• Stop being a LURKER - join our dealer community and get involved. Sign up and start a conversation.
Qvale Auto Group Study - Watch Video

Dealersocket <> Adpearance Inc. dba Four Eyes

Get Podium
Feb 13, 2020
5
8
3
First Name
David
Hi Drew. We (Foureyes) are sending our response shortly to everyone who received this notice. To make a long story short, DealerSocket greatly misrepresented the situation and is asking for a 6x integration fee that they want us to pass onto the dealers ala the DMS providers. I will post our official response here in a few hours.
 
Feb 13, 2020
5
8
3
First Name
David
Greg,

We were disappointed to receive DealerSocket’s cease and desist letter and even more dismayed to find that you simultaneously provided our mutual customers with misinformation about the situation. It would have been more reasonable for DealerSocket to engage us in communication before reaching out to our customers. Now, in an attempt to keep all parties up-to-date, we’ve made this communication and your communication available to our mutual clients for reference at https://lps.foureyes.io/dealersocket.

Your communication to our mutual customers conveniently disregarded our account history, misrepresented the fees you are demanding and, in our opinion, overstated security concerns to disguise the actual request: a 6x increase in monthly access fees that would significantly increase the costs to your dealers.

DealerSocket API, Data Access, and Support History

Our issue with the DealerSocket API was never the fees (as contracted in our previous API agreements), but with its functionality. While we were using it, we experienced numerous issues and filed support tickets without receiving timely responses. We were transparent when we stopped using the API and why: Our concerns were about the API functionality and its inability to support our mutual customer needs. The principal issue—as discussed with DealerSocket—was that your API did not allow access to salesperson activity and notes. I believe it is our mutual understanding that the dealers own the data they input into their CRM; however, by not making that data available, it appears you are asserting ultimate control (and therefore ownership) over the activity a dealer performs on a lead.

When we moved off the API, Foureyes communicated that we were happy to be back on the API when the issues were resolved. As of May 21, 2020, this issue is still not resolved and it is our feeling that it should be the choice of the dealer, not DealerSocket, what information the dealers wish to share with their vendor partners.

Your correspondence claims that our post-cancellation integration method was unauthorized. That’s incorrect. As we have previously discussed with you, we access the DealerSocket CRM in the same manner any dealer would access the DealerSocket CRM—through an user account created by the dealer. This isn’t a secret:
  • Our mutual customers authorized that integration
  • The username we typically use to access the dealer’s CRM is identified as “Foureyes”
  • Clients can easily revoke authorization at any time
Your suggestion that our integration is “invasive” and “unsafe” is also wrong. Our approach to integration is safe and secure as we access the DealerSocket CRM in the same manner as the dealer. While we may then extract data through automated means using our proprietary technology, we access the DealerSocket CRM like any other user. If there are security issues associated with that access, then that’s a DealerSocket issue, not a Foureyes issue. If you are concerned about server load issues or problems you may be experiencing, we are happy to troubleshoot those and take action to resolve them.

Finally, you categorized our integration as “hostile.” The term “hostile integration” is neither technical nor accurate. It appears it was popularized by CDK in automotive as they looked to monetize their DMS access in 2015 and 2016. Then and now, it’s used as a scare tactic to bully vendors and dealers into paying for API access, and we’re disappointed to see you use it in this manner as well.

Reply to Your Communication

Your choice to disregard the facts surrounding our account and to communicate directly to our customers has damaged Foureyes’ reputation and caused great harm to our business. In that regard, we are asking you to immediately course correct the inaccurate and damaging correspondence you have had with our customers and additionally to be mindful of what DealerSocket reps are saying in the marketplace, as it appears they are also uninformed of our account history. Our goal is to limit additional unnecessary damage.

We are fully supportive of using an API when (1) the API functions correctly and (2) does not saddle the dealer with exorbitant fees. In your letter to our mutual clients, you described the fees as a “minimal integration fee” and Foureyes is fully supportive of a fee model that we can fully absorb without passing the costs on to our mutual clients.

Your emails to us, however, described a new $180 per month per provider per dealer rooftop fee—a 600% yearly increase in your integration fees. This amount is not minimal. For a reference point, Salesforce.com charges a retail price of $300 per year for a significantly more robust API. Your suggestion to add this to the dealer’s invoice would represent a significant increase in dealer fees paid to DealerSocket. A single dealer using multiple solutions that access their CRM could be paying a substantial “integration fee tax” each month. This DealerSocket fee, that would be concealed through vendor billing as an “integration fee” would add over $1000 of monthly cost of expense for the average dealer per rooftop. Your suggestion to just pass this extra cost onto our mutual clients feels not only tone deaf in the middle of a pandemic, but also lacks transparency in your fees to your customers.

If you really feel that $180 per month per rooftop is a fair monthly price, then we would ask that dealers have the option to choose integration methods. Foureyes does not charge additional fees for our integration, and again, are happy to work with DealerSocket and pay a nominal fee to offset any server load issues our user account would create.

Mutual Respect and Goals

I have always respected DealerSocket. Your product is good and you treat your employees well. I am unhappy with the communication you made to our mutual customers and the direction you are trying to take your integration fees. Regardless, reasonable people find reasonable outcomes, and I know DealerSocket to be reasonable.

The Foureyes goals in the medium term are simple:
  • Use this unfortunate event to improve the communication between our two companies so we don’t have to resort to legal-based communication or action
  • Work collaboratively towards an API that gives customers full access to the data that they own. Our preference is to connect via a working API and we are happy to work with you on that.
  • Prevent unreasonable fees from impacting dealers that are in precarious market conditions.
We trust that DealerSocket will be our partner in achieving these goals. My personal cell is below and I’m available for discussions with both DealerSocket and our mutual clients.

Respectfully,

David Steinberg
503-730-9179
 

Alex Snyder

President Skroob
May 1, 2006
2,903
1,560
113
Vermont
First Name
Alex
We are fully supportive of using an API when (1) the API functions correctly and (2) does not saddle the dealer with exorbitant fees. In your letter to our mutual clients, you described the fees as a “minimal integration fee” and Foureyes is fully supportive of a fee model that we can fully absorb without passing the costs on to our mutual clients.

:iagree: with this. And wish to address the idea of charging other vendors obnoxious fees for data access. This is not specifically targeted at DealerSocket, but the practice as a whole. I put this out there for dealers to understand just how much they are being... well there isn't a better word... raped for being in data prison.

Dealers have no idea just how much they are paying for systems that charge integration fees or access to the data being supplied by the dealers. There might be a $6,000 per month bill to the DMS company on the dealer's statement, but in reality, the dealer could be paying their own DMS anywhere from $8,000 to $12,000 per month per store just so the other vendors they work with can decipher and utilize the data in a way the dealer wishes.

And when you have other genres of technologies doing this as well, dealers end up spending tens to hundreds of thousands per year more PER STORE than when these practices did not exist.

Like @David Steinberg is saying, a small fee to pay for the maintenance of a decent API is understandable. But we all know the reason for the big fees is 100% to protect an inability to innovate as this is an easier way to grow revenues... at the clients' expense.
 
Increase Test Drive Appointments!