On December 29, 2003, L-word.com launched.
Which means we are are approaching our 16th anniversary!
In Internet longevity, we’re a miracle!
I had read about The L Word and seen a float (yes a float!) advertising The L Word in a parade in Provincetown, MA during Carnival Week in August 2003.
From August until just after Christmas, I had the show in the back of my mind, thinking of it once in a while, knowing that it had the potential to be very popular. I had not thought of doing a fan site in that time–just that this show had the potential to be really big. It was just after Christmas 2003 that I woke up one morning with the idea of “I need to do a site for this new lesbian show –and it must have fan fiction and discussion”.
As some of you know, my only experience with fan sites and fan fiction dated back to the “Kim and Kerry” story on ER. That was the inspiration for this fan site. I fell in love with “K&K fanfic,” and I just knew it would be popular with The L Word.
So, I called a friend and said, “Do up something FAST with these links….” the ones you see at the left below. I didn’t know how I was going to populate the pages, but I figured once the show got started, all of you would help me do that. Boy, was I right on the money with that one.
On December 29. 2003, we went live with what you see below. Just over 2 weeks later, January 18, 2004, the show premiered.
In the early days, I literally cut and pasted every fan fiction story into an html page and created a link to it. It was cumbersome! I then paid the same friend to come up with a “database” for people to submit their own stories. That was L-word.com fanfic, and it was wonderful.
Over a few years, a site member with the screen name COWGIRL proposed a new site design. She became a close friend and did so much work on the site! She came up with this beautiful design:
(Cowgirl, if you ever see this, I’d love to hear from you! It’s been too many years!)
Remember that?! That was our site look through the end of the show.
Over the years, we held some awesome L-word.com parties in New York and Provincetown (and at my house!). Ilene Chaiken was graciously appreciative of our site and support of the show. Several of us got to meet Jennifer Beals, Laurel Holloman, Leisha Hailey, Erin Daniels, Kate Moennig, and others. There was an event in New York City that a bunch of us went to. We had to leave because of a blizzard, and we’ll always regret not getting to accept invitations from Erin and Leisha to an event that night. There was Olivia The L Word cruise. I was on it and travel blogged the whole time! It’s been 16 years of amazing memories!
With the show ending, I was so terribly concerned that we would lose all our site visitors, making it impossible to keep the site online. It was a huge site, and the hosting was brutally expensive. I will tell you now that at one point, I was paying more than $1000 a month. Thank God, ads were covering it (usually), but with a huge drop in visitors, I feared we might have to shut down.
I bit the bullet and had the site converted to a WordPress site, and I had a custom fan fiction archive built. This served several purposes, starting with more reasonable hosting options. WordPress is still what powers the site and fan fiction here. With that transition, L-word.com became LesFan.com in 2014. Bette0Porter did the new site logo and colors – orange/pink – to honor both The L Word and also acknowledge the changing TV landscape that was ushered in by Orange is the New Black.
Bette0Porter is now re-vamping the look of the entire site to reflect The L Word Generation Q colors, which, of course, include the signature The L Word pink and a new logo. We hope to have the new site online for our 16th anniversary at the end of the month.
Thanks for following this trip down memory lane. It’s been a journey many of us have traveled together. There were ups, downs, panic attacks (we were hacked once; a crappy developer wiped out the site once; we changed hosting companies more times than I can remember). With the help of amazing site members, we are looking forward to many more years online hosting this amazing community of women – and some awesome guys. THANK YOU for being a key part of my life for the past 16 years!
PS All my work on this site, combined with my other experience led me to open Atlantic Online Services. We design, develop, and manage websites for small to medium businesses in addition to working on social media postings and analytics. Contact me if you are in need of help with a new or existing website.
Thanks a lot for what you’ve done (and it’s not finished), Not a day goes by without me visiting this site. So BRAVO and THANKS again !!
Thank you for keeping this site alive! Very interested to read about how it was created and waiting to see new design.
Thank you so much Jacky for this site and for keeping it alive for so many years!
I hope to enjoy this site for many more years and hope my small financial contribution will help to do that.
Love the read how this site started and yes K&K were my favourite back then too!
For everyone who enjoy this site as much as i do, please consider to help with a small financial contribution!
What you are sharing with us in this historical summary beautifully written is wonderful.
I wasn’t aware of the amazing journey that took you to make this site that is like the “home” for many of us.
I’m very thankful for what this website brought and is bringing to my life.
I hope it will be always here for our community and friends.
Thoroughly agree that this site is “fab”!!! Really have a treasure chest of hard working, faithful authors. With you as our Overseer, we say up to date with the latest relevant news & technologies.
Forever thankful for heeding that prompting in your spirit. Now you’re heading toward 20 years of productivity!!!
Wow Jacky! I can’t believe it is been 16 years!
I found this site in the first quarter of 2004 and was immediately hooked. I think about all the changes in my life over the past 16 years…the people who’ve come in and out, whether for a short period or long; the traveling I’ve done; the different times I have moved (7! LOL), yet you have been there throughout it all, strong and steady, keeping the site going even after so many moved on, including me. Our community owes you a great debt of gratitude for the thousands of hours and dollars you have invested to keep this online community alive.
You have been there for the fun, the drama (which many times seemed to be overwhelming), for the incredible creativity shared by so many women and some men from all around the world. You volunteered to take on many different roles, whether it was webmaster, referee, friend, moderator, social activities planner, creative director, etc. All of this you did while coming from a place of love. Love for The L Word, love for the opportunities the Internet brings, love for the fanfiction stories, but most of all love for your community.
We bow down to you and we thank you for all you have done for us. By creating this site and maintaining it for 16 years, you personally have had a hand in influencing the lives of thousands of people.
Congratulations on 16 year anniversary. Thanks for taking us on the trip down memory lane. I have some very fond memories of the discussion boards when the site was very active. There were some of us that would debate everything with varying opinions and perspectives but always great conversations. I miss that but still loving all the great stories, the amazing talented writers and most of all the loyal fans that have been reading and commenting for years. Wishing you all the best with the future enhancements. i hope GenQ will be a success and will provide writers with new story ideas with the new characters and maybe bring back some of the old especially Tina. This is FANFIC after-all and one of the things that we do best is FIX all the mistakes that they make/made on the show. Happy Holidays and wishing everyone all the best for 2020.
LOL So true! I always thought that some of my best stories were those I wrote when I was furious about something that happened on the show. (Don’t even get me started on season 3 or the interrogation tapes at the end of season 6!!) ;-) LOL
Thank you for your tireless dedication in bringing writers and readers together in this interesting little community. Your story arc is fiercely appreciated and was unknown to me until today. I have only been around for about 10 years worth of l-word.com and now lesfan.com so I came a bit late to the party and missed out on many of the contemporaneous topics in the discussion boards during the first run of the show. I have always felt warmly welcomed in this space and feel fortunate to be able to utilize this site to flex a little creativity from time to time. Cheers to the new year and the new incarnation of the site as the new decade approaches!
Thanks so very much for your dedication to this site & the L Word for all these years. I truly enjoy the environment you have created on the site. The writers are fantastic!!!!!
I am an original L Word fan from day 1 & have enjoyed this site for several years.
So happy that many of the writers have decided to continue writing & posting Tibette stories even though the reboot has Bette & Tina divorced. They will live on in our hearts 4ever!!!!
Thank you for creating this site. You always made me feel welcome when you never had to and I’ll always appreciate that.
i think i discovered the show and the site in 2005 – just after i came out ( that long?? ) god its been fun and dramatic ( here’s a secret – some of us writers were drama queens ) thank you Jacky for everything – we have probably haunted your dreams and become nightmares…
back when the show was at its zenith the site was so full of energy. you waited to post because you didnt want jwet or gumby or jobadge to post just after you and take all the attention..( drama queens )
if you came back the next day your chapter had vanished from the front page there were so many writers
i loved that old old homepage – i have the page with the 2006 summer FF awards posted … i never did get myself a teeshirt with allyemmerson and the pink pen logo on
Seahurst and i talk about writing a LOT. I do have a FF story in production but i am stuck a little – i was NEVER stuck for ideas -maybe its age or extra work resposibilities