Opinions & Advice

Don’t fall for this junk!

I came across this report and didn’t know what to think.  It wasn’t sent to me by BZ, so I’ve covered over the URL’s used for this report.  You can click on the image to see a larger version.

Bzwhoops

This report was sent by BZ to solicit business from a non-BZ customer.  That dealership is denoted as “DEALER A” and one of their competitors is “DEALER B”.  The funny part is the third competitor’s URL is very similar to a national furniture store, so the person who created the report used the furniture store’s URL.

The second mistake is the use of Compete.com.  Don’t get me wrong, Compete.com is an awesome resource – I use it all the time, but I would never use it like this.  I understand web-hosting competition is fierce, but this just seems like a way to sucker someone who isn’t that educated on the Internet.  It is under-handed in my opinion, but I’ve been wrong in the past.

What do you all think?  Under-handed?  Fine piece of salesmanship?  Preying on the uneducated?  At least you laughed when I told you they’re comparing two car dealerships to a national furniture store!

D
We all know BZ is liable to do anything under the leadership of ADP.

Though I am not well enough qualified to identify this as under-handed, I can tell you succinctly that GM eSummit material is an atrocity. If BZ is getting its guidance from the same stale hierarchy of consultants and professionals as GM, then I assure you it is Cockamanie Bllustih!!!

I'll call you to inform you first-hand of the fools GM made of themselves. I really don't understand the arrogance. They let the same old garde that damned the Internet in 2001, plan and implement the eSummits. WOW!!!

Maybe this BZ sales approach comes from the same old garde. HA...

D
And Ralph;

Consider yourself an exception to the ADP criticism for mis-handling BZ. That is, of course, unless you have been brainwashed by the old garde already, too.

From what I have witnessed, it takes massive effort to convince the classic pessimists to admit they are no instant Internet gurus.

So, I wish you all the best. Do at ADP what you did at Courtesy Chevrolet, Ralphy, and you get unanimous Internet King props!
P
Arrogance and idiocy seem to go hand in hand from most vendors in this niche. One day, one day the open source crowd will will level it to the point where this is just a comical reflection.....
J
As much as I hate to defend a competitor like BZ -- it isn't completely their fault. The lack of knowledge starts at the top from most manufacturers and filters its way down to the Internet Managers. Vendors do what they can to paint themselves and their products in a positive light. That's sales.

This was an amateur attempt to do so, but I can understand why they would try. Still, you're right, it's definitely sad. We know that many vendors compare apples to oranges. It's fun to see a vendor comparing cars to couches.
J
Some how, I find some joy in seeing "old school" car dealers (aka: Ivory Tower Franchise Squatters) getting fleeced.

IMO, the BZ juggernaut story is a marketing and execution classic and belongs in College marketing courses.

Our DR audience is the upper 1% of our industry and I'll ask you all... "What makes us DR'ers different?" A COMPLETE COMMITMENT TO THE FUTURE OF OUR INDUSTRY... and that IS the Internet.

Darwin's Laws are still in force, the slow get eaten.
Go DR!
Joe


J
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    JL
  • May 8, 2008
@ Paul Rushing,

"Arrogance and idiocy seem to go hand in hand from most vendors in this niche."

I'm just going to go out on a limb and guess that you were dropped by a vendor as a small child:) Nearly everything you post is tantamount to hate speech. I don't get it.

Couldn't agree with Joe more that this is the top 1% of the industry, but that industry includes the vendors. Can't speak for everybody, but I'm here to learn from the best so that I can provide the best.

Gitomer says in sales the successful are the servants. This may be a surprise to you, but the top 1% of vendors here care far less about "taking your money" than they do about serving your interests and learning how to help make you more successful. Seems a little trite to label those efforts as arrogant and idiotic.




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    Lightnup
  • May 8, 2008
Gotta agree with JL on this one. I doubt that there are any vendors whose business plan is to provide arrogance and idiocy to their customers rather than good service and value. That doesn't mean there aren't arrogant and idiotic people out there. Working for a vendor, I've run into a fair amount of them in dealership General Manager positions, but I don't paint all car dealers in that vein. That would be like promoting the old stereotype that car dealers are all slick rip-off artists out to bamboozle their customers and we know that's not true.

Sometimes, it's just an individual rep trying to generate business by doing something that management would stop or correct immediately if they knew about it. IMHO, that's probably the case with this apples-oranges compete.com comparison.
J
The real question is not whether it is underhanded or good salesmanship, but if Dealer A's traffic would even increase using a BZ site.
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    CS
  • May 8, 2008
what gives people at least it wasn't alexa and pagerank promises.

i don't think the furniture store makes it "funny" either. if the urls are the same, chances are both businesses show up for search queries on either one.
P
@jl

Someone that does not give a site or a real name does not justify a response, however I will entertain your remarks.

Yes I have had some funny vendor experiences not quite like was described here but none the less pretty much with this same type of ploy.

Many of the vendors use smoke and mirrors like presented here and use tactics that would not survive if the dealers were educated. Maybe I should of said <b>most vendors</b> I have come in contact with. With that being said it is not all..

In the future though USE YOUR REAL NAME and identify your affiliation to the industry before being caustic. If you don't like my views that is fine I don't have a problem with that, just do it as transparent as I give them.

Paul




E
My guess is that these sales guys are just trying to be as creative as possible.

It may be better if vendors don't know the arsenal of information assembled just within this site alone...

Joe put it nicely by describing the DR crowd; there are those that will make the effort to arm themselves with the knowledge to move ahead & those that think the 'Interweb' is a passing fad.

M
Like Joe and Eric, I'd be more than happy to know my competitors were signing up with BZ marketing and overpaying for snake oil (what's the going rate on snake oil anyway... did it go up like regular oil?).

However, the difference is that Joe and Eric work for dealerships, and I'm a service provider. So in truth, the idea that a dealer might buy into this BZ pitch rather than my services simply because BZ is more well-known is quite infuriating.

Maybe all of us on DR should have a contest to see who can create the most preposterous marketing promo chart for this industry. Might be fun to see if anyone can top BZ's debacle.
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    CS
  • May 8, 2008
"It may be better if vendors don't know the arsenal of information assembled just within this site alone"

yeah, you wouldn't want them to notice the compete.com link on the left sidebar under "WEB Tools"

J
I had a thread a while back that pointed out the "real" movers and shakers in our industry: www.dealerrefresh.com/my_weblog/2007/10/the-winds-of-ch.html Dealers trying to break the cookie cutter mold.

My Examples are:
Auction Direct USA
www.auctiondirectusa.com/ (hi Eric!)

City Auto
www.cityauto.com/

Lithia Motors
www.L2.com/

And now... Checkered Flag
www.CheckeredFlag.com/
By far, the biggest commitment to internally generated content, coupled with a totally new site design optimized around this concept.

Alex's experiment is all about "high quality, LOCAL content placed onto an optimized site leads to traffic, and traffic leads to sales". Talk about replacing the sunday newspaper!! Alex has so much effort into this he could resell his content to the local paper!!! Hmmm....

Maybe we should have our own TOP10?
Joe

A
Thanks Joe :) - your endorsement is seriously appreciated!

As for BZ, I have to give my good buddy John McAdams props for staffing such an aggressive sales team. Using Compete in this way is very innovative. However, it is a bit of a slimy sales tactic in my opinion. CS mentioned Alexa, and he is right - I don't know which is worse, Alexa or Compete for this kind of thing. I do think Google Page Rank is a viable resource because it is based on an overall relevance. It does not rely on people installing a toolbar or any of the other methods used. It is also a much simpler thing to understand: you're rated somewhere between a 1 or a 10. Customers use Google, and better Google rankings = more hits.
D
Plus isn't BZ like 8-12k per month!!! The water cooler talk is a dealership in WI used them and ended up filling suit to get out of a ridiculous 3 yrs "Bally's Gym" type agreement.

Dave
312-601-5614

W
In this day an age of cheap talk and little action, I've learned that the best way to handle any vendor pitch is to ask for some references of customers having success with the product or service and then go call them. You'll really know who you're dealing with then.

Now for something off-topic but constructive:

I used a service called PRWeb.com and had some success with it. I issued my first PR on Monday through PRWeb.com and it's already link #8 on Google for my main keyword. I figure 15-20 PRs and I'll have the first two pages of Google results blanketed with positive news for my primary keywords. This also serves as a hedge against negative links creeping up the search results.

I also noticed that a link to our DealerRater.com page has been climbing our search results too. We're just now starting to push that hard.
A
Wayne,

I agree with your approach in asking vendors for references.

However, I think you (and everyone else) can take the vendor evaluation process a bit further.

The thing that has helped us the most evaluate potential vendors is a simple "questionnaire" we give our vendors. It consists of 20 questions we ask vendors ranging from their basic business contact information to requesting references to asking them knowledge of their competition.

The questionnaire really helps us not only understand price (as we know, it's not always about price), but most importantly, truly gauge our vendor's validity.

Keep in mind, this is not fail safe, but it has helped us narrow the scope of what we need from a vendor and how to incorporate their tools into our process.

Andy Warner
M
Actually I disagree with both of the previous posters who would ask other dealers about a vendor's performance. There are four reasons why another dealer would tell you something works great, and the reason you'd be looking for is unlikely to be the motive behind it... here's the top four reasons why dealers give positive testimonials:

1. They don't know what they're talking about. They had total crap before, and now they have something less crappy and think they found a gem.
2. They got paid or incentivized to say it.
3. They actually do know what they're talking about and the product is legitimately good.
4. They think the product sucks and they want you to suck as well. After all, if you're another dealer, you're the competition.


Let's also keep in mind that the number of testimonials you can dig up from your client base is proportional to how many clients you have. Would you see more value in a company with 20 written testimonials on a 5,000 client base, or a company with 5 written testimonials on a 10 client base?

Fact is I couldn't possibly care less about dealer testimonials.
W
Mitch,

So then who are we to listen to more?

a) the vendor
b) the vendor's customers

Based on my trench experience, I'll listen to both, but I'm mostly interested in results, not hype. So how does a vendor show results before a contract is signed? I'm not going to buy on promises alone. I guess I'll have to talk to the vendor's customers.

I understand why you bring up your reasons to be 'wary' of another dealer's testimonial. But to discount them entirely seems extreme. I'm sure there is a balance.

Wouldn't the experienced Internet folk in our industry see through the dealer hype anyway?

J
Mitch,
You're wacked.

Joe
(I re-wrote this post 3 times to get it just right!)
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    Chris K
  • May 10, 2008
I think these 3rd party website/lead tool companies are outrageously priced and there are to me we keep getting sold stuff we don't really need like all the back end tools and fluff.

A great website costs not much to build, any College student can build the most robust flash site and one designed for SEO is no more than $500 - you now own the website.

Web hosting with unlimited traffic is about $20 a month. Month to month.

For me it all comes down to what you do with the leads you get. The fanciest website, name your price is all fine and dandy, but consistent follow up, week in, week out for several months is what works for me.

I just get the leads Nissan gives me, use the phone, use constant contact for $19.95 a month - and I close 15% to 20%.


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    Chris K
  • May 10, 2008
One more thing that I find makes me stand out from my competition: I actually quote a price within the first 2 or 3 emails - whether I talk to them or not. That's why we are #1 in our entire zone.
W
Chris K wrote:

"any College student can build the most robust flash site and one designed for SEO is no more than $500 - you now own the website."


I think this statement is a stretch. You'll get what you pay for, I promise...

Website technologies have become more robust, thus enabling the development of more complex applications. This only means websites will become more functional, thus raising the bar on the shopping experience.

Do you think your college student will want to slave away 50 - 100 hrs building a website that'll compete in tomorrows market for only $500. That's 10 - 5 bucks an hour.


T
With all due respect Chris, Wayne is completely right. Today’s technology is far more complex than yesterday's simple website pages. For example, we are about to release the industries first “online negotiation engine”. A system that will actually allow a desk manager or internet manager and the prospect to negotiate the deal totally online. Your college student wouldn't have clue how to build this type of system.

PS: Chris, just think if you had a robust website with a 19% close ratio, dude you would be rich with the leads it would produce for you.



E
Todd -

Most of today's platforms (C#, Java, PHP, and a Python) aren't about to go away. Newer technology may run more efficient - but will take a while to be considered mainstream for the 'late-adopter' automotive client. (Ajax, Ruby, Squeak, Lisp)

FYI...RE: different shopping model sites, www.fididel.com is already out there and backed w/strong names and $$$. More will follow - soon.

In my opinion, I'd love to have the ability to add a 19yr. old developer to my team. The right kid will be at the epicenter of the IT pulse - plus I can pay him in Taco Bell coupons and he'll be in heaven. (JK - I don't actually pay my interns in food coupons.)

While many of the talented regulars within DR may be considered competitors of mine, I still feel a responsibility to help the dealer community be cognizant of the what's happening out there... (especially after seeing that BZ post)

Hasn't that been Jeff's purpose w/his blog all along?
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    Chris K
  • May 12, 2008
There is no need to pay a company $500- $1000 a month to host a website. Todays websites are fairly simple when you get down to it. I built my first auto dealer website in 1996! All new inventory and used inventory is pulled nightly into the system and populates the websites. Easy! Simple web forms allow you to get the customers to inquire. Text on the site and the images make a call to ACTION! You don't sell cars online unless you have a very aggressive follow up plan. Websites don't sell cars people - humans do! And it's called follow up. I will disagree with you, because I have been doing this stuff for over 10 years.


M
Thanks Joe, I try.

There's definitely a medium ground between what Chris is saying and what most of the industry is used to. Chris, I don't think you're taking into account the fact that you're obviously a part of your own website expense... for many dealers, $1000/mo allows them to call up the vendor when there's a problem or they want something done. For a $20/mo hosting solution, it's the site owner who's doing the work. So think about how much you get paid (or if you're not in this situation, think about how much an Internet geek would get paid to be on-staff for this kind of thing), and tack that onto the $20/mo for hosting.

On the other hand, unless you've got unlimited support that allows you to make tons of changes every month, paying more than a few hundred dollars for hosting is just pure profit. So while I wouldn't ever go the route of letting some kid design my site and simply hand it over to me to host myself, I wouldn't do the opposite and flush cash down the toilet to a vendor like BZ for a four-figure hosting solution.
A
< hello>Geek here< /hello>

I don't only work as an eCommerce Director for a dealer group, I also play one for other organizations online < /end cheesy take on infomercial intro>

Building a good website using all the dynamics: CSS, JAVA, Flash, Silverlight, HTML, and of course a well thought-out Web 2.0 package is tough! I charge a lot more than $1,000 for setup and definitely not $20 a month for hosting. A cheap hosting solution such as GoDaddy or DreamHost's lower packages is typically limited by bandwidth usage. How much would it suck to have your URL advertised all over the place and then not have a site because you were too cheap to pay for a proper hosting solution? Granted, you'll have a site, but what happens if you add a video or two and you exceed your bandwidth limit for that month?

Sure, you can put your inventory on a hosting solution like HomeNet, iMagicLab, or Auction123.....Sure, you can host your video on YouTube or Veoh......Sure, you can pay someone like me to keep things up......BUT what happens if I get hit by a bus? What happens when Google starts putting ads in your video or links to your competitors' videos? There are so many things to consider above and beyond the costs, and when you start considering those things the costs for a Dealer.com, Rey-Rey, or even BZ site become pretty small.

Yeah, there may be some things you want done custom with your automotive site host that you can't get done. There may be some costs your dealer doesn't want to add. Find a different way to get it done - the Internet is limitless in capability! You're only as capable as your imagination. This is truly the first time dealers have had to ability to get things done no matter how big the wallet - we're only limited to our vision.
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    Eric
  • May 12, 2008
This report comes from www.compete.com. Compete.com uses information from it's ISP and a Panel/Toolbar search engine plugged into supporter's browsers (Just like a google search bar in your Internet Explorer or FireFox browser).

What does this mean? This means that their information is not complete and is a rough estimate from only the people that use their plugin and their ISP.

J
  • J
  • May 12, 2008
Incidentally, a high percentage of our new customers come from situations where they tried exactly what Chris K suggested. It may work if you're simply looking to "have a website", but if you're looking to "have a professional, lead generating website" then you really need to work with a company who knows what they're doing, and that doesn't mean you have to spend $2000/month either. Dealers should really evaluate their vendors and if they're not using all the tools provided to them, take a look at cutting those particular tools out and reducing costs. Ask your vendor to discount your rate and remove some unused features.

Our company isn't the biggest out there and we don't offer some of the features that BZ offers, but what we do offer is a set of features that work for our clients. Sure, we're not the best fit for every dealer, but we're up front about that and don't resort to misleading sales tactics like you see in the original post above. Several of our clients forward me marketing emails from other companies, and without naming names, I will say that the apples to oranges comparison from BZ above is NOT the most misleading message I've seen. As long as there are uneducated dealers who don't know any better, there will be companies that take advantage of that. I learned a long time ago that even if I'm able to sell someone on some product, if I railroad them into that product it's only going to come back to bite me. I'd much rather work hard, make sure what I have is a good fit for someone, have happy customers tell me our $160/mo websites are too cheap, and keep my integrity.
J
oh Chris, so lost and woeful Chris.
Back in the 90's,
Ahead of the game was thee,
Buildeth 3 web sites did he,
with a chest puffing zeal, he'd tell anyone in reach...

"It's easy",
"just click this and push that ,
and a web you have... 1,2,3".

A decade does pass,
The web grows and matures,
Industries seek web savants and gurus,
and where is our hero?
Where is "it's no big deal" Chris?

His work is but another leaf in the forest,
known only to his mother and his 3 distant clients,
for they abandoned his web empire,
yet another casualty -no doubt- of the BZ juggernaut.

and now,
in a car lot somewhere in America...
huddled in a bitch circle, smoking cigarettes,
we hear his call...

"It's easy",
"just click this and push that ,
and a web you have... 1,2,3".


Joe
[lurkers take note, if you dont include your URL, this leaves my imagination open to draw any conclusion that fits the moment!]
R
I have looked at this post and the chart that originated it several times... Was the purpose to be critical of a salesperson that made a mistake in researching the dealer's URL? Is the purpose of this post to criticize Compete Inc.'s data collection model? Is the purpose of this post to warn dealers to check the validity of data being presented to them? Or, is all of the above and to take glee in finding mistakes made by others? Those that know me at all will know that I am not shy about criticizing my own team, on an internal basis, and then driving them towards improving their performance. However, I would like to make a point that all of us as so-called Digital Marketing Experts should consider... Just because we know the various flaws and weak spots in various approaches to eBusiness validation models, does not mean that we are making a positive contribution by ridiculing or embarrassing our colleagues in the same industry. Often times, we can come across as pompous arrogant know-it-alls, and this does nothing to promote our profession or encourage less knowledgeable "green peas" to learn more about our craft. As do most people looking at this post, I can see the tactical flaws in the salesperson's approach... But knowing that ADP neither endorses nor authorizes the use of Compete Inc. tools in sales presentations, I nonetheless applaud this salesperson for seeking additional data and 3rd party validation when making his or her case to the dealer or GM.

When one of our colleagues makes a mistake like this, those of us who are "in the know" should clearly identify that mistake directly to the person making it in a manner that seeks less to ridicule or embarrass, and more to improve our entire industry's level of overall professionalism. Otherwise, we are just a bunch of bullies picking on the new kid... Because we can. And, just because we can does not necessarily mean that we should.

I know most of the men and women selling both BZ Results and ADP Dynamic web sites. Like me, and each of you, they are far from perfect in their knowledge of Digital Marketing, but they are for the most part highly ethical and honest... They sincerely believe in the products they sell and they go about doing their jobs, like you and I do, each day. It is certainly OK, and even helpful for all of us to provide constructive criticism, but I do not think that gleefully piling on the ridicule train accomplishes anything of a positive nature.
M
Ralph, my beef with this graph actually has nothing to do with the URLs used, and whether or not a mistake was made. Personally I don't even care about that third URL.

My beef is that any vendor would compare two obviously unrelated dealerships and try to say, "look at the difference between Dealer A and our client, Dealer B!" The traffic generated to dealer sites is based largely on how popular the dealer is in general, and the geographic region they do business in. You can make strides with good marketing but a site that gets no traffic on its own isn't going to become a powerhouse overnight with just a marketing campaign. I don't need to know who Dealer A and Dealer B is on this chart to know that it sure as hell isn't the same level of dealership. Whatever BZ marketing may have done for Dealer B has almost no influence on the difference between these two dealers... I can promise you that.

If you're going to a little mom-and-pop dealership in the boonies who gets 900 uniques a month, and telling them you can do for them what you did for their big city competitor who gets 9,000 uniques a month, you're lying, plain and simple. BZ knows damn well that 8,000 of those 9,000 uniques were already there before the marketing campaign started, so they're taking credit for something they didn't do. Frankly, a much more accurate reflection of their campaign performance would simply be a 12-month trend comparing their own client's traffic before and after.

That's my beef: every dealership is different, so don't slap two of them on a chart and act like their numbers should correlate. Rarely can you put together a comparison chart of dealer websites' traffic numbers and have them be objective.

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    Lao Shi
  • May 13, 2008

Let the buyer beware.

Buzztrak/BZ Results is bloated, over priced and under delivers like most of the ADP products. ADP purchased this company so you would think they would purchase one that has state of the art technology, now just a year or so out of the gate the technology is dated already. Maybe ADP is afraid of getting ahead of themselves on the technology curve. If not for ADP strong arming their clients to use the BZ Program one wonders how many they would have sold. At the price BZ charges and locking clients into a multi year contract they should at least deliver what they sell.

If the dealers break down the components of what BZ offers and price out these with competitors they will find they are paying a 50-60 % premium for BZ which offers an inferior product/ service. As an example; the cost of what IOL charges for their inventory solution monthly, which is quite a good solution, is a bargain and is a month to month package, BZ bundles this into their package with a Mickey Mouse web site, a inferior email system, a bloated CRM tool charges $5-6000.00 a month for their solution and ties dealers into a multi year contract??? What BZ provides is not worth the cost.

There are more steps to the Buzztrak process than any other system out there. The control panel is a real work of art that must have been worked on by a bunch of high school students. The tech support, bless them for their hanging in there, is sometimes at a loss as the sales people over sell what the product can do. You wonder where this comes from. You have to call them so they can call you back which means you have to hang there waiting for the call.

If you use BuzzTrak CRM, your outgoing email to the email hosts and free ones like yahoo.com, hotmail.com, gmail.com, msn.com, etc, is most likely ending up in their bulk email or SPAM folder not to the customer’s email. The lead that you just paid good money for is useless. How many potential customers waited for a response via email and thought that you weren't interested enough in their request to answer them.

One of the main complaints with Buzztrak is the automated responses drive the clients to opt out; when that happens you have lost the client. Clients complain they receive emails about financing, insurance offers ETC, they are not looking for this information nor expecting it.

Clients whose opt out rate is about 0.2% for their whole database. With BZ Results the rate was more like 63.3% in the 1st 4 months. These are clients that are technology lost as when they called them the customers just complain they have been spammed to death and do not want to deal with your dealership any longer.

Today when most dealers have to monitor their overhead and costs just to stay in business one wonders what they think of paying out all the additional money every month to BZ. This is for a product they could have gotten at half the price and that they are locked into for this for the next few years.


A
Ralph - I applaud threads like these on Dealer Refresh. I think this is the one pure place on the Internet, for dealers, telling it like it is. Yeah, sometimes it is tough stuff one might not like, but the debate is strong and worthy. Without debate, we build one-sided foundations.
J
Dealers are NOT victims.

The BZ story is not a victim vs. prey story. No one forced Mr Dealer to sign the contract. Mr Dealer was excited to DUMP his RIDICULOUS NEWSPRINT costs for a far cheaper (and sexier) web site. This ROI based decision still has merit.

Lao, why no URL? Gosh I hate a that! Are you a vendor? You write like one.

Joe


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    Chris K
  • May 14, 2008
Joe P.,

I actually never have sat in a bitch circle and smoke like a chimney - although I've seen them at previous dealerships... never been part of them... and that atmosphere is nonexistent where I am now. By the way, your poetry sucks - and you really like to blow your horn.

What I can't stand is people telling me what I don't know. Here's what I do know that most salespeople don't - Follow up, over days, weeks, and months is MORE important that some hyped up website any day.

For you know it alls, why don't you tell everyone what are the essential components of the "latest lead generating" websites that are so important to dealership survival... so we can all see what are the MUSTS!?

Anyone?? Thanks!
R
Wow... Such a heated thread, and going off in so many tangents... Gotta love the action, and the interaction. It is rare to see so much emotion in the words posted to a thread like this. Everybody is entitled to an opinion, but stating it does not make it any more or less accurate. Personally, I have worked on both sides of the vendor/dealer fence, going back and forth a few times. For the most part, I like the people working for dealership digital marketing suppliers, and I believe some of the best and brightest working in dealerships are involved with eBusiness. Sure, it may be true that comparing 2 different dealership web site traffic metrics is an apples and oranges thing, but let's face it... Dealers like to see comparisons between their store and others of similar planning potential, and we also have the OEM's who are always serving up comparisons between various dealership metrics. I agree that comparisons must be viewed from a perspective that takes into account the differentiation factors, such as PP, AOR, brands sold and more, but comparing dealerships with each other, and comparing car companies with each other is a very popular practice in our industry. So, once again, I suggest that the salesperson who generated the report at the beginning of this thread, and who went out of his/her way to do some self-initiated research, did in fact put forth a sincere effort to validate his pitch. And there in lies the difference between a crime and a questionable value proposition... Intent, effort and execution. Regardless of how you want to criticize the use of metrics in a sales pitch, it still beats the heck out of "Go ahead and look at this whiz bang web site, ain't she a looker!"
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    scm
  • May 15, 2008
Hi Everyone,

This might be a diffucult question to answer but what should a well established dealership thats advertisers a lot in a certain area (print,radio) , should have for unique hits to there internet site ?

Thanks
E
SCM - waaaay to vague.

what's the site?


J
I'll add to Eric's comment.

SCM, it's also the message in the ads.
--Is the web URL the cornerstone of the TV/Print message?
--Is the URL EASY to remember (and easy to spell).
--Are you number1 or number 2 in total spending for your market?
--The number of units on the ground and number of hits are closely correlated, how large is your inventory (relative to your competitors)

IMO, This size of inventory issue "makes or breaks" all your marketing discussions.

Joe
a proud member of IGURL (I've got a URL)


A
Ralph - you know the person who made this don't you?
L
Ralph: "Wow... Such a heated thread, and going off in so many tangents... Gotta love the action, and the interaction. It is rare to see so much emotion in the words posted to a thread like this...."

And, from my perspective, quite refreshing that it's not about the usual target. :-)
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    scm
  • May 15, 2008
Hi,

I'm just a "small corner" used car dealer. Thats all, nothing huge. 25-30 used cars in inventory. No print, no tv, all "net".


"SCM, it's also the message in the ads.
--Is the web URL the cornerstone of the TV/Print message?

No print, radio etc.. advertising. I'm all "net"



--Is the URL EASY to remember (and easy to spell).

I think so.


--Are you number1 or number 2 in total spending for your market?

Nope. No way !
I'm a small fry.


--The number of units on the ground and number of hits are closely correlated, how large is your inventory (relative to your competitors)"

Like I said earlier, I have about 25-30 used cars and my uniques far outweigh my used car inventory ( see below )

According to Google Analytics I have

April 14 - May 12
5,458 Visits
4,689 Absolute Unique Visitors
15,177 Pageviews
2.78 Average Pageviews
00:01:41 Time on Site
54.36% Bounce Rate <<-- (Working on that)
81.73% New Visits


Accoring to Statcounter I have

Apirl
15,763 Page Views
5,224 Uniques
529 Repeats

Apr 2008
(PageLoads) 15,763
(Uniques) 5,524
(First Time Visitors) 4,995
(Repeats) 529

My site costs $10.00 each month to run. <<--- (I know I'm a used car dealer but I'm not bullshitting anyone with that number)

Proud member of (INGTGMURL) I'm not going to give my URL :)

The reason why I'm not going to my url is because I don't feel comfortable right now. Its nothing against people who post and read DR.
J
  • J
    Joe
  • May 15, 2008
SCM,
Dealerships and markets are like snowflakes, no two are alike!

Ok SCM, you're putting out the effort for sure, all great info.
We all take on roles, some of us are small, some are large. EACH of us has unique challenges. EXAMPLE: Due to your size, You can "out effort" a bigger store and make your presentations far more personal. If you put more effort into your presentations, you could expect your # of pages viewed and time on site to increase.

Branding is a problem that needs addressing. Nearly every visitor to your site has no clue who you are. If I land on your site from a search engine & if your site dosent visually convey a high end reputation and a positive shopping experience (in about 10 seconds), then off I go. What ever is your stores "theme" you need to get it out ASAP. Testimonials help here.

Without seeing your content, I'd make sure that your photos are magical (as close to perfect as you can get).

Bounce rate tells me that most of your traffic comes from Search engines. Yes? No?

Also, ck keyword phrases that folks are using to find your site. If you have a lot of "Toyota Prius Replacement Headlamp" hits then, the bounce rate isn't as much of an issue.

There's lots more stuff to consider, but... until you disavow your allegiance to INGTGMURL and jump ship to the "good team" IGURL, I must end it all here ;-)

Hope this helps,
Joe
p.s. Jeff K's has been overheard discussing plans on a "pimp my site" thread sometime in the future. I got 1st dibs!!
C
Hey scm,
Without knowing much more about the type of traffic and the sources, that bounce rate might not be as bad as it looks on paper. But one thing we struggled with back in 03/04 was a latency issue when some one requested our homepage (talking about 4 seconds here before anything appeared on the user's end), which caused our bounce rate to be astronomically high (~70%). When we fixed just that issue, our homepage bounce rate dropped to 22%.

Nowadays, if your site doesn't, at the very least, APPEAR to be loading right away, the user is going to be clicking back faster than you can imagine. Yahoo has a great Firefox extension called ySlow which will give you a very detailed report on what affects your website load time and ways to fix it. Having a $10/month hosting solution (and I'm not knocking it), also means your battling whoever else is on that server for resources.

Because web browsers are limited to 2 connections to a url at one time, one of the easiest ways to speed up page load time is to put all your images and photos on a seperate domain name (images.somedealer.com). This way, all your HTML can load in right away, giving the appearance that things are happening as soon as a user clicks to your site, and then all your images/photos filter in 2 at a time. Very affective, free and easy to do. You can take it even further and create urls for your javascript and CSS (js.somedealer.com, css.somedealer.com).

If we take a look at mileone.com using ySlow, it shows that on the homepage there are 21 external javascript files, 4 external style sheets and 38 images. However, most of these components are hosted on different domains/sub-domains, and so when you go to mileone.com, you get that appearance of an instantly loading website, even though in reality, there's an abundance of http connections going on!

Chip-
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  • M
    Mike
  • May 15, 2008
I ran the Internet Department of a dealer that signed up with BZ. $5300 per month, 5 years and they never delivered on any of the promises they made. Never gave us our kiosks that were a part of the package and anytime we had a problem, the answer was "we have a system." On one conference call, involving the owner and general manager of my dealership and one BZ "raving Fan Manager" whom I had numerous e-mails to and from, told me and my bosses that she had no idea who I was when called out on leaving us high and dry.

During the courtship of our dealerships owner, I was sent to a local dealer who was using BZ to pick the Internet Directors Brain, I was given no substantial evidence of how things worked. I must say in retrospect, the other dealers director was in kahootz with BZ to get local dealers to sign up.

The end all is that BZ can use whatever tactics they want, because there are dealers out there that I could present with a revolutionary system I call 10 key and a sharpie, and with a good enough sales pitch I would rake in the dough, some dealers are not interested enough in counting on themselves, and the people they employ and think there are some magic beans that will change everything for them.

BZ is the master of selling Magic Beans, against all of my wishes to stay away my boss still signed up.

All BZ sells is things that anyone on this site already knows, make your web address the focal point of your advertising, mine your own database for customers and continue to grow it by adding more customer e-mails.

With that last paragraph, I think I just helped some dealer save $5300 per month or more.

p.s. if anyone knows of a dealer interested in the revolutionary system 10 key and a sharpie I am available!
S
  • S
    smallfry
  • May 15, 2008
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for the responses. Please forgive my "piecemeal" response.

"Ok SCM, you're putting out the effort for sure, all great info.
We all take on roles, some of us are small, some are large. EACH of us has unique challenges. EXAMPLE: Due to your size, You can "out effort" a bigger store and make your presentations far more personal. If you put more effort into your presentations, you could expect your # of pages viewed and time on site to increase."

Hi Joe,

What do you mean by presentations ? In regards to roles, I'm the owner.




"Bounce rate tells me that most of your traffic comes from Search engines. Yes? No?"

Half search engines, other half local sites (autotrader, cars.com etc....) <<<<---- One could make the argument that neither are "local" but each are in my market.


"Also, ck keyword phrases that folks are using to find your site. If you have a lot of "Toyota Prius Replacement Headlamp" hits then, the bounce rate isn't as much of an issue"

My keywords are targeted (I think). I get hits for cars but I need to work on "localization". If I'm located in the midwest what good is it to get hits from people in Canada.....

Also, I never understood this about auto. car dealership SEO some people "brag" about how they rank well for the name of there dealership ???????????????? WTF is that ????????????

Name -->> "My Car Dealership Rocks"
google search
"My Car Dealership Rocks"
google result
#1"mycardealershiprocks.com"
Yippy I'm Number 1 ! <<<<------- But you should be !

Shouldn't the above term be the EASIEST term to rank number #1 ? assuming your name is unique but most dealership names are .......





"Branding is a problem that needs addressing. Nearly every visitor to your site has no clue who you are. If I land on your site from a search engine & if your site dosent visually convey a high end reputation and a positive shopping experience (in about 10 seconds), then off I go. What ever is your stores "theme" you need to get it out ASAP. Testimonials help here."

Your correct in regards to branding maybe I should buy google cpm ads...





"There's lots more stuff to consider, but... until you disavow your allegiance to INGTGMURL and jump ship to the "good team" IGURL, I must end it all here ;-)"

haha I like that. In time perhaps ....





Hi Chip,

Thanks for the advice on different servers, domains and ySlow but currently my photos are being hosted on a different server and my bounce rate still stinks ! :(

My focus is leads, phone calls and sales of course !


"Having a $10/month hosting solution (and I'm not knocking it), also means your battling whoever else is on that server for resources."

Very very true.


"Very affective, free and easy to do. You can take it even further and create urls for your javascript and CSS (js.somedealer.com, css.somedealer.com)."

Chip, if you have different javascript, CSS and won't this mess up your SEO structure ? or perhaps boost it <<-- Black Hat ? :) :)


Changed Name to ----->>>> "smallfry"
E
Mitch -

You asked for some presentations earlier.

Here's a great example that everyone should study and add to their arsenal.

This offers the balance & insight I think everyone is seeking.

http://is.gd/2kz






J
  • J
    JL
  • May 16, 2008
"Joe
a proud member of IGURL"

Some of us would prefer no identity to an identity crisis :)
I don't think I GURL is going to catch on amongst this crowd.

Cheers!

U
Regarding BZ... its just a simple mistake... mistakes happen... BZ is a good company... they do somethings great... anytime I have to deal with them it's been pleasurable... but my dealing have only been technical... (we compete so I have no love for them :))

LOL.. Rick Rolled...

smallfry... do you have any other stats package on the site...
numbers vary between most...

If I was working on getting users to stick... I would look at each page... see where the users are just dropping... look at what search term has the most bounce rate... see if that is even relevant to my site... remove the term or work at it... sign up with Adwords so I can use the website optimizer... change things around on the page and test different things... bet you are already doing most of this.


C
Smallfry,
Where your CSS and Javascript files are hosted won't have any negative impact on your SEO efforts. They could help you increase your SEO efforts if your pages start loading faster. One of the things Google is really starting to press is not only page quality, but also load time. This is especially true if you are running Adwords campaigns as your page load times will directly affect your Quality Score(a determining factor in the minimum amount you will pay per click).

-

If your inventory photos are currently being hosted by a third party, this will help your pages load faster, but at the same time you're receiving no search engine value for having those photos on your site. I know it's now rarely the case, but ideally you want to host those photos (inventory.yourdomain.com) as there's some good value in having your site come up when some one is doing image searches on the SE's.

-

-- Name -->> "My Car Dealership Rocks"
-- google search
-- "My Car Dealership Rocks"
-- google result
-- #1"mycardealershiprocks.com"
-- Yippy I'm Number 1 ! <<<<------- But you should be !

--Shouldn't the above term be the EASIEST term to rank number #1 ?"

Yes, you really should rank number 1 for your dealership name! And it shouldn't take much more than having an on point domain name and the basics of a correctly structured homepage. But, you'd be surprised at how many dealerships leave themselves open for other sites to slip in on top of their listings.

Chip-
U
Hmm... not if you dealership name is like Clark Ford. Boy there are lot of Clark's that have ford dealerships... :)
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  • D
    dtg
  • May 24, 2008
I have watched this post for a while and question... What is the real purpose of most of the Compete.com and BZ bashers? Some identify themselves clearly as competors... others? Compete.com, though not authorized by ADP, does offer a snap shot to a dealership in a quick decisive manner that in my experience mirrors Google and our more advanced Omniture statistics. Not perfect, but a decent guide for people (dealers) that are not Digital experts and have next to no interest in becoming one. I am not making excuses for the posted screen shot (and added BZ logo) but if it was real, is it possible that the rep. just did not delete the last sample url preloaded on Compete.com start up? I take great pride in the proven results of our products and company... I would only ask that anyone considering a Digital Marketing Total Solution look deeper than this thread... (Auto Dealer Monthly, May 2008 pages 37 and 41) to see that there is a very good reason for our product(s) being utillized by the majority of the progressive Digital Marketing automotive dealers. Thank you for the opportunity to express my (personal) opinions.
R
To Alex,

I do not know which BZ Results salesperson created the chart that originated this thread... And, if I did I would not be ashamed to say so! However, I had a situation last week that reminded me of this one. An ADP account manager who normally represents DMS related products and services was asked by one of her dealers about the new Ford Dealer Advertising Co-Op reimbursement program. He wanted to know the connection, if any, with the Ford Digital Advertising Program, which my team administers for Ford and Lincoln Mercury dealers... She correctly explained to the dealer that the two programs were distinct and seperate from each other. The dealer went back to his Ford Zone Manager and wanted to know why Internet advertising was not covered by the new Co-Op advertising program (which is a false statement). The Zone Manager explained that Internet Advertising is eligible for FLM Dealer Advertising Co-Op reimbursement if it meets program guidelines (which is a true statement). The story got passed upstream to Ford executives and the next thing you know I am being asked why our ADP sales team is telling dealers that the Ford Digital Ad Program is not covered by the Dealer Advertising Co-Op program (which in fact it is!). By the time I was able to identify the ADP sales rep and then speak to both her and the dealer I came to realize that everything she told the dealer was actually true and that the dealer had made incorrect ASSUMPTIONS based on her correct statements! I see this type of confusion, misstatement of facts and false ASSumptions on a daily basis. As a result, I have learned over time to reach out and gather more information and either email or call the parties involved before I make any foolish ASS-umptions about what people say or present when I am not a first-hand witness.

Look, it is real easy to get all hyper-critical and slam suppliers on an open blog like DR, and for the most part none of us have to worry about being held accountable for what we write or statements we make that may or may not be accurate... Other than our own sense of maintaining a reputation for integrity in this business.

I cannot count how many times I have been required to work with irate customers buying a car to take the hair out of a kinked deal because of innacurate statements made by a car salesman trying to close his or her sale... Heck, on the way home today from Sonoma, CA wine country I listened to a woman tell me about how she was considering a 60 month lease on a new vehicle... I found myself explaining the pros and cons of leasing in general and how most experts recommend a 24 or 36 month lease rather than a longer term and that a 36 month lease is comparable to a 72 month car loan and a 24 month lease is comparable to a 60 month car loan, etc., etc.

Plenty of people would argue those points with me as well, but i know in my heart I am making true statements and have been both a consumer of and a merchant of new vehicle leasing for over 20 years! I know what the hell I am talking about!

I wonder if the BZ Results salesperson who produced the chart that started this thread feels the same way? And, what if for some bizarre reason unbeknownst to any of us he or she had a reason for using the furntiure store URL? What if he or she was trying to illustrate the importance of acquiring and managing a domain name portfolio? Has anyone ever bothered to get this individual's response to this post or to send him or her a link to it by email?

OK, maybe I am the eternal optimist and I tend to believe in the inherent good within most people until they prove otherwise, but for crying out loud it sures seems to be easy to post a whole bunch of trash talk about someone when they are not around to defend themselves or provide a response to accusations!

Most, not all, but a majority of the Digital Marketing professionals and suppliers I meet in this business tend to be fairly honest and ethical in their business practices. If a dealer buys technology, turns down both consulting and training that is offered to show the dealership's employee's how to use the technology that was purchased... How can that dealer then complain that his employees do not know how to use that very same technology and as a result the store gets no benefit from it? I have seen this happen for many, many years... And, it stoill happens today! If the person assigned by a supplier to serve a dealer knows that dealer on a first name basis and speaks to that dealer on a weekly basis... Who is responsioble for that same supplier point of contact not knowing who the Internet Sales Manager is? I do not pretend to know all the answers, but sometimes asking a few of the right questions is a gtreat place to start.
R
Oh yeah, and one more thing.... to Mr. Umer Farooq who posted: "Hmm... not if you dealership name is like Clark Ford. Boy there are lot of Clark's that have ford dealerships... :)"

THAT is a classic situation begging for Paid Search Engine Advertising that is both geotargeted and bids on apropriate variations of Clark Ford, Clark Motors, Ford dealers in (hometown), etc.!

As much as I love SEO, there is a time and a place for eveything, including PAID SEARCH!

I can feel the flames acoming....


A
Ralph - why are you pointing that novel of a comment at me? Are you making an "ASS"umption of something?
K
adp owned bz results are bucnh of crooks scam atists,they have the worlds best presentaion,do not fall for it.they stole all my leads from there crm buzz track,i lost over 10,000 my own leads.there seo sucks,you are better off building your own html site with related keywords,your site wil not be cut and paste job done by bz results,google will penalise you if you get bz results cut and paste copied site,they will over bil you and than make you promise they will correct it,instead you will be slapped with threatening letters to be sued in rhode island,stay away from such crooks,gene loop,rick freedman,bob labrizi,eric pearson are all bunch of thieves.
O
Great post. I myself do not like using compete.com or alexa.com or google rank at all. None of these are very accurate, because they are all based on estimates. Although Google Rank could be informative, but the PR that the toolbar shows is not the actual PR that Google has on file (it is delayed). Read this http://searchengineland.com/what-is-google-pagerank-a-guide-for-searchers-webmasters-11068#internal

The only true way to compare website to website is to have the same analytics code on our websites and we openly discuss these numbers. Since most of us do not like to share this information, there will not be a tool that can give you data like we want.

I still prefer the old fashioned way of checking my rankings by using a Google rank checker tool for my site and compare it to my competitors. Problem with this is that Google does not allow too many queries.

To CHRIS K: Chris next time you post it would be nice to see a link to your site, so we can judge oursleves how great your website is. Right now since you decided to not post your URL, I put ZERO VALUE behind your comments (I like to check your site myself before admitting you do good or bad.) Maybe your site works great, but how is your SEO working for you?

Although I myself do believe that I can built a site that will work better for SEO then the current platforms, to say that a college kid can built one for $500 is insane. How much do you invest (time wise) in making your platform better and to keep up with new technologies for maximum user experience? Even if you do that, what happens when you leave the dealership? Why would a dealer take that risk.

Every site is different, because the market is different and/or the product is different. The only one you can truely compare to would be your direct competitors, but then again, would you open your doors to what you are doing? I don't but luckily there is something called reverse engineering that allows me to see what the big boys do right and copy what they do. I also listen to every SEO salesman that comes my way and check out sites they use to sell.

Most of these companies give me the mumbo jumbo deal that they have software analyzing the google algorithms and they are most often full of it. Our dealership is a single point Acura dealer, so we have a limited budget compared to some dealer groups and we do not have the time to customize our website too much like checkeredflag.com does (I wish!!!)

All I care about is how my traffic and conversion numbers are. I just altered and installed a little script myself that a company wanted to sell me for $1,200 a month to improve our SEO. My SEO results did improve for a lot of keyword combinations, but how will this actually affect my traffic is what I care about. So since recently installing this, I will keep a close eye on my traffic increase and my bounce ratio.
F
  • F
    Former Employee
  • December 17, 2009
I worked for Bz Results before they were bought out by ADP, its all a scam and it will continue to be a scam and Ralph, i dunno if you still work for bz, but you used too, so stop defending them, your as brain washed as the culture they sell you when you first start working there. Save your money peeps.

This company was made on the premise of ripping people off. After the owners sold BZ this is what there new hoax http://www.astonishresults.com/Default.aspx?tabid=187&amp;EntryID=51

also, the brain child of BZ has his new project also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_DeGraide

Its all a huge scam, beware
F