22.01.2006 - 413,591 Hits in One Year on a Philatelic Site
Early in 1999, Les Winick – member of the AIJP and an international wellknown author and journalist – had an idea for

Early in 1999, Les Winick – member of the AIJP and an international wellknown author and journalist – had an idea for a website to handle questions from stamp collectors, who otherwise did not have an on-line method of asking and receiving answers to their questions. He asked his friend, Dick Sine, if he would do the necessary work to get the site on-line and keep it current. The pair worked hand-in-hand. Winick wrote and reviewed the contents, Sine did the formatting and design technique.

On June 1, 1999, AskPhil.Org went live, sponsored by the Collectors Club of Chicago. As AskPhil developed, the ensuing years have been somewhat of a blur. The non-commercial site, sponsored by a highly respected and non-affiliated stamp club, has been able to develop at its own pace. Changes and expansion were made to meet the actual and perceived needs of the greater stamp collecting on-line community. AskPhil offers the stamp-collecting public a wide range of subjects.

  • A website of more than 500 pages.
  • Personal responses to more than 9,000 questions.
  • A searchable Q & A database of more than 1,700 questions, with each one individually answered.
  • A glossary of stamp collecting terms with more than 25,000 entries, believed to be the largest such list, printed on-line, known.
  • Searchable database of more than 1,700 local stamp clubs, covering nine countries. This may be also the largest single such list.
  • Searchable database of stamp dealers.
  • Searchable database of more than 500 specialty stamp organizations, with contact information. This is also the largest single such list.
  • Extensive lists of stamp expertizers, international philatelic dealer groups, international philatelic federations, philatelic libraries of the world, philatelic museums of the world, principal stamp publications of the world, and worldwide philatelic organizations. Changes are made immediately as updated information is received.
  • Extensive on-line identification information, with a U.S. Washington-Franklin Identifier considered one of the best known and easiest to use.
  • 29 how-to articles.
  • Auction information section including the address of every known auction dealer in the world, catalogue abbreviations in many languages, monthly auction listing, and an article on how to protect yourself in Internet auctions.
  • Three articles on planning your philatelic estate.
  • Series of 13 mini-courses on stamp collecting designed for new collectors, particularly youth.

For the latest complete year, 2005, AskPhil has had 413,591 (287,609 in 2004) visitors from 143 (128 in 2004) countries. They spent an average of 8 minutes and 17 seconds on the site. The guests clicked to AskPhil from 740 other websites (including search engines) and asked 18,399 (12,057 in 2004) questions. 15,660 (10,556 in 2004) of these questions received an automatic response based on the word or phrase entered. 2,739 (1,501 in 2004) questions came to the site via e-mail and were personally answered by Dick Sine.

The year-over-year increase in usage of the AskPhil.Org site comes in the midst of a steady decrease in both philatelic print media circulation and large society membership numbers. A very high percentage of AskPhil visitors are directed there by web search engines from all over the world. The collectors are there. We just have to reach them.