A Tale of Two Maseratis

Throughout this exercise, I discovered that Maserati had a very interesting website strategy back in the day. Those days were specifically between 2005 and 2008 when the company was owned by Fiat, but before the Fiat-Chrysler days that started in 2011.

We’ll talk more about that strategy in a future article. For now, the random article-picking list dictates that we discuss some other Maserati URLs first.


An older version of the Maserati URL can be found in this ad from way back in November 2002:

Maserati ad from November 2002

As you can see, this ad for the Maserati Coupe (which I always thought was a bit bland-looking — maybe I’m not seeing something in it that other people like) suggests we visit MaseratiUSA.com.

That URL makes sense as Maserati is a global brand and may want to tailor the web experience to each market. These days, the site still exists. In fact, it’s the primary site now for Maserati’s U.S. marketing efforts:

That’s significant for two reasons. First, it’s been almost 18 years since this ad appeared. Maserati has fundamentally changed ownership and had its share of ups and downs over the years. Yet, the site still exists. Excellent!

Second, there was a period of several years when Maserati directed American customers to a different URL, but we’ll talk about that more in a future article (spoilers!). So for now, let’s applaud our Italian friends for keeping a good measure of consistency going in their web efforts.


Okay, well, maybe before we get too congratulatory, we have a second ad to discuss today. This one features the Quattroporte Sport GT:

Don’t you just love how the Italian language can turn something as unoriginal as “four doors” and turn it into something that sounds so elegant: Quattroporte!

Anyway, this ad from January 2008 wants viewers to visit Maserati.com/qprt.

Maserati ad from January 2008

Let’s dissect that a bit.

First, this was the only Maserati ad that I found (and I actually found many) that only listed Maserati.com. As mentioned above, another ad pointed viewers to MaseratiUSA.com. And in a future article we’ll talk about a different domain that appeared in many Maserati ads. But this was the only one I found pointing to simply Maserati.com.

Then we have this site section of /qprt. The “qp” part is pretty self-explanatory as it stands for Quattroporte, the car being advertised here. The “rt” part is a little more subtle and possibly not even something the casual magazine reader would notice if they were typing the address into a browser.

It stands for “Road & Track,” the magazine from which I plucked this ad.

In fact, throughout this exercise, I’ve seen a handful of examples where the URL featured in the ad specifies RT (Road & Track), MT (Motor Trend) or AW (Autoweek), the three automotive magazines I subscribed to. We’ll see other examples in future articles.

And there may have been even other versions of these URLs in other automotive magazines that I didn’t subscribe to. Who knows?

I’m guessing this was an early attempt to track conversion metrics for customers who saw the ad in a magazine and then went to the website. It would be very helpful for the marketing executives to know which magazine generated the most leads.

And what does /qprt do today?

Oh. Well, that’s not great. Granted, from a customer-tracking perspective, Maserati is likely no longer looking at this particular URL to track visitors by magazine (if they’re even doing that at all any more).

Also, Maserati.com is the main site for the global Maserati brand. Going to the top-level domain seems to redirect you automatically to your local country’s site (at least that’s the experience I’m seeing, but I’ve also been visiting these brands’ sites quite a bit recently).

However, that sort of location detection (likely based on IP address) doesn’t appear to work on site sections (like /qprt), particularly when the section no longer exists.

Too bad! You were doing so good there at the start, Maserati. And then we had to end on a sad note. If feel your pain.

Leave a Reply