Netphoria is the web’s largest, most popular and longest running fan-based website devoted to the alternative music band the Smashing Pumpkins. Over the years Netphoria and its users have developed a unique reputation in the Smashing Pumpkins Community largely a result of our infamous Netphoria Message Board.
Netphoria started as a personal web project in late 1997, I was 16 years old and I had already started a smaller Pumpkins website called “Andrew’s Smashing Pumpkins Site” but wanted to create something larger and more involved. At the time owning a domain name and providing hosting for it was more complicated and expensive to do which made it more of a challenge to get the site going but by February 1998 Netphoria was born.
The name “Netphoria” comes from Vieuphoria (the Smashing Pumpkins video), replacing the “vieu” with “net” to reflect the Internet. Using this name was a bit of a gamble as it did not have the Smashing Pumpkins in its name at all but the name was unique and in time was adopted well by the community.
In early promotion of Netphoria I used some questionable tactics to try to build traffic and awareness of the website, those who have been around long enough will remember Netphoria being spammed on the Pumpkins newsgroup alt.music.smash-pumpkins. Granted this tactic pissed a lot of people off it did succeed in establishing traffic to the site and ultimately got things rolling.
Netphoria gained popularity for having the most up to date and latest Smashing Pumpkins news available hence the site slogan “Your Daily Pumpkins Fix”. News was updated by myself as well as Michael Day and then later Hoser who were my co-webmasters at the time. Although the site was now getting good traffic and had established itself it wasn’t until the Message Board was added that really made Netphoria what it is today.
Threat of a Lawsuit
It wasn’t until one day in the days leading up to the release of Adore that I realized how big Netphoria had gotten when suddenly I was served with papers from the RIAA threatening a lawsuit and demanding that I cease and desist posting several low quality versions of the album songs before the album was released. It was then that I realized Netphoria had become important enough that the RIAA and others were taking notice. In the end the songs were removed and nothing ever became of it.
The Message Board
In the early days of the internet message board forums were primitive, the first message board Netphoria used was an old line based board. It had no usernames, no individual forums, it wasn’t easy to follow the threads or search it either. Nonetheless for the Pumpkins community there was nothing else like it similar on the internet so it gained popularity.
Eventually it was replaced by the UBB board which has a similar format to the current VBulletin board however it still wasn’t database driven and relied solely on generated html files. Although this format worked much better the downside was that it took up too much disk space and as a result old posts had to be purged on a regular basis. Looking back on it now I wish there was some sort of way I could have saved all those posts as the current message board would be double the size it is now if those posts still existed.
Over the next few years Netphoria staked its place as the most popular and largest Smashing Pumpkins message board on the internet. Netphoria was able to achieve this by taking a hands off approach to the way the board was run and moderated. We have never believed in large scale censorship or over moderation and have always allowed free and open speech on the board. Due to this openness Netphoria has often been described as being too dark, negative or mean spirited and later even described famously as “Hatephoria” by Linda Strawberry.
Decline of the Main Site
While the message board continued to gain more and more popularity over the years the main part of the original site started a steady decline 2000 onward. Once Machina was released I found myself less interested in the direction the music was heading and the updating of the site became less and less frequent. By the time the band announced they were breaking up other then the news almost nothing was being updated on the site any more. In the years the followed I left the website up but everything had become dated and the state of the site became mostly a joke. In this time I had also graduated and started working leaving me very little free time to devote to the site.
Billy Corgan’s Reaction to Netphoria
In the early days of Netphoria I do not believe Billy Corgan or the band were aware of the site. Once the internet became more mainstream however and the fact that the Smashing Pumpkins did not have a decent official website for the longest time I believe Billy became more aware of Netphoria and other fan sites. It was often rumored and speculated over the years that Billy from time to time has read the boards on Netphoria and even possibly posted under an alias, various sources have confirmed this and Billy himself in several interviews has indirectly mentioned Netphoria without naming it. When I met Billy Corgan in 2007 he was well aware of what goes on at Netphoria.
The official Smashing Pumpkins site at one time had its own message board known as the “o-board” which was direct response to the popularity of the Netphoria Message Board, the o-board however was heavily moderated and censored and ultimately did not last that long. When I met Billy in person he commented that he does not like the negativity that message boards attracted and was unlikely to ever have a message board again on the official site.
One of the only direct public comments about Netphoria came in June 2007 when Billy Corgan called Netphoria “bullshit” when asked about it after a show (click here to read the thread about it). Despite Billy’s comment “I don’t read that bullshit”, the impression I got from meeting Billy a few months later was that he does not hold any ill will against Netphoria. He may not personally like the site 100% due to its perceived negativity but he does respect it and acknowledges it is an important fan website for his band.
Music Garage Incident (stolen photos)
In May 2007 a group of individuals stole pictures from the Smashing Pumpkins while they were rehearsing at the Music Garage. They proceed to post these stolen photos on Netphoria and caused quite a disruption for the site. The bands management contacted us and asked us to remove the stolen works, they did not blame the site and were thankful that we took care of the situation quickly. News of the incident spread quickly and Netphoria and myself were quoted in many online articles including MTV and Spin Magazine. Some good did come out of the event, it opened a line of communication between Netphoria and the bands management and later led me to meet Billy Corgan.
Rebirth of a new Site
Over the years I had always planned to relaunch the main site of Netphoria with a new site but nothing firm ever came together and time simply marched on. It wasn’t until Billy Corgan announced he was restarting the Pumpkins that I decided I wanted to make a new site. Originally I had planned to launch something to coincide with the release of the new album Zeitgeist however things never came together and it wasn’t until early 2008, now 10 years after the original date the site started that I started developing the new website.
The oldest Logo, used on the original site launch.
When Netphoria had a redesign early on this new logo was adopted and used up until the Machina era.
The most current logo used for the last several years until the launch of the new site.
The most current logo.