Tuesday, July 1, 2014

CarConnect.in - The Gallant Ride....

"And the greens baited me in course,
Driven by the fig-mental fantasy,
And wrecked through the quiescence...
The motility of life propelled in stroke.

A journey that raged through the heaps and leaps...
Lip-locked with jeopardy...
And lunged into the pulchritude...
The severed boulevard 'wore' it's signature.

When the drift scribbles those travel tales,
The 'scrabbled' exploits take control...
The ventures that are marked by contingency...
Would remain as the 'souvenir-of-valor'.

The 'reflections' that resound on the highway...
The aspirations that spell congruence...
Banishing the cacuminal phase of torpidity...
Orchestrating a legendary alliance. 

The riders in accord with the zephyr...
The dagger called 'momentum' lunged deep...
The sense of an expeditious reconciliation allures...
The wheezing resolution has an underlying "connect". - Let's explore the 'charm' of this euphoric 'bond'.

Well, I believe, every journey starts off with a 'Midas touch' - The touch that allures you into a state of motion, the state that is perpetual, immutable. I learnt driving pretty early, you know, I just wanted my license to go for a expeditious 'kill', into the wide open expressway, across the busy avenues, etching deep into the asphalt...that's my treasured mode of expression alright. And it did happen, I got my driving license at the age of 19 and the rest was history; those countless number of road-trips, cavalcades, safari have scripted permanent imprints. The clump of 'scavengers' has followed our trails..the trails that have extended from the borders of Bengal, traversed miles on the rugged terrain, chased the travelers' fading footprints to the picturesque Ladakh and vanquished the calamities leading up to Tawang. The perspicacity, the wisdom, the scoop, the dogma- Yes! The associated erudition has driven me ahead in life, I'm indeed, a different person altogether.

They call it a 'travel accolade' , I call it "the way of my life" ; the glorious account- the vibrant memories, the pain, the agony, the sense of ascendancy has found their it's manifestation through the regular scribbles on my diary. I have always believed that happiness comes from sharing, and sharing my friend, could be in any form...the implication could be in form of a physical asset to an intangible titillation that 'lifts' in course. I would, of course, like to draw a logical coherence when I say that travelers do 'share' a common passion, the passion that centralizes on their dream possession, their treasured roadster. It is comparable to an artist's adored paint-brush, the highway is his venerated canvas...those strokes bear a hallmark of virtuosity; his creations are asseveration's, the intonation that perfectly matches with a chauffeur 'inkling' on the boulevard. That's my story. And that, my friend, needed a platform of sorts- to contribute to the leviathan reserve, exchanging thoughts, intentions, notions, doctrines, abstractions and to add my own signature flavor to it. Of course, the contribution could be minimal or rather inconsequential in the perspective of an inexhaustible 'inventory of experiences' but then knowledge-exchange in any form is mutually propitious. Glad that I managed to 'it' hunt down, in-fact, as if by eternal felicity, I didn't have to brainstorm much...the solution was lying right here in-front of my eyes. I did discover this 'gold mine'. The reason why I use the term "gold"; our prized possession alright.

One fine morning, I received an email from Team Magma, the email that contained an exclusive invitation to join one of the most engaging of all travel-cum-automobile-centric websites of recent times, CarConnect. The invitation was sent across to a privileged few- the mailers were directed primarily to the ones who had actively participated in two of the Magma's recent campaigns on Facebook, Carnama and Love My Car that reconnoitered into the intrinsic bond between the rider and his esteemed 'ride'. Both the campaigns were extremely successful in terms of content, reach, diversion and of course promoting the essence of vehicle-centric amity and adulation. The participants, as a part of the campaign, had to share their long road-trip / short trip / car-related experiences in form of text or photograph or a combination of both with their beloved wagon as the central character, the entries were judged by Magma's esteemed panel of car-enthusiasts and the best entries were rewarded handsomely. As a winner of the Carnama contest, I got a chance to rub-shoulders with the co-participants both in terms of reading their travel dairies and exchanging the automobile-centric know-how….and why not? When the pivotal point of interest is concentrated on the quiddity of on-road expertise, this activity served as the ‘bridge of impellent congruence’. Here it is folks..

Anyway, coming back to the early morning notification, it was quite an ‘eureka’ moment because I have been genuinely looking forward to an online guide that could update me with the latest news from the automobile sector and of course bring in a personal touch with respect to the ‘reciprocation’. BAZINGA. The solution was served right in-front of me by Team Magma and guess what, my profile had already been created based on the enthusiastic participation in their past activities. Yes, I was already into the loop…my minor contribution was saved and sanctioned in the rich repository of car and travel anecdotes. And as a result I decided to take a virtual journey into the world of Car connect, it sure promised to be one hell of a ride. Seatbelts fastened..?

The ride started off in style and the mandatory ‘benchmarks’ set in terms of defining the “Dream Car” and “Dream Route” set the tone perfectly, it is almost like a potential exploration, a sojourn into the ‘greens’ riding ‘onto your passion’. Your profile is complete only when you define your ‘limits’, yes there is an informal touch to the entire registration process and utmost care has been taken so that materiality and pertinence is maintained. I guess I’m not overstating when I say that Car-Connect is almost like a social networking website that associates likeminded car-aficionados who find solace in the mode of reciprocation. The delightful feature of sorting to the rich database of ‘car-admirers’ registered on car-connect based on their coordinates and the ‘type of vehicle owned’ is a great value-addition; in-fact I did manage to discover a number of my Facebook friends who share a common interest through this coruscating constituent of this website. The over-all outlook is pretty simple and ‘light’ in terms of ‘receptiveness’…the backbone lies in quality content for sure that is duly reviewed and moderated before the final upload. The “heat-mapped” approach in terms of highlighting the content shared by your friends is quite an innovative feature. Indeed it is.

The content is collected in form of “Car experiences” (First hand user-feedback) & “Long Drive Experience” (Caressing the navigators and scripting their chronicles) that covers the product cycle- The Entity and it’s ‘pragmatic’ application. And it goes without saying that it’s almost like a universal set, it’s comprehensive, it’s encyclopedic, it’s compendious and it’s ‘real-life’. How about adding a twitter connect button as well? Twitter being a powerful medium in terms of reach & impulse, it could perhaps bring in more of the acclaimed car-buffs on the same platform..a dedicated twitter handle promoting the website could also be an option. Conducting regular activities and posting updates on the handle could build up a sizable audience. In-fact, I feel that the CarConnect experience should not be restricted to only the Facebook users; a separate registration (through email) tab can introduced to increase the popularity level in the long run. By the way, you could set up your virtual travel blue-prints by accessing the long-drive tab, where the detailed account of all the road-trips undertaken from a particular geographic zone is enlisted with care- not a boring monograph but the thrilling depiction of real life travel tales straight from the “horse’s mouth”.

The obvious question that would arise is, apart from knowledge sharing and collective objectivity, what are the other perks that are associated with Car-Connect? And the answer is pretty much served on the platter- it’s a simple policy of “The more you contribute, the richer you become”, and as a logical extension of the manifesto, Car Connect has introduced an array of fancy badges, with a close vigilance on the quality and quantity of the ‘data’ shared by the users. The badges ranging from bronze to platinum that signify the activity quotient of a car-buff helps in identifying the true protagonists in this genre, and of course, you know who to consult with. The leaderboard feature is directed towards creating an elite list of virtuoso who have turned out to be the major contributors towards promoting the principle of ‘wishful driving’. I would like to congratulate Mr Sajal Aggarwal for securing the top most position in this esteemed list, Sir, your car-experiences and travel-narratives are delectable to say the least. Furthermore, there are lucrative rewards associated with every possible medallion, it’s more of a felicitation, and an adulation to say the least- Yes, scribbling your thoughts on the medium called Car Connect has its own perks. Worth exploring.

I think the ‘soul’ of this web creation lies in the fact that it not only stores the successful travel-recipes but creates a basis of comparison. You do choose one car ‘over & above’ another, don’t you? But then, it often becomes tricky while comparing the features…we are prone to being misled on a number of occasions. That’s where Car Connect gives you an upper hand; the detailed comparative analysis that they execute based on your input gives you a clear-cut perspective for sure. Time to say “No! No!” to the word-of-mouth…read, choose, apply, analyze, comprehend & judge using the “Compare cars” feature. As a debater, I guess, this could be my apprised source of ‘logic’..I could enhance my analytical knowledge & recommend proficiently.

I did mention categorically about the content shared on the website, well both the “Car News” and “New Launches” sections take this to a new level altogether. It is almost obligatory that a website operating with the vision of fabricating a 360 degree profile, concentrating in the automobile sector must have a ‘broadcasting’ dedicated component. Yes, Car-connect doesn’t disappoint in this respect…presenting deep insights into the market it does acknowledge the ‘face’ of developing technology and its impact on the automobile sector. Topics with great acumen and penetration like “M&M develops new MPV to take on Honda Mobilio and Datsun Go+”, “Long wheelbase Volvo S60 headed to US” or “BMW 7 Series High Security launched in India” have managed to increase the ‘absorption quotient’, I’m sure that the divination will attract more ‘visitors’ in the recent future. I’d recommend the inclusion of a few enterprising videos & flash-content in this section to draw substantial diligence, of course, not compromising with the basic backbone of the website that thrives on simplicity- that creates a different impression altogether.

And yes, you can share your own ‘news’ as well, your contribution in any form, is highly solicited. My big “Thumbs up” for the New Launches segment as well; honestly speaking, I had no idea that the 2014 Ford Fiesta has launched at INR 7.69 lakh only…a big thank you to Team Magma for presenting such conspicuous facts on their dedicated website. It goes without saying that irrespective of my corporate responsibilities, I do check back on Car-Connect on every alternate day-it has become quite a part of the life in the recent times, the reason being obvious...it’s robustness, it’s extensiveness and of course the first-hand perspective. I’d like to see Car-Connect developing as a real-time social networking site that operates at par with a certain Facebook, twitter or Instagram, of course there could be integrations but the basic outlay should remain unaltered. The chat-room is again a very compelling feature that shows adds “completeness and integrity” to the entire setup, it’s a feature that contributes to the sustainability of the website in many ways. It is a one-to-one-connect between the service providers & the concurrent users.

The chat-room could however be segregated into a private (with customer care executives dealing with car-related issues and connecting to potential dealers) and a public cluster (a common chat forum for the users) for the purpose of harvesting engagement. The chat room should also have provisions to upload screenshots in-case the user is facing problems in uploading his entry. The website should also ideally contain a comprehensive list of dealers from across the country, thereby facilitating the “connect”. However, the website, overall looks all-encompassing and it might evolve into a strong 'entity' in the near future.
Rating time:
1. Site content- Comprehensive- 8/10
2. User friendliness- Appeasing - 8/10
3. Clear Navigation- Pretty much present- 7/10
4. Social Media Integration- Needs a facelift - 6/10
5. Mobile compatible version- Pretty much accessible- 7/10
6. Chat feature- Pretty much present- 7/10
7. Contact Us section- Feedback form present- 7/10
8. Website security- The wesbite is secure- 8/10

* This post has been written as a part of the CarConnect.in Experience organised by CarConnect in association with Indiblogger. The cartoons used in this post are self-created and should not be copied or reproduced in any form what-so-ever. Please click on the individual images to view & read the speech bubbles distinctly. The website review is an unbiased one.

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