Are they watching us?

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by andrewtaylor andrewtaylor 2 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #3248 Reply

    tegtyper
    Participant

    Having been away and not really being able to vent about the Autocar forum closure on the afore mentioned site, I thought I’d stick my thoughts here. I will try to be as balanced about it all as possible.

    Firstly, whilst I don’t think Jim Holder is fully responsible, I don’t think his Editorship at the magazine has been for the good of either the web site or the publication. The magazine is a shadow of its former self and has almost become Auto Express MkII, and the web site has become a place where freelancers, rather than staffers write the pieces.

    That said, I think this is because of Haymarket publications, rather than Mr Holder himself. I would guess it is all about market positioning and Autocar is heading in a different direction to where it once was.

    These comments are bourn from a read of What Car? where all the familiar staffers can be found. Vicky Parrot, John McIlroy, and several other well known names are all there. Then there is the content, which has gone from being aimed at the real enthusiast, to a publication that is almost for pub BSers. In some ways its almost as if they want rid of Autocar and for What Car to be their leading motoring publication.

    I realise magazines such as Top Gear and Evo have changed the way this sort of publication is viewed but it didn’t need to go down this route – read a copy from twenty years ago and see what a good read it still is.

    Ultimately, it all about money and profits for the publishers but for us mere mortals who have put a lot of free time and effort in to our using of the site, it stinks that we should have the plug pulled without any real explanation.

    So if anyone in power over there at Haymarket or Autocar is looking in then please feel free to come over and talk to us.

    It's still all about the twisties.......

  • #3249 Reply
    Stuart Masson
    Stuart Masson
    Keymaster

    Hi Teg and welcome.

    According to Google Analytics, there has been a small but steady stream of visitors from Teddington in the last few days, nearly all referrals from autocar.co.uk, so it seems like someone is certainly watching.

    Of course there could be other visitors from Teddington as well who don’t work for Autocar, and maybe it’s just a strange coincidence that there have been a lot more than usual over the last week…

    Autocar seems to think that its site is better off without the forum, and they may be right. But along with most other long-term members, I think the way they ran it into the ground and then finally killed it was very poor.

    artill
    artill
    Participant

    Nice to see more and more of the familiar names appearing here.

    I would be very interested to know what was behind the revamp of the Autocar web site all those months ago, because the way it was done seems designed to marginalise the Forum. they then appeared to use it as an excuse to kill it.

    Having said that, As Stu is now hosting the Forum we can carry on as before, so their loss is hopefully his gain.

    Regarding Tegs comments on the magazine, i completely agree. Its not as bad as Auto Express, but close these days. A real shame.

  • #3253 Reply
    Ady J
    Ady J
    Participant

    I met today the team at Autocar today. My missus and I were in Teddington for the filming of an advert in the TV studios next door, so I emailed Jim to see if it was ok to come and say hello. Jim wasn’t in this week but he responded to the email and had liased with Matt Burt and agreed that we could come on the promise that I didn’t attack them!

    They are a really great bunch, and very welcoming. Matt introduced me to the team, I looked at next weeks mag (the sections that are ready anyway) on the PC’s, got shown round the car park and sat in some of the long-termers. I was surprised at the state of the alloys on the Astra VXR.. Kerbed was not the word!

    They are a very small team and Matt told me that most of the time they are out of the office driving cars, going to shows/conferences so I can see why the forum was a hassle that they didn’t need. Maybe it was handled poorly, but a lot of the staff are on Easter break this week so maybe that is why?

    Anyway, the point is that they are extremely friendly and welcoming and I hope that they do see how grateful I am.

    www.adyj.co.uk

  • #3257 Reply

    2xtrouble
    Participant

    Sad the forum has gone – recently I only looked in occasionally but I guess the effort to run it wasn’t translating into sales of the mag and that’s what they’re in business for and ultimately what is supposed to make them money. But like several others have said the mag really isn’t leading the field any more either. More and more it’s regurgitated PR blurb from the manufacturers with little or no real opinion. I’ve stopped buying that too and I guess I won’t be looking at the website so often.

    So Stu – thanks for sorting your forum out. At least I can keep up with the madhouse that was the Autocar forums now and again.

    Cheers
    Mark (Half of 2xtrouble)

  • #3259 Reply
    rich_uk
    rich_uk
    Participant

    I’ll try and make it my only Autocar forum post…

    The old Autocar website was more interactive than the new one and had more if a visual impact when you clicked on the homepage. Maybe the new website has had more unique visitors and therefore more successful but I don’t put it down to website design.

    Reality is, if Autocar is to survive long term, it needs a USP. One option was to interact the forum with the news, keeping away the trolls and spammers (which it did but by closing the forum to new members, did not encourage new customers). They opted for the ‘comment approach instead but the problem is a) the spammers and trolls still post, b) it’s doing what loads of other websites are doing so again, no USP.

    There are other USPs but I don’t think Autocar has any. Under Jim Holder, the magazine and website has gone into decline. The mag a lighter better version of Autoexpress and the website a poor man’s Parkers or Whatcar? Not just because of the forum but there are far less news articles such as car-related current affairs news. Until it takes a fairly radical new direction, Autocar is in danger of disappearing in an era where I believe many magazines will disappear altogether.

    What would an expert like me do?! Firstly make it an online interactive magazine that you have to pay for. I suspect a massive proportion of website visitors no longer buy the mag because most of the articles appear online first anyway. Interactive means allowing discussion (yes, a forum purely for paying members which removes trolls and spammers), it means having all the articles and video in the one place too. Be less predictable and more critical of those that deserve it and do more car related articles rather than just reviews. Look at a mid 1990s mag if they need inspiration. As I said, I’m an expert so it would definitely work!

    Prodigy, I’m sure they’re nice guys but in my line of work, nice guys doesn’t mean good at their job if my workplace is anything to go by…

  • #3434 Reply

    turbo_josh_89
    Participant

    I have to say that the forum was my main reason for spending time at autocar, and now I am spending time on other car sites that I never used to visit like Top Gear and Evo. Which I’m finding quite an enjoyable change!

  • #7382 Reply
    Stuart Masson
    Stuart Masson
    Keymaster

    Sniff Petrol gold:

    http://sniffpetrol.com/2013/10/10/autocar-to-be-re-branded/

    As always, Sniff is on the money.

    artill
    artill
    Participant

    Brilliant. Good find Stu

  • #61628 Reply
    andrewtaylor
    andrewtaylor
    Participant

    I know this is reviving a long dormant thread but i see that the Autocar comments system is now pretty much broken. Also Chas Hallet is gone leaving the insufferable Jim Holder in charge once again. I wonder if this is coincidence since it was Holder who destroyed the perfectly good Autocar forum when he was in charge of it and He seems to hate anyone questioning their everloving praise of Land Rover and Jaguar.

    • #61632 Reply
      Stuart Masson
      Stuart Masson
      Keymaster

      I believe that Autocar are in the process of upgrading their website, which has been causing the current glitch with the comments and also the image galleries accompanying articles. They appear to also have basically merged Autocar and WhatCar? into one office producing two titles – not sure if this is a prelude to merging them into one single title or simply watering both down in what must be difficult times for print media.


      classiccars070
      Participant

      <div class=”d4p-bbp-quote-title”>tegtyper wrote:</div>Having been away and not really being able to vent about the Autocar forum closure on the afore mentioned site, I thought I’d stick my thoughts here. I will try to be as balanced about it all as possible.

      Firstly, whilst I don’t think Jim Holder is fully responsible, I don’t think his Editorship at the magazine has been for the good of either the web site or the publication. The magazine is a shadow of its former self and has almost become Auto Express MkII, and the web site has become a place where freelancers, rather than staffers write the pieces.

      That said, I think this is because of Haymarket publications, rather than Mr Holder himself. I would guess it is all about market positioning and Autocar is heading in a different direction to where it once was.

      These comments are bourn from a read of What Car? where all the familiar staffers can be found. Vicky Parrot, John McIlroy, and several other well known names are all there. Then there is the content, which has gone from being aimed at the real enthusiast, to a publication that is almost for pub BSers. In some ways its almost as if they want rid of Autocar and for What Car to be their leading motoring publication.

      I realise magazines such as Top Gear and Evo have changed the way this sort of publication is viewed but it didn’t need to go down this route – read a copy from twenty years ago and see what a good read it still is.

      Ultimately, it all about money and profits for the publishers but for us mere mortals who have put a lot of free time and effort in to our using of the site, it stinks that we should have the plug pulled without any real explanation.

      So if anyone in power over there at Haymarket or Autocar is looking in then please feel free to come over and talk to us.

      <hr>
      <div class=”bbpress-quotes”> <span id=”quote-reply-3248″ style=”display: none;”>tegtyper</span>Quote</div>

      It’s because there are way more pub “BSers” to sell to than “Real Enthusiasts”, although it is still arguably a market where a lot of money can be made.

    • #61651 Reply
      andrewtaylor
      andrewtaylor
      Participant

      I thought maybe that Hallet had left to go to a rival mag but turns out he is now working for a certain British car company, bet you’ll never guess which one…

    • #65304 Reply
      andrewtaylor
      andrewtaylor
      Participant

      I see that Steve Sutcliffe has jumped ship and gone to Auto Express, not many decent hacks left at Autocar these days. Such a waste of what used to be a great read.

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