MotorMutt was born out of a need to populate blatters.com with stock from dealers.
Part of my vision for that site was that dealers should be able to get involved easily. I wanted specialist cars dealers to be able to list their stock and partake in the community like regular petrolheads.
The traditional means by which dealers upload stock is via overnight uploads to agreed destinations and it can all get a bit complicated.
Then I wondered about the possibility of getting a web crawler to look at dealer sites and see if it could load the stock directly (like a search engine's web crawlers). One night I knocked up some code and found it easier than expected to get the basic data.
I was quite excited by the ease of obtaining the cars and the possibility of doing this on a large scale with dealers not having to lift a finger.
I showed the prototype to some friends and although intrigued they quickly pointed out that the search facility was poor. It might show all 911s they said, but how do you find a 996 specifically? And I only want one with air-con they demanded.
Conceding they had a point, I embarked on a journey into natural language processing and things got a lot more interesting....