Dealership Marketing

Is Edmunds STEALING from you?

Edmunds.com, they’re stealing from me!

We spend a lot of money with Edmunds.  We buy leads off their site (through a third-party) and participate in their PDP program for premium placement.  We have been a very good customer of theirs for YEARS!  And they’ve been good to us….until now.

Before I get into what is going on, I want to say that I have sent emails and made phone calls to my rep who aids us in all things Edmunds.  He has pushed things up the chain, along with my request for “at least a phone call” before 5:00 PM EST today to work things out.  Well, the phone call didn’t come.  So, I feel that I have given Edmunds time to respond.  They could have simply said “5:00 PM isn’t enough time” and I would have been fine with that.  So here we go:

I was checking on new search results for our dealership names on Google and came across a PPC ad on the search term “Checkered Flag MINI“:

Screen shot 2009-12-01 at 10.30.25 AM

Do you see what’s wrong with this?

Here is a company we pay lots of money to buying AND USING our name to get people to submit a price quote request on their site to either sell back to us OR to sell to one of our competitors.  Ladies and Gentlemen, that is THEFT!!!

Here’s the full screen shot:

moz-screenshot-33

We own the rights to our name within our marketplace.  We did not give Edmunds permission to parade as us on Google (another big nasty issue for a later DealerRefresh article).  And I also don’t like the fact that there is a company we pay good money to who is competing with us for SEM placement on our own friggin’ name (and another big nasty issue for another DR article).

Just to show that Checkered Flag is not the only dealership being effected, here are our friends at Proctor Acura:

image001-4

image001-5

I want to believe that Edmunds made a mistake.  I want to believe that they just forgot to filter something out of their gigantic SEM campaign.  I want to believe that they wouldn’t outright steal from a long-term partner.

So, what do you have to say Edmunds?

Dealers – you better start Googling your name!

UPDATE:  12/5/2009

Edmunds has publicly responded in the comments section of this posting that they have stopped this PPC practice.  However, many other points have been brought to light because of this.  Also in the comment string below are points on Edmunds SEO practices and use of dealership names.  Read the comments to formulate your own opinions.

As best we can tell, Edmunds has not apologized for any of this as of yet.

J
Alex, all I can say is wow. Over 13 years in this business and that's probably the most blatant example I've seen.

We all knew that we were competing against the KBBs and Edmunds for SERP ranking but actually using your name....wow.

I assume your counsel is on it.

Joe Turner
B
Thanks for the heads up on this Alex. I was thinking about using this company in the future but this certainly needs to be addressed before I move forward with them or any of their affiliates. I wonder how long this has been happening?
J
At first I thought...let me give them the benefit of the doubt. If I click on their ad with your dealership name as the title, it MUST go to a page on Edmunds.com featuring Checkered Flag MINI, right?

Nope.

Targeting business names with ppc keywords is nothing new, but to be so blatant about it...I agree, it's wrong.
W
Dang... that's incredible. We're not having our name taken, yet. But now that it's out in the open I'm sure something will be taken care of soon!
J
wow holy shyte Alex... all I can say is that is bloody shady of them. Good luck in getting that resolved.
T
So let all click fraud! Yahoo! (not the search engine) Alex lead the charge! Spike the nubers! Post to the other blog sites? Ralph, David, Brian, Jarad?

I cost'um .49-$1.25 Made me feel good Alex!

Click, click, click
lets hit Edmund's
with a big stick!

D-Day (Ralph P): War's over, man. Wormer dropped the big one.
Bluto: (Alex)Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!
Otter (Jeff K): [whispering] Germans?
Boon (Brian P): Forget it, he's rolling.
Bluto: And it ain't over now. 'Cause when the goin' gets tough... [thinks hard] the tough get goin'! Who's with me? Let's go! [runs out, alone; then returns] What the **** happened to the Delta I used to know? Where's the spirit? Where's the guts, huh? "Ooh, we're afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble." Well just kiss my *** from now on! Not me! I'm not gonna take this. Wormer (Edmunds), he's a dead man! Marmalard (Edmunds), dead! Niedermeyer -
Otter: Dead! Bluto's right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards. Now we could do it with conventional weapons that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part.
Bluto: We're just the guys to do it.
D-Day: Let's do it.
Bluto: LET'S DO IT!!
J
Tim, that's funny stuff right there, but on the money. (says Joe as he runs out the door screaming after Tim)
T
he,he,he,he

Grass Roots, Grass Roots,
Lets stand up and
give'um the Boots!
Tim - that's hilarious! Just remember the future is Senator Bluto :)

I still have not heard anything from Edmunds. My account rep has called me twice since 5:00 PM telling me someone was going to call me on my cell phone this evening. I'm very bummed not to hear from them yet. I like Edmunds. I want to work things out with them.
B
Edmunds did not have any sponsored links in a search for my dealer but Chrysler did! Yep!
A
Alex S. - At least your account rep has called you back. I will assume my rep is on an extended Thanksgiving.

It looks like they are doing the same thing with the Toyota dealer here in town. It's obviously nation wide and across many brands.
No mistake!
B
Alex,
I understand your concern for using your multi-million dollar brand in a PPC campaign but is this really much different than what Edmunds.com and other content/lead collection portals, review sites and business directories have been doing for years via SEO?

For example, type into Google "Checkered Flag Honda" and you will see on page one an SEO optimized page for your dealership from Edmunds.

http://www.edmunds.com/dealerships/Virginia/Norfolk/CheckeredFlagHonda/index.html

On this page, you can post a review or get a price quote for a Honda or any car. Why would they optimize a page on their website for your dealership? Why would they take the time to create a page for most dealerships in the USA?

They are using your "brand" to generate traffic and leads. This has been going on for years and its a multi-million dollar business that drains equity from your brand.

YellowBot.com has an optimized page for your brand name:

http://www.yellowbot.com/checkered-flag-honda-norfolk-va-1.html

So does Yelp.com:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/checkered-flag-honda-service-department-norfolk

So does SuperPages.com:
http://www.superpages.com/bp/Norfolk-VA/Checkered-Flag-Honda-L0116347619.htm

All of these people are using your multi-million dollar brand to generate Google Adsense revenue and to collect leads that they can sell for $15-$20 on the wholesale market.

These leads are then purchased and sold to 3 dealers for a total of $60. There are millions of dollars tied up in leveraging car dealership brand name.

The PPC campaign is nothing compared to the organically optimized pages that Edmunds has on most dealers in the USA.

The PPC caught your eye but the real money is that Edmunds.com is showing up on Google Page One for in the organic listings for searches on many dealer names.

As long as there are no "rules" about organically optimized content pages or profile pages, the only way to diminish the brand drain is to make sure lead collectors DO NOT show on Google Page One or two for searches on your brand name.

That's what I do for my clients who want to make that a reality.
Take note everyone - Brian is showing you how to turn something into a sales pitch. Master sales person at work!
B
I'll take that as a compliment...:)
You should. That was strong!
Edmunds, what are you thinking? Dealers are not the dumb asses you think we are.
R
Third party lead providers and dealers remind me of America and oil. We despise the countries that sell us the oil but we keep buying it and do nothing to reduce our dependence on it.

I agree with Pasch's statement "The PPC campaign is nothing compared to the organically optimized pages that Edmunds has on most dealers in the USA."

Take a stand! Develop your own sources of leads and stop buying theirs.
P
As good as the strategy that Brian scarfed.. :P

You can capitalize on dealers that are not paying attention via ad networks with an aggressive content network PPC campaign and use "your" pages to drive traffic to a well optimized landing page (for conversion) to steal the lead sale away from them for way less than a search network click.

Content network + Review Sites + Well optimized landing page = Low cost online marketing campaign...

I feel an arbitrage attack coming on..
D
We gave our sources 30 days notice 3 weeks ago because of this practice. Your right Richard in your analogy, we do feel dependent so we don't give them up. If we all take a stand and more importantly take control of your online presence & position we will have better quality leads and who doesn't want that.
N
Alex,

I think there's an alternative view on this. When I first started in automotive I accidentally did very much the same-- although in that case it was [city name] Honda, which also happened to be a dealership name.

What may be happening is they've generated a huge list of keywords and are using Dynamic Keyword Insertion... so it may simply be the case of a separation/lack of communication between sales and accounts with the technical SEM teams.

While it may be (unlikely), it's still something to consider. Obviously I don't know the real answer.
B
I created a paper on this discussion since it is so important for car dealers to understand. Thank you Alex for motivating me to write the article that has been in my head for a while.

If car dealers do nothing to protect their brand, they will have leakage.

http://www.slideshare.net/brianpasch/your-online-brand-is-leaking
A
Yeah Brian - you are so right! I just drafted a little email, based off of what you're saying, to my third-party lead rep (I'm only down to 1 company these days anyway) asking why I should continue to put money toward their venture when a lot of what they represent is just using our name to sell us customers who were already looking for us.

This can of worms is WAAAAAY DEEP!
T
Welcome to my world Alex... It is natural to respond as if you just caught your accountant with their hand in the cookie jar, but it is far more effective to use these same strategies to:

1) Move edmunds off of page 1

2) Put YOUR brand on your competitor's page one listings.

Thats how I roll anyway...

I would argue (to the vendor's chagrin) that PPC has very little value to the dealer -- IF you own page 1. I do zero PPC and we still saw 25,259 visitors to our sites last month. A bullet proof SEO strategy trumps a PPC strategy every time.

Combine that with the fact that consumer habits are trending away from PPC on large ticket items that are more research oriented (Like automotive). Great if you want the best price on a blue ray movie - not so much for a car.

We just axed our last pay-per-lead provider. Amazing what you can do when you generate your own leads.

With a network of dealerships like Alex's one could REALLY dominate their PMA and well beyond. I've done it with a single point store. Now I'm taking it further by leveraging 3 strong brands.

Herb Chambers has 45 franchises. His site does virtually zero SEO and is one of if not the highest trafficked dealer website in the country. All due to the high number of brands he naturally appears for. My single point Nissan store get's approx 25% of HerbChambers.com's total traffic volume.

Use SEO to take back the incremental business thats out there...

OK I'm off my soap box...
B
Tim,
That's why I always enjoy strategizing with you... because you want to win. Let's continue to dominate.
J
Alex, Jeff, and the DR Community,

This new Internet marketing era is a complicated one, isn’t it?

We appreciate your concerns and have taken immediate action. We reviewed all of our thousands of SEM campaigns and we have made the decision to no longer bid on search terms that consist of proper dealer names. It was never our intention to divert consumers from dealer websites, but we can see how our activities could be construed as doing that; I will explain this more below.

We will, however, continue to buy search terms that are combinations of geographic names with franchise names -- so as to respond to consumer searches like “Seattle BMW.” That is because we have inventory and research information that is relevant to consumers looking for BMWs in Seattle. If there happens to be a dealership with the name “Seattle BMW,” it is merely a coincidence. Unfortunately that is what is happening to Proctor Acura because of the city Proctor in Texas. We are still going to show up in searches where the dealer’s name is the name of a geographic location plus a franchise name, but “Checkered Flag Mini,” “Bob Smith BMW” and others with such names should now be removed.

If, for whatever reason, any dealership name is more than just a geographic area and it seems we are still bidding on the name, please let us know, at http://support.edmunds.com/contactus.aspx, and we will respond as quickly as possible.

Why did we bid on these terms? We are offering a research path for consumers who seek more information about vehicles. To that end, the page that the ad sends people to contains in-depth information about the vehicle in question. For example in the case of “Checkered Flag Mini,” the ad linked to: www.edmunds.com/mini/index.html -- which is a Mini vehicle research page, not a “lead generation” page.

We are not attempting to fool the Google user into thinking that we are a dealer. Our advertisements are quite clear that we are an information resource – not a competitor. Our URL displayed to consumers on Google is our name, not a variant on a dealership name – so no consumers will think that they are linking to a dealer and find themselves unexpectedly on Edmunds.com.

Should you ever want to get in touch with us again: we have really great leads partners who support our Leads and Premier Dealer Programs, and you can always reach out to your representative that sells our products. However, the quickest way to get a response from Edmunds.com is by submitting a request through http://support.edmunds.com/contactus.aspx.

Those of you who know me personally, as always, feel free to contact me directly at any time.

Good selling.

John Giamalvo
Director, Dealer Initiatives
Edmunds.com
J
Its about time Edmunds sent back a rebuttal
John,

Thank you for responding. Yes, the Internet is definitely the Wild West today. I can understand a mistake, and appreciate an apology.

Whether or not you're writing this off as a mistake is still unclear. I still have not received the phone call I asked for, but we may be beyond saving at this point. I am currently looking for other ways to spend the ad dollars you get from us.

Brian Pasch is 100% correct - your site leaks. It may be good business practice for you, but I'm not a fan. I'm actually very ticked off at myself for not getting upset with your SEO practices, sooner, in using our name. I know you're far from the only ones doing this, but I'm definitely going to do something about it.

Again, thank you for responding. And I have to thank you for creating a situation that is furthering my education.

-Alex

P.S. the Proctor Auto Group is in Florida.
B
In John's response "Why did we bid on these terms? We are offering a research path for consumers who seek more information about vehicles."

More likely is because dealers have spent millions of dollars to establish that a MINi dealership is in that town. This is not a random event.

I am confident that the keyword phrases Edmunds are buying highly correlate to the dealer brands and the city name the dealership is located in.

So if there is no Suburu dealer in Hutchinson Kansas they are not buying "Hutchinson Subaru".

So, in effect they are leveraging consumer awareness built by dealer marketing dollars.

I make this point, just to be clear on what is happening and these patterns of keywords are NOT random. As I stated before, Edmunds is not the only ones doing this.

As Alex points out, dealers have to decide if they want their marketing partner (Edmunds) drawing leads away from their website.

They have to decide if it "ok" to have your marketing partner buy their OEM brand name and the town they are located in.
T
  • T
    Tim Jennings
  • December 2, 2009
“We are not attempting to fool the Google user into thinking that we are a dealer. Our advertisements are quite clear that we are an information resource – not a competitor.”

Information pages do not make money. Names, emails, phone numbers, address and interest of product does. So your “GET A FREE PRICE QUOTE” on your information page makes you a competitor.

What a dummy not having two data bases merging into your site, One for partners like Alex, one for dealers who don’t do biz with you. Oh, did I just give you a tip?

In my opinion CarFax is no better, that’s another post…

Grass Roots, Grass Roots lets give 3rd party leads the boots.

By the way the last laugh is on us. How long has this been going on?
UPDATE - I finally got the phone call. John Giamalvo and I just had a pleasant conversation where I got to express my concerns and he was very attentive. He assured me that dealership names (with the exception of regional-specific names) have been completely removed from Edmunds PPC campaigns.

We're now talking about their SEO targeting of our name. I explained to him that Edmunds may be an information service, but if we're paying them money, they should never become our competition. This was not resolved during this call, and I wouldn't expect it to be, but it is certainly on the table being discussed. I still have to look at other options now that my eyes are more open, but I do thank John for reaching out.

If any other dealers want to add to this discussion, please come forward now.
T
  • T
    Tim Jennings
  • December 2, 2009
‘ISM’S and Car Salesmen’ …………. Be seated.

Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country. Men, all this stuff you’ve heard about Internet Sales Managers not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Car salesmen traditionally love to fight. All real dealers love the sting of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball player, the toughest boxer. ISM’S love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Car Guy’s play to win all the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Internet Savoy Car people have never lost and will never lose a war. Because the very thought of losing is hateful to men who push IRON

Now, a dealership is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This Edmunds stuff is a bunch of crap. The bilious bastards who played pay per click on our brand name in Google’s sand box don’t know anything more about real internet advertising than they do about fornicating.

Alright now, you sons-of-bitches, you know how I feel. Oh, and I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into the next closing of a sale – anytime, anywhere.

That’s all.
General George S. Patton, Jr., the most successful US field commander of any war
E
Alex,

To quote Seth Godin - "Leaders make a ruckus."

I'd say you made a nice one...keep up the fight w/the SEO angle for your brand as well.

I'm shocked Edmunds didn't argue the phrase "Checkered Flag MINI" was just a descriptive term for the model with the checkered flag roof exterior. (maybe it was & I missed it)

Nice job marking your turf.

Eric
A
I finally got a call as well from my rep today. Since we only have 2 1/2 stores (Subaru franchise on the way) I guess I'm not important enough for the big dogs to call me...LOL
Anyhow - Those PPC campaigns that were showing for our dealer name have been removed or possibly "paused" until we stop looking. I'm still taking a deeper look into in all.
Brian - Thanks for the insight and you are 100% Correct! I went through almost every dealership in my city and Edmunds has an organic page targeting EVERY SINGLE ONE! I have to pat myself on the back a little because we are the one dealer group that they didn't make the first page..."applause for Alex J"
R
I decided five years ago that I would break my dealerships dependence on third party lead providers as much as possible. The focus would be on branding our store, and our websites. I would make it on mostly organic leads, and (please don’t take this personally if you work for one of them) happily cancel one contract after.

We have and still do use Auto Trader and Cars.com for used car exposure. I feel that it is valuable; however we only purchase one hundred leads a month from Dealix. Why Dealix, partly customer service and partly because we have a good negotiated price per lead and they just seem to close better for us. I have spent 7-10 times what I am currently spending for third party leads.

We have been successful at breaking the addiction to buying as many leads as we could so that our competition didn't get them. It's easy to call and cancel your contract, but if you’re not yet branded and fully optimized on the search engines it would be "internetmanager-icide" to do so. The internet still is in many ways the Wild West. I think that is why I fell in love with this gig in the first place. (Ever notice how many of us used to be in bands, some kind of comedy or entertainment? Well the really good ones anyway.)

My first line of attack was on my dealerships name(s). I consider that my real estate! So I launched an all out attack to take the hill. I have taken that hill in two different dealerships one a Toyota and currently a Nissan store. I used Video, Press Releases, blogs, paid constant attention to my website content and meta tags, descriptions, titles etc.

Once you conquer your own dealers name SERP, you have to hold it. This takes a constant flow of fresh infantry. You’ll have to consistently add video content and fresh Press Releases (I have never paid a dime for them, but you can.) As I write this there are no other parties sharing my SERP, including the Nissan dealer down the road. He is not so lucky and since he wouldn’t possibly read this, I have no fear of a sneak attack.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&source=hp&q=john+marazzi+nissan&rlz=1R2ADFA_enUS347&aq=0s&oq=john+marazzi&aqi=g-s1g2

This is not meant to sound braggadocios, although I am proud of what we have accomplished. What makes me scratch my head is why everyone isn’t doing it. If you really want to screw with the third party providers, force them to earn their place on your real estate. CHARGE!!!!!
B
@Rob
Excellent job at owning page one for your name. It's almost perfect. :)

Edmunds.com is still on Google Page One for your name from New Jersey so since you are a stand-up guy and a member of DealerRefresh..

I'll place a Google Page one listing for your dealership that hopefully will push Edmunds.com off page one for you...as a gift.
C
You say this like big company's have morals? Their main job is to get the information before you do so they can charge you for it. But, not many dealers are smart enough or care enough to catch it as you did. I am sure they filter it by searches made in the area and did not catch that it was a company name...at least that will be the story. Good luck and keep up the great information.
R
Thanks Brian,
I am really looking foward to the Boot camp in Orlando this February. I am sure I will come away from it with a ton of good information and practices.
R
I just dropped John Giamalvo a line on his ADM page, asking to open a discussion on this matter as well as a resloution. John has always been a solid guy as well as one who can see things from the dealers side.
A
Brian - you're getting different first page results, sitting in Jersey, than we're seeing in our own zip codes. But, if that is what you're seeing outside of our market places, then there is definitely still a need to push them off the page.
C
Excellent post Alex, and Brian has some great recommendations for dealers to fight back.....seems like autotropolis is another culprit in regards to optimized SEO pages for dealer brand names after doing some research. Also, I'd like to echo Alex's sentiments about first page results, looks as if Edmunds' optimized pages appear when searching for dealers outside their PMA's.....again, great topic to post on
J
Does your contract express that Edmunds.com is allowed to do use your tradename? If not there's a definite trademark infringement legal issue here.

There's a line we'd expect 3rd party lead providers never to cross and its crossed too often for short term profits jeopardizing the vendor-dealer relationship. Edmunds and those like them, are supposed to offer services to dealers which compliment dealers existent organic measures, to fill the "gap" but not capitalize on dealer's holistic online visibility efforts and hold dealers hostage to 3rd party paid services by stealing leads. It's a betrayal of the dealer with the intention of benefiting of the car buyer and their short term profitability.
P
@john c - I think you will find that most contracts with any third party provider will grant them the right to use your name in promotional material and that right is even transferred to affiliates.

What does that mean? Aggressive affiliate marketers can and will optimize pages for your brand name. Good examples of sites that do this now are www.dealerdex.com and www.dealerrater.com. Basically affiliate sites that have a paid component for dealers.

Many well known third party sites that dealers pay to be on rely on third party affiliates to drive them traffic, which benefits the dealer.

www.ebay.com, www.edmunds.com, www.cars.com, www.automotive.com, and www.vehix.com just to name a handful.

They in turn to look to monetize the traffic that that does not convert on their site via the very prevalent leaks found on all of these "resources". I first wrote about this over two years ago http://www.ismintraining.com/providers/online-classifieds/online-auto-leaks/ and was deemed a heretic. :P
O
  • O
    OEM
  • December 4, 2009
Collectively we can limit lead arbitrage.

1.OEM’s need to enforce trade mark name usage. Google keeps giving me pushback on this. They don’t want to kill their advertisers.
2.Dealers need to engage in SEM. Lead arbitrage sites are preying on you via Adwords, Adcenter etc.
B
@OEM
Dealers need the combination of SEO and SEM to best capture leads from their local market. The SEM is needed when consumers type short, broad phrases like "Jeep Dealer" or "Jeep Sale".

SEO is best used for three or more word searches that include any city in their PMA, and beyond as well as they state or their name. Example: "Used BMW X5 Boston" or "NJ BMW Service"

In addition to SEO/SEM they need to have a strategy to clear off Google Page One and Two, any competitive listings and lead arbitrage sites, as you suggest.

Pushing off sites that leach off dealer brand names will increase the leads that come to their website directly.

It's the simplest of concepts but the most misunderstood. Dealers really can own the entire first page of Google results for their name.

It's one of the most satisfying things I do for my clients because their "brand" is what has used the most money to build.

Also, by owning page one, dealers have less immediate impact when a negative review is written about their dealership. Internet Reputation Management (IRM)strategies have a proactive element and owning Page One also assists with IRM.

So, if dealers joined together to achieve a national awareness about owning page one for their brand name, third party lead collectors would most likely see their lead volume drop 25%.

That would send a financial signal to NOT mess with a dealer's brand name.

Has everyone checked their own brand name?
How many spots of the 10 organic listings on Google Page One do you own?

P.S. I practice what I preach. I own my pages for "Brian Pasch" and "Pasch Consulting".
T
I was fine last month for page Google page one, this month. 3 new worms came out of their holes on Google page one this month. So, 3 hours yesterday bloging. This G.P.O.M. (Google Page, One, Management.) has and will become like changing oil in our cars. Some will do it 2000, 3000, 4000 miles some lease and will never change their oil So, how important is GPOM? The test is how much time we spend on it. Add it you your already full plate. Someone tell me, When do I have time to sell cars? ;) By the way, did I just coin; G.P.O.M.? It should become as-known-as SEO, SEM, ISM all the M’S
T
I was fine last month for Google page one "Tom Sparks Buick". This month, 3 new worms came out of their holes on Google. So, 3 hours yesterday bloging. This G.P.O.M. (Google Page, One, Management.) has and will become like changing oil in our cars. Some will do it 2000, 3000, 4000 miles some lease and will never change their oil So, how important is GPOM? The test is how much time we spend on it. Add it you your already full plate. Someone tell me, When do I have time to sell cars? ;) By the way, did I just coin; G.P.O.M.? It should become as-known-as SEO, SEM, ISM all the M’S
B
Long live GPOM
O
  • O
    OEM
  • December 4, 2009
This is why I agree with Alex about focusing on 1st party leads. What I need to do is get on the phone with Google and find out how to enforce the trademark of the brand name. If this could be done, only the OEM and the dealers could use the brand name in their PPC campaigns. Lead Arbitrage sites would have to come up with generic text and thus experience a lower CTR, thus increasing their keywords bids. Once we get the dealers to engage in SEM, we will find ourselves owning the 1st page for sponsored links.

On that topic, how does a search for “Lexus” result in dealer ads vs. a search for “ford” which results in lead arbitrage? Below are some of the sites stealing our names and leads from the "ford" example.
NewJerseyFord.SmartAutoSavings.com
Ford.DealersClearingLots.com
Cheap.2009Ford.net/Clearance
A
That's awesome Tim - lol

OEM - if you can pull that off, without a lawsuit, I'm all for that! These are all OUR trademarked names right?
O
  • O
    OEM
  • December 4, 2009
"OUR" is right.
R
Now Hiring; Google Page One Manager.
D
Yep Alex;

This is kind of like when I discovered that AutoUSA was an aggregator of redistributed leads which had been worked by AutoNation stores.

Oh, and did I mention that AutoUSA was an AutoNation store/company!

World Wide Web, or Wild Wild West? You tell me...
S
  • S
    Susan Burgess
  • December 5, 2009
Well, Google got us with the "area specific search term PPC"- "Ford Millington".
http://images.google.com/search?gbv=2&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=homer+skelton+ford+millington&aq=0&oq=Homer+Skelton+Ford+M&aqi=g2

Just not right when our website name is "millingtonford.com". Thank you for the heads up, Alex- we're not a true partner with Edmunds- I've not been a fan of them since working for a Toyota dealership and the fact customers have to click too many times to get the disclaimer about the "invoice" price Edmunds gives them. I can't remember offhand if AutoTrader is paired up with Edmunds or not. I know AutoUSA used to be- frustrating to keep up with how long it took for leads to get to me after multiple scrubbings.
I struggle enough to reclaim page one with a sister Ford store that's been part of the group for 20 years versus this location only joining the group in March 2009- the heck if I want to be blindsided by a third party aggregate who's then going to try to sell me a lead that started off typing in search terms that could have brought them straight to me! Grrrrrrr.....
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    Zoran
  • December 7, 2009
you guys are funny. If you have trademarked your name you can submit to google claim and block all ads that use your trademark as a part of ad content. You cannot prevent anybody in USA to bid on your trademark name.

You cannot forbid me to talk about you, it is freedom of speech, and I can put page about your business on my website and give my opinion and if google finds it the most relevant, comprehensive and interesting/unique article on the web about your business then you have a problem and me #1 position.
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Zoran
Of course anyone can write an article and express their opinion. That is not the point here.

We are talking about website pages that are designed and optimized to collect consumers leads for profit off a dealers name. Many of these same sites, dealers have a business relationship with.

Those sites we would like to push off of GPO. A consumer, a blogger or a news source will always have the freedom to write and have the opportunity to be on Page One.

It's freedom of speech as you pointed out. We are suggesting that the barrier should not be so easy for lead collectors to jump over.
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Zoran - you're totally missing the point. Yes, you can do that, but I don't pay you. You're not a business partner. Edmunds is (was).
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@Susan
When I type in "Millington Ford" you have a GPOM issue indeed. In the organic listings you only have 2 of the 10. Here are all the people optimized for Millington Ford:

ford.com
autotropolis.com
cars.com
motortrend.com
automobilemag.com
cars.trovit.com
commercialappeal.com

This is a BIG LEAK. Then you also have four people in the Adwords section. If the average Joe know you as Milling Ford, you are losing ALOT of direct leads.
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    Susan Burgess
  • December 8, 2009
@Brian P I so appreciate the help! I've got Dealer.com working on helping with what has slipped there- I get a lot of direct traffic monthly though. The other names people know us as are "Price Ford" (who we bought out in March) and of course, Homer Skelton Ford- which means I'm "competing" with my sister store in Mississippi. They've had a lot longer than me to build the online rep for their url, and I am limited on funds for what I can/can't do.
It's also been a trick with me being pulled many ways to get the focus I need to put on the online traffic placement to be there. I won't have any online traffic if I don't stay on top of the online placement!
Thank you for having my back, Brian and helping me with that tidbit- just that little bit, once corrected will help generate some dollars for the store. I am very thankful for the sites that I belong to and dealer-world friends I've got!
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    Susan Burgess
  • December 9, 2009
@Brian P
Look to meet with Shane and Andrew from Dealer.com to address what you brought up about my site- and these two will use what you give them to benefit other dealers (hint hint at other dealer.com users). Thank you for being on top of helping us so that I had some direction to begin correcting.
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@Susan

I'm here to help...if you need anything, drop em an email.
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Here is the next level of SEO. "Are you ready for a throw down?" Not sure. Then are you ready for real-time streaming search? Is your content rich enough and current enough to be found on the most up to the minute search results that we have ever seen? Not sure? Read this article.

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/5361/What-Google-s-Launch-of-Real-Time-Streaming-Search-Means-For-Marketers.aspx
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This just hit my Alert today. JD Powers is in the in Rape & Scrape game as well. HHUMMM Ya think JD Powers really knows what the host company is doing?

http://local.jdpower.com/2008_AEI_Multi_activity_Vehicles_MAV_Dekalb_IL-r1209649-Dekalb_IL.html

Look at the content, very week!

Multi-activity Vehicles (MAVs) on the 2007 AEI Dekalb IL

Don’t get too excited, there, weekend boater dude. Each of the multi-activity vehicles―SUVs in consumer parlance―on this year’s Automotive Environmental Index (AEI) are hybrids, each one is a crossover SUV lacking real off-road capability, and only one of them can tow as much as 3,500 pounds while seating seven people (the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, if you want to skip ahead). Read on and find more details about this car in Dekalb.

The "read on" is Google pay per click.

I called and left a message to get MY Internet Cell Phone number on the list, not the dealeship main number. Went to voice mail Go figure....

G.P.O.M.
Tim - JD Power hit mine for Audi with this page: http://local.jdpower.com/2008_Audi_A8_Preview_Elizabeth_City_NC-r1209578-Elizabeth_City_NC.html
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I'm sure JD Powers has no clue!

Do THEY want their multi millon dollar brand name at the bottom of all that pay per click?

Do THEY want people to think that they wrote that weak first paragraph? Only to have their strong true content WAY at the bottom?

Do THEY want people to click on the link of: "Multi-activity Vehicles (MAVs) on the 2007 AEI Dekalb IL" and when people do click on it, the clickers are not going to Multi-activity Vehicles in the Dekalb area"?

WOW! This is the worst site I have seen, with the largest brand name.

@Zorn We can't stop this. There is a right way to do all of this, this is not it!

Can you say Out Source?
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Just hit me.

JD Powers is all about what?

Best in class?
Quality?
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@Tim

And about making money using popular search phrases...like....your brand name. When dealers really take a moment to think about this, that the most popular automotive portals have been sapping their brand equity juice, they should get angry.

Then the next step, is to implement a strategy to own Google Page One. The sooner they clear off the parasites, the better.
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    Ty
  • December 11, 2009
http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/5360/Everything-Marketers-Need-to-Know-About-Google-Adwords-Trademarked-Terms-Policy.aspx
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This is bad example of doing business. In Business there must be a ethic followed.

http://usa.indiandrives.com/honda-odyssey-2011-the-trailblazer.html
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    gary
  • August 28, 2012
Sorry, I'm not going to feel sorry for you because edmunds makes it harder for you to rip of every customer who walks through your door.    
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