Website in the spotlight is a new weekly report about one of the many Eurovision Song Contest related websites there are. Get to know their stories and, more important, the dedicated people behind the websites. This week, we spoke with Fotis Konstantopoulos, the chief editor of the Greek website oikotimes.com.
The team members
Currently 19 people are involved with oikotimes.com, its editorial content and the forum.
Why did you start your website?
“I was actually trying to find a better way to conduct the annual EuroPrediction, soI wanted to find a place to make a poll prediction with more votes than my mother, sister and couple of friends. This turned into a Eurovision Song Contest site after three years”.
Can you tell us something about the development of your site since the launch?
“At first, no one besides me visited it. After a while it started to emerge with approximately 100 visitors per day, which was something supernatural for me back then. When I turned the website into a specific Eurovision Song Contest site, the amount of visitors started to rise and oikotimes.com started collaboration with many other websites. I remember the first ever partner of oikotimes, eurovision-spain.com (lovely) and then I applied for partnership of esctoday.com. At the end, esctoday.com replied months later, after the website became better. Actually oikotimes.com is what it is, partly inspired by esctoday.com. Although Sietse and I became good friends, it took four years before we met for the first time. During this year's Greek national selection he was in Athens to feature in ERT's jury and finally got the chance to meet”.
Can you share some statistics with us? Your most successful days, number of members, etc.
“The best year so far was 2004. In 2004, we had more than 3,5 million visits. The best months were May and November (with the Eurovision Song Contest and the Junior Eurovision Song Contest). After the launch of the new oikotimes.com on 31st December, the amount of visitors went sky high! This year, we already have around 800,000 visits.Busy days are mostly weekends and the national selection days. On the night of Greek selection we broke a record of 171,551 hits”. A great achievement!
How would you describe your website?
“Oikotimes.com is not esctoday.com and will never become. It is supposed to be a website made with passion. My editors and I write stories whenever we want, with our personal opinion in it. We are not robots, trying to follow the objective line all the time. There are other websites to do it that way. Oikotimes.com is where Eurovision becomes passion. Informative website with news, information and rumours. Unless what some think, we don't write gossip. At the end, all the information we publish comes from reliable sources”.
What would you improve if you would be esctoday.com's webmaster or chief editor?
“I would add audio and video files. I know you guys can. I also would try to make the design more colourful and more dimensional. I would add a daily animated banner to the site”.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us concerning your site?
“Many people ask us why we have called our website oikotimes.com. Well, here is the story: Oikotimes began as a neighbour newspaper in 1985, which was hand made and hand written. It was during the summer of 1985, during my holidays and my cousin and I the idea of making a newspaper. We had many ideas, but we wanted something original. Oikotimes emerged out of 'ecumenism' (since we were referring to world news) and 'times' (referring to the time we spent on this project). The project became daily when my sister bought a typewriter in 1996. At the time, the oikotimes newspaper was abandoned and I decided to start releasing it again. The good thing is that I still have the copies of Oikotimes, written with the typewriter. With many copies, Oikotimes was extremely funny to read in my neighbourhood. It was November 1996 when we bought a computer at home. It took me several months to understand what that machine was all about”, Fotis explained.
But the story continues! “During my service term in army, I completely lost track with my project. At the end of 1999, after the army service and with a lot more knowledge about computers, we issues a printed edition of Oikotimes, which was easier for me but still somehow expensive since it required many pages and many copies on the printer. In 2001 I couldn't hold the EuroPrediction, which I started in 1989, among my friends and family.The printed edition of Oikotimes ended. There was no money for repairing the printer or buy a new one. On one morning, I saw a magazine in the small kiosks we have here in Athens called 'periptera' and bought a computer related magazine, which offered 15 days free internet connection. The rest of the story is known”.
We kindly thank Fotis for being prepared to have an interview with us. Esctoday.com wishes the Oikotimes.com good luck in the future. Keep up the good work, guys!