Today marks a huge day for us at the Autopian. Not only have we upgraded our systems, but we’ve launched the Autopian Membership Experience. Now, each article should load faster than those times that you tried loading a picture of a car through America Online dial-up internet (finally!). And with the Autopian Membership Experience, you have ways to support our mission while being a part of our journey. We’ve been reading your feedback and taking in suggestions. Fear not, more changes are on the way!
Welcome back to Comment Of The Day! Every day, we read every single comment posted on our site and pick the one that made us laugh, get informed, or feel warm inside. You don’t have to go into our comments sections and write thousand-word stories about why you love a car so much, but a lot of you do, and that means a lot to us. So we’re highlighting some of the most excellent bits of thought that you’ve formed into words and digitized onto our website.
It’s been more than eight months since David Tracy, Jason Torchinsky, and Beau Boeckmann planted this wonderful site on the internet and right in front of your eyeballs. Then, they added what I think is a dream team featuring Thomas Hundal, Matt Hardigree, Patrick George, Mark Tucker, and yours truly. Producing stories for you all to read truly is a dream, and I’m sure my colleagues agree that we hope to do this for years to come!
Part of getting there will be our Autopian Membership project, and I think Patrick George said it so eloquently:
I’ve been working in print and online media for about two full decades now, thanks to my own poor judgment or brain worms or some combination of the two. And after all that time I can tell you I sincerely believe this: the content itself isn’t the problem. It never has been.
That side of things *has* its problems, for sure. We fail and fall short and can always be better. Journalism is made by humans, and it’s often the first draft of history, so it’s frequently imperfect. But the real problem is how you sustainably fund the content people love—the reporting, the videos, the artwork, and the writing that informs and delights.
When it’s on shaky ground financially, or when it’s dependent on the whims of trends or the market or the algorithm du jour, that’s when it goes up in flames. And then people are left without jobs, and readers are left wondering what happened to that thing they loved.
I’ve seen this happen many times. I’ve lived through it many times, too, including recently. And I can tell you with the utmost conviction that the best way to firewall against such outcomes is media that’s directly supported by its audiences.
There’s no magic bullet to save independent media, but getting direct funding from readers is one of the most powerful. Here, it will establish a baseline to allow The Autopian to grow into a sustainable, healthy business that isn’t overly dependent on intrusive ads or widget sales or whatever trend Big Tech wants to bait and switch us with that week. Do you want to see a day when more people write here, especially young writers, the next generation of leading voices in car culture? Me too. This is where we start.
And I can tell you that nobody’s willing to be more accountable to their readers—their members—than these guys are. Being a member of The Autopian means you’re a partner with this team, and you have an active hand in helping it grow. I sincerely believe in David, Jason, Matt and Beau, or else I wouldn’t be here. I’ve seen how hard all of these guys work to make The Autopian happen. Around the clock, literally! It’s a scrappy little labor of love and I’m amazed at what they’ve pulled off in eight months. I’m thrilled to imagine where they’ll be in a year.
I hope you feel the same about this awesome project enough to support it, and if you do, you have my eternal thanks. This team will do right by you, and we will work our asses off to make this place grow into what we all know it can be.
The response to the Autopian Membership Experience has been great! It seriously warms our hearts that you lovely readers want to be a part of the show. I love you for it. We love you for it.
The memberships have generated some interesting comments and challenges, and one made me laugh so hard. Today, Thomas published an article about how the IIHS slammed an old overloaded F-150 into a wall in the name of EV testing. The test was phenomenal, and the F-150 got obliterated. Most readers just wanted to see a truck crash, but reader v10omous wins COTD with this:
As the kids say, “shots fired!” The comment is a reference to a Prove Me Wrong that Matt wrote where he claimed the best F-150 was the jellybean-like 10th-generation sold from 1997 to 2004. Matt is entitled to his opinion, but we all know that he’s wrong. Everyone knows that the best F-150 is a ninth-generation with a Power Stroke, or maybe the handsome sixth-generation! [Ed Note: 300 I6 or bust. -DT]
I’m kidding, it’s ok to love whatever truck you love! But Matt is apparently willing to watch his beloved pickup get smashed into a wall over and over just so v10omous will sign up for a Rich Corinthian Leather membership. If that’s not dedication, I don’t know what is.
Read more on The Autopian
- The Rounded Ford F-150 From The Late 1990s Was The Best F-150: Prove Me Wrong
- Watch IIHS Slam An Old F-150 Overloaded To 9,500 Pounds Into A Barrier In The Name Of EV Crash Testing