out more about the history of the Big Brother Online website
and the team behind it (Warning: waffle alert!)
We're not usually keen on websites that go into too much
detail in their 'About Us' section. We say that because it's
often full of waffle, and we've even known some publishers
use it to exaggerate their success, claiming they saw 2 million
visitors when in reality their server had 2 million 'hits'
(something you don't hear much about these days, but technically
each page view can potentially result in 100 hits depending
how much information it contains, so the figure has nothing
to do with how many unique visitors the site had).
Anyway, now that Big Brother in the UK has been running
for over ten years, we thought we'd better provide our loyal
site visitors with an informal recap of this website's history.
So, at the risk of being a tad hypocritical in respect of
writing a book below, here goes...
Back in the year 2000 we registered our domain name www.bigbrotheronline.co.uk,
but you might be interested to know that the site was originally
intended to be a fan site related to the Britpop band Oasis,
the link being that they began releasing albums on their own
record label Big Brother Recordings. Looking back, that was
a bit tenuous and it probably wouldn't have gone anywhere,
but luckily for Reality TV fans we scrapped the idea when
Channel 4's exciting new TV show was announced, originally
touted as something of a social experiment.
So, we set-up a fansite to cover Big Brother, the purpose
being to give viewers a light-hearted and independent view
of the proceedings – don't forget that in the early
days there was a lot less TV/ website coverage, with no live
feed available and just a ropey online feed for those prepared
to stump-up for it (slow, 56k internet connections didn't
help). Being independent, we were free to take the mickey
out of the contestants if we felt like it, or to be honest
about the goings-on when it was obvious that Channel 4 would
try and brush-over things.
And we obviously did something right that first summer,
as the Big Brother Online website had served around 200,000
pages by the end of series 1, something we were very chuffed
about, even though that's nothing to shout about really.
The site grew from there as we became more established on
the search engines, and within a few series we'd upgraded
to our own dedicated servers, moved Web Hosts a couple of
times, and found ourselves reaching over 1 million
unique visitors during the summer; busy enough to
attract the show's Main Sponsor O2 as our site Sponsor. Around
that time we won the Silver award in Web User magazine's review
of the various Big Brother UK websites. The huge entertainment
portal DS, which has always had a lot more staff than us,
received the Gold, but frankly Channel 4's offering –
namely the official Big Brother UK website – wasn't
all that great.
Conversely, the BBO site had gained a reputation for having
a fantastically well-moderated discussion forum, running accurate
Polls, publishing great content and releasing 'inside info'
early, such as the names of the nominees each week, much to
Channel 4's dismay. Indeed, because we were doing well and
our website ranked higher-up than C4's on the first page of
Google for key search terms, the legal letters duly arrived.
However, to cut a long story short, we managed to sort things
out and we're friends now... well, more like 'frenemies' to
Having got through that, we subsequently survived a devastating
and sustained attack to our website when someone confused
us with the official BB site. This required a special £15,000
gadget (yes, we did say 15 'grand) to fight it off. We managed
to weather the storm though, and the protagonists eventually
gave up after a few weeks, thanks to the efforts of a company
called Webscreen Technology. Each year since, the BBO website
has continued to attract Big Brother fans new and old, although
we subsequently lost our discussion forum in an unrelated
server crash a couple of series ago. For a number of reasons
it never made a comeback, and that remains a huge shame because
we'd built-up such a great community over the years. Hey ho.
Big Brother Online has always been run by a very small team
of people, who often stay up half the night watching the show
in-order to bring the fans unique news. We would like to have
expanded the site over the years by implementing more sections
(such as galleries, video clips and blogs) and employing more
contributors, but unlike the aforementioned DS site, a wealthy
buyer never came along. So, we remain a small outfit consisting
of just a few people, and keep ourselves busy juggling the
BBO site with other work throughout the summer. That can get
Several staff have come-and-gone over the years, but our
site Editor 'JD' – who has written much of the content
– has stuck with it for the duration (the fool!) When
not watching TV and covering Big Bro, Jay works as a freelance
journalist and Web Editor, and has written for all sorts of
websites and publications including the tabloid newspapers.
However, he swore that he'd be hanging-up his pencil/ word
processor in 2011 to pursue an acting career.
He's been saying that for years though, so in the meantime
he is still available if you need some content written for
your website, or could use an experienced Editor to work with
your existing editorial staff, be it on an employed or freelance
More info. about Big
Brother Online below advert
Oh, and just in case you're wondering, BBO's own success
is backed-up by the fact that online authority Hitwise once
declared us 'the busiest independent website site dedicated
to covering Big Brother UK', and we've always recorded our
own legitimate traffic statistics, originally using the respected
analytics provider Webtrends, but more recently using Google
So, there you go; ten years of work condensed into as many
paragraphs, which we hope gives you more of an idea of what
the BBO website is all about. We have a good few people to
thank, but above all we want to thank you for using
the site and supporting us, whether this is your first visit
or your thousandth*.
Lastly, if you've enjoyed using the Big Brother Online website
over the years, we're inviting you to buy us a pint here.
*Technically feasible, but it probably means that you've
visited us at least once-a-day during every single
series of BB. Wow, you are dedicated!