Even though much of the financial euphoria over internet startup companies has evaporated within the past year or so, there has been no reduction in the number of quirky, labor-of-love sites springing up on the net. For motorhome owners, one site that showcases this genre is Motorhome Review Online (www.motorhomereviewonline.com). In existence since just April, it is currently receiving as many as 2000 “hits” and 50 e-mail inquiries per day.
In a nutshell, Motorhome Review Online is sort of a motorhomes-only cross between Car & Driver and Consumer Reports. Driving experiences and owner’s surveys play heavily in the website’s content, while travel and general-interest stories are almost completely absent.
“I started the site because I felt there was a need that was not being met to provide information to RVers,” MHRO Editor Steve Savage explains. “In designing the site, we were specific in limiting our coverage to motorhomes. The need for solid content to attract a baby boomer audience is a reflection of our philosophy in this regard, as is our decision not to move to a hard copy format. We also do not feature articles on travel, which I feel are already available on multiple sites. We try to be content intensive, and have utilized Website rating services to evaluate our site from a technical standpoint.”
Even though considerable attention is devoted to motorhome evaluations and comparisons, Savage makes a conscious effort to keep the content positive and upbeat — a reflection of the site’s enthusiast-oriented nature. “When you read our letters sections, you note that there are no ‘rants’ from readers,” he explains. “I have tried to be particularly careful not to simply publish something from a reader going off on a manufacturer or dealer, as I believe the pejorative effect usually outweighs the value of the content. You have also found that we have tried to address the importance of owners educating themselves rather than blaming others, and hopefully that tone also comes through.”
The site has on a few occasions been able to use the web’s inherent immediacy to advantage. “For some events we go ‘almost live.’ That is, we cover the event, write the story and uplink to the webmaster who in turn puts our articles back on the web. Last year we covered the FMCA National Rally that way, so readers received a daily update of what was happening. By the fall Harrisburg Show we should have everything in place to make this a routine part of our site.”