Thursday, January 4, 2007

Profile: Founder of URNotAlone.com

Continuing our ongoing webmaster series, here's profile on the founder of URNotAlone.com.

It's interesting to note the changes in the website ~ both in purpose & design. Perhaps this will open some eyes as to how powerful change can be.

Others may find tips on how to evolve to make money, by working with rather than against your niche and other webmasters!

In the age of paid membership sites, it is refreshing to see a 'free site' be more than some affiliate portal.

And, Gracie is always a fan of sites that provide a real service...

So read & learn what you can kiddos!

A reminder that the links contain Adult Content ~ Now, here we go....


Hi, I'm Jon, the Founder of U R Not Alone. U R Not Alone (referred to as URNA, URNotAlone and U R Not Alone interchangeably). Let me start with the short description of what URNA is...

We are a Site dedicated to the Transgendered Community. We provide ALL of our Basic Services to the Public for FREE. Posting Profiles, Browsing Profiles and Responding to Profiles is FREE, as is Browsing or Adding Events and Transgender Friendly Locations. Even our Transgender Chat Room (TGChat) is FREE!

URNotAlone was born back in 1996. I wanted to learn how to build a web site and was trying to think of a topic that would hold my interest (I'm not good at just playing around with things... I need a goal to get going). I was traveling quite a bit around this time and one of my friends suggested I start a listing of Drag Bars since I seemed to know where to find them in every city I traveled to It clicked and URNotAlone was born as a site to come to if you wanted to find out where the Drag Bars were in the cities you were traveling to. You can still find listings, and submit listings of your own, in the Places section of URNotAlone... I'd really like to see more people submit listings of Transgender Friendly Bars in their areas... they're not easy to find when you're a stranger in a strange town.

Within a month, I decided URNotAlone needed to be more than just a site that listed Drag Bars.

Bear with me on this next part, it has real relevance as to what URNotAlone has evolved into...

I grew up in the suburbs outside of Boston and didn't really know where to find TGirls until well after I was already married. When I was younger I did encounter Trans Porno in porno shops and knew... right away... that it was something that I was strongly attracted to... very strongly attracted to... and started buying all the Trans Porno that I could find. Growing up in the suburbs with no knowledge of where to meet TGirls, I honestly thought that they were rare creatures, so to speak, and that I'd never actually have the opportunity to meet one. Since I liked Girls also, I got married and thought I'd be happy and that porno would be enough to satisfy me. It wasn't... eventually I heard about Jacques Cabaret - (a long story) and got up the nerve to go there to meet real TGirls... in the flesh. That was the beginning of the end of my marriage. Once I was with my 1st TGirl I knew that it was what I truly wanted and that I would never be happy unless I could have a relationship, a real relationship, with a TGirl. Eventually I was divorced and shortly after I met Vicky... we've been together ever since. The reason I gave you this history, is... the Profiles section got started because I thought it would be a great way to help other Admirer's like myself avoid making some of the mistakes I did and to try and provide a place for TGirls and their Admirer's to meet one another. I thought and still think that this would allow fellow Admirer's to understand that there are lots of TGirls out there, that they could have a real relationship with a TGirl, that they could avoid marrying, then later divorcing and screwing up a girls life... I hope I've succeeded, at least in some small degree

I found myself surfing the web more and more often, looking for pages of TGirls that were starting to pop up all over the web. I used Susanna Marques listing of TGirl Sites on Geocities quite a bit back then (thank you Susanna). I loved her listings and thought to myself... wouldn't it be nice if the links to different TGirls sites also had a picture and a little something about them along with the link. I started asking girls if they'd like to list their profiles, with a picture, on URNotAlone... mainly TGirls who's sites I happened across while surfing the web. Nicole Asahi (a real sweetheart), from Texas was the 1st TGirl I asked and the 1st Profile that was listed on URNotAlone. Once the Profiles started, it took about a year for the site to really get going.

After the Profile's section we added a section of Vicky's pics... then came pics of some of the TGirls I met in the different bars I visited in my travels and then came pics of our Green Iguana (who has since passed away , Mongo). Vicky's pics are now mainly found in the ModelTS Section of URNA, with the exception of some of her pics in her Galleries on URNotAlone... the pictures of TGirls from various bars I visited around the country has gone away since I don't travel much anymore and they were getting pretty out of date... Mongo's pages are history now.

In the beginning, I hand coded all the pages and after several years of working my butt off trying to keep up I almost threw in the towel around the beginning of 2000. I put an announcement on the main page or URNotAlonethat it was becoming too much work, I had too little time and that the site would cease being updated and eventually go away. This was also around the time when Vicky and I were trying to get, our then separate adult site, ModelTS going and I was living on very little sleep. I found myself spending 20 to 30 hours a week working on URNotAlone, another 20 hours or so on ModelTS and, on top of that, I have my real job... the one that pays the bills

Around this time, Dan sent me an eMail offering his assistance. Some of the TGirls he new from the clubs in Ohio knew he did web development for a living and asked if he could help me out and keep me from shutting down URNotAlone. We corresponded a bit, Dan showed me a mock-up of what he had in mind... I was ecstatic. He totally redesigned the site, bringing it from a static, hand coded site to what you see today, a data driven site that takes all the drudgery out of maintaining and updating it. Now, instead of spending up to 30 hours a week on URNotAlone, I spend closer to 20 hours per week... and most of that work is spent answering eMails, approving or not approving profiles, etc. Thanks to Dan, we added an Articles section, a Places section, Galleries, a Chat Room, Forums, broke down the Profiles into categories and much more! Not only that, thanks to Dan, URNA still exists and offers much more than it ever did in the past

Dan and I got together in June (2003) and started planning for the future of URNotAlone. Part of what came out of this was combining my other site, ModelTS into URNotAlone's Adult Content Area. Part of this was to offset the cost of running 2 site's on 2 dedicated servers with 2 different hosting companies. Another reason for this is that quite a few of the ModelTS Members were also active visitors to URNotAlone and many of the Members also have profiles listed on URNotAlone. The Main reason we went ahead with the Merge is in the hopes that the money generated from the ModelTS Adult Content Section of URNotAlone would allow us to add even more Free Features to the Public Area of URNotAlone. It's already allowed us to add things like Calendars, to add the ability to list profiles by proximity to a certain area so people can get a list of people in their area by means other than State or Country, it allowed us to purchase Chat Room software and to add Forums and there's much more coming. It's finally gotten to the point where URNA is Dan's full time job... hopefully it will get to the point where it's my full time job also Dan, Vicky and I get together several times per year in person... when we're not physically together we're constantly in touch via eMail and phone.

We wish to thank all of you for your support over the years and for your continued support in the future If you haven't popped by to check out URNA, what are you waiting for, stop by, poke around and feel free to send us Comments and/or Suggestions.

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