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Friends launch site for fans of trop-rock, Buffett
Phlockers Parrotheads 1 es
Bill Ratliff and Trace Peters hold their Phlockers podcast last week from Taco Mac in Suwanee. The Forsyth County residents have created a social networking Web site for Jimmy Buffett fans and people "living the tropical lifestyle." - photo by Emily Saunders
On the Net
For more information on "the Phlockers," go online at

Trace Peters and Bill Ratliff are just a couple of big Jimmy Buffett fans who had an idea.

The Forsyth County residents created a social networking Web site for fans of the musician along with those "living the tropical lifestyle."

But don't call them Parrotheads, the term commonly used to refer to Jimmy Buffett fans. Instead, refer to them as "Phlockers."

Longtime friends Peters and Ratliff started back in March, and have since collected 6,400 members, gaining about 100 every week.

But it's not just Buffett fans who are getting involved.

"People who frequent this Web site have five things in common," Peters said. "They love music, they love to have a good time, they love to go to concerts and they love the beach and margaritas."

Peters said the site got a boost when one of Jimmy Buffett's main fan Web sites linked to their page.

"We anticipate having 10,000 members by the end of the year," said Peters, adding that they receive much support from a strong "trop-rock following" living in the Forsyth County area.

Web site creator Ratliff said the site's basic premise is similar to most social networking sites found online except that it's specialized.

"Social networking Web sites are going in that direction," he said.

"When people get out on these really large social networking sites, it's easy to get lost in the people. This is more of a tightly-knit group of individuals with similar interests without all the spam and advertising you find on other sites."

Ratliff, who is an accountant by profession, said he picked up Web site design as a hobby when he created sports-related sites for Midway Elementary and Vickery Creek Middle schools.

"I don't have a real lengthy Web programming background," Ratliff said. "But I've done some work on this project, and the two of us put our heads together and decided to give it a shot."

Peters said it's been a success so far.

"This Web site is more well-known than the other Jimmy Buffett fan sites that have been around for 15 years. There's just not a lot of others like it."

Rattliff said the site has prompted Parrothead and trop-rock reunions among old friends.

"It's just amazing. People are getting reunited with friends they met 20 years ago at a Jimmy Buffett show," he said.

In addition to the site, the couple hosts a trop-rock radio show that can be heard on their Web site.