For the second time in two months, I found myself announcing to the members of Medinge Group another passing: that of my good friend Tim Kitchin.
Tim passed away over the weekend, and leaves behind three kids.
I always admired Timâ€™s point of view, his depth of thinking, and his generosity of spirit.
I remember Tim taking notes at my first Medinge meeting in 2002: he drew mind maps. None of this line-by-line stuff. And they worked tremendously well for him.
His brain had a capacity to process arguments and get to the core incredibly quickly, from where he could form a robust analysis of the issues.
But never at any point did Tim use this massive intellect to debase or humour anyone. He used it to better any situation with a reasoned and restrained approach.
Whenever he commented, he did so profoundly. Tim could get across in very few words some complex arguments, or at least open the door to your own thinking and analysis.
In 2003, Tim was one of the authors of Beyond Branding, with a chapter on sustainability (â€˜Brand Sustainability: Itâ€™s about Life â€¦ or Deathâ€™). Note the year: he was writing about sustainability before some of todayâ€™s experts began thinking about it. Prior to that he had co-authored Managing Corporate Reputations (2001).
He wrote a chapter summary for Beyond Branding, which began, â€˜Imagine the life of the earth as a single day. In the last 400th of a second of that day we have directly altered 47% of the earthâ€™s land area in the name of commerce and agriculture, but even so, 900 million people are still malnourished, 1.2 billion lack clean water and 2 billion have no access to sanitation.
â€˜We cannot take it for granted that governments will suddenly acquire the clarity[,] insight and commonality of belief to see a process of renovation to its end. Unless we accept our joint and several liability for this future and begin to address the sustainability of all human systems, we stand little chance of tackling the most complex system of allâ€”our symbiosis with spaceship earth â€¦ destination unknown â€¦ arrival time yet to be announced.
â€˜Against this apocalyptic backdrop, how does a 60 year-old global CEO promise a bright future and possibly a pension to his 16 year-old apprentice, or any future at all to the ten year-old enslaved employees of his suppliersâ€™?
â€˜How does he create a sustainable future for his organisation and those to whom it has made explicit or implicit promises? He must start by building a sustainable brand.â€™
You can see the sort of thinking Tim exhibited in the above, and as I got older the more I realized how ahead of the curve he was. The problems that he writes about remain pressing, and his solutions remain relevant. Presented in language we can all understand, they introduce complex models, much like his mind maps.
He had a real love of his work and a belief that organizations could be humanistic and help others.
He certainly lived this belief. Tim was with us at Medinge till the end of 2014, and went on to other projects, including directing Copper, a digital fund-raising and marketing agency. He was also helpful to a Kiwi friend of mine who arrived in the UK in 2016â€”Tim was generous to a fault.
With the world in such confusing turmoil, Tim still sought solutions to make sense of it all and posted to social media regularly.
And despite whatever he was going through himself, he had a real and constant love for his children.
Tim had an enduring spirituality and he believed in an afterlife, so if heâ€™s right, Iâ€™ll catch up with him at some stage. By then hopefully weâ€™ll have made a little bit more sense of this planet. As with Thomas, who passed away in December (in Timâ€™s words, â€˜Horrid news to end a horrid yearâ€™), Iâ€™ll miss him heaps and the world will be far poorer without him.
PS.: I have the details of Tim’s service and burial from a mutual friend, Peter Massey.
As I guessed, it will be at All Saints’ Church in Biddenden (TN27 8AJ). The date and time are Thursday, February 2 at 2 p.m.
There will be a reception afterwards at the Bull in Benenden (TN17 4DE).
Nearest train stations are Headcorn and Staplehurst on the line from Charing Cross, Waterloo East and London Bridge. Local taxi firm MTC is on +44 1622 890-003.
Peter has offered help with travel and accommodation (via Facebook) so I can relay messages if need be. He has posted on Tim’s Facebook wall if any of you are connected there.â€”JY
Above: Brave Bison’s predecessor, Rightster, left much to be desired in how it dealt with publishers, while investment commentators had concerns, too.
Twenty-sixteen had some strange developments on the publishing front.
First, we noticed Alexa rankings for a lot of sites changed. Facebook itself went from second to third, where it has stayed. Our own sites dropped as well, across the board, even though our own stats showed that traffic was pretty much where it was. In Autocadeâ€™s case, it was rising quickly.
We checked, and Alexa had announced that it had increased its panel again in 2016. There was an announcement about this in 2014, but things improved even more greatly during the last Gregorian calendar year, specifically in April. (April 2016, it seems, was a huge month of change: read on.) This means Alexa began sampling more people to get a more accurate picture. Given that Facebook fell as well as us, then we drew the conclusion that the new panel must include audiences in China and other non-Anglophone places. It makes sense: Alexa is a global service and should take global data points. Never mind that weâ€™ve suffered as a result, we actually agree with this approach. And weâ€™re taking steps in 2017 to look at capturing extra traffic with our content.
Alexa, when we approached them, said it could not comment about the origins of the panellists. Again, fair enough. Weâ€™ve made an educated guess and will work accordingly.
Secondly, there were two ad networks whose advertising disappeared off our sites. The first, Gorilla Nation, started dropping off long before 2016. In 2015, we asked why and were asked to fill out some form relating to Google ads. Anyone whoâ€™s followed this blog will know why that was unpalatable to usâ€”and we want to make sure our readers donâ€™t fall victim to Googleâ€™s snooping, either. Iâ€™m not saying that Google ads donâ€™t appear at allâ€”itâ€™s the largest advertising network in the world, and its tentacles are everywhereâ€”but if I can avoid opening our properties up to Google willingly, then Iâ€™ll do so.
Itâ€™s a shame because weâ€™ve worked exceedingly well with Gorilla Nation and found them very professional.
We have, sadly, entered an era whereâ€”as found by my friend and colleague Bill Shepherdâ€”online advertising is controlled by a duopoly. In The New York Times, April 18, 2016 (italics added): â€˜Advertisers adjusted spending accordingly. In the first quarter of 2016, 85 cents of every new dollar spent in online advertising will go to Google or Facebook, said Brian Nowak, a Morgan Stanley analyst.â€™ I donâ€™t think this is fair, as theyâ€™re not the ones generating the content. Google has also managed to game services like Adblock Plus: theyâ€™ve paid for their ads not to be blocked. (Better has more information on why certain ad blockers are ineffective.) Itâ€™s not difficult to see why native advertising has increased, and this is generally more favourable to the publisher. In 2017, itâ€™s time to build up the advertising side again: two years ago we already saw quarters where online overtook print in terms of ad revenue.
Burst Media’s ads also disappeared, and we had been working with them since 1998. Now called Rhythm One, they responded, â€˜We recently migrated to a new platform and your account was flagged by an automated process as part of that. All that being saidâ€”we can absolutely get you live again.â€™ That was April. I added one of their team to Skype, as requested, but we never connectedâ€”the helpful staff member wasnâ€™t around when I called in. Again, a bit of a shame. As I wrote this blog post, I sent another message just to see if we could deal with the matter via email rather than real-time on Skype.
At least this wasnâ€™t a unilateral cessation of a business arrangement, which Rightster sprung on us without notice in April. Rightster’s Christos Constantinou wrote, â€˜It is with regret that we inform you that from yesterday we ceased providing video content services to your account.â€™ This wasnâ€™t the first change Rightster sprung on usâ€”its code had changed in the past, leaving big gaps in our online layoutsâ€”and soon after, everyone there clammed up, despite an initial email from another Rightster staffer that feigned surprise at what had happened. Mr Constantinou never picked up phone calls made since that point, and we couldnâ€™t get an answer out of them. No breaches of their terms and conditions were ever made by us.
We were only interested in a small handful of their video sources anyway, all of whom exist on other platforms, so one would have thought that it was to Rightsterâ€™s advantage to continue working with a well respected brand (Lucire). A bit of digging discovered that the firm was not in good shape: a pre-tax loss in the first half of 2015 of Â£11Â·5 million, with shares trading in October of that year at 10Â·50p per share, down from its float price of 60p. That year, it was forecast by Share Prophets that things would only get worse for the firm, and they were proved right within months. Not long after ceasing to work with us (and presumably others), Rightster became Brave Bison Group, restructured, and became a â€˜social video broadcasterâ€™, but it was still burning cash (to the tune of Â£1Â·3 million, according to the same website in July 2016).
Gorilla Nation and Burstâ€™s slots have largely been replaced by other networks as well as ads secured in-house, while Rightster effectively did us a favour, though its opaqueness didnâ€™t help. In fact, when they didnâ€™t answer questions, it was only natural to surf online to investigate what was going on. Initially, there was some negative stuff about Burst, though my concerns were put to rest when they emailed me back. With Rightster, there was no such solace: finding all the news about the firm being a lemon confirmed to me that we were actually very lucky to have them farewell us.
We revived an old player that we used, through Springboard, itself linked to Gorilla Nation, so weâ€™re still serving advertising from them, just in a different form. Video content has not vanished from the Lucire sites, for those who are interested in it.
How a company behaves can be linked to how well it ultimately performs, and what itâ€™s worth. Given our treatment by Rightster, it wasnâ€™t that surprising to learn that something was rotten in Denmark (or London). Maybe that first staff member was genuinely surprised, with employees not being told about their company running out of money. And unless things have truly changed within, it could well continue to function dysfunctionally, which will give those AIM columnists more ammunition.
There are a lot of idealistic ventures out there, but to grow, often founders have to compromise them. It comes back to our thoughts at Medinge over a decade ago about â€˜Finance is broken.â€™ Because of these compromises, we donâ€™t really advance as much as we should, and some brilliant ideas from young people arenâ€™t given the chance they deserve. This needs to change. We already have branding as a tool to help us, and we know that more authentic, socially responsible brands can cut through the clutter. When these ventures start up, brands are an important part of the equation.
How are governments going to fund this universal basic income if they themselves arenâ€™t getting a decent tax take? Itâ€™s the same question thatâ€™s plagued us for decades.
Douglas sees ventures like Ãœber to be the same-old: its customer really is its investor, and thatâ€™s not a new concept at all. Itâ€™s why we canâ€™t even consider Ãœber to be a good brandâ€”and the tense relationships it often has with governments and the public are indications of that. Itâ€™s not, as Douglas suggests, even a driver co-op. Itâ€™s still all about making money the old-fashioned way, albeit with newer tools.
Worrying but true: some of the biggest companies in the world are required to grow because of their shareholders. As a result, theyâ€™re not creating sustainable revenue. â€˜If youâ€™re one of the top fifty biggest companies in the world and youâ€™re still required to grow, thatâ€™s a real problem.â€™
Kids these days arenâ€™t as into all this technology and social networks as we are. Thank goodness. When Facebook reports another billion have joined, youâ€™ll know theyâ€™re BSing you and counting all the bots.
Many people see things as though they were created by God and accept them. Douglas gives the examples of Facebook and religion. I can add the capitalist and socialist models we have. If people believe them to be God-given, or natural, then they feel helpless about changing them. We need to wake people up and remind them these are human-made constructsâ€”and they can be unmade by humans, and replaced with better ideas that actually work for us all.
Above: The first-generation Mitsubishi Minica, though this isn’t the 1962 model. Now on Autocadeâ€”though hardly an iconic model.
Itâ€™s the end of the Gregorian year, which means I get a bit of time to update Autocade. Since 2008, itâ€™s mostly been a labour of love, and typically, the period after Christmas is when I get a bit of down time to put on models that should have been done during the year.
But because itâ€™s a hobby siteâ€”albeit one that has turned into a oft-referenced online guideâ€”itâ€™s not done with any real discipline. That I leave to othersâ€”and youâ€™re all more captured by the flashy photography of magazine sites anyway. Autocade was started as a quick reference, and unless we really decide to branch out into a magazine format, itâ€™ll remain that.
To give you an idea of the anorak nature of the website, over the break, all of Mitsubishiâ€™s kei cars were added to the site. Some had already been there, such as the eK and certain Minicas, but I decided the rest should go up.
Why these? You may ask, yet I donâ€™t really have an answer. Often itâ€™s over to oneâ€™s mood. Sometimes itâ€™s to offer something online that others donâ€™t, or at least not comprehensively. And when you realize you have 80 or 90 per cent of the models added, you think: I only need a few more, why not succumb to OCD and do the lot?
Therefore, now, Autocade has all the Minicas, Pajero Minis, Ios and Jrs, Toppos and eKs that the once-mighty manufacturer made before it fell out of favour with its repeated scandals. Iâ€™m not a fan of any of them, but thatâ€™s not relevant: itâ€™s about objectively providing the public with information, and my own like or dislike of a model has nothing to do with it.
Itâ€™s not even a commercial decision. If it was, Autocade would have filled up the gaps in the US automotive industry a lot sooner. And there are still plenty of them. Americans make up a huge chunk of the browsing public, although for me it takes a while to make sure the engine capacities [for post-1980 US models] are recorded in metricâ€”not something you can readily come by in US books (yes, Autocade is still dependent in some part to the printed word, not the transmitted electron).
The other area where weâ€™re missing cars is in the flash stuff: Mercedes-Benzes, Maseratis, Ferraris. Now these I actually like. But they can also prove difficult: the convention of the site is that the names of the cars are entered first, and Mercs can be time-consuming by the time you figure out what numbers go after A, C, E and S all around the world. The exotica are fun but thereâ€™s often no logic to the product cycles or market nichesâ€”which does, of course, make them more interesting, but from an encyclopÃ¦dic point-of-view, more difficult to compartmentalize and recall. For those who have visited the site, there are links to each modelâ€™s predecessor and successor (where applicable), and that makes for particularly entertaining surfing.
One model takes, on average, 15 to 20 minutes to do, and thatâ€™s when I already know about it. Thereâ€™s some time involved in getting a press photo, writing it up, checking the specs (again using printed matter). When you research in certain languages, it takes even longer (South African online resources are scarce, for instance, and anything Chinese before 2008 or so is also hard to track down). The Mitsubishi kei cars, beginning with the 1962 Minica, represent hours of work, and when you multiply 15â€“20 minutes by 3,440, thatâ€™s a lot of hours since the site started. Occasionally Iâ€™m helped along by readers who suggest models, and two UK friends, Keith Adams and Pete Jobes, have made changes and additions along the way that have really benefited the site.
Iâ€™m glad that Autocade is heading toward 10 million views, a milestone which it will reach in the next couple of months, and the increase in viewership is thanks to all of you finding it a useful enough resource. If you want something less exotic and more mundane (after all, some of us can only have so much of supercars and luxury cars), itâ€™s the place to pop over to at autocade.net, hit â€˜Random pageâ€™ at the top, and see what comes up.
Tonight, I had the sad and solemn duty to announce publicly the passing of my friend Thomas Gad.
Iâ€™m still waiting for someone to come out and tell me that I have been severely pranked.
Thomas was the founder of what we now call Medinge Group. After working for 17 years at Grey Advertising as an international creative director, Thomas set up Brandflight, a leading branding consultancy HQed in Stockholm. He authored 4-D Branding, Managing Brand Me (with his wife, Annette Rosencreutz), and, most recently, Customer Experience Branding.
In 2000, Thomas seized on an idea: why not gather a bunch of leading brand practitioners at Annetteâ€™s familyâ€™s villa at Medinge, three hours west of Stockholm, for a bit of R&R, where they could all discuss ideas around the profession?
Nicholas Ind was one of the people at that first meeting. In a statement tonight, Nick wrote, â€˜I first met Thomas when I was working in Stockholm in 2000â€”he invited me to join him at Medinge in the Swedish countryside to talk about branding. So began a professional and personal relationship that was truly fulfilling. Thomas, and his wife Annette, hosted the annual meetings we had at his house every summer after that with unrivalled generosity. My strongest recollection of those days is not the debates we had or flying with Thomas in his sea plane (even though those are also memorable), but Thomas and Annette sitting at the dinner table in the evenings singing songs, telling jokes and bringing everyone together. Thomas was exceptional in the way he made everyone feel welcome and valued in the groupâ€”he will be deeply missed.â€™
I came on the scene in 2002, invited by Chris Macrae. The event had become international the year before. Thomas and Annette made me feel incredibly at home at Medinge, and we had an incredibly productive meeting. He had taught me to sing ‘Helan gÃ¥r’, for no Swedish gathering is complete without a drinking song.
At the same meeting, I met Ian Ryder, who wrote, â€˜As a founding member, and now Honorary Life Member, of Medinge Group I couldn’t possibly let such a sad announcement pass without observation. Thomas was a really bright, intellectually and socially, human being who I first met at the inaugural pre-Medinge group meeting in Amsterdam sixteen years ago. Little did we know then that our band of open-minded, globally experienced brand experts would develop into a superb think-tank based out of Thomas’s home in Medinge, Sweden.
â€˜For many years he and his lovely wife, Annette, hosted with a big heart, the annual gathering at which he played fabulous host to those of us who made it there. A larger-than-life, clever and successful professional, Thomas will be sorely missed by all those lucky enough to have known him.’
By the end of the summer 2002 meeting we had some principles around branding, the idea for a book (which became Beyond Branding), and a desire to formalize ourselves into an organization. The meeting at Medinge would soon become the Medinge Group (the definite article was part of our original name), and we had come to represent brands with a conscience: the idea that brands could do good, and that business could be humane and humanistic. This came about in an environment of real change: Enron, which had been given awards for supposedly doing good, had been exposed as fraudulent; there was a generation of media-savvy young people who could see through the BS and were voting and buying based on causes they supported; and inequality was on the rise, something that the late Economist editor, Norman Macrae (Chrisâ€™s Dad) even then called humankindâ€™s most pressing concern. If everything is a product of its time, then that was true of us; and the issues that we care about the most are still with us, and changes to the way we do business are needed more now than ever.
This is Thomasâ€™s legacy: Medinge Group is an incorporated company with far more members worldwide, holding two meetings per annum: the annual summer retreat in Sweden, and a public event every spring, with the next in Sevilla. The public events, and the Brands with a Conscience awards held in the 2000s, came about during Stanley Mossâ€™s time as CEO. Stanley wrote this morning, â€˜Thomas brought his vision and resources to the foundation of Medinge, and served as a critical voice in the international movement for humanistic brands.â€™ We continue today to spread that vision.
We have now been robbed far too early of two of our talents: Colin Morley, in the 7-7 bombings in London in 2005; and, now, Thomas, taken by cancer at age 65. My thoughts go to Annette and to the entire family.
Instagram, on announcing their cancellation, said that not many people used its maps, which is a shameâ€”looks like I was one of the few who did. For those seeking an alternative, the Data Pack has a map that you can use here. It’s not bad, though being on another site, it’s less handy to get to. Here’s mine, and for those who are wondering why the US and Canada aren’t that populated with photos, they’re simply countries I haven’t gone to regularly since I joined Instagram in November 2012.
As of today, Iâ€™ve sent off my evidence to the US Better Business Bureau so they can continue their investigation of Facebook. The DAA was too gutless to investigate but the BBB, by contrast, gives a damn.
Let me note here that I have nothing against Facebook making a buck. I just ask that it do so honestly, that it does what it says.
Facebook claims that you can opt out of targeted advertising, and that you can edit your preferences for that targeting, the same was what Google did in 2011. It was revealed then that Google lied, and the Network Advertising Initiative was able to follow up my findings and assured me it would work with them to sort their procedures out.
If you opt out of targeting, Facebook continues to gather information on you. The BBB noted to me in April that if I could show that Facebook was targeting based on personal information I did not provide (e.g. if you fed in a fake location as your home in Facebook and it serves you ads based on your real location), then it could be a violation of their principles. This is pretty easy to prove: just go to any ad in your feed, click on the arrow in the right-hand corner, and click â€˜Why was I shown this ad?â€™ In most cases, your actual location will have something to do with it.
Secondly, there is a potential link between the preferences Facebook has stored on youâ€”the ones they say they would not useâ€”and the ads you are shown. Facebook claims you can edit those preferences but as I showed last week, this is not true. Facebook will, in fact, repopulate all deleted preferences (and even add to them), but thanks to the company itself providing me with the smoking gun, I was able to connect those shown preferences with ads displayed between March and December 2016. It casts doubt on whether Facebook is actually targeting me based on freely given information, especially since, for example, I am being served ads for Oh Baby! when I donâ€™t have kids. (Oh Baby!, meanwhile, is one of the preferences in its settings.)
My Google investigation took three months; this took between eight and nine.
Weâ€™ll see if the BBB will take quite as longâ€”they might, because they say they tend to be inundated with complaints about Facebook, but find that most cases do not violate their principles. But Iâ€™ve shown them not only examples along the lines of what they suggested, but a few that go even further.
Above: The Holden Commodore SS-V, facing its last year of manufacture.
The current wisdom appears to be that when the Holden Commodore VF leaves production in 2017, itâ€™ll be replaced by the liftback version of the Opel Insignia B. After all, the only big sedan Ford Australiaâ€™s offering in place of the now-defunct Falcon is the liftback version of the Mondeo, a car thatâ€™s wider, taller, and with a longer wheelbase than the supposedly larger Falcon. I think the crystal ball-gazers are wrong.
I could say that the Australian and New Zealand big car buyer is very traditional and would balk at the idea of the big Holden being a hatch. But thatâ€™s not the only reason. Thereâ€™s a bigger one: China.
Above: GM currently makes the Opel Insignia A-based Buick Regal in China, after initially beginning with German production.
This is BS. You can remove all you like (mine has tended to be completely blank for most of 2016) but in the last few days, Facebook has been repopulating this page. This is despite my having Facebook interest-based ads switched off. Thereâ€™s actually no need, then, for Facebook to keep these, and many of them are inaccurate anyway. Yet various advertising bodies, of which Facebook is a member, are too scared to investigate.
Here’s my ads’ preferences’ page on June 14. I had been keeping an eye on this, and keeping it clear since March 2016.
Even as late as October 25, 2016, there were very few things in there. While Facebook shouldn’t be collecting this data, at least it allowed me to delete itâ€”as it claims you can. And no, I’ve never heard of Mandy Capristo.
Regularly since November 27, 2016, Facebook has repopulated this page, putting all deleted preferences back. This was how it looked on November 28. Within hours Facebook would repopulate it, so any deleting is useless.
Not only has Facebook repopulated the page, by today it’s added even more preferences. I’ve been through five rounds of repopulation now.
More BS (links and a lot of comments here and here). Thereâ€™s plenty of evidence to show that Facebookâ€™s so-called detection systems target certain accounts. A computer identified as having malware, necessitating a user to download their so-called anti-malware products, still works for other users, who arenâ€™t confronted with the same prompts. Companies like Kaspersky clam up and even delete comments when you begin asking them about the programs Facebook gets you to download. Once downloaded, they canâ€™t even be found in your installed programsâ€™ list: they are hidden. No one in the tech press wants to cover this. Scared? Weâ€™ve our theory about why they want to slow down some users, and thereâ€™s some suggestion that you can ignore the warnings and log into Facebook several days laterâ€”the same thing that has happened to users in the past whose Facebook accounts have become faulty due to their database issues. Coincidence?
â€˜Weâ€™re also testing a new tool that will let people provide more information about their circumstances if they are asked to verify their name. People can let us know they have a special circumstance, and then give us more information about their unique situation.â€™
There have been instances of the drag community, for instance, whose accounts have simply vanished with no means of defending themselves and giving Facebook those circumstances. Facebook claimed that the above applied to the US only in December 2015. However, in 2014, Chris Cox of Facebook wrote, â€˜Our policy has never been to require everyone on Facebook to use their legal name.â€™ Try telling that to the people who have lost their accounts and never given a chance to give their side of the story.
Facebook has 1Â·79 billion monthly active users.
While I canâ€™t counter this myself, thereâ€™s plenty of evidence to show that the site has problems with spammers and bots. If you run a large enough group, thereâ€™s a good chance that the majority of new members in your queue are not human. Therefore, you might not actually be reaching the number of people you want in Facebookâ€™s calculations. Since the ad preferences have some very strange information on users, Iâ€™m not that convinced about the accuracy of targeting anyway. Facebook is complicit in spam by supporting click farms, according to Veritasium.
Now that the first episode of The Grand Tour has aired, and we’re nearing the official launch of Drivetribe (November 28), we’re beginning to see just how good an investment Â£160 million was for Amazon when it picked up the cast of The Goodies, I mean, Top Gear (sorry, I get those BBC shows mixed up, and they do have the same initials), along with producer Andy Wilman (who himself presented Top Gear segments many years ago, but we are now spared his nude scenes).
Essentially, you can’t do a show these days without an internet community, so what did the four men do? Create their own. They’ve put their money into Drivetribe, which has attracted an eight-figure investment from additional parties, chief among which is 21st Century Foxâ€”that’s right, Rupert Murdoch. Amazon’s reportedly quite happy with the arrangementâ€”and it certainly helps boost their show.
There are already signs that Drivetribe is going to succeed as a motoring portalâ€“social network, for those of us who have been playing with it. Maybe the Murdoch Press has learned from Myspace? Or, it’s put their money in, but it’s letting experts do their jobâ€“among whom is none other than Cate Sevilla, formerly of Buzzfeed UK, and whose blog I followed even before she arrived in the UK the good part of a decade ago. It isn’t a surprise that Cate would do well in social mediaâ€”she had a knack for it, even back then.
Car enthusiasts were invited to pitch their ideas for tribes some months back, recognizing that we’re not all the same. Additionally, there’s a bunch of us who work in some aspect of the industry, and looking through the tribes, we’re the ones whose ideas have been adopted. For those of you who use Autocade, there’s one linked to that very venture.
As many of you who follow this blog know, I founded Autocade in 2008, a car encyclopÃ¦dia that wouldn’t have the fictions of Wikipedia (or ‘Wikiality’, as Stephen Colbert calls it). Eventually, I succumbed to modern marketing trends and very lately started a Facebook page on it, at least to post some behind-the-scenes thinking and publicity photos. While it proved all right, my blog posts were here and things were all over the place.
When I first proposed doing a Drivetribe tribe many months ago, I centred it around the marketing of cars, and the result, the Global Motorshow, can be found here. And now that it’s started, it’s become clear that I can put all the content in one place and have it appreciated by other motorheads. In a week and a half itâ€™s grown to about a third of the following of the Facebook page, and Drivetribe hasn’t even officially launched yet. Those members are either other tribe leaders or those who signed up early on. The question must be asked: why on earth would I bother continuing with Facebook?
In addition to Cate, Drivetribe is not faceless. The support crew respond, and there are humans working here. I’m impressed with how quickly they get back to us, and how the site is reasonably robust. On all these points, Drivetribe is the opposite of Facebook.
Granted, I don’t know the other members there, and some I only know through reputation. But then I didn’t know a lot of the people I now find familiar on Facebook car groups. Nor did I know the people on Vox back in 2006, or some of the folks at Blogcozy in 2016. Communities build up, often thanks to common interests, and here’s one that already has a massive online community ready to flock to it. Having three celebrities helps, too, and all three Grand Tour presenters post to the site.
If you’re interested, the scope of the Global Motorshow (originally without the definite article, but when I saw the GM initials in the icon, I rethought it) is a bit wider than Autocade. I thought it might be fun to post some of the marketing materials we come across, the odd industry analyses that have appeared at this blog (updated in some cases), and even commercial vehicles, which arenâ€™t part of Autocade. I’ve chosen to keep the tribe public, so anyone can post if they find something interesting. Let’s hope Drivetribe can keep the spammers at bay: something that the old Vox.com failed to do, and Facebook is desperately failing to do now as well.
Come November 28, we’ll know just how good things are looking, but I’m erring on the side of the positiveâ€”something I was not prepared to do for sites such as Ello or Google Plus.