was born 10 years ago today

It’s our birthday. On 22 February 2003, the switch was turned on for and its forum. There were 400 people on my Martin’s Money Tips email list back then, and I was just about to get my big break on ITV’s This Morning.

A bit like the Queen, this is our official birthday. But the very first incarnation of MSE was in late July 2002 (click the image to visit the old site). version 1 version 1

But that was nothing more than a homepage, although it did get some traffic, especially due to my email (read the history of the email), so I decided to turn it into something proper.

By the time it was built, it was February, and it even had the first version of the forum – a Yabb bulletin board – and off we went (click the image to visit the old site). version 2 version 2

The take-up was huge. The email list exploded. By April there were 10,000 on the email list. By the end of the year, 44,000. Now, there are 7.8 million.

Even then though, when working in my bedroom/living room on the site as a sideline for my broadcast and print Money Saving Expert work (which I first started back in 2000), I think I would’ve gawped if you’d shown me this picture of the team today: team team

The site has come a long way and I’d be very disappointed if the amount people have saved or reclaimed wasn’t in the tens of billions of pounds.

We’re getting on for 50 talented members of the team, have overtaken M&S in the trusted brand league tables, and have become a firm part of the consumer landscape – consulted by politicians, charities, and most especially, consumers.

I’m sorry I couldn’t give everyone a piece of the cake (we celebrated in the office yesterday afternoon as I’m out filming today).

Birthday cake

Birthday cake

Yet if you get a moment this weekend, do raise a glass to this website – the millions of people who’ve contributed to it in our forum, the great team and those it’s helped.

With or without me (I’m not going anywhere, but I now gratefully believe the site could still thrive even if I did) may still be thriving and fighting people’s corner in 10 years’ time.