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I love competition! It makes me, and hopefully my dealership, better as it keeps you on your toes to keep thinking outside the box and come up with unique and interesting ideas. We all use SEM and SEO to get the jump on our competition and I for one would never begrudge a dealership for bettering me. I will, however, try to one up them next time.

I also believe the expression All is fair in love and the car business is not true. I have always tried to do things on the up and up with fair competition without resorting to untruths. There is a dealer in our market that I feel is operating in a less than ethical way and I'm curious how everyone else feels. Is what they're doing part of the game or is it just over the line.

What they are doing is getting P.O. Boxes in our immediate area, (Our Area Of Responsibility as Acura puts it) and putting up false Google Map locations (Their Princeton location is smack in the middle of Princeton University). We've tried diplomatic ways to get them to stop to no avail. They had pulled it down for a few months but now they're back with force.

Is this fair business practice or over the line? If fair, then should I begin a war they can't win or, maintain my dignity and fight unfair with fair?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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Have you spoken with your Acura rep about this. If anyone is going to help you it's Acura.
Hi Mitchell,

First, consumers will always determine what is fair and what isn't -- not us. They do it with their money and the conversations that they share with their friends and family recently expanded with social media and related reputation management applications fueling the fire of consumer discontent.

As far as their PO Box dealerships, unless they meet the customer there to sell and or service their vehicle they will eventually be found out! Customers are now in charge and when they discover that they have been duped, the "lead" they generated will quickly turn into a conversation about the unethical way that they were tricked into wasting their time dealing with a PO Box vs. a legitimate local dealer; like you!

Unfortunately, you don't have the credibility to complain against your competition since you obviously have a self serving agenda in doing so. More importantly, every time you reference your competition online -- with a compliment or a complaint - you are boosting their S.E.O. and dragging them into the conversation and the selection process for local dealers; so don't do it!

The marketplace will take care of them and you are on the wrong side of the fence to start the dialogue or even contribute to it. They are good, you are better -- and leave it at that.

Also, your perception of the OEM defined Area Of Responsibilty is their terms and they should not be yours! Your market -- as well as your competitons -- extends anywhere that there is an exit on the Internet Super Highway and that is EVERYWHERE! Of course conquest sales into your back yard are frustrating but they also represent more business for your fixed operations and the future business that they will generate. At least they didn't buy a Toyota!
I certainly understand the AOR is just ab OEM term and we certainly market elsewhere and everywhere. My only point is whether using PO Boxes in areas you are not located is the right way to go about it or am I right that that's just going too far?
That was my point -- the customer will determine what is too far! Would I do it -- of course not! But fortunately in the long term the market will prove tht the other dealer blew it when he abused the customers that he basically lied to about his location!
My favorite part is that if you click the directions link on Google Maps it takes you to Princeton University. Do you think any customer ever just did that and never found the dealership?
Sure, and my point is how do you think that made them feel about the dealer that gave them the wronmg directions to buy a car!

I tell you what, I like the problem that you surfaced about playing fair and who draws the lines in a competitive market so please join our ADM friends on OUR ADM Consultant Challenge and shared your problem in that post so Uncle Ralph can determine if we should dicuss it on the pending live webinar with the registered ADM consultants in a problem/solution forum.

After all, what are friends and ADM for! See you there and then!!

I don't know where else to turn so if there's anyone out there that is outraged by these type of business practices I have no problem with you letting this dealership know!

Google will acknowledge protests for this type of fraud.

This type of SEO and SEM is pretty advanced... But does not change the fact that your competitor is located elsewhere. Your clients are intelligent, they can find them without the geo placement smoke and mirrors.

Best Plan Of Action? Do you have the rest of your ducks in a row to insure your SEO, SEM, and Marketing Campaigns are in order? (Best Offense is a Great Defense)

Good Selling, DTG


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