By on September 1, 2012

As a moderator on a Golf/GTI forum, the past weeks have been overrun with posts like ”THE REAL GOLF MKVII!!” with information inside saying it will have 600 horsepower, 12 transmission options, and the ECU will call the FBI if you attempt to tune it. They are always accompanied by an image that is as authentic to reality as a photo of Sadam’s secret WMD garage.

Lastly, they always link back to a few usual suspects. These are blogs that drive clicks by praying on that very instinct we have to try and find our hidden present. They have goofy names, intrusive advertising, and (until recently) it seemed they all had white or red text on a black background. They are the ones that ran the picture of the Focus RS in Detroit as proof it IS coming here. These are the dregs of automotive ”journalism.”

One of the best things in life is anticipation. From wondering what your parents got you for your birthday; to seeing what girls are in a college class on the first day of the semester; to the moment before your wife walks down the aisle when you are getting married, anticipation is simultaneously one of the most pleasurable and most frustrating emotions we experience. Yet it truly makes the experience so much more exciting.

Some of my strongest memories are when my parents rolling out a Gulf Liveried Pedal Car on an early birthday; or the feeling of excitement realizing a beautiful woman is in one of your classes (only to figure out that you walked into the wrong one, even though you were a senior); to the overwhelming joy of seeing that same woman turn the corner to walk down the aisle to you. All of these events are memorable in their own right, but the addition of that anticipation increase the emotional response tenfold.

Anyone in sales knows this. Float a product as an idea, follow up a short time later with a potential feature set, accidentally show an outline, release the real thing to an anxious public. Automakers are particularly adept at this.

Yet we are impatient. How many times did you try and find your birthday present? Or ask a friend that works in the registrar ”who’s in my class?” Or ask your new sister-in-law ”how does she look?” Enter the automotive render and the speculative blog/forum post.

Now, I love speculation as much as the next (car) guy. Give me some data to work with, I am happy to discuss (at length) what strategic moves company X should take to ensure their survival past a date of Y. Or why company Z would be nuts to not bring (or to bring) a certain vehicle to North America. Often I am wrong, but the conversations can be interesting, engaging, and fun. Yet when I am speculating, I am not presenting this exercise as anything but speculation. It’s not ”I have it on good authority” or ”sources say.” It’s simply speculation,  and it should always be presented as such.

Their speculation and images are driven by a desire to increase page views rather than to provide a service. They, frankly, contribute nothing to the community. We can combat their dreck; refute it, ignore it, ridicule it.

Let’s enjoy the anticipation. Let’s wait until our birthday to unwrap that present.

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10 Comments on “Love Me Render, Love Me True, All My Dreams Fulfilled...”


  • avatar
    mr_muttonchops

    So by showing all these renders, and all this prose, didn’t you sorta do the same thing these other sites do?

    Bunch of sillies.

  • avatar
    Zarba

    What exactly is the point? That TTAC is “above all that”?

    Erm, that’s why we’re Here, and not There.

    The best way to react to those sites is to ignore them. I, and the rest of the B&B could care less what some fanboi site posts about…well, much of anything.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    It’s a good post, if not terribly earth shattering. It’s okay for the original content sites to call out the BS, but only if they do it occasionally. Otherwise, best to stay above the fray. Like in tech logs, the various Mobile Nations sites rarely call out the page hit trolls, but when they do, there’s an added punch because they stay above the fray. BGR, however, richly deserves its poor reputation, with a legion of commentators who go there to trash their poor journalism. Car blog readership taste is a step behind, but it will probably get there one day.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Oh, I get the point that Paul is making: a lot of sites will post information that is purported to be “the real deal” when in reality it is nothing more than speculation. It’s very common on automotive blogs. There are a few of the good ones that are very careful about stating what is speculative and what is known, but the majority of the sites out there spew nothing other than conjecture or something drawn up in Photoshop on some 15 year old’s home computer.

    Paul’s point, I think, is that it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff in the autoblogging world. Yes, TTAC stays away from speculation on new models, but Paul’s other point is that speculation and anticipation can be fun and rewarding – so long as you don’t present it as though it is gospel.

  • avatar
    dougjp

    I agree, in this case the birthday is known. What bothers me is when it isn’t. In other words, the embargo release date, while known to everyone in the industry, is not disclosed.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Even with legit information I just ignore it, hype can be a very dangerous thing to ones financial status.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Aren’t most of these renders just photos of the 2004 Opel Astra with VW noses grafted on?

    http://files.conceptcarz.com/img/Opel/2004_opel_astra_04.jpg

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Meh, why people are all excited about it! It’s a new volkswagen, a new Golf to boot. How different it’s gonna be? VW isn’t gonna muck it up too much by making it too ‘alien’. I’ve always thought it’ll be some Scirocco (the current ‘hot’ VW) styling cues added to the current Golf, and that’ll be it, and judging from the pictures above,I was right!

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Well, with all respect, Paul, you may be guilty of some speculation here yourself.

    I haven’t worked at every car blog in the world—although I was the managing editor at this site at one point—but speaking for myself, when I write an article that says “sources say,” it’s because credible sources have told me so. They speak on the condition of non-attribution for the usual reasons.

    And just so you know, the next Golf will have a 490-hp V-8.

    There’s little shortage of auto company employees willing to talk and spill the beans on future product. That’s not to say their words are always credible or factual (whether intentionally misleading writers or just because they learned wrong themselves) but the “someone at the company” line does indicate a real human being.

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    Bender?


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