This past September 25, Chokdee.info celebrated its eighteenth birthday.
Let’s let that sink in for a bit.
When AI first went online, the Olympics had just wrapped up... in Sydney, not Rio. We had Joseph Estrada as our president; he had just about a year to go before the second People Power at EDSA. Our friends across the Pacific had Hillary, but she was still the First Lady. Heck, we didn’t even have to remove our shoes to get x-rayed before boarding a commercial airliner.
When AI first went online, we were watching the X-Men on the big screen for the first time. We were listening to the likes of Blink-182. We had to be careful with what we open in our emails thanks to the ILOVEYOU virus. We wasted many hours glued to our TV’s after we got the latest Sony PlayStation: the second one.
Needless to say, our little website has seen a lot of history in the last 18 years. The story of Chokdee.info was simple: our two founders wanted to put up an automotive portal that was all their own. They never really envisioned it to be what it is now; in fact, it started out primarily as the Industrifinder, a guide to the many automotive shops in the metro and in the country. We made it easier to find what you needed; a virtual “Banawe”, so to speak. If you wanted to change your wheels, get an oil change, or find a shop to get your new ride accessorized, you'd find the shop in our Industrifinder; today, that's known as the Auto Shop Guide.
But what really started us off was the forum. Back then, Chokdee.info was a virtual place where people met, swapped stories about cars, shared advice on modifying and maintaining them, organized fun runs, posted photos of their rides, and made friends through a shared passion for their automobiles.
I first joined AutoIndustriya 10 years ago; a time when the site was making the big shift from forum and shop guide, to a full-on automotive news and media site that covers the domestic automotive industry as well as the larger global industry.
We made one thing a priority: honest reviews. At that time, many reviews that you'd find in print, online, or on television were quite “friendly”. Praise releases were the common term in our industry; tests and reviews that seem based on press information and have zero critical opinion. Many were fearful that, if they reviewed a car honestly and called out its problems, car companies would no longer send them cars to be test driven, deny invites for local and foreign drives, and cancel advertising contracts. Such is the nature of this business.
We experienced all of that. We wrote it if a gearbox does not work as advertised. We wrote it if the interior feels plasticky. We wrote it if a car just feels too cheap. We wrote if a car's suspension is stiff enough to turn your body fat into butter. We wrote if a car had the looks only a mother can love.
True enough, in calling spades, spades, there were some that didn't lend us test cars, there were some that didn't invite us for a while, and there were definitely ad contracts that were ignored, or tossed to the wastebasket. But still, we kept at it. We believed that automobiles are very important purchases for any person or family, and the many buyers that read us do appreciate that.
Yes, we're very thankful to you, our dear readers.
We like it when you share and agree with our stories. It tells us that we're doing something right. Oddly enough, we also like when you disagree with our opinions and reviews. That tells us we have a very active and intelligent audience. More importantly, we also like it when you correct us. We're just human, and we make mistakes after all.
And that brings us to the point: we've been at this for 18 years, and we've never really given you as much of a chance to join in the conversation as much as you'd like, share your stories, and more importantly, share your knowledge.
We want to come full circle: we'd like to bring back the forum but on the main page. If you have an interesting story to tell, by all means, tell it. Write about it, take photos, and send it to us. If you have some car knowledge you'd like to impart like driving advice, car advice, or even advice on how to do-it-yourself, send them in. If you want to review a car you just bought or have already owned, don't hesitate to send us your honest opinion on your choice and the ownership experience. Tell us what you like about it and definitely tell us what you don't.
Chokdee.info wouldn't have been here for 18 years if it wasn't for you, and we really would like to have your voices heard, and we'll help you do it. Starting now, we'll cast the spotlight on you.
Everyone has a great car story to tell.
Don't be shy. Send in your stories and ideas to [email protected]. We'll be more than glad to help.