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Loading... Be Patient! (770) 921-4440 Jim Ziegler has long been dealer advocate as well as a consumer advocate. In this video Jim expresses strong pers...

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Comment by James A. Ziegler on May 1, 2013 at 6:41am

Yes, that was enlightening to me if it's accurate, which I believe it is... then they're all a bunch of dishonorable liars.

Comment by James A. Ziegler on May 1, 2013 at 6:33am

Interesting email I received... I'm surprised no one mentions how the lead sellers actually work...none of them can be profitable unless a lead is sold over and over and over and over and over and over
All of the cars listed on did not come from dealers enrolling in listing sites all share the car data and then pay each other
For example:
Dealer signs with Cars.comDealer pays a fee, downloads dealer's inventory daily and other auto sites forward dealer's inventory to Detroit Trading
Detroit Trading forwards dealer's inventory to hundreds of third party lead generators and forwards non dealer inventory to
Customer goes to and selects dealer's specific inventory unit...lead sent to dealer but no incremental earnings by then sends customer listing of other cars that received from Detroit Trading...each car clicked earns $6-$12

You could get a daily feed of a million VINs for the Ziegler website if you wanted...just go to:  

Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on April 30, 2013 at 2:08pm

Timothy Martell...."Fire them all. If you really want to create a better consumer experience and increase dealer profitability, fire all the middlemen. Take back control of your dealership."

In taking control we learn what really works, not what a vendor tells us is working.

Comment by Alexander Lau on April 30, 2013 at 12:48pm
Comment by Alexander Lau on April 30, 2013 at 12:47pm

Agreed Timothy, in fact I posted an article on this subject, not too long ago here:


Interesting article from LinkedIn.

Data is not always a substitute for strategy from Steven Sinofsky

Data is not strategy

Ultimately, data contributes to product development but does not replace the very unscientific notion of what to build and why. That’s the art of product development and how it intersects with business strategy. This follows from the fact that products are developed today for use in the future. The future is uncertain for your own product’s evolution, but all around you is uncertainty. Data is an input to help you define a strategy or modify it, but cannot replace what is inherently the uncertain side of innovation.

Comment by Timothy Martell on April 30, 2013 at 12:36pm

This trend to believe that "Data" is the end all be all to business decisions really needs to stop. Data is important. It is a tool we can utilize to understand and recognize patterns and trends that are not easily discernible up close. But data without context is meaningless. Ill make a ridiculously oversimplified case.

Imagine for a minute that tomorrow, AutoTrader went out of business... The owner embezzled all the money and flew to switzerland. No one bails them out..just flat broke out of business. Shut down. No inventory feeds... it all stops. Just a shell of a website with old outdated data. Guess what... 14 million or however many consumers are still going to go there. Probably even submit leads on old out dated inventory. Stuff thats even already sold. 

Ah, but Brian Pasch's "data" would suggest that you would still want to advertise with AutoTrader! Because the data says so! Millions of people still showed up! Better get those checkbooks out and send money to a now defunct company right?

It may be a silly over simplified argument. But the point is dead on. Following data without context just makes you a fool. Even the data that suggests the benefits of 3rd party resources is subjective. Whenever data is analyzed an assumption must be made. Certain "truths" must be accepted on... faith. After all there is no data the shows what would happen if every car dealer in america just canceled and trader. You can't have data on hypothetical situations. You can only speculate.

There is no escaping the fact that the more direct the path the consumer has to their end goal the better the experience for the consumer. How about eliminating all these middlemen who drive up the cost per unit from exorbitant advertising expenses? What if a dealers inventory became much easier to find?

Have you been to a 3rd party lead site lately? The Vegas strip has fewer advertisements! How is that creating a good consumer experience? "Better consumer experience" is vendor speak for "more revenue for us."

Enough is enough. Frankly, I think Jim Z is being far too nice to Cars. I don't really care if stops or not. I'd rather call for car dealers to stop them all. Get off the drug. Fire them all. If you really want to create a better consumer experience and increase dealer profitability, fire all the middlemen. Take back control of your dealership.

Comment by James A. Ziegler on April 30, 2013 at 7:00am

Thanks Subi, There has been a lot of discussion with and they are steadfastly refusing to budge on this practice.  There is no more room for discussion, they will not cease. This is not something they want to discuss, instead they want to tell us what they're going to do AND it's just plain out-and-out WRONG. I will never sell you out on these issues with any vendor.

Comment by Subi Ghosh on April 30, 2013 at 6:52am

Jim! This is insane. You're right. It IS wrong! I have a problem when companies pulls stuff like this. However, I agree and disagree with Brian here a little bit too. It is too often that we jump to run a company out of town. We need to have an open discussion with them. I've been a fan of for awhile. While prices are high, it is nowhere close to some of the other companies out there. Everyone makes mistakes and sometimes companies learn to turn it around (ie: Truecar) with some honest discussion.
As for this being a ZMOT moment... I disagree. Some of us in this industry are working really damn hard to make sure we run an honest business. One where we try to take the "dishonesty" out of the business as best we can. It is unfair to think that we have to overcome NEW objections when we have already worked really hard to purchase the right vehicles, price them just so, and market our inventory just right. These sites would be nothing without their dealer partners. Why do they feel they have the right to go over our heads and give leads WE worked JUST AS HARD to someone else who may be DIShonest in their communication and will say whatever they want to "get them in the door". How is that fair?

I look forward to how this will all play out. I want to see the details on exactly what is going on and what the thinking behind it is. I'm annoyed, but not ready to tie them to a giant rock and throw them into the ocean to see if they sink or fly.

Comment by James A. Ziegler on April 30, 2013 at 2:45am

That's the first I heard about that Michael. Unless there's some kind of lead-sharing between the two which I have difficulty seeing. 

Comment by Michael Stafford on April 29, 2013 at 8:55pm

Has anyone tried this with a new car lead? So I got the first autoresponder on my new Altima lead from and it had a link to value my trade at KBB. Did Cox Media buy or did they already own it because they do own Autotrader, KBB, Manheim, vAuto and others. Why would be sending me to a cox media owned company with a direct link to autotrader and TIM to get a purchase price on my trade unless there was a business agreement or ownership stake there?

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