When I first heard that AutoWeek was launching ShopAutoWeek.com I was a little confused. I’m not a huge car buff, but I know Auto Week, and I know Auto Week’s readers aren’t the type that would cruise a shopping guide before heading out to purchase a vehicle. Gearheads read Auto Week. Horsepower junkies. Industry enthusiasts. The people reading Auto Week are the people I would go to if I were in the market for a new car, which makes it pretty clear that the site isn’t for them.
The site is for people like me, and it spawned from exactly the kinds of conversations Auto Week editors were having with friends and family about buying a car. I spoke with Wes Raynal, an Auto Week editor who has been with the magazine’s parent company, Crain Communications, since 1989. Raynal said working for Auto Week made him a target at family gatherings and barbecues for one question: what car should I buy? As anyone who has purchased a car knows, that just isn’t an easy question to answer, particularly when the person asking the question expects expert advice.
In order to avoid hour-long answers to that very question, Raynal and the editorial staff decided to compile their collective knowledge online. “It’s the friend over the fence in the backyard dispensing car shopping advice as best we know how,” Raynal said. That’s right, Auto Week wants to be the Wilson to your Tim Taylor. They have the sage advice necessary for the job, too. Search for any car on ShopAutoWeek.com and you’ll find the usual data – trim packages, features, price comparisons – but you’ll also get all of Auto Week’s editorial content for the vehicle.
That’s the big difference between ShopAutoWeek.com and her competitors: the editorial content. Most car shopping sites tend to be data focused, delivering just trim packages, feature lists, and occasionally averaging reviews from around the web. Users take that data and present it to friends who know what they’re talking about to make an informed decision. Read the rest of this entry »