MuggleNet is a Harry Potter fansite founded by Emerson Spartz on October 1, 1999. The site is composed of news, editorials, information about the Harry Potter books and films, discussion forums, and an IRC network, MuggleNet Interactive, in which the fans of Harry Potter can discuss predictions and share thoughts (launched July 2003). There is also a caption contest (launched October 2002), a fan fiction section (launched November 2004), and other occasional contests and polls.
MuggleNet continued to grow, launching its first podcast, MuggleCast, as well as its own line of clothing, toy wands, and other merchandise, on August 9, 2005. MuggleSpace, a fan-based social network, was launched at the end of 2008, and AudioFictions, MuggleNet’s second podcast, was launched in January 2009. On May 29, 2010, MuggleNet 2.0, an updated version of the site, went live.
In the following years, the website expanded to encompass even more areas of the Harry Potter fandom. In September 2011, MuggleNet opened SnitchCenter, an area of the website dedicated exclusively to Muggle Quidditch. Since its inception, SnitchCenter has covered Quidditch World Cup V on Randall’s Island in New York, New York (November 12-13, 2011), and Quidditch World Cup VI in Kissimmee, Florida (April 13-14, 2013). In April 2012, MuggleNet launched its third and fourth podcasts, Alohomora! and MuggleNet Academia.
After 269 episodes, MuggleCast was retired, recording its last regular episode on August 26, 2013. However, MuggleNet quickly filled the gap by adding previously existing Hogwarts Radio to its line-up that same month. Although MuggleSpace was shut down in November 2013 due to host server instability and low user activity, the main site is still going strong, as evidenced by MuggleNet 3.0, launched in spring on 2014.
MuggleNet’s annual traditions include its Year in Review (since 2005), OWLs (since June 2012), advent calendar giveaways (since 2011), and fandom calendars (since 2013). In February 2013, MuggleNet also hosted Harry Potter Oscars, in which fans could vote in 30 traditional and Potter-related categories. More details on these can be viewed on our Special Projects page.
Author and Corporate Relations
MuggleNet benefits from friendly relations with J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books, and the distributors of the films. Rowling has praised MuggleNet on her website, bestowing upon it her Fan Site Award in 2004, saying, “It’s high time I paid homage to the mighty MuggleNet.” She also said that she occasionally visits the site and sometimes reads the comments left by visitors, although she never comments herself. However, she once visited the site’s chat room and was snubbed when she anonymously joined a conversation about Harry Potter theories.
In July 2005, Rowling invited Emerson Spartz and Melissa Anelli, of The Leaky Cauldron, to Edinburgh, Scotland, for an interview at her home upon the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. A transcript of the interview was posted on MuggleNet. Most recently, J.K. Rowling mentioned MuggleNet through the interactive Harry Potter website Pottermore in September 2013, saying how proud she was to own the key to La Porte, Indiana, hometown of Spartz.
Warner Bros., the distributor of the Harry Potter movies, regularly sent MuggleNet stills taken from the upcoming movies before they were released and still sends related press releases. The studio also provided MuggleNet staff with advance views of the new official website designs, as well as inclusion in a video conference to discuss the plans for the Harry Potter theme park at Universal Orlando.
Upon the release of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 DVD, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter hosted the “Harry Potter Home Entertainment Celebration.” MuggleNet staff member Eric Scull was invited to attend and given full access to the event. Senior staff Keith Hawk and Kat Miller were also given exclusive access to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s “A Celebration of Harry Potter” on January 24-26, 2014.
A Few Facts About MuggleNet
- Founded: October 1, 1999
- Owner: Spartz, Inc.
- Visitors in 2013: Over 7.4 million
- Page views: Over 14.2 million
- Viewed by fans in: 216 countries/provinces/territories
- Average time spent on the site: 11 minutes, 51 seconds
In 2006, in advance of the arrival of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, five MuggleNet staff members (Andy Gordon, Jamie Lawrence, Ben Schoen, Emerson Spartz, and Gretchen Stull) co-authored the reference book MuggleNet.com’s What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Falls in Love and How Will the Adventure Finally End, which was a published collection of unofficial fan predictions. As of July 21, 2007, the book sold 335,000 copies and reached #2 on the New York Times Children’s Best Seller List. It spent a total of six months on the list. Spartz and his co-authors launched a marketing campaign in June 2007 to promote their work. This included a tour of the United States, where they stopped at many bookstores to discuss the various theories and revelations.
In 2009, Emerson Spartz and Ben Schoen penned another book, MuggleNet.com’s Harry Potter Should Have Died: Controversial Views From The #1 Fan Site. A cross-country book tour took place in the summer of 2009.
In March 2009, MuggleNet Fan Fiction released a self-help guide to creative writing entitled Sharpen Your Quill. The book offers advice on writing plot, characterization, poetry, specific genres, and other useful information, including grammar and style. As a self-published book, the release made little revenue, but the proceeds have been used to fund AudioFictions, the site’s audiobook-style podcast.