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Avenue A | Razorfish

August 2008 issue of Location-based iPhone apps and more Search-related topics

Where app for iPhoneThe most recent issue of, which is devoted to Search, was published this week. In addition to articles by a number of my Avenue A | Razorfish colleagues who are Search pros,  there’s an interesting article by Senior Information Architect Kyle Outlaw that covers a number of noteworthy automobile-focused applications based on the GPS capabilities of the iPhone.

One of the applications Kyle profiles is Where, which uses services with location-based data, such as Yelp, to find restaurants, rental cars, hotels, events and where your friends are. The application also helps you, as shown at right, to find the cheapest gas for your location by pulling in data from  To read more, go to the Search, iPhone and GPS article in the August issue of

Posted in: Automotive, Avenue A | Razorfish, Blog,, iPhone | (1 comment)

Shameless shilling for SXSW panel votes

SXSWThe 2009 SXSW Interactive Panel Picker is open and accepting votes until August 29. The panel picker lets you browse all programming proposals and give your feedback on which ones you think should make it on to the SXSW Interactive Festival schedule. Votes from the general public account for 30 percent of the decision-making process for any given programming slot.

There are many worthy proposals in a dozen categories, including 26 (!) from my Avenue A | Razorfish colleagues. For selfish reasons, I’m asking that you vote for Kyle Outlaw’s When Your Car is Your Phone panel proposal. The genesis for this proposal was an article that first appeared on, which I edit.

Posted in: Avenue A | Razorfish, Blog, SXSW | (No comments)

Designers of racing video game contribute to the design of world’s fastest sub-$100,000 car

Multifunction MeterThis month’s issue of, which I edit, is devoted to vehicle telematics. Especially interesting is the lead article by Christopher Stapanek on the 2009 Nissan GT-R, which is the first production vehicle to have a video game designer as part of the new model development team. Kazunori Yamauchi, the Gran Turismo game series producer, and his team at Polyphony Digital were given the responsibility of planning and designing the instrument panel display screens (a closeup of which is shown here, as it appears in a right-hand drive prototype) on the new GT-R.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Gran Turismo series, the racing game is well-known for its realism and more than 50 million units have been sold since the first title in the franchise was launched in December 1997. and is the top seller in its category. The GT-R was featured in a version of Gran Turismo nearly a year before the production model went on sale in the U.S. this month. In an unprecedented move, the production model ’09 GT-R and a special prologue edition of Gran Turismo 5 were unveiled at the same at the 2007 Tokyo auto show.

Also worth checking out in this month’s issue are Andrew Green’s “It’s a talking car!” article, in which he builds a strong case to support his prediction that everyday vehicle telematics will become the authoritative reference point for owners in the future. Ben Bloom is back this again this issue with a thoughtful piece on “Advanced telematics services in an age of portable data” and an accompanying proposal for four open social principles that should be adopted by vehicle telematics providers.

Posted in: 2009 Nissan GT-R, Automotive, Avenue A | Razorfish, Blog, Gran Turismo,, vehicle telematics | (No comments)

Lots of room for growth with mobile automotive sites

Even as mobile browsing and pageviews among smartphone users have increased substantially in the past year, 89 and 127 percent respectively, according to M:Metrics, the development of mobile automotive sites has not kept pace.

Consumers who are looking to access third-party and automaker sites from their mobile devices have few to choose from and even fewer that offer an optimum experience.

Third-party automotive mobile sites are best for searching inventory
The few sites that are getting it right are those focused on classified listings. In-market automotive consumers looking to find decision-making advice are better served by their laptops. However, once it’s time to search local dealer inventory, their mobile devices can help them pinpoint what’s available in their area.

The mobile automotive sites with the strongest inventory focus are those from and Both list new- and used-car inventory search as the first two links from their landing screens.

The mobile automotive sites with the strongest inventory focus are those from and Both list new- and used-car inventory search as the first two links from their landing screens. Mobile, which launched in June 2007, is the best site for consumers who wish to check out local inventory, find a dealer and get maps and directions. The site also makes it easy to quickly find the make you are looking for – the new-car listings screen displays multiple makes side-by-side. [Full disclosure: I am the former Managing Editor of, a position I held until December 2004. However, I did not have any involvement with the current iteration of the mobile site.]

The one advantage that Vehix Mobile, which launched in October, has over is a cleaner interface. Unfortunately, I was unable to compare inventory results between the two sites because of “internal server” errors I encountered both times I tried to use the Vehix mobile site.

[You can read the rest of my article in the June 2008 issue of, where it was first published.]

Posted in: Automotive, Avenue A | Razorfish, Blog, Car and Driver,,,, Mobile, | (No comments)

May issue of gets a plug from the web strategist

Jeremiah Owyang, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, included in his Ongoing List of Social Media Examples in the Auto and Car Industry post this week. Apparently, our May issue, which was devoted to Social Influence Marketing as it pertains to digital automotive, was well-timed.

Why is this mention noteworthy? For starters, Owyang’s Web Strategy by Jeremiah blog topped Technobabble 2.0′s list of the Top 100 Analyst Blogs, which was posted in February. Also, as the editor of, I am glad to see that after only two issues the blog is starting to gain notice. Of course, the primary reason for this attention is the high-quality contributions from my talented colleagues, including Shiv Singh, Ben Bloom, Jesse Pickard and Grant Owens (who also doubles as publisher of

Another shameless plug: If you are interested in reading more about digital automotive-related topics, check out the upcoming June issue of, which will be devoted to Mobile, and will feature the contributions of Kyle Outlaw and Terri Walter.

Posted in: Automotive, Avenue A | Razorfish, Blog,, Jeremiah Owyang | (2 comments)

New AARF blog puts Earth Week in the Headlight

This week my company published the first issue of the Headlight blog, which covers digital automotive trends and insights. I am the editor and my colleague Grant Owens, director of account planning, is the publisher. Our first issue is devoted to Green topics in the digital automotive space.

Next month’s theme is Social Media and is already shaping up to be quite an interesting issue. Social media expert Shiv Singh, director of strategic initiatives at Avenue A | Razorfish, will be covering Social Influence Marketing in the automotive channel and Senior UXA Jesse Pickard will be looking at automaker-created owner sites and how existing customers can be tapped to help lure in-market consumers. Grant and I, along with a few other co-workers, will help round out the May issue.

Posted in: Automotive, Avenue A | Razorfish, Blog, green,, social media | (No comments)

Avenue A | Razorfish is hiring!

And they are paying employees a nice chunk of change for referrals — $4,500! We have almost 200 openings nationally and I can vouch for it as a great place to work. Don’t take my word for it though — watch our Working With Friends video. Get in touch if you want some more info.

Posted in: Avenue A | Razorfish, Blog | (2 comments)

Redmond calling

Big news this morning — Microsoft is buying my company for $6 billion!

My virtual portfolio just increased by $38,808 after the news was announced. Too bad I haven’t been here long enough to participate in the employee stock purchase plan.

Posted in: Avenue A | Razorfish, Blog, Microsoft | (No comments)