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Last updated :01/10/2009

Your key to the auto scene in South Africa

Our News - 2009

This page sets out, in descending date order, the latest developments on this website or anything else which is important for our regular visitors.

We will always welcome feedback, and any suggestions and sites that you feel we have omitted.

The current link count of our Directory on Cars has gown to over 5002  links and the Directory on Bikes to over 790 links.

Statistics for the site are being updated regularly, so to view this data, please click here.

To view news for the year 2008 click here and 2007 please click here

Date 1 December  2009

Well its that time of the year again, where we have to wish you complements of the season and if you on going to be on the road.. drive carefuly, stay awake and alert.

We are currently approaching new potential clients to convert text links to banner links, and what should be a simple, "Go for it" ends my being protracted series of phone calls and emails. Therefore, wef 01 January 2009 the a new fee will be introduced, which will apply for the first year only. This will be a a once off establishment fee of R1200 for a banner link and R300 for a text link. The banner link establishment fee will be discounted by 100% should an order confirmation and payment be received within 10 days.

In addition the Auto Start directory on Cars, now has over 5002 links. The time taken to source and add new links can not continue as a free service. 

I am also having to broaden my business interests as despite Auto Start having the potential, its just not delivery the income. At times I feel like throwing in the towel. The sad thing is that the slow and lethargic response is common in South Africa. Phone or email for a quotes and one just does not get a response. If businesses want to conduct business in this way, rather close close down, as they are just causing other people, who could be customers, to waste their productive time.

Businesses should have systems and checks in place to ensure that the failure to respond to the clients or potential clients is something that does not happen.

Date 1 November  2009

Well my efforts at recording the stats on the links we provided hit a small problem. New browsers allow users to open links in page tags with the middle mouse button. Well the code I was using did not track middle clicks so we had to go back to the drawing board and use an alternative method with effect from 11 October. Seems to be better now and from the testing I have done it seems to be working.

Date 1 October  2009

As can be seen, we last  updated this page in May 2009. This was due to the fact that there was not a lot to report. We have continued to work on providing the best possible service to both consumers and suppliers to whom we supply links.

Well we are two years old today and we are now sustaining over 90,000 pages views a month, peaking at over 100,000 in July and August 2009. Average visitors per day of over 3300. Our Google Rank is now up to 3 and the number of pages where Auto Start is listed first on Google, now exceeds over 100 pages.

We have now implemented a click tracking system, which will enable us to record the number of clicks on the  links we have provided. This system is under going its final testing before implementation on the 1 October 209. This system was implemented to improve the data we had available on each link. We still do not know how many telephonic referrals we are responsible for, as we normally show the contact phone and Fax number for each link. We have considered removing these contact numbers, and thus forcing the visitor to access the relevant web page, but in the interests of the visitor we thought it better to leave the contact numbers in place as this improves speedy communication, where required.

Hopefully we can hide Telephone and fax numbers, behind a "Click to view" and on so doing we will be able to record the click. This will complete the required stats for our clients. 

We also joined SA Topsites as this provides another more reliable and objective system to track the volume of traffic Auto Start is getting, in terms of page views and unique page views and where each of the member sites are ranked based on unique page views.

Date 1 May 2009

Despite the number of public holidays in April, we pleased with the traffic we achieved in April 2009, which came in at a shade under 90 000 page views.

The down turn in the Automotive Industry really hit home we I recently took a drive down Koeberg Road, Milnerton and noticed the number of showrooms that had closed down since I last drove down that road.

Attention to detail is critical in these tough times and panic management must be avoided. Understand your business and the relationship between business policies and the impact on the bottom line.

Management of working capital is critical to the survival of any business. When sales volumes drop and margins are under pressure, steps have to be taken to to address the cost of servicing working capital requirements. At first a number of options just seem to be vicious circles. STOP. Time to do some planning and get a clear idea of the impact of each option that is viable. Thinking about a problem/s just confuses the mind. Do various  "what if options" on an excel spread sheet or just on paper, to understand the problem and its relationships. 

Understand  the impact of various options on working capital, what the impact of margins will have on sales volumes, the requirements of different market segments, effectiveness of various methods of advertising, practicality of consignment stock, diversification, 

Anybody who wishes to discuss or bounce ideas around are welcome to contact me, for a free discussion. Coming from a financial back ground and if you are need someone to talk to, I am happy to listen and give you some ideas. While explaining something,  the situation is often clarified in ones own mind.  I had better limit this offer to the first five phone calls. 

Date 1 April 2009

What happened to February and March? The months disappeared in a flash.

Auto Start's site traffic has slowed a little in February, but has picked up again in March 2009 to such an extent that for the first time we have achieved over 90 000 page views for the month. I suspect that consumers where shocked by the state of their budgets after the annual holidays, which resulted in the low traffic in February 2009. (See Our Stats page.) The other milestone achieved this month is that Auto Start is now ranked in the top 2000 South African web sites. 

With effect from April we have a few policy changes. We have spent over 5000 man hours to get the site to its current state and can not continue to be so charitable. So in future we will be more selective as to which links we add, and will not actively seek new links. We will add any link on request of the website owner, but the research, to identify and to set up a new link, will only be done on a selective basis.

In addition we have over 4000 potential new links which we still need to attend to. This will effectively double the size of the site. So at this stage, we will be aggressively be seeking new banner links and site sponsors and I have recruited the services of Bjorn Unger to assist in this process.

It is also sad to note the number of Automotive web sites that no longer exist. One can only assume that this is due to the closure of the business. As we are all aware, times are very tough in the Automotive industry and we take particular pride in the affect Auto Start has had one some of our clients, where substantial business is being secured through the traffic we are referring to their websites or to  the page we are hosting on their behalf.

Exiting news that we have picked up is that there are a number of local South African Kit Car Manufacturers with new models about to be launched. We will post the press released as soon at they come to hand.

Date 14 January 2009

Yet again we have encountered a website that is making fraudulent claims as to traffic they achieve. As a result we have posted our traffic rank as determined by Alexa.com, who track traffic on all websites and which can be used to impartially access web traffic on any site. 

Second bit of news is that we have commenced a test phase on a new tool that will track the number of referrals that we are achieving on all the links that we have listed. This tools will track the page on which the link appeared, date and time, URL, site name and users IP address. If all goes well, we will implement this on all links, which will enable us to provide detailed stats to website owners.

With automotive businesses closing down at a frightening rate, now is not the time to stop promoting your business. It's just a question of how best to reach potential customers. We are happy to help and advise and the only place we know, that you will get free and honest advice. We have spent enough time and effort to find alternative sources.

Date 04 January 2009

We wish all a prosperous and happy new year. The start of the new year is always a chance to review ones situation. In our case we have proved the effectiveness of our system of presenting relevant links, for the search terms we are targeting within the Automotive Industry in South Africa.

We are very satisfied with the growth we achieved within the first 14 months of Auto Start being online, and with page views we are achieving which are now consistently exceeding 70 000 page views a month.

The effectiveness of the site in satisfying our clients expectations is extremely good. Generally we do not monitor actual hits to  links, but we do monitor some specific links and communicate with the owners of these sites. Based on the information and feed back we are getting from these owners, enquiries generated as a result of their information being listed on Auto Start exceeds their expectations and is an extremely cost effective advertising option for them.

However, this does raise a few issues, such as:

If you belief in "Word of Mouth Marketing" the a tip to bear in mind is that "More often than not, you will need to kick start some promotional method to initialize word of mouth buzz. While there are many strategies available, itís important to focus on producing an excellent product or bait as this will greatly facilitate the word-of-mouth process." Read More

We have looked for a chat room or forum which will allow open discussion by dealers and other automotive related business owners, to share ideas, discuss problems and solutions, without success. If you think this would be a good idea and would like to participate please contact us.  

Lastly we have resumed work on our directories on watercraft and on heavy commercial vehicles and this work has reminded us how labour intensive the research is to find and add a single link and the volume of links that are discarded due to their irrelevance.

 

 

That's it for now

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