When was the last time you visited the Backstreet Boys’ official website? I think my last journey there was at some point during the time period that the Show Em What Your Made Of documentary was released. It is one of the most useless sites I’ve ever seen – which is actually why so many alternates have popped up that are fan made (kinda like this one!). Fans of the Backstreet Boys are pretty much shit out of luck when it comes to any sort of web-presence from their favorite group. The navigation on their site is trash, there is little media available, and very recently most of the updated content is provided by fans who don’t seem to be given many (if any) resources that would legitimately help them develop substantive posts.
There is, however, the draw of the fan club, right? I mean, for just $30 you can be an exclusive member of a super exclusive fan club – sounds awesome. Except there is no current $30 fan club purchase option. You have the choice between a $40 membership that comes with leggings because …..girls, I guess? Or a $20 digital membership, which is likely the product of a price reduction during the Boys’ downtime. The rub? The leggings that I guess are supposed to be some exclusive perk, are also advertised next to the $40 membership for exactly $5. Meaning that if you bought the $20 digital fan club membership and the $5 leggings you’re saving $15 and getting everything the $40 membership offers.
The Backstreet Boys website proudly displays these things side by side because they believe we are all idiots. That is the only reason I can come up with, though I’m very open to other theories. I just can’t think of any that account for why this page also contains the chance to buy a 2012 and 2014 CALENDAR. Not to mention the fact that they advertise the very relevant 2010 Cruise DVD (which of course reminds people that no cruise media has ever been released since their first voyage). There is also a remix to Bigger on there which costs you a total of 1 fan club point (earned through being social or buying shit or something that I’m sure is super scientific). I hope Max isn’t waiting for the royalties on that one…
But I’ve gotten off track here. Let’s check out what a digital membership to the Backstreet Boys fan club includes, shall we?
- Access to exclusive digital content such as videos, audio, and photos.
Oh… really? I must have missed these over the last four years I’ve been a member. Exclusive videos? Nick’s Corner was fun back during the Never Gone days but I haven’t seen anything remotely as interesting on their site since. Exclusive audio content? You mean like unreleased songs, demos, live performances…? Yeah, we never get those. I guess that Bigger remix was more relevant than I thought (except OH WAIT, that’s not a FC exclusive). Exclusive photos? Did Wonderful Union lift this from another groups’ fan club because this whole thing is a lie.
- Access to exclusive community features such as forums, blogs, and chat.
This isn’t a perk, assholes. I can chat with people on the internet for free. We have fan communities and blogs for that very reason.
- Access to exclusive contests and campaigns.
I do think they did one cruise contest last year so I guess this isn’t a complete lie…
- Access to fan-club exclusive pre-sale tickets and VIP packages.
The pre-sale tickets are probably the only actual perk of the fan club membership. The part about VIP packages is trash because to this day I have yet to see them put a reasonable limit on the number of people packed into those events. They will limit the Platinum and Gold packages but beyond that it seems like a free for all. And because VIPs are ultimately open to the general public without needing a membership? Yeah…like I said at least the pre-sale tickets were occasionally useful.
See this picture of the Boys? I hope they fall. THAT’S how much of an insult their fan club is to, ya know, their actual fans.
Am I being too harsh? Well…during the In A World Like This Tour, they were selling this fan club membership packaged with those $5 leggings and a pull over for SIXTY FIVE U.S. DOLLARS. Saying I’m insulted is probably being as diplomatic as it gets at this point.
However, since I’m not one to point out problems without providing any sort of solution, let me make it easy for the Boys and their team to improve the fan club:
- Have the decency to revise the FC packages in your store so we aren’t forced to look up synonyms to ‘mercenaries’.
- Give up on the FC point system – it’s stupid and useless and keeps no one engaged.
- Stop trying to create a fan community on a site that’s never updated. Sites like Facebook work because it’s a never ending cycle of CONTENT. If I d0n’t need to visit BackstreetBoys.com for news I definitely don’t need to visit it to say hi to some random fans I met in New Jersey.
- Try having the Boys actually do something relevant to the FC? Like, I dunno…participate? When was the last exclusive chat? As far as I’m aware the FC has NEVER allowed members to submit questions to the Boys to be answered (at their leisure!) and posted to the ‘exclusive’ sections of the site. Guys, this isn’t that hard. It also allows for picking interesting questions and the Boys aren’t required to exert much effort to answer them in print.
- Run real contests? That include the Boys? I would probably cut off my tits for the chance to interview the Backstreet Boys. I know their promo and tour schedules are heavy so maybe it’s too much to ask that at each tour stop one FC member gets picked to speak with them for 15 minutes on camera (the video could be posted to the site but I know this is all a lot to process at once…). But, what if during their down time you had the same general concept but over the phone? The Boys can do it individually, lightening the load, and avoiding coordination nightmares. Record the audio and post it. I mean, if you did this once a quarter you could have one Boy go an entire year without having to do it.
This is all just scratching the surface. The Boys don’t even offer digital music downloads on their site, which could be because of contracts with other digital providers like iTunes, but it could also be because no one is in charge of doing stuff like this for their site. None of that would stop them from putting together audio from live performances to post but, again, maybe that’s too advanced for where we are at this point (which is a wasteland of dead internet space). I wouldn’t even need polished, high quality live performance audio to be free – I would pay extra for that. Ya know, on top of the $20 I’d spend on the digital membership to a black hole.
*Breathes into a paper bag for five minutes*
Eventually, I’ll get to a full write up on how the site itself is awful but at this point I’d be happy if the Boys just did us a solid and charged less for something that is largely useless. That being said, I fully encourage all of you to buy your $20 membership now because once the next era kicks off they’ll surge those prices like Uber on New Year’s Eve and you’ll all end up spending $40+ without the perk of those cheeky leggings.
Disagree? Yell at me in the comments. Agree? Come to the forum to vent! (You’re allowed to yell at me in the forum, too – I’m not hard to find! 😉 )