DIARY: BestOffer.com pays the way for a day down by the Bay

Few things are as unpleasant as buying or selling a used car - except maybe parking in San Francisco. However, for one day late last month, Bay Area commuters got a break from the hassles of finding and paying for downtown parking, courtesy of an auto e-commerce start-up hoping to distinguish itself in a crowded field.

Few things are as unpleasant as buying or selling a used car - except maybe parking in San Francisco. However, for one day late last month, Bay Area commuters got a break from the hassles of finding and paying for downtown parking, courtesy of an auto e-commerce start-up hoping to distinguish itself in a crowded field.

Few things are as unpleasant as buying or selling a used car -

except maybe parking in San Francisco. However, for one day late last

month, Bay Area commuters got a break from the hassles of finding and

paying for downtown parking, courtesy of an auto e-commerce start-up

hoping to distinguish itself in a crowded field.



Seeking to show how auto auction Web site BestOffer.com ’takes the pain

out of buying and selling a used car’ (their marketing claptrap, not

ours), the company hosted a ’Pain-Free Parking Day’ for 10,000 motorists

in the City’s financial district. Clad in yellow rain slickers, an army

of BestOffer ’pluggers’ took to SF streets with rolls of quarters to pay

for an hour of parking for any drivers they spotted. The company also

paid the tab for all spots at eight parking lots in prime locations.



BestOffer.com set up kiosks at each of the lots to stage live demos of

the Web site and of the company’s 100-point mobile auto inspection.

Actual cars currently up for auction on the site were also

displayed.



’The idea was to go directly to consumers and to design a promotion that

didn’t rely on traditional media relations,’ explained Pat Reilly, the

PR consultant behind the stunt.



Reilly noted that some business journalists have been resistant to

traditional pitches because of their belief that BestOffer.com is just

another online auto service. ’With this promotion, we will be successful

regardless of the coverage we receive,’ she said.



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