Okay…okay…I’m here to give my Monkbot opinion of the new Taylorhicks.com website.

First let me say that I realize this site is more of a placeholder for what it is to grow into after the album’s released in December than it is a true website. However, as an official presence, I think it has a responsibility to give the best possible “first look” at Taylor as an artist…especially since there are those people out there (read: Justin Timberlake and the like…sorry, Bama) who don’t consider him as credible an artist as he actually is. That said, I think this site is important…and should be treated as such.

Let me start with what I like. The site is clean and very easy to maneuver. This is great considering the fan base is diverse in age and experience on the Web. I also like that it offers (or will eventually offer) a comprehensive menu…photos, media, downloads, news, tour, store, etc. I think the site overall is good for what it is setting out to accomplish right now and offers a great foundation on which to build.

Now for the criticism.

Since Monkbot Talk ain’t listed as an “official fan site,” I can say whatever the hell I want. Be it known, 19 Entertainment, RCA, The Firm, and Taylor Hicks…these criticisms are intended in the most constructive manner possible. I realize y’all are just getting started…and I hope my thoughts will only help you as you work to improve the site.

About the aesthetics. I would much prefer there be no flash. I think a better choice would have been to create static pages that offer visually interesting and artistic use of the wonderful photos that were commissioned.

About those photos, I suppose I’m a little spoiled since I’ve seen them all via Gray over the past few weeks, but nothing was intriguing…because nothing was new. Plus, I didn’t think ALL of them should be used. The photos of him with the guitar are beautiful and really should have been the only ones used for “page design” purposes. The rest could be offered for download so folks wanting “hunky Taylor” could be satiated. Simpler would have been better on making the site more representative of what Taylor will be trying to accomplish in the studio now and in his career long term.

Overall, the look is pretty milk toast…which is a far cry from what Taylor Hicks is as an artist.

The News page doesn’t provide any real news. It’s all stuff we’ve read before, which I’m fine with…because I’m sure it will be updated as news happens.

However the Bio page is absolutely ridiculous. Where is his background as an artist? We get more information on American Idol, 19 Entertainment, and RCA than we do about Taylor Hicks. I’m sorry…but if I wanted to read about those entities, I’d visit THEIR websites. I want to know about Taylor. I want an artist’s statement…something to give him a soul…a human connection…a heartbeat.

The Photos page is my next point of contention. I think it’s great to offer these for downloads…but the thumbnails are misshapen and pixelated. This should have looked spot on and crisp…not like someone’s MySpace Friends page.

So, after all the wait…all the anticipation…all the hype…the site launch was a little disappointing for me. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not thrilled with the fact that Taylor HAS a professional site and that I, ultimately, realize that it’s NOT about his website…it’s about the music he creates.

Come December…my ear will be trained on the CD…not the website…and the REAL scrutiny will begin from me…as well as from America.


53 Responses to “Taylorhicks.com….Zzzzzzzzz”

  1. claire Says:

    Amen Shelley – I didn’t get the whole bio thing – there’s no bio!!! Where’s Taylor’s musical background, snippets of his life story, stories of how LMBO came to be…And the “Appearances” section – empty!! We’ve known about his upcoming appearances for days!!!

    Having said that, the look of the site is quite nice (surely there’s more pictures out there though! They should’ve held a competition among fans to submit their best pics of Taylor pre/during/post AI), and hopefully it’ll be fleshed out soon enough. I wonder if they’ll add message boards later, and if so I hope they disable any possible links to the glitter-enabler sites out there!!

  2. double d Says:

    Worthy of a repost from the other thread….

    I think it’s appalling. Taylor was virtually “made” by the online community, yet it’s the one channel that no-one is really paying attention to. How stupid?!?
    It feels like someone felt pressure to do something and they just threw it out there. Asthetically, it’s fine but there is NO substance…it would have been better to have kept the “mystique” of “wonder what it will look like and when will it be”…

    Can you say “dropped the ball”?

    If I were Taylor I’d be asking some questions.

  3. shelley Says:

    Claire…I assume the Appearances section will be filled in as dates are solidified. But that’s just an assumption from me.

    About the message boards…from Gray’s site…
    “Version 1.0″ exists as a base to promote Taylor and his new recording. It will not contain much in the way of “community relationship building tools”. In other words, no message boards. Why not? It’s a simple matter of time pressure, “Version 1.0″ needs to launch as soon as possible – so it will.”

    DD…I SO glad you reposted that. I was going to ask you to. I thoroughly agree about the lack of focus on the online fanbase.

  4. double d Says:

    Well, it certainly shows “time pressure”…but why? They felt pressure to launch this? And I don’t give them all that much credit to think that it will be updated with any frequency.

    I must actually say that I’m glad Gray is not involved on the “official” site other than to be a link and the official blog.

    Taylor’s fans have grown too accustomed to great detail from Gray and others to be satisfied with this site…sawry. It just chafes me when people don’t do their homework…

  5. shelley Says:

    DD…what chafes me is the idea that they DID do their homework…they just paid it no heed.

    I think this leaves a BIG responsibility to fall to Gray’s shoulders. I hope they are big enough to bear the weight.

  6. shelley Says:

    Please allow me to add the f*ckin’ Rehearsals.com has more “bio” information on Taylor than his own website.

    Hell, Rehearsals.com even has quotes from him…

    Let me tell you…from my days as a P.R. director…I’d be shot for NOT getting actual words from the mouth of the person I’m promoting.

    That’s ludicrous.

  7. claire Says:

    Shelley, DD – did you both sign up for the Online Soul Patrol? I didn’t.

    I appreciate the importance of the Internet in anybodys fanbase, but signing up three of your friends? Sending around e-mails to your contacts? That’s just creepy IMO. If I signed up anybody I knew to something on the Internet they would come over to my place and bitch-slap me. And I would do the same to them. ( I know it’s secure and their addresses would not be passed on…It’s the principle. I do not have their consent to sign them up to anything. Even being ASKED to do it seems a little weird to me.) Didn’t we have this discussion last week on GC, double d?? 😉 ;).

    I’m not going to go on about it to any great length here. What are your thoughts on the Online Soul Patrol deal?

  8. shelley Says:

    I signed up…so I’d be there for alerts and stuff…just in case something came up I wanted to blog about.

    I’d NEVER sign anyone up for something like that.

    I think it’s nice to offer it, but I don’t think it’s particularly clever.

    I guess I had hoped SOMEONE out there amongst the giant would have seen the opportunity to do something OUTSIDE the box when it comes to Taylor…but I guess that’s not the case.

    Perhaps have online discussions about “what’s soulful to me”…people sending in accounts of their own lives…and editing them and photographing them and featuring them on a part of the website…or using Taylor’s site to feature one new struggling totally unknown artist each week.

    I think something like that would spark more “interest” from those outside the Soul Patrol, which, in turn would bring more attention to Taylor.

    It wouldn’t be expensive or hard to do either.

    I think with as unique as Taylor is…the way he’s presented needed a unique treatment.

    Kind of an extraordinary everyman’s tale of success.

  9. double d Says:


    Actually, if it were done right, it could be a cool new way to “share” Taylor…not in a high pressure way but just in an information way, if you wanted to. Again, Taylor was “made” primarily on-line and by word-of-mouth (still the most effective form of Marketing). It’s a logical extension to try to continue this effort via an On-Line Soul Patrol.

    Certainly, there are folks, like yourself who are uncomfortable with that and that’s ok. But for those who are, it’s a good vehicle. However, that said…in light of what I’m seeing for the lack of regard on the website, I wonder…

    I must say, though, that everyone else seems to think it’s the best thing since sliced bread.


    There, now I feel better.

    It really makes a hill of beans not about the functionality of the website, however. Similar to the album art debacle, it’ll be the MUSIC that will ultimately make the artist…that must be what the website folks are banking on.

  10. shelley Says:

    DD…God love ya…I just saw where you asked for a link to Monkbot. LOL

    I’m very pleased to be listed in Gray’s links. I don’t think The Firm needs to list me.

    Can you imagine someone new to the whole Taylor thing clicking over to Monkbot Division and reading about…oh, I don’t know…some crazy hefer trying to get her chin waxed! ROFL. 😉

  11. Holeigh Says:

    I have to agree…it’s nice that they have the site up and running, but it is nothing special, which is very unfortunate. I was hoping for something more like Brendan Fraser’s site, which is very interactive and something one can tell he’s had a hand in. It may be trippy at points, but I think the idea of it is awesome. It truly represents who he is and what he wants to be associated with himself.

    I’m also not a big fan of the inability to “right click save as” the pictures. Screen shot it is…

  12. double d Says:


    If Taylor doesn’t have the time to “play internet” right now, there were alternatives. Better to have a proxy or nothing than to put something “meh” out there.

    Again, all the little Taylorettes seem to love it…as long as their are flashing pictures of Taylor, they’re satisfied. (for now)

  13. shelley Says:

    I think flash is the devil…well, not really but you get my drift.

    Hey did y’all see that taylor called gray and said, “we’ll be adding more soul, day to day, more soul. Take care everybody.”

    mmm…the man listens. 😉

  14. nolagirl Says:

    My first impression of the site was “meh” much like the rest of you that have posted so far.

    But … who are “they” trying to target with this site? Could it be that they are not trying to target us “hard core” Taylor fans, since they have us in the bag already? Of course none of the news on there is new to us, but what about to people who haven’t been engulfed in all that is Taylor for the past year? Is that who “they” are trying to target?

  15. double d Says:

    As I said at Gray’s….cautiously optimistic.

    Given his priorities right now, unless he’s hired an INDEPENDENT webmaster (i.e., someone who is for him and not employed by 19E or J Records), it will be hard to deliver on day to day changes.

    Ok, going back to Pollyanna mode. I’m harshing my own mellow…

  16. claire Says:

    hey Shelley – I thought roaches were the Devil??

  17. shelley Says:

    NOLA…I don’t think it’s truly a matter of who they are targeting.

    It’s an “official” site…it should look the part.

    And, quite simply, it doesn’t.

    It lacks basic information about the artist. It lacks a visual and literal statement about who Taylor Hicks is. It lacks…well…personality.

    Consider Nerina’s site from the other day. It didn’t look all that great…but it gave great information about who she is.

    Visit Jamie Liddell’s site. He has a cohesive look yet gives a LOT of personality and feel for who he is.

    Another FAVORITE site of mine is The Ditty Bops. It’s easy to navigate and chocked full of lots of goodies.

    I think folks online rely on the visual to paint the picture, and that will, in turn, make them more curious. Taylor’s site won’t inspire folks to read…which, I guess, is good since there ain’t much there to read about. My point is, they could have done a 15 interview with him and done a great write up in his voice to put on the home page with phots of him playing…that would have been much more of a statement for ANYONE visitnig the site than photoshopped filtered flash pictures and a menu bar.

  18. shelley Says:

    Claire…anything I don’t like is the Devil. 😉

  19. double d Says:

    Seriously, how long would it take for a novice webmaster to put that site together?

    My 15 year olds MySpace page is more complicated….and more informative.

    dangit, I said Pollyanna…

    I still lerve Smilin’ Taylor! 🙂

  20. shelley Says:

    I lurve smiling Taylor, too.

    But I want to know what lurks behind that smile. 😉

    I want more about his philosophical views on music and the sounds of today versus yesterday and what it means to suffer for your craft and what it means to succeed and how he plans to meld the two.

  21. claire Says:

    LOL Shelley, the Ditty Bops site is so clever….although I don’t think Taylor would go for the pink doiley effect 😉 But you’re right, it has everything you want, presented attractively, and it has an interesting feeling to it.

    “I want more about his philosophical views on music and the sounds of today versus yesterday and what it means to suffer for your craft and what it means to succeed and how he plans to meld the two.”

    Exactly. That’s exactly what I want. More Heart and Soul.

  22. double d Says:


    Sad to say it, but we may have to “buy the book” for that.

    I’m suddenly nauseated.

  23. shelley Says:

    Are you nauseated ’cause the book will probably be more about Clive Davis than Tyalor?

  24. double d Says:

    I guess we should feel fortunate that we have had some 50,000 ft. level philosophy from Taylor via Gray over the past few weeks.

    Still feel that there is a “barrier” that doesn’t seem to be there on some of the other sites of other artists.

    Just getting the feeling that everything has a price. Guess it’s the ugly head of commercialism rising again. That’s the nausea. That, and the Taylorettes.

  25. shelley Says:

    DD said, “I guess we should feel fortunate that we have had some 50,000 ft. level philosophy from Taylor via Gray over the past few weeks.”

    I think you’re right.

    I acutally feel less of a barrier though…because of Gray.

    Don’t you think we’ve been fortunate to get actual messages from Taylor about the “mundane” of his day to day as well as the excitement of his new life?

  26. Shrewspeaks Says:

    Look the way I see it…TH.com was not created for us. No site was…we gravitated to GC.com because of what Gray has to offer. I give major kudos to Taylor for saying to the peeps in charge…make it so with regards to GC.com. That is enought for me. Honeslty, I never expected much from TH.com…not ver. 1.0 anyway.

  27. shelley Says:

    That’s a good point, Shrew. But I think it gives too much of an avenue for those in charge to drop the ball creatively.

    Music is art…it’s about creation and relating and sharing of one’s self.

    In an age where album ART is hardly considered anymore…why not take the medium of website and make it what album art was 20 years ago?

    Make it a statement about the artist. A design that states clearly a feel…a message.

    TH.com (at least this version) was made to let folks know about Taylor. So…let them know about Taylor.

    (ooo…i think i’m going to post this over at gray’s)

  28. double d Says:

    Sorry, folks. Don’t mean to be Debby Downer. I just have a hard time when something that can be great and innovative misses the mark. I figure that if I can see the vision, surely those much smarter than me should too.

    C’mon, now…Pollydamnanna…

  29. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Well, I’m not disappointed at all. Of course, I had zero to low expectations…so that probably explains my attitude.

    I’m guessing that b/c Taylor has yet to “prove” himself to these guys (possibly in a $$ sense)…they aren’t keen to bank a lot of time and effort into the site until more is known. We’ve already been told that this is 1.0 and 2.0 will be “new and improved”.

    I just think we’re doing a lot of bellyaching over nothing. We already have everything we need and as far Taylor’s potential new fans needing info….well, if they just google his name, they will get 4,910,000 results to choose from. I’m pretty sure they can find his bio, some nice pics, some cool fansites and blogs, etc. if they just click on one or two of the top featured ones.

    Also, I’m guessing that these folks: “…there are those people out there who don’t consider him as credible an artist as he actually is.”…will be looking to his website to find out whether he is a credible artist or not…they probably won’t think of him at all…until they hear something one day and say “Who is that?? Really, Taylor Hicks? Man, I didn’t give that guy enough credit.” or maybe when he wins that Grammy that will be his one day.

  30. Gray Charles Says:

    “The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”
    – Hunter S. Thompson

    You guys is depressing me – and I don’t need the help.

  31. nolagirl Says:

    Shrew and Bama – I agree with you about the low expectations I had, which is I think why I am not so ruffled by the lack of excitement/cutting edge feel to the version 1.0.

    That being said, I now have fairly high expectations for version 2.0. 😉

  32. claire Says:

    hope this makes you smile, Gray.

    You do a great job. We is just bitchin’. It’s not like anybody listens to us, anyway…… 😉

  33. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Gray- No reason to be depressed over this. It’s just business. Taylor will prove himself a valuable commidity and where they give him more creativity in his music, they may give him more creative license over his site. Things have to follow a natural progression. It’s life. He will be a success and we all need to chill out and quit sweatin’ every damned detail of the ride and just enjoy it.

  34. shelley Says:

    okay, gray…but at least we’re discussing and noting all it’s potential…and just not insipidly giving it a tongue bath.

    hey…i’m glad it’s the way it is…it gives me something to look forward to when the soul is plugged in.

    i just want it to be a fair representation of what taylor is capable of. that’s all.

  35. Gray Charles Says:

    Not to be a bitch, but Taylor is a musician, he ain’t a web designer (unless I missed the memo).

  36. shelley Says:

    not to be one back…but i never said he was.

    but he works with people who ARE and could have done a better job.

  37. double d Says:

    Ok, sorry I started all of this. Gray is right. Taylor is a musician….but he NEEDS a webmastah!

    No more nattering….I’m on the positive. I am sooooo thankful for graycharles.com and monkbot. I look forward to the soul infusion into the “official” site and I will trust that Taylor will scale all appropriately.

    Forgive my negativism…new hormone patch…not appropriately scaled, I guess.

    I love you guys…and rainbows and kittens!!!

    : )

  38. claire Says:

    Gray, I don’t think anybody is saying that the site’s shortcomings are TAYLOR’S fault. But hopefully Taylor will have some input into the content once the site gets it’s training wheels off. I think that’s what people are saying here. (correct me if I’m wrong, peeps.)

    double d – don’t forget the marshmallow clouds and baby ducks!!

  39. Squeebee Says:

    Back from work now, and wow…there really are polarized opinions on the new website. I think I am somewhere near the middle. Gray has been telling us lately and often to lower our expectations. I was at the point yesterday where my expectaions were so low, they were heading towards MySpace proportions. So, the website is actually an improvement on that.

    Is it better than nothing? Marginally. Is it all we expect as a finished product? Not by a long shot. Will I be visiting the site often? Not until there is some content with substance.

    Taylor has said he is not sweating the details, he is letting others do that for him. He is a busy guy, and I can’t imagine him having a ton of time to help develop his website at this point.

    Looking forward to the addition of “soul” to the website soon!

  40. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Gray- Really? For Real? Taylor is a musician? Here I thought he was a hair model.

    Lots of musicians give their input on their websites. You don’t have to be a web designer to have ideas do you?

    I don’t really give a shit about his site. I do give a huge shit about him! ( I just said I give a huge shit…heehee…)

    My whole point is that it’s just business and I personally think we should just be thankful for what we already have and the things that we are continually given. Because most of it we don’t deserve.

  41. shelley Says:

    squeebee said “Is it better than nothing? Marginally. Is it all we expect as a finished product? Not by a long shot. Will I be visiting the site often? Not until there is some content with substance.”

    well said.

    I, like bama, give a huge shit about taylor (tee hee).

    i’ll calm down.

    sorry folks.

    i wanted to put up something that sparked dome discussion…guess i got more than i bargained for.

  42. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Well, I have to go now. Peace, love, happiness, baby ducks and frozen kittens to you and all of your Monkbot kin.

    Gray all is good. We love our Uncle Monkbot and all the good work he does.

  43. double d Says:

    Woohoo! Squee to the Bee…you are my Yoda!

    ko-RECK on your comments….perspective, I know, I know.

    We all just want the BEST for Taylor, so we want his site to be the BOSSEST! Sounds like it might get there with some soul infusion from the man hisself.

  44. Squeebee Says:

    On a lighter note, did anyone else notice that the link to “theofficialsoulpatrol.com” is entitled simply, “The Soul Patrol”? I giggled a little at that.

  45. claire Says:

    LOL squee, I missed that….snarkalicious….btw, check out the “jukebox” page on TaylorMadeSoul (also linked at TH.com)There’s lots of great stuff there, all playing on shuffle!!

  46. Gray Charles Says:

    Not to be a bitch again, but . . . ahe never mind. Give me 10 quick bullet points and I’ll change graycharles.com to do it.

    You know, unless they suck

  47. double d Says:


    10 quick bullet points on what?

  48. NOLAgirl Says:

    On why Taylor is so HAWT.


    I have no idea what Gray was talking about.

  49. Ridearoundsally Says:

    What can I say…its better looking than my website so I will keep my cakehole shut for once!

  50. Bobo Says:

    I kinda hear what your saying Shelley…I was not overly excited about the launch myself…other than its one more step into the ‘big time’ for Taylor…I was alittle ‘ho-hum’ with the site as a whole. But I will be one of the thousands going to it everyday! LOL

  51. baby duck Says:

    Since baby ducks should be all soft and cuddly, making you feel like warm chocolate inside, I deleted what I was going to post. Suffice it to say, I’d like to see a webmaster contact link on the site.

  52. Jan Says:

    hmmm…the site is a starting place. It’s his site. The cheesy music(sorry it’s cheesy to me and annoying) and the rotating pics are enough to ensure that I won’t be on the site much.

    I too wish there were a static page with the guitar pic or any pic but not repeating images. It’s like, well, nobody will be on this site for more than 60 seconds so they won’t be annoyed.

  53. double d Says:

    So,maybe that was the point. Don’t make it too inviting just yet?

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