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The domain name “thetruthaboutcars.com” was registered by Robert Farago on September 24, 2001. At the time, most of America was too busy with other concerns to notice. In the nearly thirteen years since, the site has had just three Editors-in-Chief. First, there was RF himself, tirelessly tearing away the façade at General Motors. Then, Ed Niedermeyer brought the site to new heights in readership and reach, speaking truth to power all the way to the White House itself. Finally, Bertel Schmitt provided the Best&Brightest with some truly unique insider information and insight about automotive happenings from Frankfurt to Tokyo.
Welcome to the third changing of the guard. In the next thirty days, Derek Kreindler and I will completely and thoroughly reboot TheTruthAboutCars. Our predecessors molded the site in their image, but we will be molding it in yours. Towards that end, we’ve created a five-point-plan to fix what’s broken here and bring all of you back home to TTAC. If you have a few minutes, please read it — even if you’ve long since given up on this site and the people who run it.
Point One: TTAC Homecoming
This website is completely unique among automotive media outlets in that it exists to serve you. Not the advertisers, not the PR people, not the auto executives. We’re here for you. And in the past year, we’ve made far too many of you feel unwelcome. So welcome back. As soon as possible, all banned TTAC commenters will find their accounts unlocked. (If you can’t access your account, contact us at editors at ttac dot com). We’ll be reaching out to people who no longer come here to let them know they’re welcome back. The dunce hats will be buried in the same landfill Atari used to get rid of the mythical one million “E.T.” game cartridges.
All former TTAC writers are also welcome to submit stories again, regardless of why you parted ways with the site. We want you back. The methodical, drama-filled exclusion of many of the Best&Brightest was wrong, it was unnecessary, and we’re sorry. Come back home.
Point Two: Accountability and Civility
Starting today, all TTAC content will be work-safe for the vast majority of environments. No more upskirts, no more gore, no more garbage. If there’s anything even remotely problematic, we will tell you above the jump. Nothing on the main page and nothing before the jumps will be non-work-safe. Period.
There will be no more political trolling and no more attempts to make members of the UAW, the Democratic Party, or anybody else feel unwelcome. Yeah, some aspects of motorists’ rights have a libertarian aspect to that, and politics will be part of carmaking forever, but we will treat all viewpoints with respect.
Point Three: (Re)Focus on the B&B
We already buried the dunce hats above — but they won’t be coming back, either. All commenter disciplinary issues will be carried out in private. No more public shaming, no more voting people off the island. If we have a problem with what you’re writing, we’ll work it out with you in private. The same will be true for issues that occur between commenters. Treat each other with respect, we will treat you with respect.
It will once again be allowable to directly criticize the staff and the writers. We ask that you don’t get personal with it. But if you think we’ve written junk, feel free to say so.
Point Four: Opening The Conversation
TTAC will now directly accept contributions from commenters. And we will pay you for stories we publish. There will be a freelance budget to compensate members of the B&B for their contributions. We will be sourcing a major portion of future content from our reader base, which has traditionally been the best-informed and the most intelligent in the industry. Unlike other sites, you will be compensated for your time and effort.
Speaking of the industry… If you work in the car business and you have something you want to disclose to us or share with us, we will pay you for that information. If necessary, we will meet you in a parking lot and pay you in cash for it. We’re serious. We want insider news, gossip, and information. We’ll protect your confidentiality and we will make it worth your time. Contact us at editors at ttac dot com. (Note: If you are uncomfortable with the digital trail left by email and want to get in touch by voice, you can phone me, 416 341 8950 x 263. This is a secure line that only I have access to. – DK)
Point Five: The Truth
There’s going to be more of this:
• Rental car reviews
• Privately-owned car reviews
• Dealership car reviews
• Brutally truthful reviews
• Real industry news.
And none of this:
• Puff pieces on luxury cars
• Everyone’s-a-winner comparisons
• Repackaged PR-generated content
• Pornography, fetish stuff, and vanity publishing
Oh, how it pains me to write that last bullet point. But you guys have told us you don’t want that stuff and you’re in charge.
That’s All, Folks
Some of you gave up on TTAC a long time ago. Others just walked away recently. We’re asking all of you to come back and give us a chance. And if there’s something you want to see that isn’t mentioned above… comment below. We’ll read and respond to everything.
TTAC exists because of you. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for keeping us honest. Stick around. The future is bright.