My father had a birthday last week and received an Amazon Fire Stick.
That means he is currently raving about The Grand Tour, like every other father, as detailed by a humorous article on The Daily Mash (Men stay up all night to watch twat drive car).
What you might not know is that Clarkson, Hammond and May recently set up their own online community called DriveTribe, receiving millions in funding from 21st Century Fox, private equity firms and investors.
CEO Ernesto Schmitt described the platform to Business Insider:
“We are taking a sector via a channel and augmenting it with a community around the concept of a tribe.
“..We use the power of the machine to figure out exactly what kind of content fits with what individual. We have invested a lot into machine learning, it is a platform that can have infinite combinations and permutations around who receives what content.
“It then presents that content where users are without friction, which is primarily on their social media timelines.”
Yep, that’s the first thing to note about DriveTribe – it requires Facebook login. Lord knows how many email addresses it must have hoovered up already, as the millions of Prime viewers filter down to DriveTribe and click the signup button.
Twitter login is apparently coming soon, too.
The DriveTribe homepage immediately appeals to fans of the trio, with a typically brazen quote from Clarkson, a video background full of wheelspin, and a compilation video showing content from various tribes.
Like any digital content platform worth its salt, it asks me to select some preferences from the get go, so it can personalise my experience.
There are 25 tribes I can choose from on this initial page, as niche as bad modifications and as broad as Jeremy’s Alpha Male tribe.
That’s all there is to setting up an account, and I’m taken to the homepage, which highlights most discussed posts, influential users and most active tribes.
Below that is an infinite scroll of posts from users in the tribes that I follow.
It’s an incredibly simple platform to navigate, clicking into and out of tribes, users and posts.
The network has already garnered a lot of interaction. Click on a tribe or a post and you’ll see how many ‘bumps’ (Likes) it has had.
Jeremy’s tribe already boasts 135,000 bumps.
Clarkson’s posts have hundreds of comments, too, many of them saying “love the show”, showing the power the three stars have in pulling fans from one medium to another.
Jeremy’s articles are very good, in that they perfect the Clarkson sneer. Click through on the picture below and you’ll find prose such as the following:
“If you are extremely poor, then I can see why a small motorcycle makes sense. It sips fuel like a vicar sips his tea and at night, you can remove the engine and use it to pump water into your house from a muddy puddle in the road.”
As you can see from the screenshot above, articles can be shared, reposted, bumped or commented on.
Users can also create their own tribes and their own posts.
It’s a very simple little publishing tool that slides out from the right hand side of the page, however it is not exactly a WYSIWYG editor to rival publishing platforms such as Medium.
One can simply add 500 characters and upload photographs or video, but I wasn’t able to create an article including pictures (like Jeremy evidently can do above).
In essence, what I can create are Instagram style posts. Here’s an example from another user.
There’s not much to complain about with the platform. I couldn’t figure out how to sign out, though perhaps I simply had to log out of Facebook in my browser to do so.
I saw quite a bit of spam and an inappropriate comment or two (see below) but posts and users can be easily reported and comments can be flagged.
This kind of problem comes with any user generated content.
I reported Angella Cross
Search works well – I can find tribes or people – and I can add a nice bio and link to my profile.
Here I am searching for motorbikes
Most importantly, for any social-fuelled network, DriveTribe has Android and iOS apps.
I had a quick look around the iOS app and it’s very simply and elegantly laid out.
The homepage is again an infinite scroll of posts (labelled ‘feed’) from tribes I follow, there’s always a red button encouraging me to create posts in the footer menu, alongside four main tabs (feed, tribes, search, alerts).
Everything is easy to read and navigate.
Even by reading my very brief whizz through DriveTribe, you should be able to tell just how usable the platform is.
There are definitely no gripes on the UX front and each tribe seems to be thriving, considering DriveTribe was only officially launched a couple of days ago.
The plan is to offer paid and native advertising across the site and presumably across Facebook. There’s no doubt this could be a potentially very powerful tool for the automotive sector.
Knowing what types of content users are engaging with, alongside all their Facebook data, will surely mean that manufacturers could easily find a valuable target audience here.
They could create their own content, too, if DriveTribe eventually allows for official manufacturer accounts.
With the confluence of an incredibly successful TV show, its enigmatic stars, a slick social platform and a sector arguably made up of digital laggards, DriveTribe has an intriguing position in automotive publishing.