Edmunds.com has launched a social networking site, dubbed CarSpace, for auto enthusiasts and car shoppers.
In the short term, the offering will bolster the auto site’s bottom line with incremental ad revenue, but the long-range plan is to let marketers leverage the inherent word-of-mouth attributes of consumer generated sites to reach influencers and in-market buyers.
“The initial opportunities are around traditional banner ad inventory,” said Matthew Kumin, general manager of media for Edmunds.com. “Ultimately there’s a lot of opportunity in social networking to get into more unique marketing opportunities. Some of that is letting marketers connect with users who have similar interests and speaking with them in the kind of environment they like interacting with.”
Honda is the first advertiser on CarSpace, which is still in beta.
Edmunds.com is not new to community-driven features, having maintained a forum and a chat service since 1997. Kumin referred to its new social media initiative as “Community 2.0.”
CarSpace features include searchable member profiles with email accounts and photo upload capabilities. Users can also create discussion groups focused around vehicles of interest. Content features include a number of blogs hosted on Edmunds.com and its companion site Inside Line. One such is written by Edmunds.com editor in chief Karl Brauer and called “Karl on Cars.” Another, “The Driving Woman,” is geared toward female car enthusiasts.
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