Side Project – Automotive Axis

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What was Automotive Axis

Automotive Axis was a side project I built from scratch and contained two main components:

  • Automotive Axis – An online parts catalogue for car enthusiasts to discover parts specific to their model of car, buy them and get them installed.
  • Calzonic – A custom WordPress plugin that community car blogs could install to monetise their blog posts. When they mentioned parts on their website it would connect to the appropriate sales and marketing channels on Automotive Axis via automatically created, unique tracked affiliate links

The Purpose

  • Modernise the enthusiast car parts industry
    • Car parts manufacturers, suppliers and mechanics had limited online experience and focussed on traditional, less scalable channels meaning they had a lot of room to grow
    • Car enthusiasts had limited exposure to only a small set of the total options available to them
  • Get first hand knowledge of Python / Django and a web project
    • I was personally unfamiliar with Python / Django as well as having direct web experience and GradConnection was rebuilding in this technology stack. This project helped me get hands on experience in an end to end capacity.

How Automotive Axis Worked

The premise of the public facing website was simple:

  1. Car enthusiasts could search for parts by their cars make, model, series and also a part category like suspension.
  2. Car enthusiasts would discover niche parts manufacturers from around the world with full parts catalogs along with where they could buy the parts locally as well as get them fitted to achieve a uniquely built vehicle

Automotive Axis Business Model

  • Parts manufacturers would pay for a profile
  • Local parts suppliers would pay for a profile
    • Parts manufacturers didn’t always sell direct to the public and relied on a competitive network of suppliers
  • Mechanical Workshops would pay for a profile
    • Fitting the parts was a challenge in itself so mechanics also had the options to be recommended for the makes, models and kind of work they specialised in

How Calzonic Worked

Calzonic was the result of a side project rabbit hole and ended being something awesome that I was proud of that harnessed an abundance of untapped, ultra high quality content.

  • Back end affiliate link tracking and creation built in Python
  • WordPress affiliate plugin built in PHP

Community Car Blogs

Car blogs had many featured car articles with categorised lists of parts used. This content was generally un-monetised, high quality and had a very engaged, specific reader base.

Categorised lists of parts were extremely common on these community driven websites

Leveraging this content

By following this tangent, it allowed us to leverage amazing content and build reciprocal relationships with some at the time, under utilised high quality channels to help market Automotive Axis


What happened to Automotive Axis?

I was currently pouring the bulk of my time and energy into GradConnection and Automotive Axis started as a project to get some hands on experience with the technology we had chosen at GradConnection to build with.

Whilst just a side project, I managed to build something much better than anticipated and met some awesome friends and clients along the way. At the end of the day, this was a side project and with GradConnection growing and demanding more time – Automotive Axis eventually ceased in order to focus on the other business which turned out to be the right move as GradConnection was eventually acquired by SEEK in 2019.

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