Yahoo Helps Pimp Your Ride

    November 1, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

On Halloween, the portal company launched Yahoo Autos Custom, a beta site focused on car enthusiasts and their automobiles. Yahoo has had an Autos site for a while, where it helps users find more information on buying new cars.

Yahoo Helps Pimp Your Ride
A Potential Yahoo! Autos Custom User?

Vertical search offers marketers greater exposure to a targeted market, like car enthusiasts. Can vertical search help your business better than a general search? Let us know on WebProWorld.

The real profitable market has been in aftermarket customization, where people spend thousands of dollars tricking out their rides.

To tap that market, Yahoo launched its Autos Custom site. Members of the Yahoo team working on Autos Custom posted about the site on the Yahoo Search Blog:

If you’ve ever wanted to know how to fit twenty inch rims on your Honda, give your Charger a sick paint job or restore your ’69 Porsche, check it out. See what others have done to their cars, connect with them, brag about what you’ve done, or just window shop.

They’ve included a couple of additional features on the Customs site. An installer search sifts through the Specialty Equipment Market Association database to help people find local installers. Search results include dealerships and repair shops, and users can rate and review listings.

SEMA provides content for Yahoo Auto Customs. Yahoo has made an exclusive arrangement with them for articles and videos. Eminem and NY Jets receiver Laveranues Coles appear in separate spots featuring their rides, while Funkmaster Flex co-hosts.

Yahoo also built a Car Enthusiast Search, which draws from over a thousand enthusiast sites. This vertical approach helps deliver better results, by focusing only on those sites within the car enthusiast niche.

Message boards and a gallery of user cars can be found from tabs at the top of the Customs page. Other users can rate and comment on cars in the gallery, and upload photos and details about their own rides too.

For online businesses that cater to the car enthusiast market, Yahoo has tailored its ads to match the vertical custom auto search.

Yahoo places sponsored search ads at the top and bottom of the search results. Grab the right keyword and your ad could be prominently placed to display in a very specific query, ready for prospective customers to find.

The one size fits all approach of search engines has served advertisers, and the search engines displaying the ads, very well. While there are thousands of interests, there aren’t as many solid niches that exist where participation in that interest guarantees users have to spend money.

Yahoo has been hitting arriving visitors with a survey, asking for feedback about Autos Custom. The survey gives a glimpse into what Yahoo sees as its competition as it builds the new service.

While the survey asks for opinions on sites like Scion Life and Honda-Tech, it also mentions Edmunds Inside Line. Like Yahoo Autos Custom, Inside Line draws content from SEMA. But Yahoo will rely more on its community of users, where Edmunds taps its editors to pimp out blogs like CarTuners.

The Yahoo community will give Autos Custom, and its advertisers, their highest value. People like to talk about their cars, and there is an element of viral marketing in play when a group of tuners discuss a new part in a favorable way.

And that can only help the advertiser selling those parts, especially if a contextual ad points customers in their direction.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.