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Return To The C-64 Campaign
by Zapotek/Samar

Note: this chapter is one year old as it originally was supposed to be released last summer with "Attitude", but magazine was delayed for one year.

Hello everyone!

This is Zapotek writing and I will tell you a little about the Return to Scene campaign, which I started in April 2000. This article is also started in April 2000. I will write it as a log file when something interesting happens. But first, let's get back to the start. Well, March of year 2000 was a slow month in the scene and the swapper scene in general. Many people had quit, so I found out that I wanted to start a return to the scene campaign, trying to get some people back or some new ones to enter. And on late March I began the work. I decided to mostly use the Internet for advertising the project as that was the cheapest way with no advertising costs and free homepage. I set up a simple website with the address http://how.to/rt64. On that site you can find some information about the C-64 scene right now as well as links to download sites with C-64 stuff and other interesting sites. But most important thing on this site is the help for people that can't already transfer stuff via the net or want to start swapping the old way. I set up a simple form for them, where they can write their address and get a free start up package. The startup package consist of some hot stuff and some standard tools (copyprograms etc), and a piece of paper with some info, and some addresses they can contact.

Now you may ask, isn't it a bit crazy to send away free disks and pay the stamps for it? Yes, it is, but actually it is not that different from contacting new people, as I also offered those people to swap with me and I guess the number of answers will be just as high as if I contact a bunch of addresses from a disk magazine.

I made agreements with some of the most active swappers and printed their addresses on the paper sent with the startup package. And they promised to answer people from this project. The start of April I used for finishing the website.

07.April 2000

Now I did the first advertising for the project. I sent in a mail to Padua's e-mail list (which is one of the biggest and most active C-64 mailing lists on the net). I wrote about the new site and asked for help with advertising.

No answers on the list, but one e-mail came to me, one from Fuzz, an American scener that gave me some website addresses I can advert on and offered to test if stuff worked on NTSC, in case any Americans filled out the form. OK, so one guy answered my question for help, I started surfing via the Internet for names of newsgroups and other places to advert.

I started mailing with some of my old contacts, among them Commander/Role, who gave me some addresses of advertising places. Some e-mails started to land in my inbox, people that were on the Padua's mailing list had filled out the form. I didn't expect this, but okay. The people were unknown to me, so I guess they qualified for the campaign. The first guy was from Russia. Then one from Norway, one from England and one from U.S.A.

11.April 2000

I decided to advert the project on "comp.sys.cbm" and "alt.c64" - these are Commodore 64 related news groups on the net.

Of course the post to the C-64 news group led to some discussion that, I just knew, would come up. One old scener wrote "Why return, the scene is history". People that quit years ago seem to believe that the scene died when they quit, but that is not so. The scene carries on till all sceners are gone. Some seem to almost be a bit angry about the fact that there are still some people today using the C-64 actively.

This day I also advertised on "aus.market.computers.used", which is a news group, where used computers are being sold and bought.

Yes, you are right that this is an Australian news group. And I guess you wonder why does a guy in Norway start advertising his project in Australia as the first country? Good question. I'm not sure of the answer myself, must be because it was one of the first news groups I found. Some people filled the form after looking at the "comp.sys.cbm" and "alt.c64"@ a couple of Americans and a guy from France.

I didn't expect to see many European replies from those news groups, because it is mostly used by Americans. And what about the Australian news group? Well, two Australians filled out the form so far.

13.April 2000

Thursday, the 13 April I sent out the first 8 start packs. It will be very interesting to hear from any of my contacts if they get any sending from one of these guys or if anyone get active in any way. The campaign is now officially up and running! I started advertising in the news groups in some more countries: Norway, my home country, as well as Denmark and Sweden, my neighbour countries, and also Poland. Some forms got in the first day. I also advertised on probably the largest C-64 website, www.c64.org.

You may ask, why don't I advertise on all suitable news groups and websites at once? Well, the answer is simple: I will go slowly forward, so I know I can handle sending out.

14.April 2000

I did advertise on some more news groups, but with no great response. Are people not interested or is it because of the Easter, who knows? I decided to wait with advertising anymore till after Easter. Drake, one of the most active swappers in Holland offered to help out with shipping. This makes the work more easy for me.

25.April 2000

Easter holidays are over. Things have been silent during the holidays. I lost a little inspiration lately for the campaign, but still I ship out some startpacks. Only four people to send out to after Easter, it's time to advert again!

26.April 2000

I improved the look of the website a little bit and did advert in some news groups in these countries: Switzerland, Italy and Finland.

I got back reaction from one American, whom I sent out a startpack before Easter, he was starting up his swapping activities again.

23.May 2000

After a little break I am back with an update here. Not much happened during the last month. Averagely one pack a week has been being sent out lately. Number of visitors on the site has been dropping a lot and I have not been advertising it much lately, mostly because of being busy with other things and also because of little inspiration for the project and the C-64 in general.

I feel that the feedback from people we have sent out startpacks hasn't been that great - we didn't hear anything from over half of them, at this moment anyway...

10.June 2000

I decided to put the site down for the summer. Well, the site is up, but it is not possible to sent any startpacks now. I will do a new round with advertising and bring back some action on the end of August.

Now for the total results, since 11th April 24 startpacks were sent out to totally 13 different countries:

Australia: 3 sendings
Sweden: 3 sendings
USA: 3 sendings
Italy: 2 sendings
Ireland: 2 sendings
Holland: 2 sendings
Denmark: 1 sending
Norway: 2 sendings
Finland: 1 sending
Russia: 1 sending
Ireland: 1 sending
England: 2 sendings
France: 1 sending

And about reactions? Well, one guy from Holland now started doing gfx, another one from Australia started swapping as well as one in U.S.A. And I'm sure some more will get active, too.

10.May 2001

It's now over a year since the project. I closed it for good in autumn 2000. The interest in returning to the C-64 scene seems to be low. I will not ever start up this site again and send out shit for free. Drake seems to have left the scene and no one wanted to continue the site, so I say "good bye" to that project.

ZAPOTEK/SAMAR

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