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It's 9:00 AM - Do You Know Where Your Inventory Is?

DID YOU AUTHORIZE YOUR INVENTORY TO BE POSTED ON ANTI-DEALER OR HOSTILE WEBSITES?

5:00 AM and the Alpha Dawg is on the Point. Actually been awake since 4:00 AM. Did you ever have so much on your mind you couldn't sleep because you were thinking so hard? Well, a lot of side issues that came out of this Cars.com battle that are bothering me and I intend to pursue them.


First of all many people reported on the blogs and on Facebook and in Private Chats and Messages. That your inventory was showing up on TrueCar and CarGurus. 

Well, that is troubling. One participant in the blogs emailed a statement that ALL of our vendors, or at least most them, are brokering off our inventory to other websites you didn't subscribe to. OR, perhaps buying and selling your inventory to brokers and listing services where other websites pick up your cars and put them on their own sites. The example they used in the email to me was a listing site the sender claimed to me was brokering your inventory back and forth between these lead generator vendors buying and selling inventory to each other... your inventory, for $6.00 to $12.00 each. I have not investigated fully but I believe there's got to be some truth to that in essence. 

I HAVE NO PROBLEM RIGHT NOW WITH TRUECAR
I think their model revisions are as in line with dealers' best interests as any of the others.

BUT, I have a severe problem with CarGurus. I believe they are anti-dealer and NOT good for us or the consumer... my opinion based on what I have seen. 

CarGurus is an alleged lead generation service that Tells The Consumer whether or Not Your Unit Pricing is a Good Deal or a Bad Deal (in their opinion?) During the course of all of this, one of my dealers discovered his Chevrolet Tahoes listed on CarGurus and labeled as a Bad Deal. The rub is He never gave any inventory listing to CarGurus. According to him, the only vendor he was aware of with his inventory was Cars.com. Have you checked, CarGurus to see if your cars are listed there when you don't do business with them???? 

I am not sure if Cars.com, AutoByTel, AutoTrader, or any of your vendors have the right contractually to do this. I am also researching that. They may be acting strictly within the rights you have signed away somewhere in the deep paragraphs buried in the text of your agreement with them. We will find out.

Here is the questionable language in the Cars.com contract you probably signed that allows them the right to ship out and export your inventory to God knows where to websites with questionable reputations?

4. Content. Customer grants Cars.com a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, transferable, license to access, edit, store, enhance, modify, adapt, translate, copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, broadcast, publish, perform and display publicly, prepare derivative works of, and otherwise use Content, and to sublicense such rights through multiple tiers. Cars.com reserves the right to modify the Sites and Products, and to edit or reject any Content or portion thereof from use on the Sites or Products in its sole discretion and without notice."

You and your dealer need to get this renegotiated OUT of the contract completely for your protection.

Views: 2287

Tags: Alpha, BDC, Dawg, Generation, Internet, James, Jim, Sales, Supersystems, Ziegler, More…adwords, automotive, autotrader, bootcamp, brian, buy, cargurus.com, cars, cars.com, certified, dealer, dealership, dealix, digital, google, lead, marketing, negotiate, new, nurturing, pasch, strategy, truecar, used

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Comment by James A. Ziegler on May 3, 2013 at 3:19am

Okay for clarity, when I say CarGurus is anti-dealer and unfriendly that is MY OPINION of them only. I base that on the fact that they apparently rate dealers deals great to bad and label a dealers price on their unit as too high. In my opinion it is not the vendors right to price our merchandise to the consumer or interfere in the transaction. AND, they have dealer reviews of dealer that say they never done business with them. What the.... Okay, what do you think about that?

Comment by James A. Ziegler on May 3, 2013 at 3:11am

Alex Vetter at Cars.com keeps saying that what I am saying is NOT true. I want Alex to say EXACTLY what I have said that is untrue.

Cars.con keeps talking about "Transparency" Okay, in the interest of "Transparency" I'd like Cars.com to disclose exactly what other companies they are sharing dealer inventory with. AND are they sharing any other dealer data wth anyone else? (I don't know the answer to that last question myself. 

Okay Alex... is the Cars.com Contract excerpt I quoted , is that False? NOPE

How about feeding inventory for money to other sites... is that true? YUP

Maybe Alex Vetter would be more comfortable on another Automotive Blog site he's commenting on about this. There are two in-your-pocket blogs that Cars.com sponsors heavily and exhibits at their conferences and Alex has had lengthy conversations with them Friday and Monday before they commented online.. A place where Cars.com and CarGurus can get favorable write-ups and cheering fans where the dealers' best interests don't get in the way of a good spin.

Comment by Steve Duff on May 2, 2013 at 5:25pm

Alex said "We have nothing to hide here and have continually proven our commitment to our dealer partners."

My question is, in any endeavor, is a "partner" justified in being a little upset that the other partner is also partnered with the competition? And sending customers to that competition? And selling their partner's data for gain without the partner's knowledge or expressed consent?

I'm a little confused about this partnership thing. Maybe someone can help me out here.

Comment by James A. Ziegler on May 2, 2013 at 5:07pm

Great post Tim Martell. Cargurus seems to have a higher opinion of cars in CarMax inventory than others... oh wait, excuse me CarMax appears to be their biggest customer... or is their website way out-of-date?

Comment by James A. Ziegler on May 2, 2013 at 4:59pm

DID YOU AUTHORIZE YOUR INVENTORY TO BE POSTED ON ANTI-DEALER OR HOSTILE WEBSITES BY CARS.COM?

Comment by James A. Ziegler on May 2, 2013 at 4:49pm

THE DEAFENING SOUND OF SILENCE FROM ALEX (ECHO)

Comment by James A. Ziegler on May 2, 2013 at 4:10pm

Alex Vetter, chief executive of Cars.com, you have never engaged with us here... what are you talking about? When have you ever done any response to what we are saying about you? You have only done three posts here since you joined this forum in December and none of them were to us... 

You had several telephone and internet conversations with three people who put up opposing blogs last week and Monday of this week. I spoke with you and Linda Bartman last Friday and you only wanted to explain it to me. 

The only  conversation on this blog has been one weak explanation from Linda Bartman announcing you were discontinuing the attack on your dealers and stopping the follow-up emails. You guys have done every sneaky back-door trick in the book and it hasn't worked. You have recruited spokes-mannequins and friendly blogs on which you advertise heavily and exhibit at and sponsor their events. 

NOW we are saying, straight to your face... you are selling inventory feeds to other websites, some of which we feel are unfriendly and anti-dealer. Okay Alex Vetter, put up or shut up... are you selling inventory to other websites the dealers didn't approve of?

DISCLAIMER, I KNOW YOU HAVE A CLAUSE IN YOUR CONTRACT THAT ALLOWS YOU TO DO THIS. 

But, that being out front, are you guys...or aren't you feeding inventory to CarsGurus.com and other websites that provide car deals AND reviews to consumers...YES OR NO? 

Comment by Matt Tucker on May 2, 2013 at 4:00pm

Steve & Tim, you sirs have just spoken for the majority.

Meriam-Webster says it best:

Transparent; characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices

Comment by Steve Duff on May 2, 2013 at 3:52pm

I hope I get some transparency regarding my request to our Cars.com regional rep to know where our inventory feeds are being sent to (if that is in fact happening). I will let the rep know that Alex Vetter said "we are always happy to answer questions and have a healthy discussion that moves the industry forward. We have nothing to hide here..."

I would certainly like to help move the industry forward. We've been hearing over and over again from vendors (er, ummm, partners?) that we as dealers should be more transparent. Well we have. Now we expect the same from our partners.

Amen?

Comment by Timothy Martell on May 2, 2013 at 3:43pm

Alex, if the facts are all wrong then why NOT set the record straight? When will companies realize that hiding from the truth only makes you look more suspect? If you screwed up, say it and move on. If not, set the record straight and clear your name. 

Speculation: This just means that cars thinks they're right again and after the last bone headed move they don't want more dealer uprising. Tough week for cars...

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