In fact, there were no mentions to a TV show called Felicity, or even the girl named Felicity at first, but only a passing nod here or there (later, a monthly activities planner for Kelvin Residential Hall boasted the signature “F. Porter” roughly two weeks after Felicity was seen by millions discussing its imminent deadline with Noel.)
I like to think of this as an idea called internet theater: another means of tapping into the web’s awesome entertainment potential. Maintaining a theatrical suspension of disbelief; a positive sense of disorientation, but in a the word…a misdirection, potentially a red herrings.
By presenting an idiosyncratic homepage masquerading as a student’s web site, the viewers gained a private window to some of Noel’s graphic tastes and insights. Any television site’s main objective is, of course, to invite a following, and to encourage a dialogue with the show’s audience, and this seemed to be working.
By also leaving out any commercial ties-in or overt plugs* to any overt signs of sponsorship quickly began to get the Felicity listservers and mailgroups talking. In many cases, fans who learned of the site would bookmark it onto pages they created for the show as well.
Noelcrane.com experienced a sharp rise in visits over the next weeks, capping just over 43,000 visits during the month of November; almost entirely by word-of-mouth, and most of the time resulting in repeat visitors. It was a fairly auspicious start for a web site not yet logged in the search engines or tagged at the end of the program.