They Tried to Take It Down...
In 2004, HotWheelsCollectors.com (HWC) began manufacturing the sELECTIONs series— exclusive Hot Wheels cars created through the votes of the site's premium-paying Red Line Club (RLC) members.
Within the RLC Forums, a series of polls were conducted four times each year. (In 2010, this was reduced to twice per year.) In each series, voters determined the model, color, and wheels of the next sELECTIONs car. When the final round of voting was concluded, the winning car was offered only to RLC members, and only manufactured in quantities to match the number of orders.
There were many RLC members who honored the heritage of Mattel's original 1968-style redline wheels and "torsion-spring" suspension. Both the wheels and the bent-axle suspension were only available on Hot Wheels' "Neo-Classics" cars. "Old-school" members liked that. To their dismay, the majority of sELECTIONs votes went to cheaper, straight-axled, rubberlike Real Riders® wheels — the same wheels that are put on a lot of cars in Mattel's retail lines. Since a sELECTIONs car cost four times as much as a Real Riders car, the redliners wanted the exclusivity and functionality of the Neo-Classics suspension. But they were constantly outvoted by newer members who didn't care about the heritage or the rarity of the cars. Moreover, with increasing frequency the color voted in was some form of blue.
In 2007, a tie in one of the polls resulted in five sELECTIONs cars being produced. Every one was given Real Riders® wheels, and four out of the five were blue.
In 2008, sELECTIONs voting resulted in the eighth Real Riders® car in a row. The Blue Real Riders Club was created in response.
The Blue Real Riders® Club site began as a single Photoshopped image, good-naturedly mocking the RLC® members who consistently voted in favor of the lesser, rubber-tire cars. As April Fool's Day was pending, I created more images and built the concept into a five-page spoof "website".
Red Line Club members are forbidden to post links to offsite URLs, but I showed my "site" to a senior member of Mattel's Boys' New Media team, who gave me special permission to link to it, saying, "You won't get any interruption from me. If any of the mods or admins say anything to you, point them my direction and I'll chat with them."
So, on April 1st I started a discussion thread on the RLC exclusive forum with a simple link. Although I showed him my "permission slip", HWC site admin Chris Parker made it clear I should pull the plug, claiming fear of his superiors and a humorless legal department.
Before the end of the day, my "site" had got 1100 page loads, resulting in sixty Replies back to the message board, all positive. Nevertheless, the link was forcibly yanked.
They closed my entrance ramp, but the Information Superhighway was still open. And I found it was more fun working on my site than playing on theirs. So I continued to build BlueRealRiders.com.