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Let me get straight to the point and list the ways paying for dealer ratings is a rip-off:

1. Feeding the Beast: why would you pay a site to collect ratings on your dealership, shouldn’t they be paying you for the content?

2. Committing Suicide: why would you send your customers to a site that forces you to pay them? The more you send your customers to these sites the more of your content the site owns. And they charge you to manage your content, lol.

3. Fools Gold: you are building traffic and credibility for sites that force you to pay to play. Giving them your customers builds their traffic and then they use the stats to entice you. Who is fooling who?

4. Domestic Abuse: if you don’t pay to play with these sites, they punish you. This is called old fashion Extortion and/or a shake down. They use your competition against you (FEAR).

Okay what is the solution? You know I have a solution. And the solution is FREE! To manage your dealer rating account should be Free. The same above can be said for a free system, except there is no payment involved. Feed the free Beast, create free Gold, save yourLife and stop Abuse. When you invest into a Free system their is no threat of not paying to play. When you do a deal with the DEVIL you never win, you just get burned. - your Free alternative….

Views: 75

Tags: car, dealer, dealers, management,, rating, ratings, reputation, reviews, site


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Comment by Brian Pasch on September 29, 2010 at 8:13am
@David, I guess I haven't seen the people you mentioned use a summarized collection of words like "Feeding the Beast", "Committing Suicide","Fools Gold", " "Domestic Abuse", "DEVIL", "Extortion" to describe a competitive product.

I like opinions that challenge, evoke, and help the community grow.
Comment by David T. Gould on September 28, 2010 at 7:40pm
I can't see a tremendous difference between John's emotional (though confrontational) dealer awakening message and over the top comments posted by Ralph, Grant, Joe, and countless others to direct attention to their message(s)... Except... when John raised awareness with a confrontational (different) view point it was demeaned as "Dropping a bag of s*** on others competitors"... We each have opinions...

@ Brian, looks like John hit a raw nerve.
Comment by John H. Isaac on September 28, 2010 at 5:23am
Jason I agree that your offline interaction (reputation) will determine your online reputation.
Comment by John H. Isaac on September 28, 2010 at 5:21am
Kevin well said. There is more than 1 pizza place serving customers. There is more than 1 grocery store catering to customers. And there is room for more than 1 dealer rating and review site. My post was merely the echoes from the conservations I had and continue to have with tons of dealerships. I truly believe if a product works for you and you are receiving a good return on the your investment, it is not a bad thing. However, for we will continue to aid any and all dealerships regardless of financial compensation, because we feel this is the healthiest thing for the industry.

Kevin we are extremely excited about having you as a Dealer Partner and look forward to exceeding your expectations. Thanks for being the peace maker.
Comment by Kevin Frye on September 28, 2010 at 5:10am
Hi John, let me share first that I am excited about working with mydealerreport as it is integrating with Google Places which is very important to me, as well as all sites for managing dealer online reputation as well. We have been a partner with DealerRater for a long time, and do not view it by any measure as "paying for reviews". In return for our monthly fee, we expect - and receive service from DealerRater. Whether it is helping resolve disputes online, or generating leads with our inventory, or asking them for assistance in areas we want to expand. I asked Chip about putting our inventory on Facebook, and within a week he created the tool for me to do that. DealerRater is very responsive to our needs and is one of my valued partners in this market. With that said, I look forward to working with mydealerreport as well. My initial contact with mydealerreport found them to be quick to respond and anxious to help us setup accounts. Superior service with a superior product always makes for a winner.

Comment by Jason Walter on September 27, 2010 at 7:58pm
While we as a dealer do not believe in paying for reviews...we do have an active process of making sure our customers are happy. They find the review sites anyway and give us great reviews. I think the overall reputation you have in your community will make the biggest difference.
Comment by John H. Isaac on September 27, 2010 at 6:10am
Your comments are greatly appreciated and passion, as well. Keep up the good work.
Comment by Brian Pasch on September 27, 2010 at 5:27am
I love your passion and it is refreshing to see how much you want to be successful. What I have learned from breaking into the business years ago is that building your business by putting down your competitors is shaky ground and diminishing to your product.

When you use the word Rip-Off it gets people upset especially when they are using those fees to travel to dealers and coach them how to create a positive process for collecting and marketing reviews. Since I have seen the evolution of the review market, let me add some clarity here:

1. You avoid calling out any company but let's assume that the biggest player in the paid review space is

2. In the beginning, Chip utilized SEO to have's website appear on Page One for the dealers name. This was brilliant and it introduced consumers that they could have voice online.

3. In the beginning, some people used the same words that you used in your post, "extortion", but in all honesty this was not much different than a consumer posting a negative blog post on any website. The beauty was that Chip was an early SEO Jedi and made sure that the review was seen. No one seems to want to give Chip credit that he was able to get his project national visibility. Also keep in mind that was one of the first companies to have their reviews rolled up in Google Maps which also lends authority to the website.

4. It wasn't until the business model matured that the Certified Dealer model came out and I thought that was brilliant as well. It gave dealers an option to resolve matters, for a fee, but also gave them the tools and training to implement positive review management processes. Dealers on their own are notoriously lazy about getting reviews online. DR really was the pioneer in forcing dealers to wake up to the power of the consumer online. The review business has costs and it was reasonable to turn this website into a full service business.

5. Today, is providing a valuable service to dealers who use tools and those that choose NOT to pay, don't have the opportunity to leverage these managed services. The dealers that leverage DR's training have seen amazing benefits that exceed the fees they pay.

6. Keep in mind that your service is free but in no way are you able to guarantee that the content dealers post on your site will always be there. At anytime in the future you can decide to stop donating your time on this site or turn the site into a cash cow by advertising ads. As soon as increased advertising goes up on the site to fund its support we have another problem. Why would a dealer send their customers to a site that has ads that may distract them for another purpose? (Think Reviews)

7. If you think DealerRater is the devil, then you can say the same for Google. Anyone can run an Adwords campaign that diverts leads from a car dealer's website. The ad can run RIGHT OVER TOP of the dealer's organic listing and Google will not stop them. Unless the dealer PAYS Google to run their own campaign, the dealer is screwed. Google's defense is just don't use our search engine. In the same sense, Chip built this model and the awareness in the industry on his own dime and then turned it into a respectable business that offers dealers services, training and support. The fee is ridiculously inexpensive for the visibility of his site.

That said, I like free review sites as well and I am very fond of the PrestoReviews model that actually builds custom review sites that help increase POD Score and also give dealers stream-able content for their blogs, websites, etc. PrestoReviews is like TK Carsites Power of 5 for reviews.

I also like the fact that MyDealerReport is being rolled up into Google Maps and that's great for dealers as well. So if reviews are important, dealers can go with established leaders and also utilize your free service. To encourage dealers to leave is a bold move when your website is still in virtual "diapers"

The one wildcard to keep in mind that IF Google decides to stop rolling up 3rd party vendors reviews on Google Maps, and only show those that are directly posted to Maps, you might be in a pickle. who has the best SEO model and the longest aging in the index would continue to dominate organic search. I perform hundreds of searches a month on Dealer Name's and DealerRater has significant visibility today on Page One over MyDealerReport. My estimate is that if ANY review site shows on Page One for a dealer's name, DealerRater will be their 900% more than your site today.

As PrestoReviews rolls out more localized review websites that have URL's that include the car dealers name, they would have more traffic based on the fact that a car dealers name is the #1 organic search phrase that consumers use to get to a dealer's website.

In conclusion, to imply to dealers that they don't need to use a paid review management provider is just ill-advised and self serving. I see the value in and their $200 a month fee. I love the SEO power of locally optimized review sites from PrestoReviews. Dealers need more website assets to protect their brand.

An finally, since MyDealerReport is a well design site that is being rolled up into Google Maps, dealers should get their profile updated and get some reviews on their as well.

It's all about balance. Dropping a bag of s*** on others competitors when your project is in its infancy is small thinking. Your project deserves better marketing.
Comment by John H. Isaac on September 23, 2010 at 10:12am
Ralph you are correct, charge for the other things that spin off of the dealer ratings and reviews not the upfront managing of your account. Charging for upfront managing only slows down the adaption of the space and lends itself to extortion.

A free system allows for the growth of the space and allows those dealers who want the extras to use them without punishing the others.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on September 23, 2010 at 9:59am
John is bringing up issues around dealer review and ratings sites that I hear echoed in conversations with dealers on a daily basis. But let me play "Devil's Advocate" on this topic... What if the dealer review and ratings site you are working with is built to the dealer's specifications, owned and managed by the dealer? What if the money being paid is for value added services such as inventory listings, widgets and content syndication apps? What if the fees being charged by the dealer review and ratings site operator is for the construction of several microsites that are exclusive to the paying dealer and which rank very high on search engine results pages when a consumer searches for that dealer's name?

Like most issues in the car business, there are often more aspects to the situation to consider than a singular statement or viewpoint. I understand John's perspective and do not necessarily disagree with his points, but seeing the situation as I do, from the perspective of buying or monitoring these types of services for over 300 dealers from every dealer review and ratings website provider in the industry, we get to see the forest from the trees.

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