Professional Community for Automotive Marketers, Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
The Data War is raging.
Added after initial post:
My suggestion of Locking Down Critical Dealership Data Fields has generated interesting feedback on other thread(s). The jury is out here on why others are not jumping on board with the suggestion of starving the beast by restricting which data is accessible to a VERY limited number of intermediary data polling services. Don't mind me for trying to keep this simple... That is what I do... I look at things (mostly digital) and figure out the simplest way to get from point A to point Z. I do not stand here as an authority on this, yet, but I do feel very comfortable stating here to the world that this solution OR one very similar is doable.
To be more specific; Research, in communities like Automotive Digital Marketing, suggests, there are "reports" (lists of fields), that are used to determine what information is "polled" (pulled out) from a dealership's DMS when requested by data polling services (a very limited number of intermediary data polling services), once polled the data is organized in a manner that 3rd party vendors can utilize it, then the data is transmitted to authorized (ideally) vendors who can disperse the data through their offering(s), associates and partners.
Based on this research, the point of least resistance, in my opinion, is the very limited number of intermediary data polling services. Restrict their unabated access with customized dealer friendly "reports" (lists of acceptable fields to poll) and the entire problem is resolved. KISS (keep it simple stupid)
Dealers do not have to wait for vendors, trainers, associations and / or their legislators to find the solution to this exceptionally important matter. Dealership's can take back control of their customer and dealership confidential and financial data today if they know how.
I invite all knowledgeable input that leads to the cutting off of unnecessary data being released at the source.
Automotive dealers are becoming more enlightened daily as they are being exposed at NADA and through forums such as DealerElite to the very serious matter of consumer and dealer data leakage. By data leakage, I am referring to the unrestricted polling or scraping of their dealership DMS (computer systems) by vendors providing software "solutions" that are suppose to be helping dealers organize and maximize sales. Typically, these vendors have inserted unrestricted access to secured data into fine print clauses within service agreements. Dealer representatives, many without authorization to release data, are signing agreements for a separate "solution" with no knowledge that they have opened the DMS data gates to their tech savvy "partner". Vendor affiliations, partnerships and outright direct procurement have combined dealership data into online resources now being used against the very source they took it from. (Under most circumstances while charging the dealer for their "solution")
Some recent history: Case Review - TrueCar.com
TrueCar.com is the most recognizable culprit of this Data War. Their handling of dealership relations early on spurred automotive activists, such as Jim Ziegler, to challenge their business plan. Much has happened since then including legislative action, dealership cancellations, and most importantly... a dogged review of how they were procuring dealership data. For TrueCar.com the result was the halting of business in multiple states and the refining of their business plan time and time again.
The dogged review of data procurement exposed fine print releases within vendor agreements and an accumulation algorithm from multiple sources that combined customer and dealer data. Data which eventually turned up being used against dealers in online consumer pricing "tools" while dealers paid $299 - $399 per TC vehicle sold.
Hence, the Data Wars. Automotive dealers were thrust into learning more about computer vendor software / hardware technology and contract data release clauses to be able to make reasonable decisions to protect their dealership and consumer data.
One possible solution to minimize wasted time, money and learning requirements... Lock down critical fields. Fields are pieces of each consumer's record. Dealership DMS stores records, made up of fields, to hold tens of thousands of consumers information. An example of this can be found in Microsoft's Excel. With Excel, you have records in rows and fields in columns. All dealers have to do is Lock Down individual columns with critical information.
Do not allow anyone access to data that is harmful or required to be secured.
Your input is welcome.