Monday, 12 December 2011

Let's Make DepList even Busier

I have never known DepList as busy as it has been this December. We've been averaging half a dozen jobs per day, which is normally our weekly average during the rest of the year (except at Easter). Yet no matter how many jobs come in, they all seem to get filled. If you have found DepList useful, please spread the word. We're always happy to consider new membership applications from suitably qualified candidates, and the more job offers come in the happier our members will be. Outside advertisers can have one free advert to see how effective DepList is.

I would like DepList to spread its wings instead of sitting firmly within the M25, where it seems to be stuck at present. What about our other capital cities in the United Kingdom? And our cathedral cities and university towns. If you are a choral director or organist based in other parts of Britain and you run a professional choir or use professional singers, I'd love to hear from you. And please tell the pro singers in your area about DepList. Yes, DepList will probably always remain London-based, because that's where there are the most job opportunities, but there's no reason why other regions shouldn't use the system too.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Away 28 Nov until 3 Dec

I will be away between 28th November and 3rd December and will not be answering queries or dealing with admin during that time. The messaging service will function as normal. External advertising may be slightly delayed but should be forwarded within 24 hours as I will be checking my emails at least once a day.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Forms Are Working Again

Our forms are working now. Read about what happened here.

I wouldn't have noticed that the Jotform service had gone down, if it weren't for an Associate Member who sent me a letter (yes, on paper — in an envelope — with a first-class stamp on it!!), telling me that our site wasn't working, and would I please send out his urgent advert. I've now added our email address to our contact page (I'd removed it when I put up the form, thinking an email link would be less convenient than the instantly fillable form), but it's good to know that snail mail still has its uses. And I've also learned that forms are not entirely reliable as a means of communication; emails are still needed as backup.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Form server is down

Jotform, the service we use for our online forms has not worked properly for a couple of days. The Jotform team is working to resolve the problems. Please would any user who is having problems accessing our forms try the following.

(1) Look at the address in your browser bar. You will see something like this:

(2) Change the com to net so that it now looks like this:

It will still be slow, but at least it should eventually show up. If that fails, you can email me here with your urgent adverts. For other types of forms, try again tomorrow!

Saturday, 27 August 2011


From now on I shall try to post monthly stats of the number of adverts that go through DepList. I may also include end-of-week updates on Twitter. This year's total number of adverts so far is roughly 255.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Amazingly, it's taken eleven years for another online singers' depping service to come into being in the UK. DepForMe has found a way of using Twitter to do what we do with email messaging. Theirs is a free and unrestricted service, and DepList members who use Twitter may like to become followers.

However, I have no plans to add a Twitter option to our own messaging service. A protected Twitter account can't do what we want without retweets. We'd need a protected account in which approved followers (i.e. DepList Members) could tweet/retweet to their fellow followers only, and that doesn't seem to be something that's possible within the Twitter model. Our members don't generally want to advertise jobs outside our membership, so a protected account would be essential for us. Quality control and a regulated, approved membership are part of what makes us different and attractive to our users. We have over the years developed quite complicated systems to ensure that only those who are sufficiently skilled and experienced should be allowed to join (and remain on) DepList. In an ideal world, everyone who wanted to join DepList would be admitted and we would never have to remove people from our List. But depping is a multi-skilled pursuit, and not everyone has all the requisite skills and experience. Employing an untried and untested dep is a risk. It's the minimisation of those risks that users of our services are prepared to pay for.

But it's good to be reminded of Twitter's usefulness as a marketing tool.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Founder Members

It's always nice when someone rejoins DepList. Today one of our founder members rejoined after an absence of several years, which had me wondering how many of these pioneers we still have on the List. I suspect it's no more than a handful. The membership tends to be pretty constant in terms of numbers, which means that newcomers join at the same rate as people leave. Some of our current members would have been 11 or 12 years old when DepList started life! I'm not even sure when DepList was born. All I remember is that it was launched as a messaging service, called "Deputies", sometime in 1999. We compiled a list of about fifty potential members and invited them to join, and about half of those took up the offer. I made the first version of the website a few months later, and the domain name "" was registered in 2000, because "Deputies" was already taken. (What a good thing, as DepList is so much better!). How strange to think that mobile phones were not in common use back then, and the standard way of booking deps was landlines and answering machines!

If you think you are a Founder Member, please let me know using one of the contact forms on the website, so that I can make a note of it.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Easter Bookings

Have you booked your singers and organists for Easter? Our members are likely to be busy over the Easter period, so if you have not yet fixed all your Holy Week services, book now to avoid disappointment.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Profile Pics in the Members' Area

Members can now upload a profile portrait and create picture and audio albums on their profile pages. I've also added an events calendar, to which anyone can contribute.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Forum Added

The Members' Area has a working Forum now. (Still no profile pics and other uploads, though. I'll chase this up next week.)

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Advertising Rates

Advertisers should note that, as from 1 February 2011, our rates have increased to £2 per advert. The rate for Full Membership and Associate Membership has not changed and stands at £10 per year. Both types of Membership are now charged on the basis of recurrent subscriptions, which are automatically renewed at the end of each year unless the member terminates their subscription.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Members' Area Officially Open

The Members' Area is now formally open. I will announce here when the photo/audio uploading facility will be in place. It's beyond my control, as the software developers need to change something on our server to get it to work.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Second Stage Completed

Search engines for the Member listings are now in place and seem to be working. Everything else is functioning more or less correctly, after much trial and error — except for the profile portraits and other uploads.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

First Stage Completed

The new Members' Area is up, albeit in skeletal form. There are still lots of functions to put together and pages to create, with links in all the right places. But the data are in there, and everyone's profiles have been transferred to the new system. I have left out anyone who did not complete a profile. You may find your password doesn't work, in which case simply click on the forgotten password link, and it will be sent to you. Usernames are the same as before. The photo upload doesn't work yet, but I hope it will soon.

At the same time I took the opportunity of adding a bit of colour to the front page. Computers are faster now, and most people have access to broadband. It makes sense to make our site a little bit more visually appealing.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Members' Area Progress Report

The new membership software is in place. All that remains is for me to learn how to customise it to DepList's requirements. I have played around with it and it's not as easy as it looks on the demo! I'm very busy with other commitments just now, but hope to have a basic system up and running in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, if there are any php experts among you who'd like to help with setting it up, please get in touch with me. Your help will be more than welcome! — Corinne

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Main Site Operational

Glad to report that the main website is working now on our huge new server space. Just waiting for the membership software developers to install the new program and transfer the members' database (with luck next week), after which I have to learn how to use it and rebuild the Members' Area.

Friday, 14 January 2011

On the Move Again

After discovering to my dismay that our new servers will not let us use either the old or the new membership software, I have had to move the DepList website to a different service provider on the advice of the software developers. This is a huge pain and a large amount of work (not to mention an extra expense I could have done without), and I've spent the best part of three days grappling with it all. The good news is that least the new servers will give us a whopping 150 GB of space! Means we'll definitely be able to let members post audio clips on their profiles.

I hope that the main site will be back online within 24 hours. Again, our messaging service is not affected.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Members' Area Update

Please bear with us while we fix the Members' Area. It stopped working after we transferred to new servers, and the fee that's being asked by the programmers to examine the problem would be better spent on some more flexible and user-friendly software, as outlined in Saturday's post. It's made by the same outfit (which also provides the facilities we use to make our forms), but unlike the free, basic program we've been using up to now, this one is a features-packed piece of kit that I think will be well worth its price. In view of this, I have decided to go ahead with buying the package and to rebuild the Members' Area from scratch. I will keep you updated on progress.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Members' Area Is Down

Unfortunately, during the transfer to our new servers, access to our Members' Area was disabled and I am waiting for help from the software providers to fix this. These things always happen on a Friday!

The all-important email messaging part of the service (googlegoups) is unaffected.

I have put the change of address form and sponsorship form for recommending new members on the front page of the Members' Area so that members can still access them without having to log in. Associate Members can also access their advertising form from there (if we get spammed we may have to think of another temporary solution). I hope that normal service will resume soon.

New Servers for DepList

Yesterday we transferred DepList to new servers, giving us 1 GB of space instead of the 100 MB allowance we have had until now. This will give us a lot more scope for future expansion and enable us to add many more facilities. The extra space will mean that members can put a photo and possibly audio clips on their profiles.

The plan for 2011 is to upgrade the membership and listings part of the site to a more visually appealing and user-friendly interface, both for members and visitors to the site. I hope this will give the site a more modern and streamlined appearance as well as providing more functionality. For the curious, this is the software that I propose to use to rebuild the site, which can be tested here.