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And Now, A Word From Our Sponsors

Here at Burnt Orange Nation, we work hard to bring you guys the best possible content and entertainment as we slog through our work weeks together. While hard work is one key component of what we're able to bring you, we'd be remiss not to point out, and thank, our terrific sponsors. Nobody has been a bigger sponsor of Burnt Orange Nation than our friends over at Longhorn Nation.. So today we wanted to formally bring Scott Fuller over from LN to tell you guys more about what they're doing over there, and how you can join the community.

Burnt Orange Nation: Scott, we're grateful for your sponsorship of Burnt Orange Nation, but we also enjoy participating in the community over there. For our readers who may not know about you yet, why don't you explain to us what LN is all about.

Scott, Longhorn Nation: To make a long story very short, it's basically a combination and improvement of two existing, well-known entities - a message board, like offers, and a community environment like what MySpace offers (without the suck, as we like to say).

But I really need to start at the beginning. I was spending a lot... I mean, A LOT (to the tune of 7,000+ posts over 3 years) of time on another Longhorn Message board. I kept forwarding cool links and funny stories to one of my buddies who had already been designing a community site for another project. He finally said, "DUDE, we should really create our own site" - it would be SO much better than what I was currently using. It would have to be, as we'd be trying to break into the saturated world of online communities and blog sites.

He got annoyed with me sending him obscure stories like what some Texas high school recruit said to Paris Hilton while on Spring Break in Cabo (usually with a link to the article and video). Now, I pretty much just send him links to our own site. I think we were best summed up by a web review that Study Breaks did on us, that we may have not been ready for at the time, but is certainly applicable, now.

Burnt Orange Nation: What would you say to a reader that said, "I already have a MySpace and Facebook page. Why would I want another personal page?"

Scott, Longhorn Nation: Quite frankly, we're better. If you were leasing a Ford Escort and someone offered you a Ferrari for the same price, you'd take it wouldn't you? The features and functionality of Longhorn Nation are simply unmatched in the realm of online web communities. Not only that, but we're specifically geared towards University life; that is, college students, alumni and the college athletic enthusiast, in general.

Facebook is cool, but not everyone has a university email address, which you need to make an account on Facebook. That rules out a lot of alumni that let their email expire. (It also eliminates a whole bunch of hot people who are too dumb for college. And I hate to discriminate against hot people.) And it's not as if you can't use us in conjunction with those other sites that you have come to enjoy. That's the great thing about the web - by definition, it is the interaction between people, sites, and ideas that make it such a wonderful and useful tool.

Also: MySpace sucks. Just because something is the most popular doesn't mean it's the best, or even that good. Take USC, for example.

Burnt Orange Nation: One of the things I've really enjoyed about your community is the ability to become a sponsor and really interact with everyone else. Can you explain to the BON readers how a sponsorship works and why they'd enjoy it?

Scott, Longhorn Nation: Longhorn Nation is a FREE site, and anyone who registers an account is welcome to use it however they see fit, at no cost, for as long as they wish. However, as you can tell, the layout is pretty unique to the world of web-communities, and this does come at a price. We ask for those who can afford it, and who feel it is worth it to them, to support the site so that they can continue to enjoy everything it has to offer while allowing us to upgrade the features on a semi-regular basis. We also reward sponsors by giving them additional features to further enhance their experience.

We only ask for $5 a month, and a summary of the benefits can be found here. Sponsoring the site is the main thing that prevents us from having to raise funds by selling a "Men of Longhorn Nation" beefcake calendar. Trust me, no one wants that.

Burnt Orange Nation: I'll certainly second that. Now, I originally thought the site was just going to be Austin-based Longhorn fans, and wondered if it was worth my time to join from Washington, D.C. But it's become much bigger than that, hasn't it? I've met some cool people from all kinds of crazy places.

Scott, Longhorn Nation: The site is focused on the culture of college sports, so there's enormous potential to draw from all over. The Forum has lots of discussion about what people are doing in and around Austin, but I think people who are connected to UT and the Horns like hearing about that as well, no matter where they may be living.

The odd phenomenon is that people from other schools are joining in the discussions. It started mainly as Big XII rivals talking some good-natured trash, but every time we play an away game, more people not affiliated to Texas or the Big XII show up. Overall, it's a bunch of very well spoken, friendly, intelligent NCAA fans who have absolutely no clue what they're talking about when it comes to football. Some of them can't even acknowledge that OU sucks, which is just ridiculous. If we're going to have civil discourse as adults, I think we all need to agree on the basic fundamentals.

Burnt Orange Nation: I will say that one of the things I do feel left out of is the cool events you guys have. Talk about some of the gatherings you guys have had in Dallas and in Austin, bringing together new people to party and make new friends.

Scott, Longhorn Nation: This is just an elaborate ruse for me to write off my excessive partying as a business expense. I joke (mostly), but seriously, with college life and athletics being the central unifying theme, many users already have that in common before they even make their first post on the boards. That, coupled with the personal touch of journals, image galleries, and so on, provide a further glimpse into the lives of the folks they've been communicating with in the forums, and create an even stronger sense of community that people often feel compelled to explore in the real world. We've had Nationers meet in Vegas, at the Rose Bowl, at baseball games, car shows, concerts, happy hours - from all over (really - not just in Austin/Texas: places like Germany, Iraq, Guam, and of course all over the US)...

Burnt Orange Nation: And lastly, we can't conclude this conversation without bringing up football season. You guys have some pretty awesome plans for tailgating at DKR this year, don't you?

Scott, Longhorn Nation: Sure do - I'm actually in the stadium parking lot right now, smoking a brisket and watching the pregame. Preliminary details can be found here. Additionally, LonghornNation has garnered a 15 minute on-stage/on-air segment with ESPN Radio for each home game on their Pre-Game show @ Scholz' Beer Garten - so be looking for us there. And, we'd like to officially extend an invitation, now, to all Burnt Orange Nationers to drop by for some awesome eats (provided by Railroad BBQ), great brew (courtesy of Independence Brewing Co.) as we watch all the games on multiple HD screens, each and every college game-day.

Burnt Orange Nation: It looks like I'm moving to Austin in August, Scott, so next time we chat, it'll have to be over a cold Shiner Bock. Thanks again for being a Burnt Orange Nation supporter!  If you haven't checked it out yet, Horns fans, go create a page and join the fun today!