One Site Dominance Doesn’t Trump the Internet

October 26, 2010

MyDealerReport, Yelp, Insiderpages, JudysBook, CarDealerCheck, Dealerrater, Edmunds, Google Places, Yahoo Local, CitySearch and etc, all control your online dealer reputation. The question most dealers have been asking themselves is “Which one of these sites are the most important?”. Well the answer is all of them are equally important, now that Google Places has started to aggregate reviews from across the Internet. Also each of these sites draw their own audience which makes it even more crucial to manage them all.

Having a relationship with 1 or 2 of these sites only makes you favorable to a small population on the Internet. So what,  you have good ratings on MyDealerReport or Dealerrater, what happens when users slam you on Yelp or Insiderpages? Here at MyDealerReport.com we had to be honest with ourselves. Are we being truthful with our dealer partners if we tell them that building up 40 – 300 ratings on our site will manage their reputation? No! In fact we are now telling our dealer partners that they need to be concern equally with all online review sites.  Believe me this was a hard pill for us to swallow, because we would like to think of ourselves as the only review site that matters.

If a dealership is 1 review site heavy when collecting reviews they will be betting that user (consumers) will not post reviews anywhere else on the Internet and these odds are worst than Roulette. Look at the Google Places screen shot below (Click to Enlarge):

Click to enlarge

 

If there is a review posted on any of the above sites mentioned, it will be displayed on Google Places. Having 1 site domination will not remove the other sites from the equation. Unfortunately, no one review site can now claim to be the only show in town. And unfortunately for dealers they have to manage their reputation across all of these sites. It is nice to have a great looking Facebook page and a twitter account, but it doesn’t erase your bad reviews or guarantee positive ones either.

The great thing is most of these sites allow you to communicate and respond to user reviews for FREE. Sites like MyDealerReport.com, Yelp, Insiderpages, CitySearch, Yahoo Local, Googel Place and CarDealerCheck. So don’t let any of us fool you in to thinking that our one site is bigger than the Internet.

Yeah we can brag how we dominate on Google Places by showing you the following screen shot (Click to Enlarge):

Click to Enlarge

However, we would be snowing you by saying this is how all of the Google Places will appear if you use MyDealerReport.com. Therefore, don’t be fooled by screen shots, be smart and cover your *** before you get shoot.


Sometimes We Need Laughter

September 27, 2010

Here is a really funny video:


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.


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


Our CEO’s Latest Speaking Engagement: JD Power Automotive RoundTable

October 29, 2008

Just released the video of my participation on the JD Power Automotive RoundTable http://tinyurl.com/6khtlx 3 wks ago in Vegas


Buying a warranty at the time of sale: Rip-off or Bargain?

October 21, 2008
Guest Blogger

Amber Watson Tardiff

We’ve all been there.  You just made the decision to purchase a new car.  You’ve finally come to terms with having car payment for the next four to six years.  You may even be feeling sick at this point as you get ready to sign the paperwork. 

And no sooner than you sit down, you’re hit with the infamous sales pitch that goes a little something like this: “Will you be purchasing an extended service plan —because if you don’t take advantage of our offer TODAY, the price will double or even triple when you go to buy it later….”

Then you panic.

As a former finance and insurance manager, I can spot that panic from a mile away.   But I also know what it’s like to be in your shoes as a consumer.

So is there any truth to the manager’s insistence that you have to buy a warranty at the time of sale?

Honestly, it depends.

In most cases, the warranty cost will not significantly jump within the first 12 months/12,000 miles that you own the car.  Therefore, if you are unable to buy a warranty at the time of sale, you can generally come back with a credit card down the road and still find a significant savings than if you wait until the expiration of your factory warranty.

However, there are a few situations where buying the warranty at the time of sale makes good financial sense for you, the consumer.

The number one reason to purchase your warranty at the time of sale is to include it in your monthly car payment.  Comprehensive warranties can cost anywhere between $800- $2500.  Therefore, it’s much easier to tack on an additional $25 a month to your payment than come up with one lump sum down the road.

You should also consider buying a warranty at the time of sale if you plan to keep the car for more than 3 years.  Your business manager isn’t lying when he/she tells you the price can double or triple right before your factory warranty expires.  If you have any doubts, ask the manager to quote the price for a car that already has 3 years/36,000 miles on it.  You’d be amazed at the increase.

Finally, I’d highly recommend buying a warranty at the time of sale if your car is pre-owned.  In most cases, dealerships sell “wrap” coverage that extends the remaining factory warranty or provides better coverage to match an existing powertrain warranty.  Either way, these plans are discounted and you usually can’t come close to the price of a “wrap” after you decline the initial offer.

 

So based on the information above, it’s clear that buying an extended warranty at the time of sale isn’t for everyone- but it’s certainly not a gimmick either. 

It’s up to you to evaluate your circumstances and plans for the vehicle.  If you’re the type of person that keeps their cars and doesn’t have spare change laying around for a $2500 car repair, than budgeting an additional $25 in a payment is the way to go.  Then again, if you buy cars like a woman buys shoes, forget it.  Educate yourself on GAP insurance instead (because that’s definitely something you’ll need!)

The bottom line is, don’t be put off by the sales pitch.   Yes, the dealer wants to make money, but some of the things they offer are for your good.   To come to a site like MyDealerReport.com means you’re on the right track, so take the time to learn what products they are offering and what kind of savings you will get for immediately signing on the dotted line.

You may visit Amber’s personal blog at www.caringlegalservices.com

Also vist us at MyDealerReport.com, http://twitter.com/MyDealerReport, http://mydealerreport.tumblr.com