The 8-year old online publication that is PistonHeads was recently bought by "traditional media" publisher Haymarket. Haymarket owns
Autocar in the UK, much like Hachette-Filipacchi operates
Car and Driver and
Road & Track in the States. And just like that duo, the British pair have perfectly good websites of their own. So why go after a blog-like site like PistonHeads? Simple, it's all about the community, stupid. The print mags have roughly 200,000 readers. The website gets 28 million page impressions a month from 900,000 unique visitors (28m seems a tad high to us, we wonder how they define "page impressions"). But the decision goes beyond those numbers.
The magazines have always been viewed as somewhat of an authority figure. Doling out reviews and driving impressions to those who are eager to learn more about their dream wheels. The websites tend to be two-way streets, however. Readers are active participants in shaping content and giving feedback, which makes it more of a community. The instant feedback also keeps the writers on their toes and makes them more accountable, not that we'd know anything about that.
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