Industry Events

Rumors from the 2010 Vegas Conferences #DD9 #DSES #JDPAIRT

We all know the saying “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” and that is true for some things. This article isn’t one of them.

In order to make the list of October 2010 Vegas Rumors (combination of things heard at the Digital Dealer, DrivingSales Executive Summit, and JD Power Automotive Internet Roundtable conferences)  Jeff and Alex had to hear the same thing two or more times. We admit that this is all strictly hearsay, but it sure is entertaining none-the-less!

Much of this was written during the conferences.

Here we go…


DealerTrack was the talk of the JD Power Automotive Internet Roundtable as they didn’t even show up. Could it have been that they don’t like this particular conference?  Could it be that they just can’t handle Vegas?  Nooooo. It sounds like they were busy making some purchases.

Alex heard on numerous occasions that DealerTrack bought KBB and ClickMotive. Again, probably hearsay, but he heard it a few times.  And we’re definitely thinking hearsay because…

At the same time we’ve both been hearing was buying KBB, so we are going to wait for the press release on this rumor.

UPDATE: We did just hear that acquired Kelley Blue Book officicially.

Speaking of a few people said the 3 year old rumor that they’re buying HomeNet is closer to reality. Buuuuut we’ve been hearing this one for a long time.

ADP has been in need of a more modern CRM and the rumor-mill says they bought DealerSocket.  If that’s true, it is fantastic news for ADP!  A few DealerRefresh friends who are close to top executives at DealerSocket say this isn’t true. Again, we will be waiting for the press release.

With tax changes coming in 2011 we certainly won’t be surprised to hear more in the purchase territory before the end of the year.

Plain Craziness:

First off, we have to ask the question how so many Digital Dealer attendees got spam email from asking people to sign-up?  There were some pretty hefty names thrown around in that email too.

Pictured:  Dean Wormer, Jared Hamilton, Joe Webb, Alex Snyder (standing in for Jeff), Gary May, Brian Pasch

Unfortunately one man gets to own this entire section. It is really sad we heard so much around this individual because his conference was actually the best one he’s done yet. And again, neither Alex or Jeff were present for any of this – these are just things we heard.

So let’s start off by saying that we heard “the wise asses at DealerRefresh are on probation and I don’t need them to promote my conference anymore.”  So Mike Roscoe, we dedicate this section to you.

Our “piece of $h1t” buddy Jared Hamilton is completely banned from Digital Dealer conferences. This is the same guy who received the Lloyd Richardson award from Mike in 2008 for being the biggest giver in our space. Way to pay him back!  By the way Mike, where is Lloyd?  We miss him.

Speaking of banishment, another good man, Gary May, caught the wrath of Mike in an email that ended his participation in the conference. Alex got to see it and said it really shows someone’s true colors. The email was in regards to an IM@CS blog post from the Saturday after DD9 recommending that there is still room to improve the Digital Dealer conference for dealers.  Maybe Gary will make that email public one day.

And in the spirit of how things should be presented to the public, we heard any non-Dealer Magazine media was not fully welcome to the event.  Automotive News and Automotive Digest are two who we heard were snubbed.

Then we get to the ultimatums. When it is all about the benjamins, competition gets fierce. Many players like getting a paycheck, but also have a lot of passion for the industry too. However one individual seems to think that some of the players should dump everything to only participate in Digital Dealer. If rumors are true that both Brian Pasch and Joe Webb were told if they wanted to continue participating in Digital Dealer they had to give-up speaking at the DrivingSales Executive Summit or events that would support or build the DrivingSales brand, then that is just a travesty.

What happens when you take all the roller coasters out of the theme park?

We just want to say that this is the rumor-mill. Always fun!

P.S.  What is the over/under on when we start getting phone calls about this article?

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.
I also heard that Dealer HD bought Ford. True story.
  • J
    Jeff Collins
  • October 26, 2010
Mike Roscoe is a narccist. DD is a great venue for the dealer body but sadly Mike Roscoe now has developed a "GOD" complex. I expect to receive a email notifying me that I too have been banished! Mike pull your head out of your butt and open your eyes. Try building relationships rather than tearing them down. The same people that made DD successful, can and will bury you. I think this would be a good time to start our own conference. The "DealerRefresh Summit" You heard it here first.
We had a serious issue with the Digital Dealer organization as both exhibitor and speaker back in 2008. Our experience has kept us away from the conference since. The purpose of such a conference should be to bring people together - to share in ideas, products, and best practices. The person in-charge should be a politician, not a dictator.

We thoroughly enjoyed the goodnatured and positive content/sessions we saw at the 2nd Annual Driving Sales Summit which we highly recommend as an alternative.
  • J
    Justin Mathers
  • October 26, 2010
ADP's CRM tool is the single worst in the industry followed by a close second with Reynolds Contact Management. Anything they can do to get rid of that POS is good. AutoTrader is a cancer. First vAuto, now KBB. We all know they suck. It is only a matter of time before they destroy both those brands.
  • C
    Chili Palmer
  • October 26, 2010
I know you guys don't appreciate anonymous post but I'm doing it because I need to keep speaking at Digital Dealer events. And Chili Palmer is the man telling you how it is (Get Shorty). When (not if) DrivingSales gets to over 500 attendees I will gladly give Roscoe the middle finger he deserves and hedge my bets with Jared.

I am so glad you guys finally put something out in the open about Roscoe. I see that it is all rumors and hearsay but I have seen and heard this stuff too many times going back to third Digital Dealer. It is time someone exposes that bastard for what he is.

I can only imagine the cussing and screaming going on at the Dealer Magazine office today. Mike is throwing a fit while the rest of the team is secretly agreeing with what is being said here. Cliff - get out while you can. Have you heard the saying "When you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas."

Len -I'm glad to see you show some backbone and post up like a man. I'm sorry I couldn't do it myself. But I couldn't resist leaving this completely alone.
R that cat is out of the bag on Roscoe. I will politely take this opportunity to share why I have completely avoided Digital Dealer for the past 4 years - because I stopped supporting Mike Roscoe after he shit on one of the best friends the auto industry has, whom I will leave unnamed for his own sake. There are a lot of good people doing great things in the auto industry and I get the feeling that this post will end up drawing a line in the sand between them and him.

I will also share that it was really cool to see the DSES via live stream. Hats off to Jared and his team for such a job well done all around. Feedback on the event has been great and I imagine that DSES will become (if it hasn't already) the premier event for cutting edge auto professionals.
  • L
    Layton Judd
  • October 26, 2010
Sad to see people putting down any conference in the automotive space. There should be more and more information shared. Mike Roscoe stepped to the plate when no one else was willing and created a niche conference that has benefitted both the vendors and dealers. Jared has created another format that will allow dealers and vendors share ideas. Both conferences are excellent and with the size of our industry we should be glad that both Mike and Jared are planning on continuing to move forward.
2 Years ago 2 friends of mine and I were doing a series of small speaking events around Texas, Oklahoma, and the Southeast called Auto Training Events. The group still exists on Linked In. I started it, and have not even logged on in over a year. During those events I had the AAISP links up on the site. I figured since 3 of us had opened the Digital Dealer booth at NADA (nobody was there) I would post the links that went to the Conference. I still have the rotten ass e-mail saved from our friend Mr. Roscoe and have been tempted to post it. I did not return to 3 conferences after that until this year. I thought it was a great conference but if these rumors are true I will not be surprised. The words in these posts are true, the people that made Digital Dealer can un-make Digital Dealer.

Wake up!!!!!!!
@Layton that's all peachy fuzzy but it's clearly not how Roscoe sees it.
  • L
    Layton Judd
  • October 26, 2010
Ryan- If you knew me then you would know that peachy fuzzy is not what I am about. I will tell you that as a vendor in this space for a long time; we need to have more conferences! To put down Mike or Jared is the wrong approach support both and move on.
My take on this situation for what is worth - DSES is a far superior conference for where we are at as a store than the DD8 conference I attended. DD is more 101 as IM@CS stated - call it like it is. Own it.

Did I get a ton a benefit from DD8? Yup. I met a ton of vendors, got exposed to industry leaders, and was challenged to raise the bar. All great things but the majority of the breakouts were sales pitches (I didn't know any better). Hey - if that is what DD8 is about - showing a wide dealer base about emerging technologies that vendors offer - that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Will I most likely go back another time - probably so.

Why did I like DSES more - it was virtually vendor neutral except for a few plugs - but hey - you can't blame them. Matt Murray did a phenomenal job talking about PPC yet never pitched their product. Yes - the name of his product was on some of the screen shots - but the talk was more about educating the dealer body about the importance of PPC in todays market - not how his product can take you there.

Also - less car people - more outside influences. We get in a bubble and like to pat ourselves on our back about how "innovative" we are yet - we are so far behind the curve as a industry it is sometimes scary. My head was spinning listening to some of the speakers we had as DSES.

Lastly - I truly believe there is room for everyone in this conference arena. I have learned relationships sell cars - not the car itself. If the rumors are true about how DD folks are handling all this - it will eventually bit them in the rear by burning those relationships...especially given the great alternatives being presented to us #DSES.

Hopefully this post won't get me banned from DD myself. I heart DealerRefresh.
  • J
    Jerry Evans @inspire
  • October 26, 2010
How interesting. I got heat for daring to suggest that DSES was a better event than DD9 and it was suggested I would not be welcome at DD10.

As Layton mentioned, it is a huge industry that has room for many conferences, and I'm sure they all offer something useful to all who attend.

I will say this.

We as an industry know the importance of relationship building, follow up and staying connected with previous buyers, the 'repeat' segment of our customers is one of the easier sales.

If my budget meant I could only attend one event next year, I would choose DSES over DD9, simply because Jared responded to everything I asked, or tweeted, the positive and the negative.

The actions of the people connected with DD9 and their attitude to any negativity suggests to me if I did attend and had an issue, it would not be resolved professionally. It's a shame as I certainly learnt from both events. Just goes to show customer service affects future buying decisions.

To those (who shall, for now remain anonymous) who suggested I would not be welcome, fair enough. Why would I pay $1,600 to feel unwanted. Be very careful, though, in this world of new media, bad news spreads far and wide my friends, and you never know, someone with influence and reach might decide to bite back.

Thanks once again for a great post, and to all who commented too, excellent discussion!
  • F
    Faith Daniels
  • October 26, 2010
Mike and Jared actually worked together at the earlier DD conferences. Jared offered to work with Mike when he wanted to to do what he is doing now. Mike told him, "No." Mike is his own worst enemy. He has done some great things and then he turns around and screws people or threatens people, etc..... his ego and mouth kill a guy who is really not that bad...until he's bad. He's a guy you love to hate and hate to love. Unfortunately, he has pissed off several people after his most successful conference ever.
Way to go, glad you posted it...

I've never been to DD. Why? Everyone told me it was a big pitch-fest a few years ago. People I just met at DSES this year told me the same thing; I didn't miss anything.

Yes, I understand these events have their place within the industry. Even more so, these events need leaders to help guide the direction and change needed for the business.

I saw Roscoe's email to Gary. If that's the type of leadership being offered up, feel free to add me to the DD banned list as well...probably one of the most unprofessional emails I've seen in a long time.
  • D
    Dean Wormer, aka nar
  • October 26, 2010
Seriously? This is what the Internet is for?

I know this is a "rumor" section...and absolutely no effort was made to substantiate these rumors through me, and therefore, totally one-sided. And I hesitate to do anything more than laugh at these types of things when friends say "Did you read...?" But some relevant info I'd like to share if I may:

Automotive News sent a salesman. Not an editor. Not a reporter. Not a journalist. Not even a blogger. Or an anonymous Internet poster. A salesman.

Automotive News, the self-purported "Bible of the Industry" their website for "Digital Dealer" and see what comes up. I don't think they have ever even mentioned this important industry event. They sent a salesman to sell.

"You're a delivery boy, collecting a bill, for a bunch of grocery clerks."

~Marlon Brando as the insane Col. Kurtz in Apocalypse NOW.

That's exactly what I said to the A-news rep while I squeezed a rag full of water on my bald head. I knew what he was there for. Just kidding...registration explained to him that we don't allow competitors in our event. But I thought you'd get a kick out of the imagery...

Guys, a dealer wouldn't allow a competitor's salesperson on their lot to sell to their customers and potential customers. That's not why they invested and took risks and paid for the advertising that brought them in. We don't allow competitors onto our "lot"...the Digital Dealer Conferences. Not everybody will agree with or like this policy...but who amongst you wants to argue for letting competitor's salesman onto a dealer's lot? How about allowing competitor's ads on the dealer's website? Would you recommend that to your dealer clients...or to your dealer principal?

I have had salespeople and a publisher escorted out of competitor's events. Just as I expect would happen to a competitive salesperson was on a dealer's lot or in their showroom. Hey nothing wrong with tryin' hard feelings when we catch one or we get caught.

Look, Jared Hamilton's a great guy. He's spoken at DDs, has video-tapped at DDs, wanted to partner with me and now is a competitor. Competition is good. We will both make the other better. But it just doesn't make sense to let a competitor on your lot. I am sorry if people don't like that...or don't like me because of it. But it's a business decision...a sound business decision. And did you see what he's got under his button-front shirt? I can't afford freaking kryptonite! That $hit's EXPENSIVE.

As for the individuals directly involved in rumors on or in this thread...

One of you didn't mind spending time at my VIP tables at two clubs on two different nights during my conference. Didn't say "Hello", "Goodbye", "Thank you" or even "Kiss my ass" the first night. Not a word. Not even when I "grooved" with your wife while talking to her. Dynamite lady BTW, very cordial to me...did she not get the memo? ;-)

2nd night I finally came over and talked to you to ask what the problem is, because that vodka is $400 a bottle and when it became obvious you were not going to dance for me like the girls the doorman sent over, I made an effort to talk to you, you get my money's worth. OK, that was embellished for comedic effect, but you get the point.

Two of you I spoke to on the phone directly. I clearly explained why these decisions are made and these policies are in place, and appealed to you to understand our position. One of you responded by openly misrepresenting facts and mis-characterizing the event after the conference and now by complaining about it openly and publicly and showing an email. The other responded by starting a rumor...and it got complained about openly and in a public forum.

One of you I invited up to my suite to discuss. I told you that it was suggested internally to me that we sell your booth to somebody else and find another speaker for your slot after you suggested in a public forum that if someone had been to Digital Dealer before, they should go to Driving Sales this October. I said, because of our unique relationship, I told them we leave it as is and I will talk to you in Las Vegas. Plus I was curious as to why someone who was speaking and had a booth would suggest people go to another event instead. I clearly explained why these decisions are made and these policies are in place, and appealed to you to understand our position. We discussed; I reiterated our position. I asked if you had any questions and you said "No". Now it shows up here. Oh, and you said, "Mike Roscoe's a crybaby" at Jared's event. That HURT! ;-)

One of you, whom I tried to help when you left a dealership, saw me at the conference face to face. Said nothing to me about any of this. Now you come here and bad-mouth me because of an email from two years ago? Why didn't you say something then? Or in Las Vegas, face -to-face? You were all smiles with me then.

Guys these were private conversations and private emails, not "The View". Is this how you do business? Is it?

I guess "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" is right out the window here. But if the "glass houses" thing has any meaning, I have a question for one of you: why would you be involved in starting rumors when you're boinking one of your older subordinates? You know who you are. Hey, I'm just askin'...

Ryan G, I would really like to discuss the situation re: how I "shit" on someone. I find that scenario disconcerting and would like to find out more, perhaps starting with what is your definition of "shitting" on someone. My email address is [email protected]. Let's try to set a time to discuss please.

Len Critcher, if you are so inclined I would appreciate a chance to find out what the speaker and exhibitor issues were in 2008. I have always had the attitude that we will make up for mistakes in such a way that the person is GLAD the mistake happened. My email address is [email protected]. I am available to discuss at your convenience.

Jerry Evans, do we know each other? I don't recognize the name. My bad if we have met and I've I stated previously, I am lousy at remembering names. Taken courses to help at all. I don't recall personally being asked or tweeted anything by you, positive or negative. If you were treated poorly by a member of the DD team, let's discuss and see if we can resolve it, nothing will change by complaining about it here. [email protected]

Jeff Collins...have we met? Forgive me if we have and I've forgotten, I'm great with remembering faces, names...not so much. Is there anything specific you wanted to discuss or just posting some...uhhh..."constructive" critcism? ;-)

Marc McGurren, why would you get "banned"? Thanks for sharing your thoughts re: DSES...we will discuss what you've written as we discuss continually improving the Digital Dealer Conferences & Expositions.

Funny that one anonymous poster chose the handle "Chili Palmer" who I believe was a tough guy in a movie, right? Calls me a "bastard"...anonymously, so he can still speak at DDs...CLASSIC! He then applauded another poster for showing "some backbone" for posting up "like a man". That is so deliciously RICH with irony!

Tell you what Chili...why don't you prove to us that you are real...that what you wrote is legit. Be a man and state who you are. If you have in fact spoken before, I promise in front of God and everybody you will speak at the next Digital Dealer Conference. I will let you pick your own time slot. Hell, I'll even make you an affiliated sponsor (a $1,995 value!)

I've dealt with a lot of people in the 16+ years since I started this business. You can't please all the people all the time. As much as they try, dealers will have some people who don't like them, feel they were treated poorly, yada, yada, yada. I believe I have been honest, direct, and up-front with the people who are slamming me here...except for the ones I don't know and/or have not directly interacted with. I never claimed that I could please everyone all the time as it is impossible. If you don't like any of our policies, feel free to contact me to discuss. Doesn't mean we will change how we do business...but you never know. Or you can just comment and slam in forums like this "The View"-style. Your choice.

We had almost 1,800 people at the conference. Some of them love me, some of them like me, most of them don't know me...some of them don't like me and apparently, some of them hate me. I can live with that. I would like to be everybody's friend, but this is a business and as such, there are competing agendas. That's business biz...

On a lighter note, Animal House is my favorite movie and John Vernon was AWESOME as Dean Vernon Werner, appreciate the image. He died in 2005. I suppose some of you guys consider yourselves the rascally, rebellious Deltas? Well, the spirit of Faber College's best dean ever..."You're all now on double-secret probation...NO MORE FUN OF ANY KIND!!!"

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go yell or scream or cuss or make threatening phone calls or whatever the heck it was somebody thought would be happening because of this silly little rumor thread. After all, I have an image to live up to... ;-)
  • C
  • October 26, 2010
Dang it, can't post photos in replies.
I'm with Layton on this one. Our industry is stronger by having both of these events and not by splitting folks amongst the conferences.

So thanks Layton for the sanity.

Thanks Mike for jumping in.

And thanks to Jeff and Alex for keeping Dealer Refresh going.
"We had almost 1,800 people at the conference. Some of them love me, some of them like me, most of them don’t know me…some of them don’t like me and apparently, some of them hate me. I can live with that. I would like to be everybody’s friend, but this is a business and as such, there are competing agendas. That’s business biz…"


I was part of the 1800....and yeah, I don't know you, I did say hi & thanks in the hallway quick with Larry Bruce and we were out together with Todd Smith and crew a couple conferences ago at complimented my shirt, thanks.

That being said, we consider ourselves and are considered by most to be OK at this internet car game and I learned enough to go back. We did have our eCommerce Manager, Justin at Driving Sales who was also happy with his trip.....where did we learn more? Remains to be seen with what strategies we implement....probable ends up fairly equal.

Nice job standing up for yourself.

Thanks to all you cats that provide these forums and conferences that progress our industry... there's plenty of room for the DealerRefresh conference and I vote Uncle Joe gives the keynote speech!
  • J
    Jerry Evans @inspire
  • October 26, 2010

Thank you for replying, and for offering your e-mail address and an invitation to discuss my experience, I appreciate it.

But, please re-read my post, as a) I never mentioned you, b) I wasn't 'complaining'

I just stated my point of view, which also included that there was room for both conferences, and that I learned from both. Perhaps if you researched the twitter stream that your conference generated, and that of DSES, you might gain some insight into a) How much I enjoyed and learnt and spread the positivity that came out of DD9, as well as b) my thoughts on DSES and what that conference did better.

I have absolutely no idea what the mythical e-mail is about, I am not looking to attack you personally or your conference, all I was doing was stating a point of view, an opinion. If you term that as 'complaining about it' maybe it is best that we should just leave it as it is and move on.
I have the highest respect for the many great individuals who contribute so much to our industry. It is challenging enough with eCommerce as we go through this transition in our industry, and events like Digital Dealer have been a tremendous asset to many of us. Aside from a lot of folks complaining about "pitching" during presentations, I think most attendees find the greatest benefit in the networking on the floor and interacting with the vendors in the exhibit hall.

With that said, I am a firm believer that competition is always good. I am a bit disappointed at the direction some of this back and forth took, much of which was "under the belt" and could be interpreted as slander. I have to give Kudos to Mike for responding publically here to some pretty strong statements made against him. Bottom line is that Mike got this thing going.

I am also a big fan of so many others who post here, including Gary May (who graciously supported me at DD9), Joe Webb, Brian Pasch, Jared, and countless others. I do hope that speakers are not forced to decide between one conference or another as so many dealers are working with tight budgets and might not be able to attend all conferences, but at least can hear from some of these great speakers regardless of which one they attend. There is room for more than one conference, just as there is room for more than one forum like DealerRefresh (and which we already see).

And my fav quote from Animal House... "Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life son..."

" I do hope that speakers are not forced to decide between one conference or another as so many dealers are working with tight budgets and might not be able to attend all conferences, but at least can hear from some of these great speakers regardless of which one they attend."

Exactly! That's the whole point here. There is ROOM for more than one conference. Competition is what keeps the strong motivated. Some people become very emotional when competition comes about, and react "off the cuff" only resulting in offending and hurting people.

@Ryan - drawing a line in the sand is the exact opposite of what we want to achieve here. Let's remove the line and all work together to better then industry. Isn't that what this should be all about. That was the sole reason for starting DealerRefresh over 5 years ago.

Conferences are to better an industry and the individuals within. It is about education, networking, and discovering new products. When there are millions of people in an industry and only 1,800 attend a particular conference there is room for improvement. And plenty of room for sharing.

Because of the competitive edge being displayed there are old-timers and vendors who have expressed that they feel there is a dividing line. People who say anything bad about Digital Dealer or who attend DrivingSales puts them on some paranoia watch-list and it totally disrupts the nature of what should simply be 3 great back to back experiences in Vegas.

Many don't understand the deeper politics that are wrapped up in this post, and that's ok. Heck - I personally wish I had no understanding nor wish I had ever been on the opposite end of an off the cuff reaction.

@Mike - It's good to see you chime in here and go out of your way to show a different and humorous side. And yes, this is what the internet is for, open discussions. My mother taught me - if you don't have something nice to say, many times it's not worth saying, and if you do say something always know it's possible it will never be "private".

DealerRefresh is about bettering the industry. Sometimes a controversial article is what it takes to get this done, but DealerRefresh is one of the few places that will take the risk to bring things to light. It is hard to be a lighthouse when some of the ships only want to knock it over, but the light shines brightest just before those ships crash on the rocks (yes, this is a cheesy metaphor but we just won the Lighthouse Award).

We don't do this to increase traffic because we're only interested in giving our advertisers some impressive numbers or anything like that. DealerRefresh could close shop tomorrow. This is not our full time job. This is a passion.

Again, competition is healthy but let's not draw a line in the sand here. Let's not make people decide on what conference to support (as we have ALWAYS supported DD and the other conferences here on DealerRefresh) and which one you are"allowed" to speak at.
  • J
    James Burlow
  • October 27, 2010
” I do hope that speakers are not forced to decide between one conference or another as so many dealers are working with tight budgets and might not be able to attend all conferences, but at least can hear from some of these great speakers regardless of which one they attend.”

DSES and DD should work together to provide a discount for folks who are interested in attending/speacking/etc in both.
@James - that's a unique thought; a dealer conference "multi-pass" would be interesting.

@Dean - While I'm a self-admitted DSES fan-boy, I do want to clarify my comment on DD being a pitch-fest. This comment was made to me, by other dealers & vendors, due to their perception that I simply didn't need to be "pitched."

If the roles were reversed, and I was a vendor with a killer product to pitch, I would probably be fishing in the biggest pond available as well.

Each level of the resources available plays an important role in the dealership life-cycle - the forums, communities and conferences all contribute to each of us...
Wow this is a lot of drama!! I could only wish we could have a proper conference in Canada. They tried to do one the past April in Niagara Falls but had to pull the plug as it was only vendors and no dealers.

Consider yourself lucky America to have this problem. GO DEALERREFRESH!
I am glad to see the comments becomming more rational here.

Digital Dealer and Driving Sales each have their place, dealers you have to look at the agendas and the speakers and decide what fits your dealership level and strategy best and go there.

As for all the personal agendas, take those to your own blog this is a place for constructive debate not personal attacks.

Chris, Kevin & Jeff thanks.
Despite the fact that Mike instructed us not to respond on the blogs to all this nonsense, I've got to weigh in here.

I think I have a unique perspective. I competed hard with Mike longer than most of you have known him. We weren't always nice to each other -- sometimes we talked a little smack, tried to exploit every weakness. But at the end of the day, Mike was always fair – sometimes more fair than I was. And it was a relationship I enjoyed.

As a competitor, Mike invited me to speak at the first Digital Dealer Conference. He even invited me to have dinner with him and his team in Las Vegas a week or so after I turned down a job offer from him.

But I knew the boundaries -- we were competitors. I didn't try to attend his conferences unless I was invited, nor did he try to attend ones we did at Ward's.

The truth is, I would have thrown him or anyone on his team out. Nothing personal – it was business. And guess what? They wouldn’t have complained about it in public – if at all.

Now, I work with Mike. One of you said that I should leave – that if I lie down with dogs I’ll come up with fleas. Believe me, I wouldn’t be here if I thought for one second I was associating with dogs.

Mike has built a first class organization here – and has hired a great team. Do I agree with everything he says or does? No. And he doesn't agree with everything I say or do. But that doesn’t change the fact that Dealer Communications has been and continues to be an organization whose first goal is to provide dealers with the best information possible to help them manage their businesses. And it’s one I’m proud to be part of.
Well put Cliff and agreed we don't have to see eye to eye on everything but we do need to keep this professional and compete hard.

At the end of the day its a business.
  • G
    Glen Garvin
  • October 28, 2010
This has been the most entertaining and engaging conversations I've read on here. Contrast this to the CRM bake-off where one of the "contestants" didn't respond and the converstion died.

After DDS was over, I RT'd a post by George Nenni that mentioned the wonderful job Mike Roscoe has done growing his conference and what an accomplishment that is. Whie I don't know Mike well, this is a significant accomplishment.

Ultimately, this about creating great content for dealers and both conferences are doing this and moving our industry forward.

I love the sense of humor and the engagement from all.
I have attended every one of all three events since their inception and feel that they each have their place in the automotive digital marketing space. Here is my high-level take on each:

Digital Dealer is a trade show with a huge and diverse curriculum for dealers and their staff. The large expo area offers vendors access to their target audiance and an excellent environment for networking.

The Driving Sales Summit offers a unique curriculum that features speakers from outside the industry that offer a different perspective on current trends and topics -- all in an environment that is more focused on content/education and less on vendor participation.

The JDPA Roundtable is in my opinion is the best networking event in the industry today. Where else can you get OEMs, agencies, ad networks, media publishers, dealership service providers and other affiliated companies in one hallway? It has become the event that breeds many of the partnerships and new products that are born at NADA the following quarter.

Each of these events has their place and I strongly encourage participation in any and all of them that may meet your needs. Now if they could just be spread out a bit so I don't have to spend two straight weeks in Las Vegas, that would be wonderful!
The narcissist writes:

"Guys, a dealer wouldn’t allow a competitor’s salesperson on their lot to sell to their customers and potential customers. We don’t allow competitors onto our “lot”…the Digital Dealer Conferences. Not everybody will agree with or like this policy…but who amongst you wants to argue for letting competitor’s salesman onto a dealer’s lot? How about allowing competitor’s ads on the dealer’s website?."

OMG, you are sooo right!... Some one call the NFL and tell them that ESPN is a really bad idea! What was the NFL thinking? PTL! Now I see the light! You need only one voice for your venue, stomp on all media points! Control and power trumps all. Wow, what an eye opener!

Dood, you're in the MEDIA, INFORMATION & CONVENTION business! You're not a lot rat, stop acting like one.

BREAKING NEWS! Your competitors are are not running shows on your dates! So are they really competitors, or, is the battle in your mind mostly?

p.s. you asked "who among us wants to argue"... Someone should have warned you I love an intellectual challenge! Welcome to ol' Uncle Joe's spotlight on this silly little insignificant site ;-)
First Joe do you have any idea what ESPN pays the NFL, I can assure you a hell of a lot more in comparison to what anyone pays to get into the Digital Dealer Conference. In fact if Driving Sales or any other conference wanted to pay the kinda percentages to get in the conference that ESPN pays to get NFL games, I am pretty sure Mike would welcome them with open arms.

Secondly have you ever heard that disclaimer just before every NFL game “Any rebroadcast or retransmission of this program is strictly prohibited” what do you think that is about?

Your NFL analogy is a poor choice, don't think for 5 minutes they don't strictly control that content. Try having a Super Bowl broadcast and charging people admission, oh wait Vegas tried that and… GOT SHUT DOWN!

“You're not a lot rat, stop acting like one” I just don't get that.

Joe the show dates were so close together many dealers had to make a decision which to attend, I don't know about you but I can’t afford to be away from my business for 2 weeks straight and I not gonna fly back and forth to Vegas twice, so there was some competition for audience. Why do you think there were so many posts written on which conference to attend or maybe that was only in the mind of the people writing the posts as well, maybe dealers were not really asking.

In the end I would hardly call this an intellectual challenge, if you're really trying to push the post up to the level of the Colossal Content Control Debate by bringing ESPN to the party, well as I said poor choice and this has nothing to do with content. Its basically Mikes hard work over many years to run a successful conference that many didn’t have the balls to step up and do when he did it. Now you have people wanting in on the action.

I agree with Mike to a point if, people are coming to your conference and not adding value and not there to attend the sessions and contribute to the conversation why should you let them in to disrupt the value other want to get.

It’s his conference and yes Joe he gets to make the decision get in and who doesn’t, right wrong or indifferent. When you get a conference Joe you’ll get to make that decision for your conference too.
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    Jeff Collins
  • October 29, 2010
At the end of the day I do appreciate the diplomacy demonstrated in this forum. My point of contention is with how Mr.Roscoe chose to react to the situations in question.

High profile individuals such as Mike Roscoe can either leverage there influence to build relationships or feed their ego. I will say that I am also questioning the position of some on this post on whether it's true diplomacy or political posturing.(Layton Judd) One of the hardest things to do in life is to be honest with yourself.
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    Jerry Evans @inspire
  • October 29, 2010
Holy Crap! What a storm in a teacup! Don't you wish you could get this kind of comment stream from a blog post or article?!

Loving the passion, the views, and the fact that Social Media allows us all to be able to either chime in or just observe.

I had no idea of the 'politics' between DD9 and DSES and am quite surprised that it's blurted out over a public space like this.

This is a permanent record guys, it's not going to go away, and no doubt it will be referred to many times, like an e-mail from a couple of years ago?!...

I have no allegiance to either party, but I do have an opinion. And opinions matter. Come next year, when people are either hyping the conferences, or looking for advice as to which conference would best serve their needs, they listen and act upon recommendations, just as car buyers do.

Name calling and line drawing and posturing can damage both parties, but logical opinions whether for or against are very powerful.

It's been mentioned before, there is room for these conferences and more. Let's help Dealers make wise decisions about what can be gained from attending these conferences, the differences between them, and the benefits of both.

Try reading the comments stream as if you knew no-one here, or as someone looking to attend a conference next year. There are some wise heads amongst us, 1st impressions count.

Oh, and Happy Halloween you bunch of crazy, scary, passionate people, you have made my week very entertaining! God Bless you all!
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    Layton Judd
  • October 30, 2010
Jeff Collins- I don't even know who you are but you don't know my reputation to well if you think I am posturing, don't need to do that, been in the automotive internet industry way too long.

I think highley of Jared Hamilton and think he has many great things to say and would gladly attend his confernce as many people should. I have been involved with Mike Roscoe and his conference since the beginning and glad to see it grow. Both conferences have their place. What ever you want to call my comments on the board is up to you, but I will tell you that they are true and honest.
You know what,

I think some of us, including me, are guilty of piling on Mike Roscoe here. Have I been upset with him? Hell yes. The word is really "angry".

Now after a few days of feeling well, bad, about jumping on the pile I need to clear the air as far as I am concerned. You are all my friends, so is Mike Roscoe, even though he can get me pissed rather quickly. Everyone of us involved in this scenario have either appeared on the cover or written in Digital Dealer or Dealer Magazine. Hell, if I had not been on the cover I would have never started consulting. At the end of the day can he do things different? Yes, but we all know that just ain't Roscoe either. A lot of us owe Mike for helping us with our career, allowing us to have sessions at DD even after we have had it out with him. Can he learn to play a little better in the sandbox? Yes, but that ain't Roscoe either. Hell, he has a business to run too. There is enough room in this sandbox for everybody if we are working together. If we don't, the space we have to work in shrinks quickly and gets dirty from all the BS.

This was the best Digital Dealer conference yet. I think he and Cliff did a great job. After speaking with Mike, I am apologizing and burying the hatchet here and now. We are definately cool.

All of you that know me personally understand that it is genuine, or I would not post it.

Kim Clouse
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    Jon Groenig
  • October 30, 2010
Wow, I am glad Mike wrote in to clear things up. I was unable to attend the DD9 conference this year, but by the time the rumor got to me Mike had taken Jared out to the Nevada desert and buried him in a shallow grave.

Since Mike is taking so much crap on this I would like to start the I heart Mike Roscoe fan club. I was at a NADA convention a few years back and met Jasen Rice, at that time Jasen was one of the better know ISM's, he had just gotten out of internet sales and just started working for V-Auto. Since I had read several articles he had written I knew he understood the Internet side of the car business. At that particular NADA the internet side of the business was not really represented outside the the REALLY aggressive BZ booth.

After expressing my disappointment to Jasen, he took the time to walk me over the Dealer Magazine booth and introduced be to Mike Roscoe. Mike took the time to talk to me and told me about a conference he was doing a couple of months down the road that was specifically geared toward internet auto sales, it was called AAISP and was being held in Nashville. I took a look at the subjects being covered at the conference and decided I needed to attend.

Trying not to sound too sappy here, but that meeting with Mike and the conference I attended because of him was a life changing experience. I met many industry leaders at leaders at that first conference and the following ones. One of them was a guy I considered a loud mouth arrogant pr*ck that worked at Courtesy Chevrolet in Arizona. You know the funny thing about first impressions is that they are not always right, I got a chance to actually sit down and talk to this guy at the second conference, if I remember right he had moved on to ADP by that point, talk about information overload, this guy had done it all and could tell you what would work and what wouldn't, of course I am talking about my friend Ralph Paglia.

Now I could go on and on, dropping names of the whose who of the internet side of the business that are now friends and connections I have made because of Mike Roscoe and his conferences. I may be going out on a limb here but I would bet a lot of the people taking issue with Mike right now have had the same experiences I have had at his conferences, they have made a friend or connection that they would not of made without his conference.

I have gone on long enough here, but what I want to get across is that Mike has done a lot of positive things for many of us in the business and I think he should be given a little slack in this situation. OK, that's my two cents for what it is worth, but then again I probably wouldn't know about Dealerrefresh, and be writing this here if I hadn't learned about it at that first conference in Nashville.
Kim, you have some brown stuff on your upper lip, it must had dribbled down from your nose and found a place to rest.

Looks like someone has been making some treaty phone calls over the last few days.

@Mike Benavides - nice explanation between the difference of each conference. Exactly why there is a place for all 3 events.

So if that's the case, why on earth does Mike continue to draw a line in the sand? Why tell speakers and long term supporters they need to make a decision which one they are going to speak at and support and then follow up with cantankerous emails?

Heck I was supposedly placed on "Probation" because I sent a tweet out inviting a few dealers to join me for a beverage and lunch at BB King. Oh that's right - I took 20 people away from "his" conference. Therefore I was placed on probation. Mike, this is why I kept my word to you at a minimum. I was afraid to say something to get a double probation.

Is it true that Dealer Communications has a booth at NADA? Well...

I'll agree, Digital Dealer has done a lot of good things to help bring to light new processes and technologies for our industry. I too was on the cover of DD (though the paragraph where I spoke about DealerRefresh was somehow removed and I never got to see the final draft before being published).

I know for a fact that we all want to work together, move forward in our industry while having a great time doing so. My only suggestion to you Mike, is allow your humorous good side to communicate more often. Get your negative emotions out of the game. Don't make people choose and don't alienate the people that have supported your conference over the years. Quit saying people are on probation over stupid shit and sit through one of your Reputation Management sessions at DD10.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend.
I have been enjoying this post and the comments for too many reasons to list, but then Jon Groenig had to go and call me an "Arrogant Prick"! I really DID laugh out loud... Jon, thanks for the honorable mention, I've missed seeing you for a couple of years and you know that same conference you mentioned is where I met Tim Jennings.

It took me 3 years to get the deal closed, but I was successful in recruiting Tim to work on my team at ADP Digital Marketing last month. What connects the dots? That ol' rascal himself... Mike Roscoe.

I have a ton of respect for Mike Roscoe, Jared Hamilton and Jeff Kershner because, like them, having poured a lot of my time and energy into publishing, in my case the ADM Professional Community, I know what it is like to build up a base of readers, participants and people who contribute good content. It's a lot of hard work and all four of us have pissed off a few people along the way.

I am certain that there is someone out there who would nominate each of the four of us to the "Arrogant Pricks Club". Jon already covered my nomination (I love you, Jon!), and even if you can't find anyone to nominate the Oprah Winfrey of the car business and best politician amongst the four of us, Jared Hamilton, then I would step up to do so... Because even Mr. Nicey-Nicey can be an Arrogant Prick in his own sweet ass Utah style that just makes it a lot harder to detect than Mike Roscoe's in your face "All In" way of dealing with stuff...

One thing about Roscoe that I have learned to appreciate... You never have to guess what he is thinking or plans to do. He will tell you and make no bones about speaking the truth even if the truth is not what you want to hear. Whether the readers of this post like Roscoe's style or not, it is who he is and he never tries to pretend he is something else.

Since I happen to be really poor at the politically correct skills game, I have learned to appreciate Mike's integrity and full disclosure way of doing business.

Think about it... He could be more like a weasel and less like the leader he actually is by simply not saying a word to any of the people who have supposedly been banned.

Then, their Speaker Applications would get passed over and he would hit them for the full Associated Industry registration fee, which is quite steep. As for vendor booths, he COULD get away with saying he has them all reserved for other suppliers due to limited booth space, and probably get away with it. But that's not Mike Roscoe's style... Like it or not, if he has a bone to pick with you, well, you will probably hear from him directly.

Maybe I am displaying some of the low-brow roots of the Boston and Buffalo Italian neighborhoods where I grew up, but I still consider Mike Roscoe to be the type of man, and business professional I respect because he will seek out who he is pissed off at and then confront that person with his issue on a direct basis.

I know about this on a first hand basis because I have personally done many things that Mike Roscoe did not like... At which point he contacts me. Yes, sometimes it is a nasty-gram email or text message or a phone call, but regardless of how, he gets in my face, we then go toe to toe and work it out.

You have never seen me send his texts and emails flying around the web... Why? Because I respect the fact that instead of talking trash about me with third parties, he contacts me directly and we work things out.

Kinda reminds me of the old neighborhood where if you had an "issue" with another guy, you went to them directly and worked it out... One way or another. Of course we had a word we used to describe the people who would talk a bunch of trash and then avoid the person they were talking trash about... It is a 5 letter word that starts with the same first letter as my last name. I will not use it on Jeff's site because of my respect for him.

So, go ahead and trash Roscoe all you want, and you'll probably try to avoid making eye contact with him as well. We know the type... I personally believe he is good enough at what he does that Digital Dealer will continue to be successful.

As for me, I will continue to attend all three; Digital Dealer, Driving Sales Executive Summit and the J. D. Power Automotive Internet Roundtable, unless Rowdy Roscoe, Hamilton the Hammer or those corporate pricks at McGraw-Hill ban me from any one of them. Or, I can no longer afford the time and money. Why? Because I learn things that help me make more money by selling more cars at all three events. Yes, I may work for a supplier, but I still earn a living by selling cars.

PS. Anything I post online DEFINITELY does NOT reflect the official position or policies of whatever company I am employed by at that moment! (unless so stated)

In the meantime, where's Charlie Vogelheim? Now THERE is a guy who has all the political talent in the world that I myself lack, and who should weigh in on this topic. Does Jared Hamilton have him locked up somewhere?

I'm telling you, that nicey-nicey routine Jared has is a disguise that masks the killer competitive instincts of the red headed Utah Slugger that hides within.

And where is Mark Dubis when you need him to chime in, especially after Ryan G. mentions Mark (I think) without stating his name.

And while I am at it, what about our host, Jeff Kershner? There's someone who has gotten in my face a couple of times for posting stuff he didn't like. But, we discussed the issues and we worked them out... Directly and not through third parties. I think Jeff would have been OK in the old neighborhood.

The conferences are all good, but none of them are perfect. Each of them have a different feel and a different agenda. I will say that I disagree with everyone who posted stuff about DSES being less vendor sales pitch than DD... Or, you simply attended the wrong workshops at Digital Dealer. To say that Kevin Frye's Digital Dealer workshop was a sales pitch is BS. To say the same thing about Shawn Raines Digital Dealer workshop is a lot more relevant, but that's why Digital Dealer has up to 7 workshops in each time slot to choose from!

Listening to Brian Pasch promote his "POD" Score at DSES was most certainly a sales pitch if there ever were one. But some people don't see that, which makes it a VERY GOOD sales pitch! There is genius to that type of approach.

None of us are without fault, and yes I saw the email that was sent to IM@CSWEB... I got a good laugh out of it because I have received messages from Roscoe when he didn't like something I wrote or did... Since he lives too far for me to walk down the street and knock on his front door, I would simply call Mike and we would discuss the issue and work it out. And, lastly... I swear it is not my imagination, but I think Mike Roscoe has actually become easier to deal with over the last two years than before. Either that, or all that direct communication has simply made it easier for Mike and I to understand each other's perspective.

I love this crazy car business and am thankful for people like Mike Roscoe, Jared Hamilton, Jeff Kershner and the like who keep us moving forward and definitely keep us from getting too complacent or bored!

What a great, genuine post from you.

Your comments bring more clarity & sense to an issue that can simply be reduced to a few people being emotional & passionate.

Gates, Wozniak, Ellison, Branson, Zuckerberg, et al. They didn't rise to their ivory towers without stepping on a few toes. (read: pissing off a ton of people)

Here's to a future trophy simply titled: “Arrogant Pricks Club”
Sorry guys, you can spin this 16 ways, but this behavior from a leader is unacceptable.

For every brave soul like Len Critcher that dares to make public their dealings with "The Dictator", there are ten others that are in the wings remaining silent.

I'm not walking around DD worrying if my discussions are acceptable. I'm not walking around DD worrying if the school principal is in the room.

We all go to these events for networking opportunities. If Mr Roscoe considers un-endorsed networking a threat... then I'm not walking around DD. If in his reply, Mr Roscoe has to define what he considers un-endorsed networking is... then I'm not walking around DD.

Clearly, he's invested the time and energy to grow his business, now its time to grow his business plan. He needs to work more angles to make his tent larger, not smaller. All I see is the signature of a control-freak whose lack of confidence in others will put a cement ceiling on his growth.
I wanted to chime in just one more time... Regarding Layton Judd. If anybody thinks that Layton Judd expressed an opinion because he wanted to "brown-nose" or be perceived as politically correct, then you have not seen Layton's decidedly un-PC activities eslewhere. I do not particularly care for Mr. Judd, there was a time when I thought he seemed like a decent guy, and then he turned into a whining b*&ch when he left Izmocars. That and a few underhanded moves puts me on the decidedly NOT A FAN of Layton side of the field. However, not only do I believe what he posted to be how he truly sees things, but it also pains me to realize that I actually agree with his commentary about Roscoe, Digital Dealer and the whole conference rumors thing. In fact, seeing that Layton was apparently in an odd sort of way sticking up for Roscoe almost made me want to climb aboard the Roscoe bashing bus... But, alas, Layton is just not good enough to change my opinion on much of anything, except perhaps the viability of North Carolina!

But on this subject, that whiny sniveling wench and I agree. Our industry needs more focus on Digital Marketing, not less... Having multiple conferences and strong competition between them for hosting the best speakers and producing the best agendas is in all of our best interests...

Sheesh... I hate it when I agree with something put forth by somebody like Layton Judd! But, he has the right perspective in what he posted here, and I know from personal first hand experience that he is not afraid to post anything he is thinking about or actually believes.

This, of course, is my own personal opinion and has no connection with, and is not endorsed by my current, previous or future employers.
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    Layton Judd
  • November 2, 2010
Wow Ralph you have some balls good to see that! I am glad to see that you are in the anti-Layton camp which I am sure there are more people out there as well. Whining bitch...good one! Sorry to see someone of your stature resort to such base comments on a very public board.
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    jeff Kershner
  • November 2, 2010
Layton, you ok over there? Let me get you a towel and a bucket to clean up the mess.

I apologize for ranting and raving in what I had intended to be some sort of sideways compliment. My post was in bad taste and I aplogize for my poor choice of words. The primary message I was trying to communicate was one of support for your comments and for your credibility... Obviously, the disparaging color commentary detracted from my comment's objective. I incorrectly assumed you would enjoy the statement of agreement from someone you have criticized so much in the past. Although I thought you would take it differently, I was wrong, and I apologize for offending you.
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    Layton Judd
  • November 3, 2010
No need to apologize because I did get a kick out of it but thank you anyway. You showed me your knowledge about social media and displaying true transparency and letting me know where I stand with you and for that you have my respect. You now have given me a few more nicknames around the office and for that I am so grateful.
OMG - Group Hug???
Seriously - I'm just a guy trying to figure out this crazy business just like the rest of you... I work at a car dealership and my views correspond to my current position. I don't know Mike Roscoe personally and he has never done anything for me or against me that I am aware of - so he gets a pass at this point.

I'm a huge fan of Hamilton, Kershner, Paglia, Rucker, Miltsch, Garvin, Banks, Brooks, et al. I'm NOT a fan of a great many more, but that's just me. The point is that we are ALL going to piss SOME of us off at some point. We just aren't always ALL going to get along. If we did, we wouldn't be as good as we are at what we do.

For the most part, our passion defines us. I love this community. I love this business. I would go to battle with a great many of you. Let's all agree to disagree (or agree) and move on. Let's get back to what makes this a great place to connect and get back to moving the needle and giving and learning from each other.

Rumors, name-calling, and personal attacks aren't going to get any of us anywhere...

Just sayin'