Cars are so terrifically exciting that I’ve always had to talk about them. Even when I couldn’t talk about them, I simply had to. So I cried.
The problem is, too few people want to hear about cars. So you’ll be talking to them about LaFerrari – one of the greatest human achievements – and they’ll politely walk away. You’ll mention, just in passing, that the Bugatti Chiron can do more than 400km/h and they’ll change the conversation to Nick Kyrgios. You can even highlight that Nick Kyrgios is a car enthusiast, but that’ll fall flat too.
It’s frustrating, it’s saddening, and it made me long for a world where everyone loved cars.
And it turns out there is such a world. DriveTribe is a place where you can talk about the American bumpers on the MG B and everyone will actually be interested. Mostly everyone.
We (ATW) first discovered this world very early on, when there were a few sketchy details about Clarkson, May, and Hammond starting a social media platform for petrolheads. For several years we’d been doing a motoring newsletter that had long morphed into a magazine, and since that required quite a bit of effort, we thought this new thing must be a good thing.
So about this time last year, we sent off an application to DriveTribe to host a prelaunch tribe. It came back successful, and in the joyousness of the occasion, we may or may not have smashed something.
We can now definitely say that transitioning to DriveTribe was the best thing we ever did. Audience and engagement for our content went through the roof and DT has used a few posts on their Facebook page, which brought us trolls and much happiness. Just let me say, DriveTribe team, if you’re reading – we love you for that.
Of course, there have been teething troubles. Many things have frozen at times. Once, for over a week we couldn’t use STUDIO and content according to our year-long publishing schedule crashed into itself. Then there was the tragic case of a whole article with many images having to be completely redone, which I wasn’t exceedingly pleased about. But I have to say all this illustrated the helpfulness of the DriveTribe team, especially Jonathan-drivetribe, nee Morris. If he ever sent his keyboard across the office as we sent in another problem, that would have only been human.
Sofia Gronvall, who’s now left, was also tremendous. She handled our application at the beginning, and also educated and helped us find solutions to many problems before the launch, such as allowing multiple authors in a tribe.
It’s been interesting to see DriveTribe evolve. There’s been potholes along the road but I’d definitely have to say the evolution has been upwards. The web design is absolutely world-class and after some updates, very easy to use. And I’m usually angry when it refuses to load, but “Captain Slow” appearing really does help. Our Akubras are off to whoever wrote these.
Even though it’s always on the wrong side of the globe, the new live chats with motoring celebrities are a brilliant idea, drumming up traffic on the site and really, ask yourself – on what other motoring website is it possible to talk live with Ken Block or James May?
Another great thing about DriveTribe is the great diversity of tribes and content, and the fact that irrespective of who writes the content, if it’s good it’ll find an audience. Support for small tribes led by Kids in Karts Ben and Stephen Hodge has greatly enhanced this.
There’s tribes and content dedicated to classic cars, wagons, pick-ups, supercars, Communist cars, cars in movies, cars in LEGO – basically if it moves on wheels, you’ll find it here. And each tribe gives their unique perspective and, I might add, unique personality.
But DriveTribe isn’t just about the many tribe leaders. It’s also just as much about the even more tribe followers. Because believe me, it means a terrific lot to be talking about cars – and knowing someone’s actually listening.
So thank you, DriveTribe. It’s been a terrific year.
(circa) 19 August 2016: Prelaunch talent submissions open.
22 August 2016: We (ATW) send a submission.
1 September 2016: Submission accepted.
12 November 2016: Access code given, to start tribe and create early content.
20 November 2016: Users trickle in.
28th November 2016: DriveTribe launched.