Executives from automotive startup High Gear Media have talked to us before about turning the bleak economics of online media into a scalable business model. Later this week the company is unveiling a key part of its plans — a listings section on its flagship car review site TheCarConnection.com where you can now search for new and used vehicles for sale, and contact their sellers.
Vice President of Product Management Jeff Birkeland describes this as part of the wave of companies trying to combine content and commerce (he points to other examples including Zillow and, on the startup side, Condiment). That combination should give High Gear an advantage over the many other car listing sites out there:
We’re not just sloshing listings around by themselves. … We have a team of expert car journalists reviewing these cars over multiple years — so for any recent car a user finds, we can tap into our repository of great stuff and show a great first drive or meta review that explains what our editors think, PLUS what the web says about a car, all in one place.
In addition, he says that the way High Gear is listing the cars is unique, making it easy to browse and compare a bunch of car listings at once. For example, if you’re looking at a listing for a Toyota Camry, the site will show you how the price and mileage compare to similar cars in your area.
As for the listings themselves, they’re drawn from a variety of partner sites, for a supposed total of more than 3 million listings.
The listings will also be available via on TheCarConnection’s mobile website, Birkeland says. That’s particularly important because the mobile web now accounts for 30 percent of the company’s traffic, up 500 percent from last year. (High Gear claims to have 5 million monthly readers total.) And unlike most ad-driven sites that are looking at the growth of mobile with concern, Birkeland says High Gear sees it as a big opportunity, because of integrations like this.
“We have found users are VERY focused and interested in transaction related activities when they are integrated with our content on mobile devices,” he says.