March 2006
In the past 8 and a half years, I have written over a thousand articles for AutoZine, all were about cars and technologies but none of them talked about my readers - You. So this time let me put you in the limelight. For easier identification, I will call you Robert in this article.

Robert is an "AutoZinist" - a typical loyal supporter of AutoZine. He has been with AutoZine for 5-6 years. Normally, he visits AutoZine daily from Monday to Friday, usually in the office when his boss is not watching. What he doesn't know is that his boss also is reading AutoZine.

Like many other AutoZinists, Robert found this web site by chance - or by the lead of Holy God - when he searched for a term in Google. He must be a bit lucky, because AutoZine has never advertised itself. He was amazed that AutoZine is so complete yet it is still non-commercial. Only fool would do so much work for free for so many years. But Robert actually like this idea very much. He respects this guy for his enthusiasm and persistence. He hates those web sites offering so little useful info while featuring so many annoying advertisements.

Robert prefers non-commercial also because it allows Mark Wan to be outspoken. A bad car is a bad car and AutoZine will never try to hide that. The same goes for a bad stylist and a bad car maker. He knows many "Car of the Year" awards by magazines were decided by the advertising money the car maker spent on those magazines. The same won't happen in AutoZine.

Frankly speaking, AutoZine is not the fastest source for car news, that's why Robert also visits a few other sites everyday to get the latest news. However, he found all the fast sites work like copy machines - they only publish the manufacturer's press release. In contrast, AutoZine usually adds analysis, background info, comments and remarks to give a more perspective view and to draw the readers' attention to important details. That make a big difference.

Robert hates the advertising-style descriptions he read in other web sites (he knows they are part of the press release). It is annoying and time wasting to go through hundreds of words that describe how beautiful the car is or the philosophy behind the design. After all, he doesn't need anyone to teach him whether a car is beautiful. He can judge by his own eyes.

As seen, Robert the typical AutoZinist is a very independent and intelligent kind of human. He knows cars much better than average car lovers. He reads not only the surface but also the details. He knows where to find the info he wants. He is not easy to be misled. He pursues the truth and appreciates honesty. Finally, he has strong opinions about cars, sometimes the same as Mark Wan but sometimes not.

Everyday there are 2000-3000 AutoZinists visiting this web site. Many of them emailed me for thanks, corrections, questions or sending me new info. I am sorry that I could not reply one by one because of the lack of time, but I really thank very much for your support !
Unquestionably, AutoZine still has a lot of potential for improvement. For example, when I look back the earliest classic car pages, I found they were nearly crap. That's why recently I have started the long process of rewriting the classic car archive. Besides, I would love to update the Technical School (it's been idling for years), improve the quality of pictures, add more articles about stylists and engineers…

The question is no time to do so ! Had I work full time on AutoZine, I know I could have done much better. But the reality is I could only do it after a hard day's work. Moreover, the work is getting more difficult in the foreseeable future as I will need to work more frequently in the China region (that's the order of my boss). Starting from tomorrow I will go to Chengdu working for 2 days, and then to Beijing for a few days later this month. This mean you are unlikely to see a lot of update during this period.

Anyway, AutoZine can live until today because of the supports from AutoZinists. In the foreseeable future, I will keep working hard and keep this site to be a unique place on the net, the promised land for AutoZinists. I understand that the world is moving and AutoZine cannot keep doing existing things. Sooner or later there must be some kind of reform. Of course, that will depend on many factors - time, money, my career and your support. There are some proposals in my mind but no concrete plans yet. Let's hope the future will be better !

Mark Wan

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