Audiworld is dead. Long Live Quattroworld!

quattroworld

FILE UNDER: petrolhead culture & community

In one of the most dramatic shifts of web community power i’ve ever seen, the core membership of Audiworld packed their bags and busted out into another brand new forum under the name Quattroworld.

Audiworld was originally started by Audi enthusiasts back in 1999 (thanks for the correction, Matt), and it turned very successful over the years—so successful that it was eventually purchased by parasitic Internet Brands, a company known for taking over forums (especially car forums).  Since the takeover, IB had been desperately trying to change the format from an older open source code of KAWF to a newer, more common Vbulletin forum system.

Result? Vbulletin was completely rejected by the users of the forum.

The transition was a mess, a sloppy forum, ruined historical AW posts, and a core member base set irate by the destruction of the long standing, successful, and active Audi community.  Quattroworld started itself like a makeshift emergency center, immediately launching KAWF forums which heralded a return to original AW form—and the core members piled into QW.  The result? Audiworld appears all but abandoned, a mess of new members which may even be ‘hired’ by IB (people do hire forum posters online, to help promote new forums), and a core base which has left.  Within 48 hours, the number of users who joined Quattroworld was close to 3000.  Those 3000 undoubtedly contributed at least 80% of the posting done on Audiworld, if not more.

Verdict: the community prevailed in the end, held together like glue by an outdated, but extremely usable format which works, and allows all of Quattroworld’s users to maintain the forum architecture they grew accustomed to for so many years.

Audiworld is dead.  Long live Quattroworld!

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27 thoughts on “Audiworld is dead. Long Live Quattroworld!

  1. zerinssl says:

    I almost feel sorry for those chumps at IB. *almost*

  2. pierreb says:

    I feel bad for Kris and the others that started their site, only to watch years of work and personal time destroyed and evaporate in just a few hours.

    It’s unfortunate IB didn’t care enough to do this properly.

  3. Coyote says:

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    Internet Brands was given adequate warning about changing the forum software.

    The “core” user’s have spoken!

  4. michael says:

    I hope this migration gets used in some corporate office somday to stop some yahoo from ‘cost saving’ another useful tool into obscurity.

  5. Anon says:

    I believe the changeover to vBulletin at Audiworld was largely if not entirely due to the fact that it is Internet Brands’ own forum software product. It is used on many other forums, but IB incorrectly assumed that transitioning to it on Audiworld would involve little more than a brief hiccup of objection. Thus did IB’s hubris blind it to reality. And by leaving en mass, thus did Audiworld’s users demonstrate the power of an online community.

    The challenge for quattroworld going forward will be to attract new users. Being a refuge for current kawf-loving Audiworld regulars is fine in the very short term. But that is not a model for sustainability. New users are essential to the continued vibrance of any online community. The game is now on to see which of the two sites will attract and keep news users in the future.

  6. Brett says:

    We’ve seen an uptick on website traffic over at Audifans. Obviously most people who like the web forum are more likely to stick to a web forum, but apparently a few folks are looking for alternatives 🙂

    There’s something to be said for not having to be online to read, using whatever client you want, and not having to hit F5 fifty times a day.

  7. Jack Mehoff says:

    Anon:

    New users will go to the place that has the most information, and where questions are answered quickly and accurately.

    Before Audiworld, there was USENET. You could get all sorts of good Audi info from USENET, because enthusiasts hung out there. Then came Audiworld, and USENET Audi discussions became almost non-existent.

    Because the folks that know stuff moved to Quattroworld, that’s where new users will go. Audiworld will become a lot like MBWorld – lots of talk about wheels, tires, body kits and stereos. Not much about technical stuff.

  8. iedei says:

    hey hey fellas. thanks for your input and insights into this. i do agree that the future will be interesting in regards to seeing what happens to Audiworld, how Quattroworld expands, and what ‘other’ options people are gonna use/visit for their Audi kicks. The fate of Audiworld should be VERY interesting—i’m thinking closer to the fate of MBWorld, as Jeff’s comment stated. Alternatively, it could pull Fourtitude members as well…which would impact their site. Either way, i think Quattroworld is serving as the perfect safehaven for those who desired something as such…and considering the speed at which QW is evolving (literally every few hours), i’m thinking QW has a very bright future.

  9. tgr_clw says:

    QW FTW!!!!!

  10. nickelmedia says:

    I agree with pierreb and extend my condolences to all of the founders/mods. I hope to see them migrate over as well (as many already have) and for those that are still holdouts, know that if you do come over you can do so with your pride intact.

  11. Steve says:

    Like Jack said, before Audiworld there was the usenet AND Audifans. I was one of the regulars on alt.autos.audi and posted frequently on Audifans’ q-list, but I avoided AW for a time because it was initially more fluff than substance….but that seemed to mature a bit over time and I ended up joining in 2001. When AW went through the changeover, I felt like I did when my ISP stopped carrying newsnet – in that case I carried on for a time using different newsnet access points…but in the end I lost touch with a community I was so fond of. Some of those folks found me on AW….now we may have lost touch again as some stay with the ship and others join the scramble for the lifeboats. It’s unfortunate that IB couldn’t see that there were reasons other than just the name of the site that differentiated it from the other Audi-focused sites (such as Motorgeek, etc.). I just hope that my AW “Family” will join me in the “New and Improved” AW…at Quattroworld.

  12. F IB says:

    Too bad the AW management started drinking the IB Kool-Aid.

  13. austinado16 says:

    I could see the writing on the wall when AW made the announcement that they’d sold the site to IB. It’s been my experience that no corporation which is chiefly involved in buy-outs and take-overs cares about anything other than bean-counter profits. These corporations let other’s do all the work, sit back and watch the product grow to fruition, and then wade in with a fat check in hand, plop into the recliner, and await the free revenue.

    What corporations like IB lack is the willingness to understand people, communities, and customer service. Just because IB wrote a check for AW didn’t make them AW. We, the users, were AW.

    We, the core of what made AW ground zero for the online Audi community are a group of strong willed car enthusiasts who want to be on the cutting edge, and who want to be different. If that wasn’t who we are, we’d be driving a lesser car. 3,000 members moving to QW in 48hrs speaks volumes.

    Huge thanks to the gang at QW for taking on such a monumental project and keeping our community together!

  14. Matt says:

    Just to correct some facts about the history of AudiWorld. All the articles I’ve read so far about this disastrous forum software switch over state that AudiWorld was started in 1998. I really don’t know where that year came from, because AudiWorld started life in 1996 as JETs A4 pages, which then became A4.org in 1997. The URL audiworld.com may have been purchased in 1998, but was never used until December 1999, which is when A4.org was rebranded as AudiWorld. It’s pretty easy to go to their About Us page to check the facts: http://www.audiworld.com/info/

  15. iedei says:

    Matt, thanks for the correction. What i used as the 1998 date was the presence of actualy posts FROM 1998 that i found on the Audiworld forum pages; the earliest posts i saw there. Maybe those were test posts, or crossposts from A4.org. Thanks for the information and link.

  16. Dave says:

    I work in the business , when friends and customers needed answers about Audi products I directed them to AW . Now with the IB changes , 9 years of archived information on repairs have been lost . The core group of 3000 that possess that knowledge are now on the QW forum . That fact alone will head QW in the right direction . When people want to know about putting neon lights , bling wheels and big speakers on an Audi they will go to AW ,when they really need to fix an Audi they will ask the forum members at Quattroworld.com

  17. […] more details read this post and start watching this video at […]

  18. Ian says:

    I have always found the KAWF format used on AudiWorld to be
    barely usable at best, and incomprehensible at worst. It’s
    little more than a chat room rather than a real forum. But to
    each his own. I guess the AW folks wanted a chat room.
    Had the core stuck around AW, I think the new more familiar
    format format would have attracted more new members.
    But I agree that the conversion to forum was handled poorly. The
    FAQ/DIY threads are all totally thrashed. Of course
    in moving to QW, the FAQ/DIY threads are totally not there at all.

    QW is in for some growing pains though. With users come
    advertisers, and with advertisers come some standards of
    behavior, which means moderation, moderators, and so
    forth.

  19. iedei says:

    the FAQs were primarily written by the same people who migrated to QW, so getting that information back will not be a problem, at all. QW will definitely grow and have some growing pains, but the community there is very tight at the moment, and there is a sense of comradery with the whole transition—something which has been entirely lost at the former AW.

  20. wsk says:

    Isn’t all about the money. Audiworld did this to themselves when they sold out to IB so I don’t really feel sorry for them

  21. Anonymous says:

    Harvard should turn this into a HBR case study. Obviously IB should have done more due diligence prior to purchasing AW. It makes sense from a business stand point for IB to standardize forums on their own forum software. So, knowing this was the plan all along, they should’ve looked at the implications up front of switching from Kawf to VB. IIRC, there was chat on AW for a long time about the forum software. Seems like IB could’ve figured this out before they bought AW, and if not, certainly after the purchase, at which time they could re-evaluate whether the switch was worth it and plan another course of action that would keep users happy and improve their bottom line.

  22. Cybernetic_Samurai says:

    The users and posters made Audiworld great. Not KAWF, not vB. Ignoring your base repeatedly was and is the biggest bonehead maneouvar of this year.

  23. blahblahblah says:

    A small dose of reality. There will always be those who have associative disorder with change. Some folks will NEVER enjoy the future. As for those who are grousing about AudiWorld – I don’t by it. I think you’ve got four little punks who want to make money too – so they complain loudly about IB this and IB that… but that really want to build enough traffic to have IB buy something from them.

    So yeah – it all seems like BS, and by BS I mean – bull.

    What is most infuriating about antics like this is that they aren’t real – they don’t pass the smell test – YET – there is still noise and confusion in the marketplace.

    If you are not happy with upgrades that are going on now, your going to hate the future even more. I don’t see any desire to regress on the horizon. Except maybe for those little fellas who think the best way to build traffic is to bad mouth the competition, instead of trying to provide a superior product.

    To the little complainers – FAIL.

    IB seems to have picked up a quality product. That’s it…

  24. iedei says:

    to mr. blahblahblah. QW has succeeded…..AW is dying or has already died. END OF STORY. Those that are at the ‘new’ AW can continue to *bump* all they want……the people at QW have re-established the entire community, at a brand new website—-very successfully i might add. IB=FAIL.

  25. […] more details read this post and start watching this video at […]

  26. […] of this itself, because that's doing pretty well but is a software product and not just a forum. Audiworld is dead. Long Live Quattroworld! IEDEI ^Went from about a few thousand posts a day to less than ten a day. Their other sites are looking […]

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