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OK, heres the deal; Mark Boyd is an automotive digital marketing success story that I have not only befriended over the years, but whom I have come to admire and respect. So, when he recently posted an article on ADM as a blog, I did something that I reserve for only the best authors, topics and relevant issues of concern or interest. I used the ADM membership list to invite over 2,500 ADM members to comment and respond to Mark's ADM blog posting... Many of you responded to Mr. Boyd's Blog article seeking comments regarding Craigslist, or you attempted to do so. I WANT TO PERSONALLY AND EMPHATICALLY THANK THE DOZENS OF ADM MEMBERS WHO RESPONDED OR ATTEMPTED TO RESPOND AFTER MARK DELETED THE ARTICLE.

However, it turns out that Mark Boyd's posting of his article on ADM, and subsequent deletion of the article after the ADM member invitation was sent out was a mistake.

As are many other ADM members, I am a member and supporter of David Kain's KainAutomotive.com Idea Exchange, and I know in my heart that David Kain would never waste his time facilitating a process of diverting ADM member traffic to his site, because he already has it! In fact, the ADM Tool Bar which members can install for free has links to, and streams descriptions of activity on the KainAutomotive.com Idea Exchange, along with DealerRefresh activity and ADM member activities. David, Jeff and I enjoy a genuinely friendly relationship with each other, we support each other's endeavors and each of us has a high level of personal and professional respect for each other.

Here are the facts:
After Mark Boyd published the following article (summary shown) on ADM:
"Mark Boyd added a blog post 22 hours ago
Selling on Craigslist - Amazing results or not?
I would be very interested to hear from dealers IF you post your inventory online to Craigslist (and other free listings) and what kind of results you are having? How are you doing it (a software tool, or using a service). Also, If you DON'T ... "


Out of respect for Mr. Boyd, I responded to his plea for feedback about Craiglist by sending out my own personally worded invitations to over 2,500 ADM members... I described Mr. Boyd as an Automotive Digital Marketing Pioneer, I requested that ADM members show professional respect for him by responding to his Blog Article... And, ADM members began to immediately respond in droves.

But, something went wrong... After the first several ADM members entered their comments providing Mr. Boyd with the feedback he requested, Mark Boyd DELETED HIS ADM BLOG POST. This caused further traffic from the alert that was sent to ADM members to reach a dead end when they tried to respond... Which is annoying and could potentially hurt our community by discouraging ADM members from responding to future requests. As bad as it was to have an invitation to respond to a blog article that no longer existed, things got worse...

Less than 9 hours later AN INVITATION WAS SENT OUT BY KAINAUTOMOTIVE.COM IDEA EXCHANGE TO COMMENT ON THE EXACT SAME MARK BOYD WRITTEN ARTICLE POSTED ON THE KAINAUTOMOTIVE.COM IDEA EXCHANGE WEBSITE! The screen capture of the ADM invite below was received in my Outlook Email AFTER I arrived in Rhode Island, at 12:48 AM, but hours after I sent the same ADM invitation while still in Phoenix, a copy of which most of you should have in your inboxes (or junk mail folders) as well:


The KainAutomotive.com invitation to respond to Mark Boyd's article was sent out after ADM members were invited, but also after Mark Boyd deleted his ADM version of the same article... Here's the screen capture of the KainAutomotive.com invite I received in my GMail account, sent AFTER Mark Boyd deleted his ADM post:


Was this some sort of attempt to divert ADM members to the Kain site instead of the ADM site to comment on this article? That was my original perspective, but after speaking with Mark Boyd i am convinced that he made a Mistake. ... After all, why would Mark Boyd delete his article after so many ADM members had already responded to it? You can see the ADM member comments on Mark Boyd's ADM Profile page that were made before he removed the article from ADM. According to Mark, he was well aware that ADM members were responding to his article at the very same time he was trying to make spelling corrections. Which is when he accidentally deleted it. I have no reason to suspect Mark would ever lie to me about such a matter..

My question is this... Did I over-react by believing that the timing and series of events indicated some type of treachery to the ADM members who were invited to respond to his blog article on Craigslist?

Does deleting an ADM article less than 24 hours after 2,500 ADM members get invited to that very same article, resulting in a dead link (now redirected to the ADM blog listing) qualify as being inconsiderate to ADM members?

If you were in my position, what would YOU have thought about Mark Boyd's article deletion?

Tags: Betrays ADM, Craigslist, Mark Boyd, Mark Boyd Craigslist

Views: 491

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Really??
OMGoodness...all this drama.

"Mr. Boyd pulls the chicken-s*** maneuver" Bahahahahahah

What's happening over here on ADM? I need to get my head out of the sand and start paying better attention. :)
Speaking of drama Jeff, isn't is about time for you to start another Autotrader bitch fest on Dealer Refresh?? It's been quite a while since the last one. :)
Jon, you are right... I spent all day today with 8 GM's, The DP, Controller, Internet marketing Director and others at a dealer group's headquarters in Pittsburgh, and their number one topic that kept coming up was "what should we do about Autotrader... We feel like we are getting fleeced, but we also think we have to have them... What's your opinion?"

Anyways, there is a ton of anxiety over the Autotrader ROI model being inferior to other uses of monthly budget.
Stan, I have been an Autotrader.com fan ever since Cox Communications bought the platform from ADP... However, when I experienced being an Autotrader.com customer for two years while working at Courtesy Chevrolet, I always felt like we were being taken advantage of every time ATC came by to announce our rates were being increased. Also, I admire ATC for having successfully separated themselves from the nonsense of being a $20 lead provider. They have worked long and hard to position ATC as an advertising medium and NOT a lead provider, which is commendable and something I highly admire.

When Pete Ellis asked me if i thought dealers would be willing to pay for 3rd party leads, prior to founding Autobytel, I responded that I did not, because dealers prefer advertising their inventory and driving traffic to their dealerships... I was wrong, and Pete was right. Live and learn... But, the self-generating lead model that i have focused on ever since has finally come into its own, and Autotrader.com is a distinct part of most successful digital marketing dealership strategies.
Don't you think that because most dealerships don't track very well (many are just terrible at it), that they are not seeing the true ROI from AT??......

eMails are easy to track but account for the least amount of leads from AT

Phone Calls go to the front desk, sales are paged and where does it end up from there?? Are they entered in the CRM/ILM as AT leads?

Phone Calls go to ISM or BDC but no one matches up the AT call list to the one in the CRM/ILM to make sure that ALL AT calls are being accounted for.

People walk in with printed copies of cars they found on AT....they didn't call and they didn't email. Are ALL of those people being put in the CRM/ILM as a AT lead?

Over the last four to five months I had three of my clients UPGRADE their package with AT and the results have been huge! More cars sold. Yes, we have changed other things in the store, process, phone skills, picture process, etc. But the ROI from AT is one of the best. And they are selling more used cars than they used to.
Chris... YES, I absolutely agree with you that DIGITAL ADVERTISING in general produces a broad range of benefits to the dealership that dwarf the value of electronic leads received. This applies to Autotrader.com as well as other forms of online advertising. I do not question the value of Autotrader.com, which is firmly established beyond a reasonable doubt, but it is subject to a lot of "if the dealer...", as are almost all marketing value propositions. In other words, to say that ATC generates leads, or that ATC sells cars for dealers, are both naive and ill-informed statements. Since ATC is a type of online classified advertising, a "publication" among thousands available to all dealers, the content of the dealer's ads (Vehicle Listings) will either capitalize on ATC's inherent value as a publication with available advertising space, or it won't.

Those Autotrader.com value propositions as a publication are NOT being questioned, for the most part... It is the dollars, the costs, and the very real fact that ATC has done such a good job of maximizing value for the OWNERS of ATC, which is your's and every ATC employee's job, that work in the opposite direction as what that same value proposition offers for dealers. Heck, I still like newspaper advertising... IF I COULD BUY A FULL PAGE AD IN THE AZ REPUBLIC FOR $1,000...

There would be no hesitation at all with Autotrader.com, nor dealer anxiety generated if the pricing were, let's say, the same as Cars.com... Why? Because ATC has more car buying consumers visiting the site than does Cars.com, so if the price were the same, then the value advantage would absolutely fall in favor of ATC... But, the pricing is not the same, and the premium that ATC gets, in this case, is disproportionate to the consumer traffic advantage that Autotrader.com has over Cars.com... Which by definition makes Cars.com a BETTER VALUE to dealers on a dollar to dollar ROI basis.

Keep in mind that the likelihood of a dealer performing their marketing duties better with ATC than with Cars.com is almost zero, because both publishers offer similar venues. Once again, let me say that I admire Autotrader.com and am an avid proponent of the publication's use as an advertising medium by dealers.... BUT, when I see a dealer paying $20,000 a month extra for the Alpha Program in a major metro, I have to wonder if that is the best next use of those marketing dollars by that dealer... In most cases I can prove that it is not... That there are a variety of BETTER USES of that additional $20,000 in monthly digital advertising spend available to that same dealer. Now, if that same Alpha program were an additional $5,000, then the value proposition benefit to that same dealer may tip the scales in Autrader.com's direction... Unless, of course, the other online advertising networks, venues, publishers, etc. lower their prices to the dealer and/or offer more value... And, to that point, viva la competition! To say or believe that Autotrader.com has no competition is worse than believing in the tooth fairy, because of the financial implications to the dealer.

The fact is that there are more publications competing with ATC every day for the dealer's dollars of monthly digital advertising spend... And, this is a good thing. We need this type of competition to offset Autotrader.com's well established track record of j****** up prices on short notice when they feel the market will support it. And, if I was a shareholder in ATC, then i would be all for that practice, but I am not... As a dealer, or a dealership employee, or a dealer advocate, it is undesirable to support ATC's objective of increasing each dealer's monthly payments to Autotrader.com.

But, do not mistake that for devaluing what Autotrader.com has been so successful in accomplishing... The single most popular brand for Americans to turn to when it comes to finding a used car listed on the Internet.
Ralph, I agree with post of what you said for sure. So what we are really talking about is the Alpha program. The $20,000. Now that's a different story and falls not just under leads, calls and walk in traffic but also falls under branding, advertising, etc.

That's a hard one to decide. I will find out with one of my clients if this was a good move - the Alpha. We will see.....

The "normal" inventory packages are easy to decide. Do it, track it and review it. It works, the ROI is there for money spent and cars sold directly because of it.
Chris, I am pulling this discussion over into its own thread, because Autotrader.com deserves that much respect! Please go to:

http://www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com/forum/topics/autotrader-d...
Stan, when you wrote "you" were you referring to me?
Jeff,

Think of it like a poker game with the guys... all sitting around smoking cigars and drinking single malt. All of sudden someone jumps up and slams his cards down on the table saying "Hahahaha, beat Queens over Jacks you bunch of losers... read 'em and go crying home to mama cause you lost all your money!"... Then one of the other players jumps up and slams his cards down, blowing cigar smoke into the eyes of the player who just tried to claim the pot, saying "That's right... read 'em and weep Mr. Big Mouth, Aces over Deuces... Next time, don't be so quick to count your winnings before the fat lady sings, you #*!$%@ LOSER!"

All harsh words for sure, but these same 5 guys go to work the next day and they are actually best of friends. It was a Poker game... bluffing, betting, raising, cajoling each other, etc. What you see here is different but something like that... Harsh words, bullshit being called out, tempers flaring, apologies being made... All amongst friends. And, just like that Poker game, don't mistake a couple of guys going at it for anything more than people who know each other well enough to call each other out on occasion, then make up, get on with our lives, and still be friends... Maybe, even better friends than before!

The key ingrediant is to keep it REAL... Say (write) what you REALLY perceive, believe or observe, and call it for what you think it is, then let the laundry air out to see what the cat drages in... uhhh... or something like that.
Someone I consider at the pinnacle of knowledge in our industry explained her particular assesment of the number of folks attempting to get to the next level. Specifically, she stated that "it's a great big old sandbox and we all need to learn to play nice in it." I think we are all burning the candle at both ends, mistakes get made and tempers flare.
The bottom line is, water always gets under the bridge. The best part is, all is well and with the amount of data that we view, absorb or pass on all day, that is pretty amazing.

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