AutoConcourse For Car Enthusiasts, Of Course

I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m a car guy, but I do have an interest in the automotive world, both in terms of hot new vehicles and the latest modifications coming out of the so-called “tuner” culture. John is probably much the same way with the pair of Pagani Zonda supercars he has in the header above.

It’s no secret that a lot of car people love attention — whether it be blowing away the competition at the drag strip or at the auto show — and what better way to attract attention to yourself than to order a ReviewMe review? That’s exactly what Auto Concourse decided to do and it could very well be the best $400 they ever spent.

Almost Everything a Car Lover Could Want

The people behind Auto Concourse have taken a multi-pronged approach to the site. They didn’t want to be just a community or just a car news blog. They wanted to do everything and it shows. Going from left to right across the top:

auto-header.jpg

  • Home: That’s pretty self-explanatory. They focus on “popular” and “recent” news here. All of the links are outbound, meaning that they send you away from Auto Concourse to actually read the whole story. It’s just a news aggregator (in addition to member submitted links).
  • News: This isn’t all that different than the main homepage. There are a series of up and coming news pieces presented in a Digg-like fashion, allowing registered members to vote on the stories that they found particularly interesting. This “vote” button looks like a push start button.
  • Blog: Finally, original material! The AutoConcourse blog is where they post up tidbits that are lighter and more humorous than the hard news. For example, they linked to John’s post about the kid who asked for $50k to buy an Audi TT.
  • Events: Basically, you get a calendar of different events taking place across the nation. It’s very much geared towards Americans, so you won’t find out about quarter mile drags in Vancouver or hot car shows in Frankfurt. They list time attacks, gatherings, and NOPI supershows, among other events.
  • Links: There are a few basic links here to resources, motorsports organizations, and official automaker sites. Nothing all that special. I can totally see the potential for advertising dollars through “featured links” here.
  • Community: Each member is given their own little piece of online real estate to show off pictures of their rides, short descriptions of themselves, and a list of stories that they submitted. Think of it as MySpace for gearheads, but it’s much more restrictive in terms of customizability. It’s great that they cashed in on the whole social networking phenomenon, however.

auto-news.jpg

Layout and Theme

I personally like the way that Auto Concourse is laid out. In fact, there are certain similarities between Auto Concourse and “bigger” sites like Leftlane News. It’s the attention to detail that really catches my eye, from the carbon fiber-trimmed header image to the push start button motif used for many of the site’s features. This push start thing — I know they use this in the Honda S2000 as well as several other cars — is a particularly nice touch. It’s used to login/register, as well as to vote on news stories to indicate to other members whether you thought the news was interesting or not. Clean, simple, yet stylish.

Auto Concourse Makes Money Online?

It’s surprising that AutoConcourse, as far as I can tell, is only monetized by Google Adsense and what’s more, the banners they chose are restricted to image ads only. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket! If they hope to make more money with this website, they’ll need to expand their horizons, possibly sign on a few sponsors, and really start to look for different ways to make money. I think that affiliate deals on automotive parts can go a very long way, as can links to used car sites, dealerships, and other related businesses.

Building the Community

It’s nice that they want to develop a community of automotive enthusiasts, and while the member pages and uploaded pictures are fine, there is something quite simple that the people behind this car site could do to really grow: forums.

That is the single biggest piece of advice that I can give. This gives members a venue in which they can best communicate with one another, voicing their own opinions, looking for solutions to problems they may be having, and even organizing some member events so that they can see one another in real life. Forums have been a big part of the Internet experience ever since the BBS days, and they’re just as relevant today as ever.

auto-community.jpg

In the end, I feel that AutoConcourse has a lot of potential to become a prime internet destination for car enthusiasts. The news section would be better served with “real” articles rather than just being aggregated, though.


46 thoughts on “AutoConcourse For Car Enthusiasts, Of Course”

  1. their website is very nice looking too, i am impressed.

    1. Kumiko says:

      They’ll get a lot of value out of the advice in that review!

      1. I love the layout of this site.

    2. Jarle says:

      Looks like a very nicely laid out website.

    3. MrGPT says:

      Yes, a very nice layout.
      Easy to use too 😎 .

    4. Rosinha says:

      I agree with you, but now their focus should be on building good/valuable content, thatΒ΄s what really matters. πŸ˜‰

      Beijinho (kiss)

      1. Yup, they got the layout covered. Now they have to tweak their content and that forum suggestion to give it a little more oomph.

        1. Lewis Empire says:

          I agree. Maybe we’re just not their target market.

      2. I agree with you, they got the looks down, now they just need more content!

  2. ritchie says:

    Looks like they packed a lot of helpful features into their application. it’s time for bells-and-whitles car portal anyways.

  3. John has given a great review! Keep it on!

    1. Kumiko says:

      It was written by Michael Kwan.

    2. Alex Ion says:

      I wonder if you read the full review or just posted to get linked to your site?

      Anyway, I don’t think it will be such a success. We already have digg and other social media websites. I wonder what scrip they’re using: customized pligg?

  4. Matt says:

    Great review, this sounds like a nice website.

  5. nice review, michael

    but i’m surprised that as a pro writer you don’t do proof-reading and i did spot a grammar mistake

    1. MrGPT says:

      Feel free to point it out.

    2. Kumiko says:

      Haha! Well for a start Ms “a video a day” you should really work on your use of capitalization as there are at least three words that you missed out on.

      Have you ever heard of a ‘period’ to end a sentence?

      You shouldn’t start a sentence with ‘but’ either.

      Oh yeah, “i did spot” should be “I spotted” and I think you want to use “as” instead of “and”.

      I hate criticizing grammar and I’m not fantastic at it myself, but if you’re going to criticize someone else’s hard work then you should really make sure that you’re not doing it from a glass house.

      “Me fail english? That’s unpossible!”

      1. Michael Kwan says:

        Hurray for Ralph Wiggum.

        You choo-choo-choose me?

        Back on topic: I never claimed to be perfect, so the occasional error is going to slip in from time to time. Feel free to point them out and I can edit the post accordingly.

      2. Lewis Empire says:

        Ms A video a day is making a comment. Michael is being PAID to write a review. If John had written it (as the blog owner) there’s no problem with grammar. If you’re being paid then make sure there are no errors.

    3. “Let he (or she) who is without sin cast the first stone…”

      I may not know a lot about cars, but I still find this post very interesting. Great review, Michael, as always.

      1. kumiko, I’m not saying i’m good with my english, but apparently, michael is a pro. that’s why i said what i said.

        and kumiko, i can tell you’re not an english speaker and your corrections aren’t correct….

        1. Kumiko says:

          Oh, I get it. You’re trying to draw attention to yourself with a bit of controversy. You know, say people are wrong but don’t explain how or why in a situation where it’s necessary.

          Loser.

        2. Lewis Empire says:

          It looks like Kumiko is trying to create a little controversy. I appreciate your comment A video a day because, to tell you the truth, I’ve noticed different styles of writing and never realized that there were different authors. I’m actually a little disappointed that John doesn’t do it himself.

          Maybe he took the advice of the 4 Hour Work Week too literally and has outsourced his blog! One good point – at least John doesn’t take credit for someone else’s work. Gives proper credit when due…

  6. Cognoscente says:

    Michael,

    Thanks for the kind words. Just wanted to touch on a few points. (It’s AutoConcourse BTW – no spaces.) :mrgreen:

    1. monetization – I’ve kept it simple for now with just AdSense and some affiliate ads, because I don’t want to distract from the overall experience. Once traffic grows, I’ll be looking into Kontera or Vibrant Media, as well as selling advertising space directly.

    2. news – As an automotive enthusiast, I find myself visiting a number of auto news blogs and forums, which can be quite time consuming. I’m a big fan of Digg, so I was inspired to take that concept and apply it to the automotive world and build a site where users could share links to what they felt was noteworthy or interesting content, be it news about the auto industry, racing, aftermarket products, nice photoshoots, or funny videos.

    3. blog – My goal with the blog is to be like TechCrunch or Mashable. As you’ve seen, I won’t really be delivering any news, because that is already driven by the users. On the blog, I’ll be highlighting new products, members of the community, and businesses/tuners, as well as sharing things I come across myself.

    4. I’m giving away an iPod, just for signing up! (Had to throw that in here.)

    Regards,

    David

    1. Cognoscente says:

      Just to clarify, I’m giving away an iPod in a contest. To enter, just sign up for the site.

      I re-read my last point and realized I worded it incorrectly. 😳

      1. Tsewang says:

        So to enter the contest, you have to sign up first? All you have to do is sign up right? I would like to the ipod, so count me in bro. 😯

      2. Lewis Empire says:

        Apparently you can get in a lot of trouble for wording things incorrectly today!

  7. Armen says:

    I really like the logo. A nice blend of showing a ‘car community’. Kudos to whoever designed it; really nice work.

    1. Lewis Empire says:

      This is an awesome point. Your logo is one of those that clearly defines the interests of your target market. Was it a professional firm or a very creative staff member?

  8. Derrich says:

    me like cars. :mrgreen:

  9. Perhaps one of their goals for this review is to attract sponsors, too, aside from just potential community members.

    1. Lewis Empire says:

      I think they want a high ranked link. Actually, maybe they are hoping that all these people wanting to make millions online will spend money through their site!

  10. Tsewang says:

    I think the site has a potential. ❗

  11. I think this ReviewMe review is much more on topic than the last review done on that poker product. The funny thing is, I’m not into cars myself, and I play poker to get by for a living. But I know the topic of cars is one that’s normally covered here, so I’m happy to see something on topic instead of something I don’t expect to normally come across.

  12. Michael Kwan says:

    Okay, I’m going to try to leave my ego at the door for this, but I can’t help but notice that most of the comments here say that I did a reasonably good job with the review, yet the rating is (at this time) a mere 2.33 out of 5. What’s up with that? πŸ˜›

    1. webd360 says:

      That may just be because everyone doesn’t vote using the rating system. Now that I think about it I don’t think I’ve ever voted using that even if I really liked/disliked a post, maybe I should start using it…

    2. Lewis Empire says:

      Maybe people who don’t care about cars just voted low because they are here to learn about making money.

  13. Looks like a very nice website.

  14. Paul says:

    I like this site.

  15. It’s a nice site, lots of info, great look

  16. simon says:

    Michael,
    Very good review. I always like your review :mrgreen:

  17. shaun says:

    I really enjoy their site, this review was definatly worth the money they paid for it.

  18. dotnetnuke says:

    Nice review man.

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