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As far as I can tell, this site was the first of its type - a non-commercial, collectors' listing of worldwide stamp new issues (hence its name) - made public on the Internet. I no longer have any record of when exactly this was, but it was certainly in existence by the 28th of September, 1997. However it was very much in "beta testing" for some weeks after that.
After much work on the site, and many emails back and forth to and from various webmasters of sites from which I wished to collect information, I first started promoting this web site on the Usenet newsgroup rec.collecting.stamps (as it was called then on the 18th of October, 1997; shortly afterwards it divided into two groups: r.c.s.discuss and r.c.s.marketplace).
For some time this site grew slowly but steadily in the number of countries covered and stamps listed. By early 1998 I had changed from the original method of announcing updates (on this page) to annotating the listings on the index page; that made this page somewhat redundant and from that point on I made few announcements. Also adding to the lack of attention this page (and the site in general during some periods) received was a substantial increase in my workload "In Real Life". One of the drawbacks of operating a non-commercial site is that it doesn't keep the wolf from the door!
During 1998 many minor cosmetic upgrades were made to the way the site, in particular the index page, operated. The breaking of the listings into alphabetical blocks, interspersed with navigation tools, dates from this time.
One major upgrade made to the site that year was beyond my control: ES/Ihug's homepages server was shifted physically to a location in the United States, as the very narrow connection between New Zealand and the outside world was making locally hosted sites very slow to load. (From within this country the World Wide Web is still by and large the World Wide Wait).
In early November 1998 the last major addition of countries to this page was achieved by the addition of stamps marketed by the Intergovernmental Philatelic Corporation, which acts as agents for many countries, including some of the world's most prolific issuers of stamps. Since then additional country listings have been few and far between.
Lastly, on or around the 15th of November in that eventful year, ES/Ihug's homepages server was attacked by a cracker, who destroyed many of the pages hosted on that machine. My site survived relatively unscathed, but to be on the safe side every single page had to be reloaded: a waste of a couple of evenings' work at least. During that time I loaded some rather pungent comments onto my site, ending with the exhortation: "If any person does know [whoever cracked the server], it would be appreciated if s/he delivers that person to their local police station. Additionally, that person's name, age, personal details and criminal record should be publicized over as many convential and electronic media as possible. This person has attacked free speech, and it is fitting that free speech should be his/her undoing."
During 1999 and 2000, few new features were added to the site: the number of stamps listed grew quickly; the number of countries listed less so. Since the site became publicly known I have received much assistance from collectors of stamps of the world, or of certain countries, who emailed me about their latest acquisitions. I don't have enough space to thank them here; in most cases I have acknowledged the source of information on the country new issue pages themselves.
I was able to do little or no work on this site during the first few months of 2001, due both to pressure of work and my helping out with the "2001: A Stamp Odyssey" stamp exhibition held here in Invercargill. During April of this year I recommenced work on this page, but (as a change from my earlier practice) the pages were not loaded onto the Internet until the 1st of May, in one large batch.
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