Who Do They Think They Are?

Hi. I’m Justin.

I’ve written about cars, motorcycles, and more for several websites, including The Drive, Autotrader Oversteer, RideApart, and others. When my last contract ended, I decided to try doing things my own way. I’ve seen enough in the automotive, motorcycle, and their respective journalism industries to “have opinions,” and Piston Slap is where I can share them.

Right now, this website is just my own project, so the “royal we” applies. If people like it, maybe “we” can bring on some more people one day. Full disclosure: Writing in the “royal we” now serves no purpose other than to make this page easier to update later and not have to change pronouns. Nothing against people who change their pronouns. That’s different.

How It Works

Are you a car enthusiast who couldn’t give two honks about motorcycles? No problem! We love bikes, but we know not everyone does. To clean up your feed, simply click Four Wheels on the top menu. Everything not related to the world of cars and trucks will magically disappear.

Are you a diehard motorcyclist who doesn’t own a car and commutes every day through a New England winter? You’re made of stouter stuff than we are. For you, click on Two Wheels, and you don’t have to see anything about those pesky cages always trying to kill you.

Not all vehicles have wheels, either. Occasionally we’ll feature something about space or aviation. That’s where What Wheels? comes in.

Electric Avenue features news, weather, and sports about electric vehicles, no matter how many wheels they have (or don’t). Motorspurts is your source for all things in the racing world. And just for fun, They Did What?! is what you’ll say after reading these wacky, wild stories of vehicular chaos and mayhem.

Oh, and be sure to hover over each of these main categories to see the subcategories below them. Autonomous Overlords features news and stories about self-driving cars. Riding Gear is all about the body armor you should wear on a motorcycle. And so on.

Not Syndication

Some websites allow their content to be freely shared on other sites, with proper attribution, of course. This is known as syndication. It’s just like your local UHF channel playing old episodes of M*A*S*H or Star Trek: The Next Generation, except on the internet, usually through an automatic RSS feed.

We don’t do that. Sure, we use RSS feeds to read content from numerous websites. But anything we share has been curated and deemed worthy of your attention. This way, you don’t have to surf 10-20 websites to get your news. You can just come here and get it all in one place, quick and easy.

Here’s a fun fact of automotive and motorcycle journalism: everyone “steals” from everyone else. It’s not really stealing. Again, full attribution is given to the original source(s). But we’re not going to write a new article that says the same thing as the original article just for the sake of having our own article on the topic. We’ll just make some witty comment, then link back to the original article. Go read it yourself. You don’t need us watering it down.

Because of all this, we do NOT syndicate articles from other sites. We simply comment on them, and point you back to the original source. This opens even more original sources to be included in our feed, particularly ones that don’t allow syndication.

What’s the Catch?

So we’re giving away all this content for free. There has to be some ulterior motive. You’re absolutely right!

Sometimes, we have thoughts and opinions. We’ll be sharing those as well, unlike a certain website we know that explicitly prohibited writers from expressing any opinions at all in their work. No one’s going to get fired for getting a scoop, breaking a story, or doing the editor’s job better than them. You come here for the news, and sometimes we’ll put our original work in front of your eyeballs, too, with no gatekeeper telling us not to do it. You can read it, or not, as you choose.

So How Do You Make Money?

The traditional way to make money on a website like this is to sell advertising. But if Klunker Kars buys ads from us, and we write stories about how terrible Klunker Kars are, you can bet that Klunker Kars will yank those advertising dollars away faster than the babysitter’s boyfriend runs out the back door when the parents come home early. To maintain advertising revenue, it would be in our best interest not to post negative stories about Klunker Kars, wouldn’t it? Absolutely — and that’s exactly why we won’t do it.

As soon as we take money from advertisers, we’re at their mercy. Some may say they don’t care what we say about them. A few of them might even mean it. But we don’t want to be in that position in the first place. Skipping traditional advertising accomplishes that, and lets us be as open and honest as possible.

So how do we make money? Right now, we don’t. This is simply Justin’s pet project. He is otherwise gainfully employed, and doesn’t rely on this site to make a living. Instead, you’ll see links to his other projects, like Smokey Da Van and others to follow, which we’d love for you to explore as well. Eventually, we’ll sell merch and even original books through Piston Slap. Would we like to make a living this way? Absolutely! But that won’t happen for a while, if ever. Besides, in these unstable times, it’s always good to have several sources of income lined up rather than relying strictly on the day job to pay the bills. For now, though, this is simply a side project with potential to grow — our way.