By Joel Hall
Six years ago, Jonesboro native, Emma Loggins, 24, started FanBolt.com -- an entertainment news and review web site -- as a hobby while she was still in high school at Faith Academy in Stockbridge.
Originally an online message board for fans of certain television shows, FanBolt.com has evolved into an interactive web site with television, movie, game, and fashion news, celebrity gossip, and exclusive interviews with up-and-coming bands and leaders in the entertainment industry.
Loggins, a huge fan of several television shows on the former WB Network's evening line up, got into web designing by creating and maintaining fan web sites for TV series such as "Everwood," "The O.C.," and "Roswell." It was her fan site for "Roswell," however, that got the attention of the creators of the show, and in 2000, she was invited to Hollywood to meet the cast and see an episode being filmed.
Loggins eventually used the popularity of her fan web sites and created FanBolt.com as a way for people to discuss their opinions about television shows and other forms of entertainment in an open setting.
"I've always loved entertainment and I've been a huge fan of television shows over the years," said Loggins. "At the time, I was doing it just for fun and I never considered that it could be a job."
Currently, the web site maintains active discussion boards and episode reviews for "Pushing Daisies," the ABC "dramedy" about a pie-maker with the ability to bring once-living things back to life; the NBC super-hero drama "Heroes," the NBC adaptation of a British comedy, "The Office;" and the CW teen drama "Gossip Girl."
In the past year, Loggins has been able to host exclusive interviews on FanBolt.com with "Heroes" stars Masi Oka and Hayden Panettiere, "Futurama" head writer and executive producer, David X. Cohen, and director of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy, Gore Verbinski.
FanBolt.com now has over 76,000 members and currently gets 1.5 million visits to the site per month. Loggins contributes the success of the site to a growing willingness of the general public to communicate their thoughts on line.
"People are looking for places to come and talk," said Loggins. "A lot more people come on line to take part in message boards and to read about the TV shows they like and the movies they like."
Loggins said that due to the site's increased advertising, it has been able to host several contests in the past year, including an "Ultimate Fan Contest," in which the winner received 30 DVD movies, as well as a Harry Potter Sweepstakes, in which the winner received over $400 in collectible items from the Harry Potter movie series. The grand prize included a set of life-sized magic wands replicated from the movie set.
Loggins hopes to host more contests and expand the site's video game content in the coming new year. Currently living in Atlanta and working on a master's degree in computer arts and new media at the Academy of Art in San Francisco via the Internet, Loggins said that, nowadays, hosting a popular web site is easy with a little research and effort.
"Hosting is so cheap nowadays," said Loggins. "Do your research, find a good host, and put all of your effort into it, because people do see it."