GTPlanet Celebrates 10 Years Online: Thank You!

Ten years ago, GTPlanet first made its appearance on the web. Since that time, it’s grown to a scale far beyond what I could have ever imagined and, in the process, has made a profound influence on my life’s work and interests. Though the site remains a one-man show behind the scenes, I want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has played a role in the success of this community over the years.

From the earliest users, such as Fangio, Talentless, and Misnblu, whose participation encouraged me to keep working on the site, to insiders like Amar212 who have provided amazing insight into the future of the GT series, to my awesome forum moderation staff and our Premium users, GTPlanet has grown into a passionate community which I am proud to be part of and humbled to lead. Once again, thank you.

Now, let’s take a look at where we came from, where we’ve been, and where we’re going:

Before GTPlanet

You could say it actually all started with the technology cable channel ZDTV (also known as TechTV). I was completely enamored with their programming, and the knowledge I gained from shows such as Call for Help and The Screen Savers – hosted by charismatic tech guru Leo Laporte – quickly turned me into a computer geek. I was particularly fascinated by the web, and I knew I wanted a site to call my own. I wasn’t interested in a generic home page, though – I wanted something that would be useful – something that people would be interested in – but I was stumped on what that topic would be.

It wasn’t until January 12, 2000, while staring at the blank “create new site” page of the now-defunct MSN Groups service, when it occurred to me to build a site about my favorite video game, Gran Turismo 2. I put up some car lists, track lists, opened a message board, and – much to my surprise – a few people found it and started posting. One year later, it had grown to the second-largest community in MSN’s “Video Game” category, with thousands of messages and hundreds of registered users.

2001: The Beginning

I learned a lot, but was held back by the confines of the hosted MSN service. My family pushed me to expand to a “real site”, and helped me settle on the “GTPlanet” name. (Why the .net? GTPlanet.com was already owned at the time by a Singapore-based e-commerce site, “Gifts & Toys Planet”, and I loved the name enough to compromise on the less-popular .net domain name extension. It wasn’t until 2007 when I was able to finally acquire the expiring .com name and redirect it to this site.)

On January 25, 2001, the name was registered and I quickly got to work. With the kind help of web developer Corey Breitfelder (who I’ve since lost contact with – if you’re reading this, Corey, I’d love to hear from you), I launched the GTPlanet Forums on May 14, 2001 with this rather unceremonious post, and began transitioning the original MSN community members over to the new site.

At first, the “main site” and the forums had different looks (I’m not sure why I thought that was a good idea), which you can see below. I was inspired for the “main” design by ticalc.org, which still carries its original look and feel. You’ll notice their site’s logo is paired with a relevant image in the header – it’s a theme I have continued with each iteration of GTPlanet’s design since the beginning.

After reaching the milestone of 1,000 registered members in August of 2001, the site received two more visual revisions before the end of the year.

2002

With the launch of the Gran Turismo Concept games in 2002, GTPlanet also began to grow in scale and notoriety. In a feature on the site in the May 2002 issue of Sport Compact Car magazine, the editors said they found GTPlanet’s knowledge of the GT series “intimidating in its nerd-like scope and obsession”. Grab the full “article” right here.

2003

GTPlanet and I were featured in Huw Evan’s book, “The Cars of Gran Turismo”, with a discussion regarding the growth of the online community around the Gran Turismo series.

2004-2005

With the launch of Gran Turismo 4, GTPlanet saw another very strong period of growth and expansion. More enthusiasts than ever before searched the web for more information on the game and sought out other fans online. They found them in our forums and joined our online time-trial competitions such as the Weekly Race Series.

I also designed and released the site’s current “planet” logo, but, until now, have never explained the meaning behind it. “GTPlanet” is, of course, made up of people around the world – hence the profile of Earth’s continents – and each of the dots represents a member of the community. Like the dots, we’re close, but still physically separated by the Internet. Ultimately, what brings and keeps us together is the Gran Turismo series, represented by the outer ring.

2006-2007

The popularity of Gran Turismo 4 and the release of Gran Turismo HD on the PlayStation 3 helped the GTPlanet Forums soar past 100,000 registered users and 2.5 million posted messages.

2008-2010

With Gran Turismo 5 rumors floating around our forums and the web, I knew I needed to do a better job organizing and digesting GT news with a re-launch of the GTPlanet News blog that you’re reading here. I kicked things off with new blogging software and began posting regular updates whenever possible. It has been a very popular addition to the site, now read by hundreds of thousands of people per month. Strong interest in GT5 helped the site continue to grow, as our forums became the rapidly-moving epicenter of news and rumors surrounding the game.

GTPlanet had two particularly awesome opportunities in 2010: at GamesCom, two of our representatives, “Famine” and “Venari”, sat down to interview GT series creator Kazunori Yamauchi for the first time. A few months later, GTPlanet was also invited to the international Gran Turismo 5 launch party in Madrid, Spain, where I had the honor of personally meeting Yamauchi-san myself.

I’m also very proud of our community’s response to GTPlanet’s philanthropic efforts in 2010: thanks to your help, we raised more than $1,000 to fight pancreatic cancer.

2011 and Beyond

2010 was GTPlanet’s best year yet, having served over 5.5 million unique visitors and 100 million page views. Our forums are now home to 169,000 registered users who have posted more than 4.3 million messages – amazing numbers that I never would have imagined ten years ago.

The online functionality introduced in GT5 finally ushers in a new era for Gran Turismo, and I am more excited than ever about the future of the series and our site. I’m cooking up new features to ensure GTPlanet is even more useful in 2011, as we help Polyphony Digital work towards building the truly “ultimate” driving simulator. Here’s to the next decade!

Photomode image by TheStig13.

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Comments (120)

    1. Flagmo-T

      Ya Happy Birthsday GTp, You really deserves a Big bunch of Hurra’s I’m Glad to be a Premium Member in the coolest Forum Ever .. Thank you Guys :0)

      Team_MoFF-No2 -Aka Flagmo-T

  1. CAG_Theory

    This forum is thrilling, with unbelievable users populating it… The resulting stew is tasty, sure to please not only GT’ fans but wide range of forum users.

  2. TheStig13

    Happy 10th Birthday to the greatest Gran Turismo website on the world wide web! Congratulations to Jordan and all of the GTP staff for running such a great website and keeping it that way.
    I have enjoyed every bit of my one and a quarter years here, especially entering in numerous race series’ in GT4, entering the photomode competitions in both GT4 and GT5 and competitive yet fun online racing with fellow GTPlanet members.
    Here’s to another 10 years (that is unless Kaz decides to stop making GT games, but I dont see that happening soon).

  3. Hybran

    Damn, ten years already? I only lurked from 2009 till I decided to join now o_o

    Unfortunately, the 10th anniversary cake is a lie. D=

  4. Mohammad Danish

    Superb work Jordan,

    This is the first time I am posting something on this site but from the past 2 years I have been visiting GTPlanet almost everyday.

    Best Regards from Sydney,
    Mohammad Danish.

  5. Super T

    Congratulations on your 10th birthday GTPlanet.

    I found this place looking for tuning tips for GT4 and found a whole lot more… Found the weekly race series and have been hooked ever since.

    I think misnblu said it all in the link to your first gtplanet post “*You rock Jordan. *”

    Cheers,
    Darren.

  6. Kingsly1998

    Thanks for everything and congrats Jordan. You kept us together since gt2 and kept us updated through the entire long wait for gt5. Congratulations and thanks for everything.

  7. Tenacious D

    I know I’m late to the party, but I wanted to add to what was said above. You’ve accomplished so much, and have a lot to be proud of. And doing it in support of the greatest racing franchise in gaming history has to be pretty darn satisfying, being the one to host for this rowdy bunch of fans.

    Here’s to being the one place we go to watch for those oncoming updates to our favorite racer, while we wait for Gran Turismo to bump up a number. And hopefully to be done with Kaz-sensei’s strange experiments in game design. ;D

  8. robulus

    I was a big fan of ‘The Screen Savers’. But it started going off the rails when they changed the name to “Attack of the Show”, and then all the original presenters disappeared, until it finally collapsed into something that looks like some kind of horrible award ceremony. I think it might still be limping along in that form.

  9. Cocomot

    Gongratulations !

    I’m very proud of be part of this party !
    Go far and beyond to the 20 years… if the world doens’t blow up.

  10. tazj_7

    WOW!! I didn’t realize that the site was up that long congrats on this achievement, and i hope GT Planet will still be around in another 10 years, and everyone here will still be playing Gran Turismo Games.

  11. TokoTurismo

    Yes I was waiting for this to come, Congratulations mr. Jordan, and for all your help. I wish i was there when your site was like that, YAY! And happy 10th anniversary. :D

  12. scandisk

    Congratulations Jordan!

    Thanks for all the efforts and the love! Thanks to the mods (scaff, famine, daan etc) and to our insider Amar!

  13. FCB-Rizla-TML

    awesome success story man… keep up the good work and hope u get in touch with the dude who helped u put this together

  14. guidance is internal

    Jordan, you’re the glue that holds all us GT fans together.
    & Thanks for all the info. Without GTPlanet, I’d rarely know “whats up” !

  15. Jozias

    Three times hurray for Jordan and GTPlanet!!!

    But, seriously, this site is indeed the ultimate GT community, and I foresee the future indeed very bright for this site,

    Keep going!!!

  16. GTP_Yoshi

    Jordan,

    I just wanna to say Thank you man. The site and the forum are amazing, a trully awesome job by you. And long live for the next 10 years!

    Best Regards from Brasil.

  17. PedanticNerd

    Great write-up! It’s good to know how GTPlanet has developed in the last decade, and amazing to see just how much it has grown.
    Congratulations and thank you for your contributions to such a great website. Here’s for the next 10 years!

  18. BMG

    Wow! The Screen Savers!! I forgot all about that show. I used to watch it all the time. Ahhhh…brings back some memories. Anyway, congrats Jordan and GTP. Although I’ve only been a “sign in” member for a short time compared to others on here this site has always been my source for news and information on GT4 and now GT5.

  19. SavageEvil

    Congratulations Guys!!! Job well done, I’ve been here off and on since 2005. GT4 tournaments were the thing for me while I was on here often then. Hope that GT continues and this site continues to follow it. Cheers, here’s to many more years following GT and PD and autos in general.

  20. mobiletone

    best GT site on the planet!

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

    just think, we can celebrate your 20th by announcing the street date for GT6 ;)

  21. Ferrari

    CONGRATULATIONS GTPLANET ON ACHIEVING THIS GOAL!

    YOU GUYS ROCK! KEEP UP THE GOOD STUFF! :D

    to Polyphony Digital: please add Ferrari FXX :(

  22. FoolKiller

    Woohooo! 10 Years! Congratulations, Jordan. This was a great read and your perseverance has paid off. Sites come and go on the Web all the time and only a dedicated leader can keep one going for ten years.

    Feels like this needs some sort of party, physical or virtual. Perhaps all real-life meetups acn be scheduled on the same date so everyone in attendance can at least compete online.

  23. NFSCARBON1

    Congrats. I’ve been looking at this site for about 2 years before i joined over Christmas and i believe it’s probably the best fan site on the web! I wonder what else we’ll see in the next 10 years?

  24. Black300zx

    Congrats GTPlanet! Been a member since in 2001, can’t believe I’m one of those who joined since the very beginning. The games have actually been more enjoyable because of this amazing community. Looking forward to the next decade!

  25. LeftyWright69

    Great Job Jordan I love your news blog, it’s very cutting edge and informative. I always start my GTP forum adventure by comming here first…. :)

  26. kalekyn

    Congratulations!! I’m glad to be part (as a bit in a desert) of your great accomplishment. Very inspirational, thank you very much for this great site.

  27. GTP_COBRA

    10 years already! I’ve only been part of the forum since GT4 was released. It’s good to see how it has come along of the years though.

    And hopefully 10 more happy years here at GTP you guys do a great job along with the members also.

  28. ralp89

    I don’t celebrate birthdays, but great job Jordan! I’m glad I’ve been a part of this community for 2 years now. And even though this site has the most critical members around, I still appreciate Jordans work. So to all GTP members keep being a car enthusiast until you get old :tup: :)

  29. axletramp

    Wow, where did those years go! Have to admit I joined in 2002 after GTF collapsed, but so glad I did. Had some great times and great memories. Thanks Jordan, it must have taken some had work and dedication.

  30. Paulo

    Congratulations Jordan, and thank you for creating this website. Though I may not be a huge poster on the forums, I do check in to see whats new every morning when having my coffee. All the best and continued success.

  31. JeanR

    Well, all the congrats, all the pageviews, all the members, are just a payment for the excelent and hard work on the website. Here goes one more:
    CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    As a graphic designer, I’ve always like the GTPlanet logo, for it simplicity, cleanness and beauty. But I’ve never stop to try to understand it. After the explanation, I like it now even more! :)

  32. David Huang

    Happy birthday !!!!
    And congrats for next upcoming 10th Anniversary
    The world best internet ” GT GAME Website ”
    Connect the global gamer and share the
    Passion of GT racing.

    David / hawk201

  33. CloneHead

    Great read, Jordan. Looking at those old screenshots brings back some memories. (Member since ’02)

    Congrats, and keep up the good work. :)

  34. TM

    Congratulations on the landmark! GTPlanet’s 10th Anniversary would always have been something worth noting, but to see the site in such rude health and in better shape than ever surely makes the occasion substantially more significant. Keep up the great work, and here’s to another 10 years!

  35. I-Runner

    Congrats Mr. Jordan … and Congrats GTPlanets!
    Teen years ago you collected in ONE secure place the passion for GranTurismo !
    It was a real fantastic example about the power of GT , followed by othersall ariund the world!

    I remember , my first visit (lurking) at the beginning ..of this long, and i hope, neverending Road!

    I-Runner
    (GTExD admin)

  36. Ryan

    That was a great read Jordan! THANK YOU for making one of my favourite sites and I am looking forward to future features. Happy birthday!

  37. Mrdinosaw94

    Congratulations, Jordan. While I have been a member for nearly a year, I found this site while searching for help with GT3, I became a religious follower and searched the site daily for into on GT4. The site has came a long way since then and I am proud when I see a GTP tag online on GT5, because I know this mystery person and I share not just one, but two hobbies. GT5 & studying GT5. Thank you kindly, Jordan for the way your site has helped to shape my life.

  38. j8mie

    Wow has it really been that long!

    I remember finding this site back in 2002 and finding it very useful and full of knowledge and passion for the GT games. I later signed up in 2004 and although I’m hardly a frequent poster I do enjoy just reading this site.

    Thank you Jordan for creating that first site, and for all your hard work over the years :)

  39. Crispy74

    Happy Birthday GTPlanet!!! Thanks for the great article Jordan, very interesting to see how the site was built up and transformed over the years. Here’s to another ten years!!

  40. todd_10

    Congratulations!!!
    I’ve only been registered here for two weeks now, but this site thoroughly impresses me.
    It was great to learn how it all started and how far it’s come.
    Keep up the brilliant work, and here’s for another decade!

  41. RACECAR

    Congratulations, Jordan. I’m just fascinated by the history of this site. Hard to believe that it was just eight years ago when I arrived. Before then, this site was the best refference I could’ve ever had for GT3 & GT4 (as well as my biggest distraction in school, lol).

  42. Will

    Haha, the shot of the Ibiza (I think) at the convention center from the dawn of GT4 brings nostalgia flooding into my mind. Hard to believe it was six years ago that I was first welcomed to this site by that stunning image.

  43. advancedOption

    Congratulations, and Happy Birthday GTPlanet! I didn’t sign up until Gran Turismo 4, but I was using the site much earlier. It’s been a great site, with a fantastic commnuity and it’s been fun watching both develop and grow over the years. All the best for the future!

  44. krakozyabr

    Thank you guys! You made it best, every person searching GT finally stops here. This is a true global comunity!

  45. Narutone66

    Happy Birthday GTPlanet! Congratulations on your success and hard work to bring us great news regarding GT. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  46. DoctorFouad

    congratulations gtplanet ! congratulations jordan ! and thank you very much for all the great moments I spent in your website and forum !

  47. gipaetos

    CONGRATS TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!JORDAN if you read my message tell me if yamachui put some ferrari race cars,,,,me and many friends we need ferrari race cars,,,thanks

    1. People_Know_Me

      Great article, but don’t get your hopes up about the next decade, Jordan. The world ends next year. :)

    2. FlareKR

      Congratulations Jordan, and Happy B-Day GTP! I remember coming to this site in 04 looking at some help for GT4 in the forums (I was 10 that time). Nice to see how things grow and change, now I’m 17 and driving for real and in GT5.
      @ People_Know_Me
      I’ll bet you $5,000 the world won’t end. Either way, it’s a win win situation for me, whether we blow up or not! :-D
      But seriously I have $500 coming to my pocket in December of 2012; hmmm either a turbo for the car I’ll get in the summer, and possibly FFXIII Versus…

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