April Edition

What is the single largest source of Winnebago ownership wisdom? Beyond a shadow of a doubt, it's the Yahoo Groups forums. Compared to every other RV manufacturer in the United States, the Winnebago forums dwarf them in membership. The largest of the groups is the View-Navion forum with an astonishing 6,500+ members. The general Winnebago forum has over 2,700+ members.

Like all the Yahoo forum sites, participation and management are completely member managed and member driven. Winnebago has no control of the forums, but there are many inside the company that keep their eyes open for recurring issues and new ideas.

I know firsthand of the power of the Yahoo Forums. Months before we made a decision to purchase a motorhome I began scouring the Internet and stumbled across the View-Navion forum. It was free to join, and I signed up to become a "lurker." A lurker is someone who quietly hangs back in the shadows reading all the postings, but doesn't comment. I can honestly say that after about four months of reading the forum (and its sister forums on tech issues and modifications) what I learned was the key confidence builder in deciding to buy not only a motorhome, but a Winnebago product.

Although I was a newbie, armed with months of real-world knowledge, the quality and precision of my questions to potential dealers put me on par with seasoned RV veterans. I owed a deep debt of thanks all the participants on the forum and, as my own ownership experiences began, started to pay it forward, by stepping out of the shadows and posting items and replies to other forum owners.

This month Off the Road features an article on tips and techniques to take advantage of the vast knowledge base of owners on the Yahoo Forums. The forums' quality of information and sense of community is something that sets Winnebago ownership apart from all other manufacturers. Click here to go to the story.

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