The relationship between the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and CarSoup, the leading automotive site in the market, is over. It lasted little more than a year.
In its place, the Star Tribune launched a free-ad, free-text, used-cars-only site that’s not affiliated with any of the brand-name or white-label auto products.
The Star Tribune is running listings for free, scraping them from other sites, including dealers’. It’ll sell display ads adjacent to the listings. (Surprisingly, there are no new-car listings on the site.)
“Whether or not we make more money is still to be determined, but for readers and dealers we want to make it easier to go find a car,” Jim Bernard, digital media director at the Star Tribune, told MinnPost.com.
CarSoup, part-owned by auto dealers but primarily owned by advertising executive Larry Cuneo, works extensively with the Local Fox television affiliate. It operates in 40 states, but it’s based in Minneapolis, which is far-and-away its leading market.
The CarSoup relationship with the Star Tribune launched Dec. 1, 2009, and ended yesterday. MinnPost reported that the Star Tribune received “hundreds of thousands of dollars” for working with CarSoup.