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The Rise of a Cyber-Giant: WRF's history

Discussion in 'Comments and Suggestions' started by danielfranco, Feb 2, 2007.

  1. danielfranco

    danielfranco Senior Member

    Hi there, fellow forumsers and forer@s!! (Don't know if there's a distinction, but didn't wanna leave anyone out...)

    So, I wonder if any of our venerable members who have been here since the beginning (or close to it) could begin a project in their spare time:

    How about...?

    I see the recurring question being asked every couple of months about "how on Earth did this site came to be, and a history of it, pretty please with sugar on top?"

    I ask: wouldn't it be great to have a thread with a brief synopsis in a narrative form about the Rise and Conquest of the WRF's in the World Languages' Websites?
    You know? Like a time line of the WRF's greatest hits and milestones (for example, the date of the first thousand users, or the date of the first 100,000 thread, etc., or Mike Kellogg's first burnt-out server)?

    Man, people would probably throw a ticker-tape parade in celebration of such a thread!

    Okay... Fine... I know ya'll very busy. Sorry, it was just an "idear".
     
  2. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    You'll probably have some information in this thread.
     
  3. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    čeština
    A color-free version in the next post

    22 Jul, 2004: The WRF started with
    Spanish-English – split into General Vocabulary / Vocabulario General and Gramática in December 2004
    General Vocabulary / Vocabulario General - split into 6 colored forums (Azul, Branco, Marrón, Negro, Rojo, Verde) on 12 Dec 2007 (the rationale here), merged again on 4 Nov 2008 (explanation here)
    English Only
    Comments and Suggestions

    Additions:
    Italian-English - August 2004
    French-English - September 2004
    Cultural Issues - 22 Sep 2004, name changed to Cultural Discussions on 29 Nov 2005
    Resources-Recursos (Spanish) - October 2004
    Portuguese - 29 October 2004
    German - 10 November 2004
    Specialized Terminology (Spanish) - 22 November 2004
    Other Languages - December 2004
    Congrats - April 2005 (name changed to Celebrations on 3 Jan 2011)
    Medical Terminology (Spanish) - 19 May 2005
    Legal Terminology (Spanish) - 19 May 2005
    Themed Lists (French) - 16 Aug 2005
    Multilingual Glossaries - 06 Sept 2005
    Subforum for Questions (Multilingual Glossaries) - 08 Sept 2005
    Español-Français - September 2005
    Arabic - 4 Oct 2005
    Hebrew - 14 Nov 2005
    Slavic Languages - 14 Nov 2005 (name changed to Other Slavic Languages on 29 July 2008)
    Sólo Español - 14 Dec 2005
    Français Seulement - 14 Dec 2005
    Financial Terms (Spanish) - 30 Jan 2006
    Solo Italiano - 28 Mar 2006
    Italiano-Español - 6 Jun 2006
    Português-Español - 27 Jun 2006
    Resources (French) - 14 Jun 2006
    Japanese - 14 Aug 2006
    Catalan - 1 Sept 2006
    Español-Deutsch - 26 Jan 2007
    Latin - 8 Feb 2007
    Greek - 8 Feb 2007
    Chinese - 4 June 2007
    Dutch - 4 June 2007
    Etymology and Language History - 4 June 2007
    Nordic Languages - 4 June 2007
    Romanian - 4 June 2007
    Turkish - 4 June 2007
    French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise - 22 June 2007
    Information Technology - 3 Dec 2007
    All Languages - 11 Feb 2008
    Russian - 29 July 2008
    Polish - 21 Aug 2008
    Czech - 21 Aug 2008
    Korean - 21 Aug 2008
    Indo-Iranian Languages - 4 Feb 2009
    French-Italian - 4 Feb 2009
    Dictionary Additions - 21 Dec 2009
    Culture Café - 19 Jan 2010
    Magyar (Hungarian) - 29 April 2010
    Tagalog and Filipino languages - 29 April 2010
    Suomi (Finnish) - 29 April 2010
    العربية فقط (Arabic only) 28 October 2010
    WR Thesaurus - 11 May 2011


    Many thanks to my fellow moderators who helped me compile this list. :)
    Corrections welcome! :)
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2011
  4. Jana337

    Jana337 Senior Member

    čeština
    22 Jul, 2004: The WRF started with
    Spanish-English – split into General Vocabulary / Vocabulario General and Gramática in December 2004
    General Vocabulary / Vocabulario General - split into 6 colored forums (Azul, Branco, Marrón, Negro, Rojo, Verde) on 12 Dec 2007 (the rationale here), merged again on 4 Nov 2008 (explanation here)
    English Only
    Comments and Suggestions

    Additions:
    Italian-English - August 2004
    French-English - September 2004
    Cultural Issues - 22 Sep 2004, name changed to Cultural Discussions on 29 Nov 2005
    Resources-Recursos (Spanish) - October 2004
    Portuguese - 29 October 2004
    German - 10 November 2004
    Specialized Terminology (Spanish) - 22 November 2004
    Other Languages - December 2004
    Congrats - April 2005 (name changed to Celebrations on 3 Jan 2011)
    Medical Terminology (Spanish) - 19 May 2005
    Legal Terminology (Spanish) - 19 May 2005
    Themed Lists (French) - 16 Aug 2005
    Multilingual Glossaries - 06 Sept 2005
    Subforum for Questions (Multilingual Glossaries) - 08 Sept 2005
    Español-Français - September 2005
    Arabic - 4 Oct 2005
    Hebrew - 14 Nov 2005
    Slavic Languages - 14 Nov 2005 (name changed to Other Slavic Languages on 29 July 2008)
    Sólo Español - 14 Dec 2005
    Français Seulement - 14 Dec 2005
    Financial Terms (Spanish) - 30 Jan 2006
    Solo Italiano - 28 Mar 2006
    Italiano-Español - 6 Jun 2006
    Português-Español - 27 Jun 2006
    Resources (French) - 14 Jun 2006
    Japanese - 14 Aug 2006
    Catalan - 1 Sept 2006
    Español-Deutsch - 26 Jan 2007
    Latin - 8 Feb 2007
    Greek - 8 Feb 2007
    Chinese - 4 June 2007
    Dutch - 4 June 2007
    Etymology and Language History - 4 June 2007
    Nordic Languages - 4 June 2007
    Romanian - 4 June 2007
    Turkish - 4 June 2007
    French and English Grammar / Grammaire française et anglaise - 22 June 2007
    Information Technology - 3 Dec 2007
    All Languages - 11 Feb 2008
    Russian - 29 July 2008
    Polish - 21 Aug 2008
    Czech - 21 Aug 2008
    Korean - 21 Aug 2008
    Indo-Iranian Languages - 4 Feb 2009
    French-Italian - 4 Feb 2009
    Dictionary Additions - 21 Dec 2009
    Culture Café - 19 Jan 2010
    Magyar (Hungarian) - 29 April 2010
    Tagalog and Filipino languages - 29 April 2010
    Suomi (Finnish) - 29 April 2010
    Arabic Only (العربية فقط) – 28 October 2010
    WR Thesaurus - 11 May 2011

    Many thanks to my fellow moderators who helped me compile this list. :)
    Corrections welcome! :)
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2011
  5. danielfranco

    danielfranco Senior Member

    I was very fortunate to get in touch with the creator of this website, Mr. Mike Kellogg, and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions for the readers of the "Prosofagia" e-zine. Mr. Kellogg is a very young man (we're the same age), married, with family, who resides in Virginia, U.S.A.

    Daniel: In a few words, how would you describe WordReference.com?
    Mike: WordReference.com provides social and interactive online dictionaries and language forums.

    D: Did the original project include the forums, or only the online dictionaries?
    M: The site was up for five years before I realized that forums would be a good addition. At first I was afraid that nobody would answer questions, but the opposite turned out to be true. There are many talented people who are willing and ready to help others. To be able to ask a question about English and get answers and perspectives from the US, UK and other English speaking countries within minutes has been a great aspect of the site.

    D: When did the original project change, if ever?
    M: The original project? Haha. The original idea ten years ago was to allow people to customize their web browsers to quickly translate words in webpages using a little tool. I realized within the first year that the future was more as an online dictionary. We still offer browser tools, but the main focus is now helping people who come to the site directly for a translation or definition.

    D: Were there similar sites at that time, or was the actual challenge to create something different?
    M: At the time, there were no professional dictionaries on the internet, and nothing like the browser tool existed.

    D: What has been the greatest difficulty to overcome, for the website?
    M: Getting people to understand the value and rich user experience that you can get from WordReference vs. paper dictionaries and other websites.

    D: Have there been unexpected favorable events that have helped the site's mission?
    M: Not really. The site has grown gradually without any advertising or PR. The most important factor has been the growth of Google. Google's search engine sends many people to WordReference.com.

    D: How is a website like yours organized, and does it need continuous maintenance?
    M: We have many dictionaries and forums covering a number of languages and language pairs (for the bilingual dictionaries). It doesn't need much maintenance, but it is important for a site like WordReference to continue advancing and expanding. Even after 10 years, I have many future improvements planned.

    D: Are all or some of the costs of running your website sponsored?
    M: The site gets almost all of its revenue from advertising.

    D: Does the site need specialist support?
    M: I have done everything myself, except for creating new dictionaries. It requires a very high level of technical knowledge.

    D: Is your website affiliated directly to other websites?
    M: No, not really. We do have agreements with Oxford University Press and there are some links to their for-pay online dictionaries.

    D: Is there any significant future plan you care to share with the readers of this e-zine?
    M: I try not to say too much about future plans since they can change so rapidly. Some ideas that seem great don't work well in the end. There is a lot of trial and error to see what works and is successful. Overall, though, you can expect gradual improvement of many aspects of the site.

    D: What is the current number of staff, moderators, registered users, average daily visitors to your website?
    M: Staff? Just me.
    Moderators? We have 70 volunteer moderators who are dedicated to the forums and do a wonderful job. We need so many moderators to handle the huge volume of conversations, and also to have speakers of all the languages that the site covers.
    Registered users? The forums have 390,000 registered users.
    Daily visitors? Well over a million people from all over the world visit each day.

    D: What is the most relevant user statistic for your website?
    M: There are many important statistics that I watch. Probably the most important is the growth of usage per country over time.

    D: Do you know if there are registered users who are part of the publishing world, or who are published authors?
    M: I am sure there are, but most people remain anonymous.

    D: Does your site contribute to Literature directly, in any way?
    M: Haha. I would say it only does so indirectly by helping people better understand and find good translations and meanings of words.

    D: I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions.
    M: Glad to do it for you.
     
  6. Vanda

    Vanda Moderesa de Beagá

    Belo Horizonte, BRASIL
    Português/ Brasil
    Obrigada, Daniel, for letting us get acquainted to the above.
     
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Thank you from me, too, Daniel: that was fascinating:)
     
  8. fsabroso

    fsabroso Moderadiólogo

    South Texas
    Perú / Castellano
  9. AngelEyes Senior Member

    English - United States
    This was totally cool. Thank you for it.
     
  10. micafe

    micafe Senior Member

    United States
    Spanish - Colombia
    This thread is great. CONGRATULATIONS EVERYONE AND THANK YOU SO MUCH MIKE!!

    Best regards,

    micafe :)
     

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