So I wrote a piece for Bold Ride the other day about why I thought concours events blow. I assumed I was going to lure in a few folks to tell me I how I was wrong and that was going to be the end of it. Turns out it was a bigger deal than I imagined.Turns out one of the commenters was Bill Warner, the guy who founded and runs the Amelia Island Concour D’Elegance.
I’m a crotchety old crank ranting on a website most people have never heard of. Why the founder of such an event would bother to log on to yell at me for my opinion is part of the reason I think these events are such a bore.
I like rockabilly and surf rock. I fully expect that people are not going to get it and poke fun at me. I like it. Not everybody has to.
Then there’s this guy:
First off, the idea that a youngster may be in attendance at an event like this is silly. Kids aren’t losing interest in cars in spite of events like these. They’re losing interest in cars because of events like these.
Look at this photo.
Yeah, look at all those kids enjoying themselves.
Why there’s nothing like getting dressed up like you’re going to church and standing around on a golf course looking at cars behind velvet ropes to pull the kids away from their video games.
These are not events for kids. They’re for old white guys who can afford the $225 — in advance. $275 at the gate — entry fee.
I’ve done more to get kids interested in cars by myself than any of these events, because I actually let the kids touch the goddamned car. When I used to pick my son up at daycare in my ’68 Riviera, I’d let all of his buddies climb all over it. My nine-year-old daughter’s friends all want their parents to buy 1996 Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagons because I’ve driven them all over hell’s half-acre in it, stopping every three miles so they all got a chance to sit in the way-back and the middle seat up front. Those kids will walk right past a 911 Carrera 4 to sit in that $3,000 shitbox.
Here’s my second thing with Eric Killoran:
He publishes a blog called CarPubInsider that purported to be “ground zero for the latest news and success tips for publishers, advertisers, and web specialists,” and seemed to be particularly jubilant whenever it had bad news to report about the publication I worked for.
Look, plenty of people didn’t like the magazine. We didn’t cover cars you liked, or covered too many cars you didn’t like, whatever. I get it. As my dad was fond of saying, “there’s an ass for every saddle.” For some people, Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car was the right fit. For a lot of people it wasn’t. So be it.
But CarPubInsider seemed to have a particularly dull axe to grind with Hemmings as an entity. In amongst the pitches for his own cars for sale and his prospecting for advertisers, Killoran took up an awful lot of time hacking away at Hemmings Publishing, and the magazine I edited. To wit:
“Rumors about Hemmings’ killing Sports & Exotic Car were rife in recent months. Furrin car titles are a fickle lot and their audiences more so. Sports Car Market has that figured out. A subsequent SEC redesign stopped short of a needed rehab of the magazine’s marketing campaign. The jury is out on whether this title will survive with soulless marketing and lack of core vision.”
“If Hemmings Digital becomes as short-lived as I anticipate, it might be more attributable to lousy marketing than the inherent trend away from eZines.”
“Old Cars Weekly, Hemmings Motor News and Cars & Parts are among the top dogs critically vulnerable to this perfect storm. The coming 12-18 months should see significant adjustments with publishers slow to react to the online tsunami.”
It’s funny that all of the Hemmings titles are still being published years later, right?
When there was positive news to report — for example, Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car and all of the other Hemmings titles were some of the few automotive magazines on the newsstand that saw significant gains every year during the zenith of the economic downturn — it was buried in predictions that magazines as a whole were well and truly screwed. In a 715 word diatribe here, our success was limited to seven words, including the title of the magazine.
Whatever. As editor of the magazine, it was my job to read this kind of crap. I never responded to any of it because I didn’t think any of it should have been dignified with a response.
One story really pissed me off, though, and it’s because I’ve spent a good amount of time trying to be a “reporter.” Not a “journalist” or a “columnist.” One who “reports facts.”
Killoran wrote a blog entry based on an ad he found in Hemmings Motor News. It was for two Ford F450 cab and chassis that Hemmings owned, along with the good-sized car haulers Hemmings toted behind them to car events around the country. Both trucks and trailers were in good condition but they had racked up the miles over the years. Looking to reinvest in the business and provide our road crews with something easier to park than the F450 diesels, Hemmings decided to move the trucks down the road, maybe to a Hemmings reader who might not have the funds to buy such a rig brand new.
Killoran took the opportunity — based solely on those ads — to suggest that the Apocalypse surely had reached Bennington, Vermont, and that Hemmings was so wildly screwed that it was selling off trucks to pay the light bill.
Now, if I was going to publish a story like that in any publication I ever worked for, I’d be goddamned sure I picked up the phone and got hold of someone on staff, even if it was for a “no comment.” To my knowledge, Killoran never attempted to confirm the information in his story. He just ran it.
If he’d called anyone when he ran that story, he’d have known that Hemmings had placed an order for two brand new extended wheelbase Dodge Sprinters when basically nobody in the country was investing in their business. The vans were wrapped in vinyl by a local sign shop, providing a small, but meaningful stimulus to the local economy. Racks were installed inside to carry all the boxes and paraphernalia Hemmings sub sellers took with them on the road.
When it became clearly obvious that the story just a hatchet job, Killoran deleted it.
I started digging around trying to figure out just what it was that was so stuck in his craw about Hemmings.
Ahhh…wait. Here’s the real issue:
” I remember back in the mid-nineties working with then owner and publisher Terry Ehrich to help bring the company into the online world.”
You can read the entire post here
I assume that this is a guy who is pissed off that he got fat consulting checks from former Hemmings publisher Terry Ehrich that stopped coming once ACBJ took over, and he’s decided to make it his mission to throw a good company under the bus at every opportunity until those checks start rolling in again.
I’m reminded of all this because I recently saw a post Killoran put up on April 23rd. It’s touting Pinterest and Killoran’s new venture — Pixacar.com — which is essentially a rehashed version of Pinterest, but for cars. Which, by the way Manteresting, Gentlemint and a slew of other Johnny-come-latelies have tried and had some measure of success with.
What was really interesting was the signup page and video created to pimp this new venture.
There sure is a lot of copyrighted material being ripped off for commercial purposes. Take that huge image of Steve McQueen, for example
Corbis and its subsidiary Greenlight are notoriously protective of Steve McQueen’s image being used commercially. There’s a reason you don’t see his face everywhere.
Kind of surprising that a guy who claims to know so much about publishing would use images and videos that normally come courtesy of a gigantic check, isn’t it?
If I’m wrong, and Killoran has actually spent the millions of dollars to use Steve McQueen’s image to promote his business, then I’ll admit it here rather than delete it.
Tags: Hemmings Motor News