Happy 14th Birthday, FanKlub!

Once upon a time, long ago – but just within the furthest reaches of our digital archive – a few interesting events occurred…

Now, many companies have a global internet forum. A place where keen followers of the company and its product line gather, and where users go to sort out issues they may be having. We have one too.

Global. All very well, but not very intimate. All a bit too mechanical. All a bit too utilitarian and broad-stroke. Not personal: no real rapport. So we thought and debated and scratched heads regarding a different approach. And the eventual result: the birth of our localized – Russian – fan club, 14 years ago!

And just like we like to celebrate our birthday as a company in style, our fan club does too, in recent years even going on exotic expeditions for the occasion: Cambodia, Iceland and elsewhere. This year another expedition was planned, but then it was postponed, then postponed again, for the obvious reasons. Summer – the season the birthday falls in – came and went, yet still no b-day bash. Fall came and went. The last season of the year came… and so there was only one thing for it: this year’s celebrations would take place in winter! Which they just did…

Of course, it was online – but no less fun (just add champagne to… lubricate:).

The main item on the virtual birthday menu was recalling fun moments from the past 14 years of the fan club. Herewith, a few highlights…

  • There was my first ever line of text written on/for the new fan club – on September 30, 2006, somewhere between Rio and Tokyo (via Munich).
  • There was the super-helpful alpha and beta-testing of the 6th version of our antivirus product, plus the mega-skins the fan club came up with for it.
  • There’s the story of when a fan club member found a bug in a product release just hours before it was due to go online. The release had to be postponed. I was of course most grateful to the fan-clubber who found it. But then I thought – if only you’d told us three days earlier! Joke ).
  • There’s the story about… instant mashed potato. What you know today as Kaspersky Internet Security wasn’t always called that. Early doors, in all markets besides the Russian one, it was called Kaspersky Pure. The Russian version was to become ‘Pure’ too; however… as the fan clubbers pointed out with typically caustic wit, ‘Pure’ looks like the Russian word for mashed potato – ~purée! Yes, their memes featuring photos of packs of instant пюре (purée) came in thick and fast. But they had point: a most valid one. And let’s face it, if these friendly guys were LOLing at our branding, imagine what less friendly folks would do – not to mention our competitors?! Accordingly, a different name was opted for: Kaspersky Crystal. Not that that lasted very long anyway: it later became Total Security, but that’s a whole other story…
  • There’s the one about when the fan club flew from Singapore to Cambodia, and a few members noticed while looking out the windows during boarding that one of the propellers was… kept intact by what looked like masking tape!
  • And the time in Sochi bungee jumping more than 100 meters down a ravine, and another in Turkey slithering down a very wet ravine: and our still today not knowing which was the more frightening adrenaline-rushing!
  • There was the script written by fan clubbers which blocked miners.
  • There’s the 70,000+ times our fan clubbers have helped users work out this or that about our products; and the 30,000+ times they’ve treated cyber-infections on consumer devices.
  • I could go on, but I’d be here all day!…

Meanwhile, our fan club has continued to grow…

At the outset the collective intelleKt group was small – a mere couple dozen enthusiastic tech-minded individuals. By April 2009 it had grown up to 5000. By March 2010 – 10,000; November 2012 – 20,000. By 2017 the fan club had 40,000 registered users!

Fan clubbers also meet offline. They go visit other members sometimes more than a hundred kilometers away – sometimes even abroad! Some of the fans even go and get married to each other! Whatever next? ).

This year, despite being the worst year on record for a long time generally, was a good year for the fan club: it passed the 50,000 members mark! (That’s just in Russia: there are a further 31,000 members in our English-language based fan club!) And these folks are always busy: they’ve written millions of messages, set up 1500+ blogs, taken part in hundreds of contests and quizzes, and given me personally no less than 5000 questions. I answered each and every one, let’s say in around 90 seconds each, which means I’ve spent more than a full 24 hours answering their curious queries! But if I add the various meet-ups, my blogposts on fan club stuff and so on – I think my time with the club will be measured in weeks, not days ). And I’m all the happier for it!

So, as you can see, the fan club is alive, well, active, and forever growing. Hurray!

Here’s looking forward to next year’s 15th birthday bash – in summer as per tradition.

Once again: Happy Birthday, Fan Klub! Many happy returns, and see you all next year! And for those of you who haven’t joined yet – get involved!…

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