I've taken some interest in the new Edmunds.com site Inside Line since the first press release came my way. I knew it was launching on January 9th but the Detroit Auto Show took up so much time that I didn't get to "experience" Inside Line until last night. Right now the site is in Beta form and I wound up redirected to wrong images and video a few times. But there are just a ton of streaming videos of production and concept cars from the Detroit Auto Show that are a must watch. Seeing the Jeep Gladiator in action is very cool. The voiceover guy is a bit dry and you'd like to hear something hipper all around. Right now it has the feel of Car And Driver's TV show. The Inside Line layout also reminds me of ESPN's website.
I was impressed enough to get Matthew Kumin, General Manager of Edmunds.com media on the phone. He took on the errors I encountered first thing. ?With a project this ambitious we knew there were certain things that would come up.? That?s also why the ?Beta? tag is still on the site?s name. The real reason for creating such an ambitious site was due to the rabid appetite of auto enthusiasts. ?We were seeing our core audience coming back to the site every day and wanted to build an experience that was more complimentary to them.? These are the industry ?opinion makers? everyone is always talking about. And of course there was interest from advertisers in such an endeavor.
The editorial content of Edmunds (road tests, first looks etc.) has also moved to Inside Line, leaving the original Edmunds site to focus on the consumer side that it has been dominating for the past few years. Inside Line wants to dominate the enthusiast set in the same way. With so much broadband content in the can already I?m wondering if anyone else could even compete. Kumin said the rise in broadband use was a reason for getting the jump on the competition now. As someone who has been online from the earliest days of the Internet I?m still amazed that with my cable connection I was watching streaming video instantly, of a Porsche 911 vs Corvette C6 no less.
If Inside Line works on the presentation as much as they have the amount of content the site will probably just make Edmunds more of a juggernaut than they already are. I?m still finding bugs here and there, like missing banners when I click on a future vehicle, navigation buttons that don?t always work and I?m signed in as John Stoll, sorry John (I don?t know who he is but still I feel like I?m intruding). Kumin says there will be a place to report bugs as early as tonight and that the site will try to keep the content updated as fast as possible. We?ll keep an eye on the evolution of the site and see if it lives up to Edmunds? ambitious goals.