(Originally published at OnePaper.com)
Fan sites are a dime a MEGAdozen on the web. Intense love of the artist and his (or her) works does not necessarily translate to the skills necessary to hold the interest of the surfer. When we go online looking for information, badly-sized photos, weird magical tricks and confusing web design often deter us from sticking with certain websites. How happy you will be when you pay a visit to a fan site that celebrates the Reggae artist Shaggy called Shaggy’s Studio.com: An Online Database for SHAGGY and Crew’s Music.
The link takes you to a slide show of album covers, with the option to skip this part if you are pressed for time or have a pitiful dialup beast to prod along. Just hit the link at the lower right to skip the presentation. Shaggy’s Studio.com is more than your average net ‘zine: because it’s actually a database, it’s all about information. Once the start page loads, scroll down before you click a thing. Here you’ll find instructions that will enhance your browsing experience. For example, if you’d rather not view items in frames (or your browser jacks them up), there’s a link that breaks you out of them (“Bail free here”).
You also receive information about how to use the built-in mouseover enhancements. A link to the site’s inclusion on the 2002 Interactive Music Awards listing is also included. For the record, internet users rated the site at #340 out of 999. Not bad, considering how many fan sites are out there and how difficult it is to have the benefit of significant internet traffic. The BTOnline IMA’s are sponsored by British Telecommunications, a major UK Internet Service Provider (ISP).
At the top of the main page, there is a menu containing dropdown links to each segment of the site. In addition, translators make the “studio” accessible to Spanish, French, Italian, Korean and several other languages. Continue to scroll downward, past the photo of Shaggy, to the information about Shaggy’s Public Service Announcement (PSA) to help stop the spread of AIDS. Get your Real or Windows Media Player(s) rev’d up to watch. CaribiaDigest.com chose to view one of the Windows Media files, as these have different download rates to accomodate phone (56K) or broadband (100K) connections. After viewing the PSA (“With love comes responsibility”), its link window (which had opened independently of the main page) was closeable.
At Shaggy’s Studio.com, you’ll find out which charities are dear to Shaggy & Crew’s hearts; sign Shaggy’s interactive 2003 birthday card; artwork by Shaggy’s fans, an aptly named “Plethora of Photos” and more than you’d have ever dreamed up on your own. Sign the guestbook before you leave, and if you cannot find what you want on the main page, there’s always the keyword search of the entire site for whatever feeds your need.
The party will continue, with or without you… but why not stop by for a bit?
Note: This site no longer exists.