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Major milestones in the Nikonians history

The First Name. Around Christmas 1999, the founders ended up registering various domain names which they liked and which had a "strong community flavor" to them. It was decided to start with nikonia.com: A substantive, a name for a region or home for Nikon users.  
Nikonia

Planning and the Alpha Version. Early January 2000, the first or "alpha" version of the site was up and running, though not accessible by the public. Already knowing that they wanted a community with good features for ambitious photographers, they were not into making yet another mailing list, but rather to use the web in "all it's nuances" and some time was spent planning for that, with a not-for-profit orientation.

The Beta Version and Final Name. By the end of February 2000, they started to invite beta users to the site, still not public. Around this time, it was also decided to change the main domain name to nikonians.com, after its members -who are Nikonians- and stressing the concept of being a community. Exceptional guys like Alan Clifton, Doug Dever and Victor F. Newman are the very first Beta users. Nikonians is then made our trademark.
 
Nikonians

Beta Tests and Funding. Between February and April 2000, a total of 28 Beta users help out evaluating the platform, providing ideas and reporting bugs. The founders provided funding for operations and for the $10,000 USD photo contest.

The Beta team were really a great support; without them the platform would not be what it is today. Here's a fairly typical answer from one of them as he got invited as a Beta user: "I'm a serious amateur/sometime pro who's used Nikon gear since the early '70's. ... I'm happy to be involved in the Beta testing and quite excited about the potential here."

Nikonians opens. On April 30th 2000, Nikonians officially goes public.

The First Photo Contest. On February 2001, the finals for the 2000-2001 photo contest take place and the winner is Lassi Tolvanen from Helsinki, Finland. Lassi receives some great Nikon equipment from the founders, worth over USD 10,000.

First Anniversary. In April 2001 the first anniversary is celebrated with some 2,600 members.

First Servers Upgrade. The community grows fast. By August 25, 2001 we reached 5,000 members and the first server is getting too small. It becomes one of the communities main problems throughout late 2001 and the server cannot take the load of the traffic. Many users are experiencing server errors. A move to a new server is planned for late Q3 2001, but due to the heavy workload of the administrators, the move is conducted in January 2002.

Bo and JRP meet in person and First ANPAT. In October 2001, 10 Nikonians meet for a week in the Great Smoky Mountains in South Tennessee and North Carolina for a photo trip and decided to make it a tradition: the Annual Nikonians Photo Adventure Trip (ANPAT). Doug Dever and Bryan (Duck) Duckett are the hosts and guides. This is the first time Bo and JRP meet in person.

Silver Donors program instated. Throughout 2002 the community grows at a high pace and so its costs. In June 2002, the Silver Donor program is instated at the request of many faithful members wanting to help out with operations costs, meanwhile reaching a significant sum, funded in full by the founders.    

Second ANPAT. In October 2002, over 20 Nikonians meet for a week in Moab for the Utah and Arizona photo trip, led by BJ Nichols and his wife Lori, resulting in a commemorative CD-ROM for the 2nd ANPAT.

By the end of the year, in December 2002, 32 months after the official start the community has over 11,800 registered members from 97 nations and many times that number of unregistered readers ("lurkers"). Nikonians has become a reliable resource, with the richest content on Nikon equipment on the Internet and of photography in general, being quoted as a reference all over the web and more than frequently for its friendliness.

The Marketing Team. January 2003, the Nikonians Marketing Team is created to further spread the word about Nikonians.

Third ANPAT. In mid September 2003, over 20 Nikonians meet for a week at the Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba, Canada for the 3th of the now Annual Nikonians Photo Adventure Trip, resulting in a CD-ROM for the 3rd ANPAT. Chris Gray and his wife Glenda are our hosts.

The Resources and consolidation of the Nikonians reputation. By November 2003, a good number of articles, guides and how-to's have been written and placed online. Meanwhile 15,000 members from over 100 nations represented at Nikonians and a strong team of 30 ambitious photographers are making it run, 24 hours a day. Another 165,000 unique visitors are digesting the resources at Nikonians every month. The success is based on the team of international photographers from countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, The Netherlands, Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, UK and the USA

First European Meet. December 6th 2003, 40 Nikonians meet in Brussels for a one day event, sponsored by Nikon Belgium and Apple Belgium.

The First eZine. In December 26, 2003, the first eZine (electronic magazine) comes out as edition number 25 of THE NIKONIAN, the newsletter of the community, in Adobe pdf file format, free of charge for over 7000 subscribers then.   Nikonian eZine #25

 

New Membership Levels added. Also in late december 2003, New membership levels Gold and Platinum are introduced. Then current silver donors automatically received Silver membership for a full extra year and their own gallery for free, as a way of saying thank you for their early support to the community.   Gold Membership   ¨latinum Membership

 

The Nikonians Photo Pro Shop (https://www.ppsna.com) opens in January 2004, with thoroughly researched, tested and then recommended professional equipment and merchandise, shipping from the US to North America, Australia and New Zealand; and from Germany to Europe, Middle East and Africa.   Photo Pro Shop

 

New Galleries and Contest. February 2004, the new Members Galleries are made available to Silver, Gold and Platinum members, and the Nikonians Photo Contest is reactivated.   Nikonians Galleries

New Servers. July 2004. Bigger, faster servers are installed, to accommodate the 20,000 plus members expected.

Fourth ANPAT in Colorado, USA is celebrated October 2004 with Nikonian Rick Walker as Tour Leader and 24 members attending and a CD is produced.

The year 2004 closes with almost 26,000 registered members, over 300,000 unique visitors per month and more than 6.6 million page views per month, in a year when most peer sites decline.

5th Anniversary of Nikonians is celebrated on April 30th, 2005 with the community reaching 30,000 registered members.

The First Wildlife European Workshop is successfully run in Helgoland, Germany, with Nikonian pro Claus Brandt as workshop leader, also in April, 2005.

In May of 2005 a series of Nikonians Workshops on the Nikon D70 is launched starting in Seattle Washington, USA, with Nikonian pro Mike Hagen as leader. This would be the seed for the Nikonians Academy.

The Nikonians News Blog goes online in May 2005, featuring community, photo industry and Nikon news, establishing Nikonians as photojournalists.

The First Podcasts. In June 2005, the "Nikonians Podcast #1 - Interview with Tony Sweet" was the first of the Go Behind the Lens series of podcasts with prominent pro Nikonians starts, featuring a live interview with author and nature photographer extraordinaire Tony Sweet   Fine Art Flower Photography by Tony Sweet

The 2nd European Wildlife Workshop takes place at the Bavarian Forest National Park on October 2005, in Germany, with award-winning Nikonian Pro Claus Brandt.

The 5th ANPAT (5th Annual Nikonians Photo Adventure Trip) is also celebrated in October 2005, at the Blackhills and Badlands of South Dakota, with Nikonian Chad Coppess as leader and 24 members attending.

New Search Engine.
November 2005. Nikonians speedy search engine is launched at NikoScope.com
 

2nd European Meet. December 3, 2005. For the second time, a group of Nikonians met in Brussels for a one day event.

2005 ends with close to 35,000 registered members, having started with only two in 2000.

2006 is a year with a lot of changes for both JRP and Bo and they are throwing themselves in heads-first into the Nikonians operations. ANPAT 6 takes us to the beautiful Great Smokey Mountains again and the year closes with over 70,000 registered members.

2007 is a year of a lot of activity in the back offices and we are hiring additional staff. ANPAT 7 takes us to Yellowstone national park and the year ends with almost 115,000 registered members.

January 2008, we switch to new, stronger servers after a problematic autumn of 2007 with several crashes due to overload of the system. We change the free membership level, time-limiting it. In April, several new forums go online incl the aviation forum, the fine art nude forum and gallery.

By July 8, 2008 the community counts 135,000 members with well over one million visitors per month, and has significantly expanded its services to its members, such as helpdesk, photo galleries, online shop, newsblog, podcasts, newsletters, eZine, workshops, over 70 specialized forums, our own advanced search engine NikoScope.com, resource section with reviews and guides and our wiki.

September 2008, we exhibit on Photokina and ANPAT 8 takes us to Yosemite national park with unplanned adventures and by December 2008 we have launched the members' presentation card and certificate, available to Gold and Platinum members.

January 2009, we start the year with 152,000 members and end the year with 248,000. ANPAT 9 leads us to Denali national park and Alaska.

By spring 2010 and we are celebrating our 10th anniversary with over 250,000 registered members and one and a half million visitors per month, leading to further growth and specialization, especially in the "back office" of Nikonians, to support such a growth. A new resource section goes online, but the navigation is not really what we need, but thanks to our search engine NikoScope, finding articles is a bit easier. June 2010 our new Dynamic Membership goes online, where members on the free, basic level earn days by being active. In September we are again exhibiting on Photokina and November we improve linking of images in forums and also expand on the max allowed image sizes. The year ends with a pi like number of registered members; 314,000 and on ANPAT 10 we are visiting the breathless Olympic national park in Washington State.

In 2011 and the community is growing steadily. We enjoy ANPAT 11 in Utah ending the year with 374,000 registered members.

In 2012 we are on ANPAT 12 flying balloon and taking photographs of old rockets in New Mexico. The community develops multiple apps for mobile devices and ends the year with 425,000 registered members.

In 2013 we are working on moving to a new server system, completely virtualizing our infrastructure, something we are done with in June. We are on ANPAT 13 in northern Arizona. We salute the end of the year with 480,000 registered members.

By April 2014 the new article section is launched with improved navigation and additional content. The team has grown substantially and while several of the old hands are still active on a daily basis, some well known other volunteers are no longer with us. In July 2014 we start our first fundraising campaign, raising over 40,000 US Dollars. The money is used to improve the forums, both in design and function, to remove clutter, integrate various areas of the community (e.g. articles<->forums<->galleries) and to expand on the content provided. We hit the 500,000 member mark on September 6th 2014, making it a close miss on JRP's birthday and we enjoy friendship and shooting at ANPAT 14 in Rocky Mountains (Estes) National Park in Colorado, ending the year with 511,000 registered members.

In Spring 2015, for the 15th anniversary, Nikonians launches a spring version of its popular get-together format, the "ANPAT", in the US. In August 2015 we start our second fundraising campaign, targeting 100,000 US Dollars, to further enhance the community and the site usability.

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See also

The Nikonians Founders
About Nikonians
Nikonians genesis
Beta users
Nikonians team
Nikonians awards
What members say about Nikonians


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