DriveTribe the social media car grifting site often referred to as the “Facebook for cars” will shut up shop after just five years. The announcement was made in a posting on the website by Clarkson, Hammond, and May. The site was established by the former Top Gear presenters on the back of their Amazon show, The Grand Tour. The website’s demise was blamed on a sharp fall in advertising revenue caused by the pandemic. However, according to an article by TheDrive, DriveTribe has been on a downward spiral since its promising foundation in 2015. Around $12M was pumped into the site at the startup phase. By 2018 DriveTribe recorded a loss of $16M.
Most of the loss is attributed to administrative costs. However, Drievtribe has around 55 employees. Not including Clarkson and co, one can guestimate DriveTribe’s annual payroll bill should amount to around $3 million. And that begs the question, where did all the other money go? Either the accountants siphoned off some cash or it was ‘redirected’ into three very deep pockets.
Nevertheless, like bees to honey, DriveTribe lured car enthusiasts who wanted the rush and gratification of indirectly being associated with Clarkson, Hammond, and May. The site was meant to be a hub for user-generated content. But in reality, it became a home for content grifters. In the end, the community lost cohesion due to the lack of monetization opportunities for content grifters hoping to earn a living off the site.
And it did allow a select few to make a kind-of proto-living. A handful of grifters got invites to attend official press events. We know because we met a handful of them at various car launches here in the UK. According to TheDrive, DriveTribe generates around 10 million unique users per month. That is a goldmine for the data-driven economy, a revenue mine waiting to be extracted.
So it doesn’t make any sense at all to completely shut down DriveTribe. Unless the traffic was amassed by bot-driven technology. Nevertheless, the company’s debts could be repackaged and sold to the highest bidder. Because if DriveTribe does indeed generate 10M unique users per month, a well-primed data-driven business can easily recoup its initial investment.
DriveTribe will shut down at the end of January 2022.