One of the founders of TripAdvisor is planning to bring a version of the consumer opinion led businesses for car buyers to the UK.
Langley Steinert’s company CarGurus, which he launched after selling TripAdvisor in 2004, is the third most trafficked car buying site in the US. Without any national advertising campaign, Steinert said word-of-mouth had been critical and a focus on shopping as a “search application.”
Just as TripAdvisor crowd sources opinions about restaurants and hotels, CarGurus also lets users leave opinions on car dealerships, telling fellow shoppers if the place has bad service, tries to stick on hidden fees, or is in any other way unscrupulous.
"We want to make sure that the first listing you see is the best listing for you not only in terms of price value, but also the dealer’s reputation,” he told Fortune.com.
Steinert said the company is now looking overseas. They will start operations in the UK in December, and are looking at Germany, Brazil and Russia as possible markets to break into.
Revenue for the company is just under $50 million, with around 70% of income coming from subscriptions from car dealers (listing cars is free, but enhancements are paid for). The rest comes from display ads with car manufacturers.
Steinert is also looking to grow the business through acquisitions. He said two possible targets for deals would be similar operations in other countries, which would eliminate the need to grow an overseas product organically, and technology that can be integrated into the existing product. (Source: Fortune.com)