The Word “Free” Hurts!

September 27, 2010

Our site offers car dealers a free choice in managing their dealer rating account. However, everyone is not pleased with our opinion that this type of service should be free. Read the passionate and aggressive response we received because we support a free only model:

(Originally post on AutomotiveDigitialMarketing.com)

Comment by Brian Pasch 1 hour ago
@John
I love your passion and it is refreshing to see how much you want MyDealerReport.com 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 DealerRater.com.

2. In the beginning, Chip utilized SEO to have DealerRater.com’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 DealerRater.com 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 DealerRater.com 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, DealerRater.com is providing a valuable service to dealers who use DealerRater.com 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 Edmunds.com 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 DealerRater.com 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.

DealerRater.com 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 DealerRater.com 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 shit on others competitors when your project is in its infancy is small thinking. Your project deserves better marketing.

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Paying For Dealer Ratings Is A RIP-OFF!

September 23, 2010

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 your Life 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.

http://www.MyDealerReport.com  – your Free alternative….


MyDealerReport.com’s Manifesto

September 7, 2010

"Who is coming with me?"

Why do we matter? And why should you even care? And what difference do we make? Here is our manifesto…

1. Purpose:  To enhance and create an ecosystem for auto consumers and dealers to interact. This system is built around online dealer reputation, therefore building trust among shoppers.

2. Quality:   Access to our site is totally FREE for both the consumer and dealer. The word “FREE” doesn’t mean cheap. We are still providing the greatest quality content, features and customer service. The intelligence we deliver to dealers to better manage their online reputation is unmatched.

3. Dealer Partnership:  We do not have Dealer Clients, we have Dealer Partners. Our site is based on the concept of FREE, therefore we are removing the term “Client” from our vocabulary. Dealers who chose to partner with MyDealerReport.com are investing  their  most valuable asset, themselves.  Dealer  inclusion is not based on monetary compensation to MyDealerReport.com,  rather exercising their right to be included.

4. Industry Partnership:   We will reach out to any auto industry contacts which have a vested interest in the successful outcome of a dealer’s future.

5. Ultimate Result:   Increase adaption and traction, therefore accelerating the control and management of online dealer reputation. When dealers feed into this ecosystem they are investing in the growth of the system which includes any participant free of charge.  Each rating collected and/or resolved increases the overall industry’s reputation liquidity.

6. Challenge:   Drink the “Cool Aid”. Feed into the ecosystem. Get involved. Fill out your profiles, utilize the free tools and features. Send your customers to MyDealerReport.com to build up your ratings. Invest your resources into a FREE system, not a paid system.

Now the question is “Who is coming with us?”.


“Free” Whats the Catch!

August 31, 2010

Over the past month we have seen an incredible increase in dealer enrollment on MyDealerReport.com. It probably has something to do with our site now being “free” for dealers to setup and manage their accounts.  Most dealers are shock when we tell them their access is free. Their number one question is always “Whats the Catch?”.

We have decided to take the facebook approach and liberate the dealer rating and review space. Now that we have opened the site for free there is great interaction taking place between dealers and customers. Issues are being resolved and sales are taking place.

We view dealers as our partners, not prey. When a dealers enrolls on MyDealerReport.com they became an investor into a free system. They are not judged and treated according to payments to us, because there are no payments.  They are judged according to their involvement. If they choose not to use the multiple free tools and interact with customers, we don’t punish them. If they decide to collect ratings on another site we don’t threaten them. MyDealerReport.com belongs to the auto retail industry as whole not to the O’Mighty dollar. Don’t get me wrong we plan to make revenue eventually, but it will not be through extortion or blackmail. It is the job of the customer to award or punish not the site.

I know what you are saying, “Whats the Catch?”. I just threw it. If you didn’t catch it, then you need to read this again.


MYDEALERREPORT.COM HEADS FOR FREEDOM

August 9, 2010

Media Contacts:
John Isaac
Clear Intelligence Media Inc.
(404)939-7180
jisaac@MyDealerReport.com
 
– FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –
 
 
MYDEALERREPORT.COM HEADS FOR FREEDOM
 
AUTO DEALER CAN NOW MANAGE THEIR ONLINE REPUTATION FOR FREE
 
ATLANTA, August 9  — www.MyDealerReport.com, the premier online auto  dealer rating and review website, has today granted full free access to automotive dealer seeking to manage their online reputation.  The website has an abundance of free features, which  includes an automatic monitoring, alert and reporting feature that can be set up in less than 10 minutes, allows dealers to generate customized  reports to compare their performance against that of other dealers, as well  as receive alert notices via email on their rating performance.

     Among other things dealers have the ability to upload photos such as showroom, group and individual staff photos, videos, and post public responses to user comments. However one of the most important features is the Dispute Resolution System (DRS) which allows consumers to communicate a complaint or issue with a rated dealership via email.

     “We felt that our past strategy was hindering the growth of the dealer rating and review space.”  said John H. Isaac, CEO of MyDealerReport.com. “Dealers desire to be involved in reputation management, but they don’t want to be extorted. By removing the cost barrier we have allowed dealers to gain more control over their online reputation management. We are simply following the examples set by social sites like Facebook and Twitter.”, he added.

     Scott McGrath of McGrath Nissan is very grateful for his free account with MyDealerReport.com. “Managing my company’s online reputation has become as important as how we spend our advertising dollars each month.  Let’s face facts, in the old days if one customer liked the experience they had at your dealership they would tell one person, but if they hated that experience they would tell ten.  With the Internet, that same disgruntled customer can tell millions…so you need to manage your company’s good reputation proactively. Thanks for the access.”

     About Clear Intelligence Media Inc.

     Clear Intelligence Media Inc. is an automotive market intelligence  company which operates www.MyDealerReport.com, an online auto community designed to better consumer-dealer interaction. MyDealerReport.com allows  consumers to benefit from advance intelligence and interactive tools that protect them from disreputable dealers, save time and provide a safer, more enjoyable purchasing experience. Founded in 2004, privately-held Clear  Intelligence Media Inc. is based in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information visit http://www.MyDealerReport.com or call (404) 939-7180.


Why We Did It…

August 3, 2010

I have been asked time and again “What made us decide to make MyDealerReport free to dealers?”. Well, the plain truth is, making dealers pay for their rating accounts was and is damaging the growth of our space. Facebook, twitter and linkedin have free accounts and this helped social media to grow.  I believe social media would be hindered by forcing users to pay for an account.

We helped create the rating space therefore, we feel responsible to the auto industry and the consumers who rely upon it.  By removing the cost to dealers we are helping the industry gain control of ratings and reviews. I believe if you do the right thing, good results will follow.  Therefore, we are pushing for the entire dealer rating and review space to give back control to dealers by making their accounts free.  We have created a Facebook page supporting this cause “Free My Rating“.

I have spoken to many dealers and they feel being forced to pay for their rating accounts is extortion and I have to agree. Plus how can car shoppers trust a site that is funded by dealers through reputation management.

Our mission is to help every dealership setup and manage their online reputation with a free account on MyDealerReport.com


Another Dealership Bits the Dust!

January 30, 2009

I was truly honored when Brian McCullough from the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pa contacted me about the closing of Coley Pontiac Buick GMC. You can catch the story here http://tinyurl.com/br42l3