FLEET OWNER Online evolves into news site You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone these days who doubts the power of the Internet to transform some of our most basic business models and relationships. Along with many others, the trucking industry has been quick to embrace this new world. Fleets, suppliers, and shippers have all acted quickly to claim an Internet role in transportation, often moving into territory that makes them either competitors of former customers, or partners of former competitors.
Some of those Web businesses will succeed just as initially planned, and some will fail before they even get beyond the announcement stage. But the majority will evolve beyond their initial business plans until they find a truly valuable role.
All this is a roundabout way of introducing the fourth generation in FLEET OWNER's ongoing effort to develop a valuable Internet tool for managers of trucking companies and fleets.
We got our Web toes wet less than four years ago - a century in Internet time - with a real-time report from the 1996 International Trucking Show. We spent three frantic days posting news as it happened from the show floor, and readers responded with tens of thousands of visits to the Web site.
Convinced of trucking's interest in the Internet as an information tool, we then launched the FLEET OWNER Online (www.fleetowner.com) Web site, offering access to stories and material from the magazine. Like many others in the magazine business, we quickly realized that reprinting material from the magazine wasn't the best use of this new medium. In short order, we redesigned the site to include searchable databases providing information on suppliers of software, shop equipment, and vehicle components.
While that was a step in the right direction, our experience with the Internet convinced us that we needed to do more for you, our customers. Taking a look at our strengths, we decided that we needed to concentrate on and invest in the thing FLEET OWNER has done so well over the past 70-plus years - information about the business of running a truck fleet.
In Internet terms, that translates into immediate reporting of industry news. So earlier this year we hired a full-time Web editor with daily newspaper experience, and redesigned FLEET OWNER Online to make it primarily a timely, independent source for trucking industry news.
With its own dedicated reporting staff supplemented by the rest of FLEET OWNER's editors, our Web site now offers broad, immediate coverage of the issues important to anyone responsible for managing a commercial fleet. The magazine will continue to do what the print medium still does best - offer readers analysis and long-term perspective on those issues.
Just as fleet managers throughout the industry have used the Internet to foster new levels of service for their customers, we hope you find that these two complementary FLEET OWNERs will make us an even more valuable business tool.