Nice write up, been a BaT member from the early days. Seller Wob, 911R and hands down 1600veloce are the best sellers on the site. Wob even sells Tanks! I was lusting over 1600veloce's Ferrari 599GTB a few weeks ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8nvZmLi97A they have amazing test drive videos. These sellers raise the bar on the site.
Also a longtime BaT member from the days when it was just a "hey look at this cool car I found on eBay (or Craigslist or younameit...). It has been fascinating to watch it grow from those humble roots to the powerhouse it is today.
As mentioned by @gonewiththewind, there are sellers like 911r and others that make the email and website a "never miss" daily for me.
I also appreciate what @Hagerty is doing with their media offerings. The stable of writers and content is fantastic. Also the Hagerty sites like Motorsportsreg.com, which is an outstanding tool for those of us on the lunatic fringe where cars are more than just transportation to and from one place to another...
In many respects we are living in the golden age of car related information.
One of my personal edicts is "never buy a car without personally looking at it". Photos flatter. Photos don't reveal if the car is solid or a polished bucket. I'm astounded at the BAT prices... but more astounded at the "investors" who pay over the top for a catalogue photograph, not the car. True, there are bidders that personally inspect, but those, I suspect, are the exception. I do like the BAT comment section, as many knowledgeable comments are scattered among the idle chatter.
911r also pioneered the driving videos that now feel necessary for great cars to fetch serious money. I swear I've watched "NW Stig" rev matching for hours on end, especially in videos where you can see his white shoes working the pedals impeccably.
All the hesitation about buying cars online make the kind of extensive documentation that 911r provides extremely important, from records to recent work, extensive photography, and ideally cold-start and driving videos. And after all these years, reputations do count too.
I still wouldn't buy a car I haven't seen and driven in person but if I did, it would be from sellers like 911r.
Although I don't think Matt admits it, I believe I taught him how and where to photograph cars - and Portland has such marvelous backdrops! Regarding BAT though, I was one of the earliest sellers of cars on there, everyone who bought from me has been thrilled with their cars and I have well over 12,000 positive feedback points - but - they now reject everything I submit to them! How's that for repaying loyalty?? I understand there's a new Facebook group "Rejected by BAT" that's worth a look!
I too have enjoyed the rise of BAT, lots of good comments on cars can be a great learning experience but the move to dealers seems to have encouraged the proliferation of the super detailers. Step 1, find a low mileage anything with a moderately clean carfax. Step 2, detail the heck out of it. Step 3, take lots of super pics. Step 4, avoid the awkward questions. Step 5, encourage non buying fanboys to make positive comments. Step 6, pocket $20k profit. In the end I’m not sure it’s any different than in the past but in this era there sure seem to be lot of naive buyers with deep pockets. For example, there’s a reason why early 2000 era Porsche 911’s had low resale prices and it had little to do with undercarriage beauty - it was fried egg headlights, components shared with Boxsters and the dreaded IMS failure. A jillion more examples in other makes and models.