A Toyota dealer in Los Angeles wants Toyota USA to help curb what he calls “abuses of online marketing by some competing dealerships”. Apparently some of their competitive dealers are buying their dealerships trades name in the search engines and believe the practice is diverting shoppers looking for his dealership to a competitor’s store.
I agree, this can divert the shopper. However, I’m not sure if there is anything that can or should be done about this (other then retaliation).
I have heard through the grapevine that several Manufacturers have been talking about getting strict with their dealers practicing this BUT what can they do about 3rd party websites doing the same thing? Is the manufacturer going to be able to police this as well? What about if your buying leads from Dealix, and Dealix is buying leads from the website that is bidding on your dealers trade names, and your competitive dealer is buying that lead from Dealix..WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? Just because it’s not direct…you’re basically contracting another company to run SEM on competitive dealer’s keywords then buying that lead. I just don’t see how you can police this.
My current opinion is to keep it open. As long as the dealer is not using your actual dealers name in the text of their ad, I think it’s ok. It’s no different then a dealer renting a Billboard right down the road.
Take a look at this…I did a keyword search on Google for “Hagerstown Mercedes Dealer”. You can see..#1 and #3 are my competitors (I’m in the middle) and since they are in the top positions, this reflects a high CTR (click through rate)..meaning people are indeed diverting from their original search and clicking on my competitors ads.
I could get mad about this but it’s the game. I recommend setting up a separate campaign for your trade name keywords and having selective copy in your ad to better focus the customer towards your ad, what they came looking for anyways. MORE IMPORTANY..statistics show that “natural listings” have a higher conversion, so BE SURE that your dealers website is number 1 or more in the natural listing for these keywords as well!!
What do you think is fair?
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