

As the site continued to exist over the years, I had to move it to different servers from time to time and, to keep myself interested, I eventually expanded the site. This covered mostly two areas: 1) Custom Tech Specs for characters or toys not created by Hasbro; 2) Custom Action Master Power Plans, again for characters or toys not created by Hasbro.

In more recent times, I also attempted to start an archive for non-G1 package art. (There is already a nearly-complete G1 package art site, and I saw no need to compete with such a reliable resource.) But that's when I started to realize: I had no viable means of collecting anything like a complete set of any subset of Transformers art on my limited budget. Nor did I feel it was ethically acceptable to copy art from other people's Transformers pages without their knowledge (and it would definitely have been more work than I wanted to get into to ask so many disparate people for permission, assuming I could locate sources).

(Incidentally, one might note that Hasbro, of course, owns the copyright to such images anyway. They've made their position reasonably clear that they are willing to "turn a blind eye" to this kind of archival activity, as it really does them no harm, and in fact aids in publicity for their toy line. While it might be illegal in the most technical sense of the term, I find this ethically acceptable, since the copyright owners have indicated their tacit permission.)

I also am painfully aware that very few people are even aware of my site. And those that have been aware of it in the past have little reason to keep dropping in, because there really hasn't been much change there in a long time. While there are probably even fewer people aware of this site, it at least has the advantage of being updated on a regular basis, which keeps things interesting, for me as much as for the potential reader.

And that's what this has really been about for me: maintaining those other web pages simply hasn't been interesting enough for me to care about maintaining them. I can better use the bandwidth for the occasional picture or file that I might want to link through this site, which I intend to be my main online presence for the forseeable future. If anyone is reading this who still cares enough to want any of the old files, they can post a comment to this thread. I still have all the files, and can probably find what you need pretty quickly.

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