Buying and selling cars – community?

I have to buy a car. Don’t want to but must. So here’s my thing… I need an online community that isn’t for diehard Porsche owners or something, just a regular “hi I’m a girl and I need to buy a car. Maybe a red one?” sort of community. Ok, ok, I promise not to play the dummy card but seriously, I prefer reviews by my peers (which err, is the meaning of peer reviews I guess).

Carsales.com.au (Carpoint) doesn’t have it. I clicked on the Members page but got an error. Their ‘testimonials’ are the standard advertising-on-the-net stuff. You can email them, presumably to be edited and polished by professionals. Create an ad, edit it, post it up. That’s about it from Australia’s #1 Auto Site.

What I’d like to see is CarSales meets SniffPetrol meets online community. I know the research part of CarSales is comprehensive but… but… I really do rely on word of mouth more than trying to read how many kw of power some thingie in it has. And it’s really annoying that the NineMSN front end onto carsales.com.au has a ‘hot topics’ button. Nope, its not dialogue based, or a blog or anything. It’s just a ‘recently reviewed’ page – meaning a bunch of other visitors made the same mistake I did.

Sensis.com.au (tradingpost or autotrader) have a better idea however their buying and selling portal is similar to eBays and neither (eBay or Sensis) capitilise on the community aspects such as swarming. Ranking the buyer and seller in a transaction and then archiving the ad (and any discussion that took place) does not promote dialogue. I haven’t looked at Yahoo!7 yet or the NRMA to see if they have developed anything – anyone got any comments?

Why SniffPetrol? Because they keep the content funny and entertaining. Car companies would do well to develop or purchase a sense of humour – fake ads can be used for positive, no matter how annoying they may be at first to the companies. And consumer generated ‘anti-advertising’ is turning into a national pastime. It’s here to stay – branding is back in the hands of the people, where it should be.

Lemme see, an online community with member created reviews, rankings and ratings, honest and down-to-earth bouquets and brickbats and a bunch of user-generated humour (see the Not An Advertisement pictures on SniffPetrol), would leave carsales.com.au for dust. Do the same with realestate.com.au and careers and so on and the incumbent online advertising leaders will have a run for their money. Real estate – I love the UK one – it even links to crime rates for the searched-for area. I can see advertisers shuddering now as we speak. Too bad, this information is available and being used anyway, might as well aggregate it. Get to it. The game has just commenced, the winner is not yet in sight.

BTW what do you think of the Beetles?

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Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

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