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Old 06-14-2012, 01:06 PM   #1
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Feedback on my iPad auto news app idea?

I had the idea of building and iPad app specialized for auto related news and review. The app will generate a personalized magazine about all the automotive news you’re interested in by collecting the best articles from all over the web. What do you guys think?
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:12 PM   #2
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Whats to say I wouldn't just get a newsreader and tap into the feeds of my favorite car websites across the web?
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:18 PM   #3
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it would have to be really good at aggregating data/articles that can't be obtained via RSS or other readers
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:32 PM   #4
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Freakshow and El Bastardo, Those are good points. I was thinking of using a web crawler to find interesting articles via Twitter, Various Car Forums, Facebook Social Graph, and also analyze individual RSS articles categorize them into relevant bins to show to different users.

An example is a Classic car lover will see more topic about Classic cars and a Import guy will see more import cars stuff.
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Old 06-14-2012, 01:39 PM   #5
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May I make a suggestion? Create an aggregator niche-site from a free or cheap wordpress theme, monetize it using ads, and make your app an extension of that site.

People will see the app as being a "premium" extension as they get to customize their feeds, and will happily pay while others will use your niche site as their primary source for the big car news of the day without the need for searching, thus making you advertising dollars. Make it easy enough to navigate so those intimidated by news readers will utilize your site instead.

You'll make money at both ends.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Bastardo View Post
May I make a suggestion? Create an aggregator niche-site from a free or cheap wordpress theme, monetize it using ads, and make your app an extension of that site.

People will see the app as being a "premium" extension as they get to customize their feeds, and will happily pay while others will use your niche site as their primary source for the big car news of the day without the need for searching, thus making you advertising dollars. Make it easy enough to navigate so those intimidated by news readers will utilize your site instead.

You'll make money at both ends.
The thing with a wordpress blog is that it's difficult to bring user to the website. There are millions of wordpress blog out there with minimal traffic. The iPad app however, is more novel and less competition. It'll also divert the focus of making a really good iPad app vs a good website and an iPad app.
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Old 06-14-2012, 03:49 PM   #7
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so something like flipboard? cause flipboard is awesome, just wish it can add your own sources
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Old 06-14-2012, 05:38 PM   #8
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The thing with a wordpress blog is that it's difficult to bring user to the website. There are millions of wordpress blog out there with minimal traffic. The iPad app however, is more novel and less competition. It'll also divert the focus of making a really good iPad app vs a good website and an iPad app.

Yeah, I hear you on that. Good SEO will get you high on the list for search terms, though. Doing a search for "automotive news" shows shaky results after the first page and a half.

If you -are- looking at doing a flipboard app, I'd focus on having a well built search algorithm to make sure that its relevant content, as you won't be vetting the content by yourself UNLESS you're going to build a database that does it for you, but that'll be more expensive... and the more moving parts in the machine, the better a chance for it to break.
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Old 06-14-2012, 05:47 PM   #9
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If your website isn't compelling enough to draw traffic, and it's just the same as other auto blogs out there, your iOS app isn't going to be any better.
Your App (or Website), needs to demonstrate superior ability to aggregate based on interests.

You won't be successful if you're gonna write something in your spare time that's a glorified RSS reader. You'll actually need to develop technology and algorithms to aggregate data based on customized user interests. At the very least, you need each user to tell you what kind of auto news they like. What would be better is if your algorithm learned what they like based on what they clicked on. If you develop a profitable technology, your app AND website should be successful.

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Yeah, I hear you on that. Good SEO will get you high on the list for search terms, though. Doing a search for "automotive news" shows shaky results after the first page and a half.

If you -are- looking at doing a flipboard app, I'd focus on having a well built search algorithm to make sure that its relevant content, as you won't be vetting the content by yourself UNLESS you're going to build a database that does it for you, but that'll be more expensive... and the more moving parts in the machine, the better a chance for it to break.
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Old 06-14-2012, 06:21 PM   #10
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I think CarBuzz.com already has one of the best auto news apps out there. I use it daily.
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:15 PM   #11
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so something like flipboard? cause flipboard is awesome, just wish it can add your own sources
Yeah similar to Flipboard as interface goes. But the content will be more focused on Automotive than everything.
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:18 PM   #12
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Yeah, I hear you on that. Good SEO will get you high on the list for search terms, though. Doing a search for "automotive news" shows shaky results after the first page and a half.

If you -are- looking at doing a flipboard app, I'd focus on having a well built search algorithm to make sure that its relevant content, as you won't be vetting the content by yourself UNLESS you're going to build a database that does it for you, but that'll be more expensive... and the more moving parts in the machine, the better a chance for it to break.
Yeah the plan is to build a web scraper to aggregate content, then curate with support vector machine to build a knowledge graph used for content customization. So pretty much a fancy search algorithm.
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Old 06-15-2012, 12:23 PM   #13
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If your website isn't compelling enough to draw traffic, and it's just the same as other auto blogs out there, your iOS app isn't going to be any better.
Your App (or Website), needs to demonstrate superior ability to aggregate based on interests.

You won't be successful if you're gonna write something in your spare time that's a glorified RSS reader. You'll actually need to develop technology and algorithms to aggregate data based on customized user interests. At the very least, you need each user to tell you what kind of auto news they like. What would be better is if your algorithm learned what they like based on what they clicked on. If you develop a profitable technology, your app AND website should be successful.
yeah I was talking to my partners about the possibility of building an website first. We are still thinking about the pros and cons.

You are right, there are way too many well made RSS reader out there so the app will definitely not be a glorified RSS reader. The plan is to let you do a quick survey to find out which type of car guy you are, then use our algorithms to curate content you will be most interested in. Then as time go on, we will analyze the time you spend in each article, which type of article you read the most to build a more complete model of you. In turn we can improve the recommendation engine and provide more relevant content.
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Old 06-16-2012, 04:04 PM   #14
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Here is the list of possible customization break down we came up with. Let me know if you guys think we should add more or get rid of some.

Auto News and Reviews
budget
hybrid
electric
offroad
Sports Cars
Super cars
luxury
trucks
concept

Aftermarket Customization
Euro
Tuner
Modern Muscle Cars
Classic Muscle Cars
Exotics
Hella Flush
Hot Rod
Classics Collectors
Kit Cars

Racing News

Formula Racing
Touring Car Racing
Sports Car Racing
Stock Car Racing
Rallying
Drag Racing
Off-road racing
Kart Racing
Drifting
Autocross
Demolition Derby
Hillclimbing
Ice racing
Monster Truck
Dirt track racing
Midget car racing
Pickup truck racing
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Old 06-16-2012, 07:45 PM   #15
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Let's put it to you this way:

If you're putting it on RS and need to crowdsource it into working...you're probably not going to be able to continue the business, because someone else will see this and steal the idea if it hasn't been done already.

Also, if your app is "Like [something], but better!" it will fail. "It's like twitter, but better!" "It's like linkedin, but better!" "It's like facebook, but better!". You will fail.
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Old 06-16-2012, 09:24 PM   #16
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Let's put it to you this way:

If you're putting it on RS and need to crowdsource it into working...you're probably not going to be able to continue the business, because someone else will see this and steal the idea if it hasn't been done already.

Also, if your app is "Like [something], but better!" it will fail. "It's like twitter, but better!" "It's like linkedin, but better!" "It's like facebook, but better!". You will fail.
You make a good point about sharing the idea. I'm not afraid of people copying the idea because there will always be competition. It will take quite a bit of engineering to make a good app anyway so I'm all open to competition as long as it's fair.

I do disagree with your point about "Like [something], but better!" though. Facebook was like Myspace, but better. Google was like Yahoo, but better. BMW is like a Honda, but Better. Yet all the former companies are indeed "better".
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Old 06-16-2012, 10:06 PM   #17
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I do disagree with your point about "Like [something], but better!" though. Facebook was like Myspace, but better. Google was like Yahoo, but better. BMW is like a Honda, but Better. Yet all the former companies are indeed "better".
No, you miss the point. Facebook wasn't aiming to be better than myspace, they were aiming to be "like meeting your friends in person, but on a computer." Google wasn't aiming to be better than Yahoo; Google said "Let's make our search so awesome that we won't need our own content for people to come."

BMW/Honda example isn't relevant here, they were created in places totally across the world from each other to actually fill the same niche: "let's get people who need what we make to buy it." Also, BMW is only better than Honda when you can afford it. Commerce comes in all sizes, yet commerce isn't what it used to be. Copying a business model isn't effective. Instagram didn't aim to be anything except what it was...while it could have been modeled after Tumblr.
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:22 AM   #18
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No, you miss the point. Facebook wasn't aiming to be better than myspace, they were aiming to be "like meeting your friends in person, but on a computer." Google wasn't aiming to be better than Yahoo; Google said "Let's make our search so awesome that we won't need our own content for people to come."

BMW/Honda example isn't relevant here, they were created in places totally across the world from each other to actually fill the same niche: "let's get people who need what we make to buy it." Also, BMW is only better than Honda when you can afford it. Commerce comes in all sizes, yet commerce isn't what it used to be. Copying a business model isn't effective. Instagram didn't aim to be anything except what it was...while it could have been modeled after Tumblr.
You could be right. Thats what we are hoping to find out once we get a prototype going and invite some alpha testers to get some feedback. The result may be that people don't find our product interesting enough, then we just move on and make something else.
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