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The Top Vehicle Listings Websites - Who's NEXT?

Discussion in 'Websites, SEO, SEM, Display, Social, Marketing' started by Jeff Kershner, Feb 5, 2014.

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  1. Jeff Kershner

    Jeff Kershner
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    force_disturbance.jpg

    I'm feeling a Disturbance in the FORCE --- within the Vehicle Listing / Classified website business.

    The mammoths in the vehicle (new and/or used) listing/classified website arena here in the states are Cars.com and AutoTrader.com. They have the money, the inventory, OEM support, Partnerships and have built a "BRAND" that most americans are overly familiar with.

    We have several other strong players that have more-less organically grown (SEO, SEM, Referrals, Partners, and such) in popularity , like CarGurus.com, Usedcars.com, USAA, EveryCarListed.com, CarsDirect, and maybe Craigslist would be included here.

    Then you have a few "Brands" that host vehicle listings, but most consumers seek these websites out for vehicle information. These would include KBB.com, CarFax, TrueCars and Edmunds.

    Let's not forget about eBay, they sorta play on the same field with Cars.com and ATC, but not really. Either way I believe we can exclude eBay (and Craigslist) from the mix for the sake of this conversion.

    There are 100's of larger and smaller (local) portal websites like Yahoo Autos, AOL Autos across the nation, but lets agree these are not likely to make any huge out-of-the-box moves.

    I feel a disturbance coming - a new breed OR a dramatic shift made by an existing listing website that could potentially make such a change that they shake up the industry and provide dealers a very different but valuable solution.

    Are you too feeling this Disturbance?

    Chime in with what you know, what you think you might know and who do you think it could be?

    Could it be one of the existing players or a new service all-together?

    Or maybe I hit my head hard enough to cause a disturbance in my brain and nothing is changing at all.
     
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  3. Todd Caputo

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    Dealers should have a good enough website that they do not need to list their inventory on those websites. There are so many good vendors out there to help dealers with SEO/SEM and PPC I do not see a need for 3rd parties to make money off of our inventory. We no longer use the BIG GUYS and we have not missed a beat!
     
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  4. Jeff Kershner

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    Todd, way to change the direction of this conversation in one fell swoop of the first comment. :D

    For most dealers, there is no DOUBT a play for these listing sites and services. You have a unique circumstance and a rock star that helped establish a foundation that now allows you to have this view point and even potentially get away with it.

    BUT - lets re-read my post up there. And lets say this disturbance was so great that even you are effected and in return see the value in being listed on this website, for whatever reason..... :thinker:
     
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  5. yagoparamo

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    Seriously? I thought we were past that...
     
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  6. jay.lynch

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    Jeff,

    Respectfully, I have to go with Todd on this... I have a large independent who is high volume and dealers in the area often ask me how I recommend they compete with him. I generally turn the question around:

    * The independet is buying cars franchised dealers wholesale (ie. units with a bad car fax or a title with a blemish) and/or do not bid on at auction, and this dealer does not recon the cars to the same level as his franchised couter parts.
    * This independent prices himself well below his franchised counter parts on the 3rd parts sites. Frankly, he feeds off franchised guys sending him customers on third party sites.

    QUESTIONS:
    a. Should a franchised dealer compete against this dealer in pricing? How much should the franchised dealer spend on a monthly basis to send all of his customers to a 3rd party site where he/she can only compete based on price?
    b. If you do not believe you are in competition with this dealer should you make pricing and buying decisions based on this dealer?
     
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  7. Alex Snyder

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    Alright Jeff - what are you seeing on the horizon?
     
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  8. joe.pistell

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  9. ddavis

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    Joe, when you say rank, you are talking about their ranking in organic?
     
  10. Chris Cachor

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    Any dramatic change with the big listings sites I foresee are "Shop, Click, Drive" type programs gaining more traction. I've seen a rise in banks advertising more car buying services, so I think whoever marries these two in the most reliable non-cumbersome way I think will add value to both their website visitors and dealerships advertising on their site. The problem with some of the OEM led programs I've seen so far is they've been sort of so-so efforts without much promotional material behind them (I know they're mostly pilot programs, but still). Bringing in a large brand such as Cars or AT I think brings some credibility and trust to the transaction.

    That's my crystal ball anyway. I think there's a growing demographic that knows what they want, are prepared with financing, and just want a fairly seamless transaction without funneling through the same sales process as everybody else. I think it's a tough problem to solve, but the big guns have been acquiring a lot of talented technology companies required to handle this process.
     
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  11. Daniel J. Mondello

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    Todd - I couldn't agree more! Your Own Website (once fully optimized to be found and fully optimized to convert) will always outperform the quality of leads generated by a third party and often at fractions of the cost (i'm looking at you in particular AutoTraitor... eh I mean Autotrader). My company has eliminated us of all paid inventory third party sites. And we have no intention of ever going back.
     
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