Internet Conglomerate buys car forums
Internet Brands has purchased a group of internet automotive discussion forums, though prices paid have not been disclosed. The list includes some of the most popular brand-specific forums on the internet: Corvetteforum, LS1Tech, PerformanceTrucks.net, ModMotorTech, FordTrucks, Audiworld, Mustangforum.com, and ModernHemi.com.
CorvetteForum alone claims to have 110,000 registered members and FordTrucks claims 400,000 members and over a million unique hits monthly.
According to one of the website owners who sold to Internet, there are likely to be other purchases in the future. That individual also said that automotive forum members tend to be loyal to the forum, something which adds to the value of the forum because it makes it more difficult for new competition to gain a foothold with its potential audience.
With the growth of social networking sites, online automotive discussion forums are apparently being viewed as something more than just a way for gearheads to ask questions. They’re being seen as a new means of communication. Their members’ loyalty is a product of the need for information: once a forum reaches a certain critical mass in the participating members, it becomes a reliable source of information which encourages repeat visits and attracts new members. By focusing on specific brands, the forums which Internet Brands has recently purchased also take advantage of the underlying loyalty of the member to the automotive brand.
Internet Brands owns over 20 websites focused on automobiles, homes, boating, and travel. It also owns vBulletin®, which it acquired last year by purchasing Jelsoft Enterprises, Inc.
vBulletin is a feature which can be added to websites to create a forum and is targeted at corporate customers. Internet Brands is based in El Segundo, California and operates a variety of websites. Started as CarsDirect.com in 1998, it changed to its current name in 2005.
In turn, Internet Brands is a subsidiary of Idealab, a venture capital firm which focuses on creating internet based companies.
A certain Roger S. Penske, Sr., of Penske Corporation sits on the Internet Brands board of directors.