Gone are the days where automotive enthusiasts have to flock to outdated forums to discuss vehicles. Australian startup Carmooch recently launched its automotive social network, designed expressly for the next generation of tech-savvy, always connected car buyers and owners.
Conceived three years ago in a proverbial garage by CarAdvice.com.au alumni George Skentzos and technical Co-Founder Glen Pink, Carmooch offers a new take on the otherwise ageing, forum-based automotive community. By overlaying the convenience and connectedness afforded by contemporary social networks Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, Carmooch has been tailored for the next generation of car buyers and owners who are accustomed to less regimented platforms.
“I’ve been on car forums since before I could drive – socialising with other car owners is one of the best parts about being an auto enthusiast,” says Skentzos, Co-Founder of Carmooch.
“But forums simply haven’t kept pace with the innovations being made in online social interaction and mobile technology, so I thought it was time to create something new.”
Skentzos further explains that in today’s culture, social media plays an important role in people’s car purchasing decisions; it’s seen as a way to retrieve unbiased information on vehicles. Leveraging this consumer trend, Carmooch also incorporates crowd-sourced new car reviews, compiled from both car owners and motoring publications to provide a holistic opinion on each new car on the market.
Every car brand and model on sale in Australia is represented on Carmooch; and users can select their favourites and subscribe to see the latest news, updates, photos and reviews shared by fellow members on the cars they love.
“Just because you might be a Holden fan doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not interested in what Ford owners are talking about,” says Skentzos.
“With Carmooch you can customise your experience to see more about the cars you love and not just the one you drive.”
Carmooch also functions as a social community management and endorsement platform for car manufacturers, who now have a contemporary, niche-focused medium to engage with automotive buffs, car owners and potential car buyers.
“While working as an online motoring journalist it became apparent that car makers felt left out of existing online forum communities. A dedicated social network for the automotive community seems like such an obvious next step and has been very well received by brands like Holden and Land Rover,” says Skentzos.
So what’s the business model? Car brands seeking to explicitly market themselves on the site (not just interact with users) can set up profiles and pay on a monthly ‘per page’ basis. For example, a brand profile can include photos, videos, links and other information on the brand, including its latest car models. Alternatively, a profile page can be set up specifically for a car model. Skentzos says costs will be determined once Carmooch has a substantial user-base.
In the upcoming months, Carmooch will also incorporate other stakeholders in the automotive market – like car dealers, components suppliers, mechanics, etc. – who will pay for a presence on the site. Eventually, Carmooch will also function as a comprehensive directory.
Skentzos says their initial marketing strategy is to approach car brands and demonstrate how to use the Carmooch platform to their advantage, and then encourage the brands to bring their followers from other social media channels onto the site.
“That’s how we plan to approach critical mass until we embark on a proper campaign,” says Skentzos.
After they’ve established themselves in Australia, with a substantial user-base and clientele, Skentzos and Pink will be launching country-specific versions of Carmooch, starting from the US, UK and New Zealand.
For more information, visit www.carmooch.com.