Thirteen months ago, I signed a contract with Autotrader to make a car-enthusiast-focused blog. At the time, I was on a road trip with my fiancee, and I signed the papers in a Best Western somewhere along Interstate 95 in Connecticut. I had this warm, fuzzy feeling that I was finally entering into a real job; a job that couldn’t go away in an instant, which was a constant fear during my freelance career in the past.
That feeling lasted for a week. Then I got really scared.
At first, we didn’t know what to call it. I won’t share some of the embarrassing name ideas I came up with, but let’s just be happy it ended up as "Oversteer." At the time, we also didn’t know how it would look. And even though I told my bosses I had a litany of wonderful ideas, I had about two weeks’ worth of content in my head. Beyond that, I was just hoping.
When we launched Oversteer on August 1, 2016, we immediately had … technical issues. We couldn’t get stories to look right. We couldn’t get them in the right order. Things would disappear from the front page. Some people didn’t have access. But our technical issues were cleaned up rather quickly, and now we virtually never have any issues — a testament to two things: the wonderful support I’ve received from Autotrader, and the amazing success we’ve had.
Let’s talk about that wonderful support. I’ve told many people that this is the best job I’ve ever had, and I truly mean it. In fact, I often wonder if it’s the best job I ever will have. I get to write about cars — and I get to write about whatever weird car topic happens to strike my fancy, from taillight design to exotic supercars. I don’t have an editor breathing down my neck, insisting we go a certain "way," and I’ve received nothing but encouragement and positivity — from the best people I’ve ever worked with — since we launched this site.
Of course, part of that has to do with the other item I’ve mentioned above: the success we’ve had. I truly and honestly thought we’d get five or six comments the first day, and then they’d completely stop. I figured we’d have to work really hard to earn people, to get them away from their normal car-site browsing habits and get them on board. That hasn’t been the case at all. The comments came, and they never stopped — and we were all astonished when my first "Help me choose a DougCar" post earned over a thousand replies. In terms of traffic, Oversteer is now more popular than a lot of car sites I once read as a high-school kid just hoping, someday, to buy a car. Any car.
But it hasn’t just been the in-house Autotrader team who’s provided amazing support — it’s also been our writers. When we launched Oversteer, it was just me — and my Autotrader bosses insisted we hire other writers to help ease the burden. Unwilling to give up the reigns, I resisted for a while, but they were right — and I’ve been really proud of the content produced by Will Kinton, William Byrd, Eric Brandt, Chris O’Neill, Sam Keller, Bill Leedy, Aaron Gold and a few others. As an editor, I feel privileged to look over their posts and read their zany ideas for article topics.
And then there’s Tyler Hoover. I consider Tyler my greatest success story, although he would’ve been successful without me just by virtue of the fact that a) he’s insane, and b) he purchases a new car every 19 hours. (The fact that he’s got a great personality for writing and videos helps, too.) I thought I was taking a big risk years ago by purchasing a weird car and making videos with it; Tyler seems to do this every week. The man is nuts. He remains the only automotive YouTuber whose videos I watch entirely, in full — mainly because I have to, as I’m constantly worried he’ll release a random torrent of curse words somewhere within one of them, and we won’t be able to post it on Oversteer.
We’ve had some weeks where we haven’t posted much here on Oversteer — namely, last week, when I got married and went on my honeymoon — and some weeks we’ve had huge influxes of traffic due to various stories. Mostly, though, Oversteer has been consistently defying my wildest expectations — and it’s created a nice little corner of the web for a few car enthusiasts to share their musings, and for like-minded readers to tell us why we’re idiots. If you keep doing that, we’ll keep doing this — hopefully for many years to come. Find a car for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.