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functioned as a central hub where all members of the then-small fandom interacted together.
(launched in 1997, moved to its top level domain in 1998).Some of these early sites, particularly Ben Yee's, also featured message boards, which were used as an alternative to a.t.t. While Ben Yee soon closed his board again due to frequent trolling and lack of moderation, another fan named Renaud Lefebvre launched his own site, Bigbot.com, in 1998, which also featured downloads and a message board, Bottalk.Even though Renaud was in contact with Beast Machines showrunner Bob Skir, thus briefly making Bottalk the primary Transformers discussion hub during that time, his tight-handed way of moderating his board eventually led to mass bannings, coupled with a mass exodus to a newly created board, named The Allspark, in November 1999.Due to the backlash from his moderating style, Lefebvre maintained an isolationist stance for Bottalk for an entire decade, ignoring the existence of other Transformers-related websites (with the occasional content copied and images hotlinked from the official Hasbro website).In return, Bottalk was ignored by the rest of the fandom, yet continued as a small but active board.The earliest form of interaction between Transformers fans that went beyond the usual schoolyard talks was the Letters Pages in the Generation 1 comics by Marvel. As fans grew older, those few that did not outgrow their hobby (like most children do) eventually found a form of communicating with each other on the internet.
Emerging from comic-centric bulletin boards such as the CCC (Comics Collectors' Club), a mailing list was created in April 1993, coinciding with early rumors about the impending launch of the Generation 2 toyline.Both sites gained message boards in late 2000, but were mostly known for offering downloads of old cartoon episodes and scanned comic book pages for years, a practice Hasbro still silently tolerated at that time—until a cease and desist order in January 2003.Since then, TFArchive has started to focus mostly on comic and toy reviews, while Transfans is mostly known for interviews these days.The fandom has long played a role in the history of the franchise. fan club can be viewed as the first form of an officially organized "fandom", although interaction between individual members was still limited at best. One of them, the Transmasters club, even got a shoutout in the letters pages in issue 79 of the Marvel US G1 comic (published in 1991), leading to a huge influx of new members, soon growing to 300 members globally.Most notably, Bot Con is their Mardi Gras, an official convention geared almost totally to adult fans. The original organizers of the club soon began to crumble under the weight, leaving matters to new members who would take over responsibilities.This caused a growth spurt for the fandom, with new arrivals eschewing the outdated Usenet and instead using web-based message boards.