Power To The People

The H.A.M.B. Alliance launched last week and I couldn’t be happier with how well it has progressed. Not only have we had a ton of loyal users buy into the group, but we’ve had an amazing reaction from vendors that would like to get involved. This little idea, which was spawned from hours of conversations with old-time traditional media folks, looks as though it could blossom into a very sustainable revenue model over time.

That said, I find myself wondering if the positive reaction is the result of a very dedicated, loyal, and loving user base or the return effect of a market that has been left out to dry for too long. Stick with me here…

In the last ten to fifteen years, the media coverage of recreational automobiles has been dominated by Primedia. Essentially, they began buying as many properties as they could in the early 90’s and today own every print property in the market covering vintage Hot Rod and Custom automobiles. By ridding of the competition, Primedia effectively changed their entire business model in the process.

Before their acquisitions, Primedia had real competition in the market. In order to get the distribution numbers to drive their advertising revenue, Primedia had to spend a good deal of their time and resources on creating valuable content for their magazines in order to entice readers. Now that there is no competition, Primedia has freed themselves of the requirement to create that valuable content. They’ve cut editorial staff to a bare minimum, sold their actual editorial content to advertisers, and thrown as many resources as they can afford to their sales staff – all in an effort to maximize the output of their new revenue model.

Obviously, the real loser here is the audience that these publications serve. “Joe” can no longer waltz down to the local five and dime and buy trustworthy content covering his favorite old car. So, where does he go?

I hope he finds the Atomic Industry network. It is programs like the Alliance that will allow us to not only fund incredibly trustworthy and valuable content, but give vendors in the industry the first captive audience they’ve had in a long while… Of course, that’s a completely different article.