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Kick the Tires, Slam the Doors....And Log On

Techstination feature for Tuesday, June 19, 2001

You may not be ready to buy a car online... .but shopping on the Web can help. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. If you're like me, when you're considering the purchase of a particular car model, you seek out owners of the same kind of vehicle to find out how they like it. Co-workers... .parking lots... .they're all fair game. On the Web, Microsoft's Carpoint site is making that task easier. Carpoint Editor and Publisher Mark Hickling says the latest addition is a consumer reviews feature... .

"The consumer reviews in Carpoint allow consumers to go in and rate their car and to evaluate them against several metrics and to write a review on those things and then all of the numbers are rolled together to give an overall rating of the car. So this is a wonderful new device that allows consumers to get what we call communal input about the car, to really get a sense of what other owners think about the car."

Carpoint has its own panel of well known reviewers. Ann Job puts about eighty vehicles a year under her microscope...

"I typically spend four to five days in each vehicle. And so I have the time to sort of notice things. First off, you can't notice everything all at once. So you sort of take it in day by day."

Job's favorite vehicle at the moment... the Mercedes E55. Carpoint is free. Decide for yourself if you put more trust in the ratings from advertising free Consumer Reports. There's a four dollar a month or 24 dollar a year fee for access to its online ratings. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.