The future deployment of safety-oriented Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) technology may be hindered due to the so-called “Market Penetration” problem: as a wireless network built from scratch, there is lack of value to consumers who are early adopters. In this paper, we explore potential applications that can be supported during the initial phase of vehicular ad-hoc network (VANET) deployment, i.e., sparsely populated VANETs. We show that delay-insensitive information sharing applications are promising since they only require opportunistic network connections (in contrast to safety applications that require “always on” connectivity). This is done via “gossip spread” information distribution protocols by which DSRC vehicles cache and then exchange the information while in range of other DSRC vehicles or road side units. This approach is especially attractive since the number of communicating vehicles will be very small during early deployment years. Moreover, we find that such a technology framework is adequate to enable several types of information sharing vehicular applications in which vehicles and their drivers/passengers are able to generate, aggregate, process, distribute, and consume the relevant on-the-road information, as nearby vehicles dynamically form virtual groups that share common interests. Using highly popular web-based social networking applications as a basis, we argue that similar vehicular-based applications also have the potential to become valuable applications in the VANET context. Finally, we discuss research and technical challenges as well as business and societal obstacles to be resolved in the future.