Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I turned on comment confirmation

Sorry but I hear it is the only way to go.

Also there is a reason not every blogger is joining the group. I wanted it to be a select few that were interested and had experience on the topic to be able to post. and other/any auto bloggers could come visit, comment etc. It's not really slighting the other blogs that aren't members it just keeps things cleaner and more manageable for me.

Hope it doesn't offend.

BTW does anyone find it odd that bloggers spell checker picks up the words "blog" "blogger" to be corrected? how dumb is that?

Media Vehicles

Cars! Cars! Cars! offered up an interesting perspective on media vehicles, and I thought it was an excellent opportunity to bring up the subject.

First of all, if you don't work for one of the big 4 print mags (or any print publication in general) good luck getting access to media vehicles. For those who don't know, manufacturers in the transportation industries in North America (car, trucks, motorcycles, etc) have a section of the PR and marketing departments that deals with loaning product to journalists. Sounds great doesn't it? Honestly, it's a privilege, but once you see this sort of thing, it makes you wonder how much posturing must be done to ensure a steady supply of these vehicles. For the MSM print magazines, what would they do if they could no longer get access to these vehicles? Of course, for manufacturers, having Car and Driver bash around in your vehicle and put it in print is a relatively cheap form of advertising, but for arguments sake does this privilege lend to subtle pandering?

When I look at the autojournos over seas (ever read EVO, Drive, or what a UK version of Top Gear?) I can see a lot more frank commentary on what manufacturers offer. Do you see that here? Not so much, and it makes me wonder who's being honest. One interesting example comes to mind when I read a review of one of Hyundai's new products (can't remember whether it was the new Sonata or the Elantra) and the reviewer openly complained about the different colors of the dash lighting. And I kept asking myself, has this guy actually been in a new Toyota Camry (which also has it's unique mish mash of dash light colors)? Could it be that Hyundai has less clout and influence than Toyota? In the editing process, do editors tone down complaints about products from the Toyota Leviathan to keep the beast happy?

How does this affect us autobloggers? Well, if the manufacturers get a clue and make it easier for autobloggers to gain access to media vehicles (or even press events), would we see more of the same pandering? At least the large print publications have more leverage (but chose not to use it?), where a solo or small team of bloggers are truly at the mercy of the Media Fleet Manager and his favor.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

How Do You Get The News?

Right now, I read the main car sites (not the magazine sites, tho) then about 15-18 blogs and grab what is interesting and put it up on my site.

But I assume Autoblog and Jalopnik use some sort of wire services/PR stuff. Where does one sign up for that stuff if one was interested? Is it free?

I try to compete with the other blogs (in a fun way and to keep myself motivated) but I can't keep up with constant posts, a _staff_ of contributors and just endless news that I don't read elsewhere. They rock!

How do you find the news to post? (News = what ever interests you...)

Auto blogging "rules"


With the recent "explosion" of automotive bloggers I've noticed a few aren't following the rules of the road so to speak with regards to giving credit. It could be due to pure ignorance, but regardless there are a few rules to live by. If the group doesn't agree or have more to add, let's hear it.

Always give linkage (this is for blogs, not online magazines). If you took a photo or story idea from a site a simple hat tip is needed. "[from Jalopnik]" as an example. If covering simple press announcements it is not necessary to give a hat tip even if you discovered the release on another blog. But if anything is even slightly original there should be credit given.

If snagging photos watch out for anything that says "AP" "Getty" and of course spy photos. For most spy photos only a snippet is allowed. Like this one.

And yes, our blog gives lots of link love.

Great Concept and my pitch

I think this is a great concept, and thanks to Dave for inviting me to join in the fun.

Anyway, I blog on Autoblog, and had previously run my own site (nextgenautoweb.com). A lot of the time, the raw opinion of what is going on doesn't surface in my own writing and I hope to bring some of that to this discussion forum.

So, what does it mean to be an automotive blogger (or even an online editor for a print mag)? Will blogs replace print? What do automotive blogs need to be, news filters or outlets of opinion? I believe these are all valid questions.

I began thinking about this after I checked out a snippet in the latest Wired. Wired asked a handful of 'experts' their opinions on blogs and their relationship with mainstream media (MSM). I think one 'expert' got really close to the truth of the matter. Right now, blogging is a relatively hot phenomenon. But what will happen in 2-4 years? Will people get bored with bloggers? Will their crave something more? We cater to a fickle audience, do we not? So this 'expert' predicted that the cream of the crop bloggers would become more like mainstream media and that mainstream media will become more like bloggers and that the two will move closer to the center of the spectrum. You can already see this happening with the latest acquisitions of Gawker and Weblogs, Inc. I just wonder in the struggle to make a buck that the spirit of blogging will be crushed.

So, how does this affect the automotive blogger world?

What do you guys think?

Monday, November 28, 2005

is AdSense a good idea?

Now this question is primarily for the guys that publish via Blogger or similar services.
I've resisted adding the AdSense to my blog, not wanting to "sell out." But recently signed up, figuring that if it does actually earn a few bucks, I could buy a new digital camera in time for the New York Auto Show, and I would have nicer original photos to post.

Do any of you have this on your blog? Is it worth it?
Does it increase traffic?

Thanks,
Joe

Holidays, Does anyone care if we post or not?


Do you guys think it is vital to post over the holidays? Traffic boosts from posting new stories seems minimal compared to the work and effort. Especially if you’re a full timer. I’ve always tried to post as much stuff in advance as I can but I also focus on the big traffic days which are usually Monday through Thursday.

Jalopnik doesn’t post much over weekends/holidays but Autoblog does. Do you guys notice?

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Looking for some advice/help

Ok Dave and the rest of you guys, I'm not sure this is the appropriate forum, but I figured it couldn't hurt. I'm just a regular guy blogging for the fun of it, I have no delusions of competing with real Auto Journalists or Bloggers. But recently a story hit many blogs about a new Ford Ranger concept from Thailand. Everyone listed Ford as the sourcce, the press release. Is there anyway that I can get on some mailing list for these press releases??

Second stupid question, I'm not really very computer literate, but my nephew is using a new browser call FireFox, he says it's better than Internet Explorer. Does anyone have an opinion on this? I'm also embarassed to ask, how the RSS readers work, I've resisted them, because I actually like to go to each site and check everything out. But FireFox has some sort of RSS reader feature according to my nephew.

I appreciate any response and advice, I look forward to interacting with other bloggers and hope to see more on here.

Joe O'C
MyFordDreams
http://myforddreams.blogspot.com

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Hybrids, Diesels, and etc

Hybrids - The one of the biggest sellers in the US markets with people spending a little more on the sticker price to save money at the pumps. Even with high gas prices, americans are using more gasoline then ever, I could have told you that, Gas prices hit $3.00 plus for Regular gas after Katrina hit the gulf coast and now they are at $1.95-$2.30+ a gallon, depending on the day. What about a diesel hybrid? 2005 Mercury Meta One Concept..... and the Honda Civics best friend Phill?, and Hydrogen......

Hydrogen: with an Article Called The Politics of Fuel, the article published on Autoblog has a picture of George W. Bush pumping hydrogen at a station. read it. (Autoblog.com)

Plus Natural Gas vehicle: Something different, how about filling up your Honda Civic GX Natural-Gas Vehicle at home with a compact home refueling station called Phill, Motorweek.org did a story on it.

Or Mercury answer, The 2005 Mercury Meta One Concept, the world's first PZEV-capable diesel hybrid. Perfect. Other Diesels are coming out including the 2006 Jeep Liberty Diesel and a couple others.

Others: Bio diesel fuel, Ethanol (E85) that uses only 15% Gasoline, there are a couple more too….

But hybrids are what we have available now.. the 2006 Ford Excape Hybrid/Mercury Mariner Hybrid, the Toyota Camry hybrid, the first hybrid vehicle to be assembled in the U.S. , 2006 Highland Hybrid, Nissan Altima, and the most popular Toyota Prius Hybrid, and with more coming soon…
"My Take" This is just a couple of hybrids above, but car makers are using what we have, thats gasoline and diesel, Mercury should make a diesel hybrid, what about E85 (Ethonel) with only 15% gasoline and selling for a little less at pumps for Fuel Flex Vehicles. The future is going to have to be renewable sources, Natural-Gas with home refueling if you have a natural-gas line going into your home is available now with Phill (I like phill, that's not a bad idea), but its going to hydrogen, GM has the right idea in that market to start with and some stations have hydrogen already in stock and selling to consumers for $4.75 a kilogram, which is equal to a gallon of gas, but can travel a car twice as far, thats better than you think. Basicly, get hydrogen made & selling, along with hydrogen vehicles. Gasoline with never go away, not atleast for the next 100 years.

What does everybody think?

Brian Vermette
Racedriven.com

Sample of a post for this site.


So what are we going to talk about here? Well each member has their own blog and can explain the philosophy behind it and where it fits in the blogosphere. Later on I hope to talk about topics of the day etc.

For mph we have two sites. The “main” site is actually www.mph-online.com
Then there’s the blog itself called mph blog at www.mph-online.com/blogs

The blog is a place for the magazine staff to talk shop and explain what those at the buff books really think of the cars they test. Since the magazine is in your face and unapologetic, a blog seemed to make sense.

The main site is where I actually spend most of my time updating the news that you’d see on other blogs like Jalopnik or Autoblog. I basically only add snappy subheads and let our wire services, photographers and the auto companies speak for themselves. I didn’t want to recreate Autoblog. On mph-online there is one less filter to go through to get the information. We instead focus on images and photography. Big honking images, that’s what we’re about.

Plus we have rights to all the material we use. So we don’t have to redirect to anyone else. We’re a content provider in that sense. A Jalopnik would link to us as a source for example. There’s also a ton of content from the print magazine itself. Daily updates help bring people in, but there is a ton of content on the site once you dig around. So our depth of session is really high. One of our main goals is to convert online readers into fans of the magazine and click the “subscribe” links and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Anyway, I hope that explains the philosophy behind the new site. I’d love to hear feedback from you guys on it and to hear why you created your own blogs/sites.

Why a blog for bloggers

The concept for this site was to create a space where automotive bloggers, or even traditional online editors, can come and discuss the issues they come across in covering or commenting on the automotive industry.

Some bloggers are strictly fans of a brand. Some are trying to relay real news items. Some try to entertain. And others combine a number of different tactics.


All are welcome here. We’re looking for “real” discourse over the issues that dictate our coverage and how to improve it. This isn’t a place to bash others or the competition, but to see how each takes on the same subject.

Dave
www.mph-online.com

First Post

This is the first post on the blog for automotive bloggers. If you want to be added as a member to post here just leave a comment below.

Dave
www.mph-online.com