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One Last Try - Dealers Must Get Their Heads Out of The Sand

Dealers spend thousands of dollars a year on designing a good website. Then they spend thousands of dollars a year to add video, chat, vAuto, SEO and SEM to their websites. They invest in branding on radio, TV and newspaper as well.

Then dealers unknowingly make decisions to make sure consumers DO NOT GET to their website for popular search phrases on the search engines.


One day, dealers were told it was a "good" idea to send their inventory to 3, 5, 8 or 10 "free" inventory listing websites that promised to create significant leads and relevance to their business.

Inventory feed providers, website providers all bought the sales pitch. Funny, not many dealers have gone back to look just how many leads are coming in from these "free" sites? Even less have decided to take any action once they saw that these free sites were NOT producing meaningful results.

Dealers concluded, what can it hurt me to send my's free. Guess what. It's NOT free. It has a real Cost.

So, I wrote a blog post on ADM this week that I though would elicit more responses, but it didn't. I think I just gave too much information, so I'll say it one more time, using graphics. Dealers are allowing their inventory to be used against them.

They are allowing free websites to push their own websites off of Google Page One.

I did a simple search on Yahoo, which was: " indianapolis Silverado for sale" and I documented Page 1 and Page 2 of the search results. You should test a few local phrases and see who comes up on Page One.

Take a look at the screen shots below and take note that:

  1. There are NO car dealers in organic search results on Page One or Two.
  2. Go back and read point #1.
  3. Free listing websites that sell your leads or show competitor listings are on Page 1 and 2 and NO car dealer websites are one Page 1 or 2.
  4. KBB is using your inventory feed to create car detail pages with lead generation links to:
    3. Presenting competing dealer banner ads
    4. Presenting banner ads that go to OEM websites
  5. Oodle is using your inventory feed to create car detail pages with lead generation links to:
    1. Your competitors using Google Adsense
    2. Presenting banner ads that go to OEM websites
  6. LemonFree is using your inventory feed to create car detail pages with lead generation links to:
    1. Your competitors comparable listings in their network
    2. Competitors using Google Adsense

Do I have to keep going?

Many dealers are PAYING to advertise their cars and even AT is being pushed down in the ranking by free and pseudo-free websites that are NOT dealer centric models. The irony is that dealers are sending their inventory to free sites that are pushing even down in the rankings.

Anyone looking for a reason WHY leads may be down in your market? It just may be your own actions!

How many leads a month are you getting from these FREE sites?

ADM Members..please listen.

STOP SENDING YOUR INVENTORY to "free" sites that are using your inventory to create landing pages by car model that:

  • sell your competitors cars
  • create leads that are sold to your competitors
  • generate ad revenue for someone else
  • that push your own website pages off Google Page One

Call your inventory management service
like HomeNet, Dealer Specialties, etc. and tell them to ONLY send your inventory advertising services that DELIVER results like, or any site THAT YOU HAVE PROVEN is not hurting you and is delivering real sales each month.

Get it in writing and then search for VIN numbers that you have in stock the following month. Need proof? See the images below.

Does ANYONE think that at least ONE Chevrolet Dealer should be showing up on Yahoo Page One or Page Two???

Views: 121

Tags: Automotive Advertising Network, Brian Pasch, car dealer inventory, dealer advertising, free inventory advertising


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Comment by Mark Scott on April 30, 2010 at 7:20am
Great information and timely as the auto market begins to recover and more folks start looking for cars on-line and on the lots. But keep in mind that the focus on leads itself may be hampering successful marketing efforts. Recent AutoTrader research shows that only about 22% of people shopping for a used car on-line submit an email lead, and that's up from about 20% seven years ago, so growth in email leads isn't keeping pace with the growth of on-line car shopping - by a huge margin. People just don't want to submit leads. Another study of customers actually on dealer lots showed that 81% of them had walked on to the lot without ever calling or emailing first.'s CEO Chip Perry shared some insights recently at an auto forum in New York about the evolution of on-line auto marketing and how the focus on leads may be causing many dealers to mis-direct resources. You can read more about his thought here. If you are an AutoTrader customer, reach out to your sales rep and ask them how you and ATC can work together to sell more cars. If you are not, reach out to your rep at which ever company you work with and ask the same questions. Internet marketing can be complex and while pushing your inventory to as many sites as possible - free and paid - is one strategy, is it the right one for you?

Comment by Aj Maida on April 29, 2010 at 11:25am
This is a timely post for me. I read your blog earlier in the week with great interest. I have been fighting this battle for a while now. It started when we kept receiving leads from Every Car Listed on vehicles that had been sold and out of our inventory for months. So at first I thought to myself; OK so people are going to their site lets fix the feed and in the month since i did the visits from them to our website increased yet there they are on my page one. I am helping their SEO. The problem with this is that it will take time and diligence. So that patience thing comes into play. I got our dealership off DexKnows 2 weeks ago yet because of cached pages they are still on our GPO. Well I'll just keep chipping away. I came to believe that I could get rid of DealerRater so I did become a Certified partner with them and bought "conquest" ad's on my closest competitors pages. I guess the question I have is who has accomplished knocking these other sites off your GPO and how long did it take?
Comment by Brian Pasch on April 29, 2010 at 10:37am
That's why all dealers need to call their inventory management company and tell them to STOP sending inventory to ALL non performing websites.
Comment by Ray Fenster on April 29, 2010 at 10:14am
You are absolutely right on target, in addition these "free sites" are selling these leads making money off of your inventory. Is you inventory management company using your inventory to make additional profit, is the data controlled by you?
Comment by Brian Pasch on April 29, 2010 at 8:31am
I uploaded this article as a PDF so ADM members can forward this to your dealership executives and Internet Marketing decision makers.reevaluating-free-inventory-listing-websites.pdf
Comment by Sudipta on April 29, 2010 at 2:53am
when did you take these screenshots? I see pushing the list with lots of articles....Good that they noticed.

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