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The Revival of Anipike

by Jonathan Mays,
Anime News Network has completed an interview with Anime Web Turnpike's management regarding their past obstacles and future aspirations.

ANN: Could you briefly summarize Anipike's history for those who are unfamiliar with the site?

Anipike: The Anime Web Turnpike™ was founded in August of 1995 by Jay Harvey as a project to provide a place where everyone could find Anime and manga links. Now one of the Anime web hub sites, the Turnpike is currently the largest organized collection of Anime and manga related links anywhere on the Internet--with well over 40,000 links.

ANN: How did the current ownership come to possess Anipike?

Anipike: In 2000, Anime Broadcasting Network, Inc. acquired the site with plans to carry out some of enhancements that had always been planned for Anipike.

ANN: How difficult has the transition process been for the site?

Anipike: The transition has taken time for several reasons. Getting a grasp of all the economies of scale and changes on the Internet in the past two years has been immense. Many ISP's and free host providers are either gone or have changed their policies, causing many sites to go offline.

Caught in the middle of all of this is Anipike. When we were starting to get into a good groove, we were hit by six viruses in a row (thanks to some of the user emails), along with three back-to-back machine failures courtesy of IBM. We decided to let things settle and use the time to investigate and hunt for new tools that would allow us to work more efficiently.

ANN: What is Anipike's current status?

Anipike: Anipike is carrying forward its plans to enhance the user experience and, at the same time, create tools that will allow for companies to promote new Anime releases and products to the largest audience on the web.

ANN: What kind of content do you intend to add to Anipike?

Anipike: We will have some of your standard fare reviews and columns. But we will also work with the strengths and weaknesses of our contributors and try to develop a style and tone that are unique to Anipike. We want to be fun, informative, and thorough. As is the case when you start even a magazine, everything has been done before, so it becomes about consistency, reliability, and longevity. Many sites have come and gone, yet Anipike is still here. Anipike also is a much bigger audience to reach, with well over 1.76 million unique visitors each month.

While we would like to feature news, there are sites that do it well enough. A tie-in would be nice. We now get many inquiries from Japan and other places about Anime and other things, so it would be interesting for us to tie up with a news site to create the ultimate fan/pro/industry information hub.

ANN: How are you assembling the staff to achieve this?

Anipike: First, we will reach out to the community itself. We have always received many of emails from people who wanted to contribute. Because many of the aforementioned sites have closed, Anipike can become a permanent home for those reviews and articles. We anticipate that having everything in place and running optimized will take from the end of March until summer. We will test and try some things in an attempt to create better systems and processes.

ANN: Recently, the site began accepting link submissions again. How is it progressing?

Anipike: Ironically, we never stopped taking new links. People found new ways to submit sites to us (they were breaking the rules), and we were spending a lot of time trying to weed out the dead links. The rate at which some of these sites turn up dead is amusing. We now weed out even the newly reported links! From Friday to Monday, 1-2% of the new link submissions show up as dead sites. It's becoming absurd.

This is one of the events that have forced us to seek new tools.

ANN: In what ways will these "new tools" help the site?

Anipike: With the new software, Anipike should be able to take new links on a daily basis. We will still validate the links, but since we will no longer need to add them manually, the entire process should be much more efficient.

ANN: Are you planning any special projects in the near future?

Anipike: Yes, we intend to showcase some new unreleased Anime on Anipike. And a few other things will develop in 2003. Anipike once held the largest fan prize giveaway ($2000) in 1996. We have a $10,000 contest planned for this summer.

ANN: What do you believe will be Anipike's role in the Anime community a year from now?

Anipike: We hope the fans who have abandoned Anipike will return. And we hope Anipike continues to be a place that can educate and inform new fans. We will make every effort we can to embrace the community back. Please continue to support Anipike; we are trying our best to do what is right for Anime fans worldwide.

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