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So once again I ask the question at the heart of the matter.... Mr./MRS CAR DEALER PAY ATTENTION HERE.... How many Vendors are YOU Paying who are Selling your Customer Data to Other Vendors for Cash? AND... is your customer information ultimately being sold by vendors you paid to other car dealers who are your competition?

Isn't it amazing how all these cockroaches scatter when you turn on the lights? For years I've been writing and blogging about this pack of self-righteous criminals pilfering through the dealers' data and stealing your customer information to resell and abuse. They called me every name in the book and slandered me. NOW, all of a sudden we're seeing multiple proofs and suspicions spotlighting the blatant criminal activity and suspected activities of these shady vendors disguised as alleged dealer partners. 

It's time to intensify the hunt and flush out all of them.Not singling out any specific vendor here BUT aren't we all getting a little sick and tired of Technology Pirates stealing your business while you pay them to lower your profits and defame your good name while all the while they are selling your customer information to other vendors and ultimately selling your customers to the competition?

Whether the customer filled out a form on some alleged Lead Providers page using your inventory as bait, or it was lifted or scraped off of the dealers' websites: When are we as dealers and car people going to rise up as one and say to them ... "Get the Hell OUT of Our Data?"

They're buying and selling your information to each other, reprocessing it and selling it to your competitors and then doing it again to your competitors competitors

AND, As I am About to Prove... Many of Your Manufacturers are in on the Scams. WE need to look at how many manufacturers are reselling Junk Leads mixed in with Organic leads that they know have a Low Closing Ratio? How many Manufacturers are forcing their dealers to take low-percentage leads they bought extremely cheap that only have a close of 3.8%? Some Manufacturers middle management is deliberately making a huge profit off of their dealers reselling leads they know are worthless mixed in OEM Website organic leads that have a much higher closing ratio.

None of these vendors is contributing anything to your business you couldn't do yourself without them and redirect the money to profitable things.

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  • If you pull enough threads the sweater begins to unravel.

    It's humorous to me reading the self-righteous and pious damage control spin Dataium is putting on their settlement with The State of New Jersey for allegedly reselling consumer information.   I am wondering how many other states and agencies will now take a harder look at what's happening in our industry. No judgment from me in writing on Dataium either way, they settled and thats that... for now. 

    Dataium Settles <---- Click There

    AND then, there's the growing scandal with alleged misconduct and alleged fraud and alleged illegal activities with Digital Air Strike. 

    I have already been contacted by two manufacturers' middle-management telling me bluntly to "Back Off" writing or saying anything about Digital Air Strike. 

    I am NOT saying the charges made against Digital Air Strike officers are True or False. That is NOT the issue. The issue is simply stated, if anything they're saying about Digital Air Strike is True, it is bad for the dealers and bad for the industry and bad for the the dealers. What we have NOT seen is a public statement from Digital Air Strike categorically denying charges against them made on the Blogs and Social Media. All I am saying is that if only half of what is being said about Digital Air Strike is only half-true it is a disaster. 

    The unsigned Blogs list government records and case numbers and other documentation which on the surface appears to be very genuine and extremely verifiable. Even though the Blogs are unsigned, they are saying it it is the work of a malicious competitor... I say "Who Cares if it's a competitor or not. Is The Information True or False?"

    "If Toyota, General Motors, Chrysler,Ford and several other manufacturers got into to bed with these people, approved them as a preferred vendor, and enticed dealers to do business with them; ARE these same manufacturers going to stand up and take responsibility if these charges turn out to be true?  OR... is it more an issue now of covering your backside because it is a cluster and your incompetence might be showing?"

    Here is the link to the major blog at the center of the growing scandal.... Click Here  and Click Here too and you might as well click here too to see what they're referring to. 

    I predict there is a wave of exposes' and scandals about to hit our industry as more and more people take a serious look at what these vendors are, or are not doing, to our business. Dealerships and your business are at risk. I am just proud to have been the conduit that started the ball rolling and opened the door to Pandora's box several years ago. 

  • Micheal...I've read every contract I've ever signed COMPLETELY.  Never once has their been language that would allow what I explained to occur.  Great advice though...most people just sign away.  You would think that in this business especially we would learn that the fine print is by far the most important. 

  • As shared with Jim days ago as a previous dealer, this example sited as been common for a decade+ by many providers admittedly. Why are so many surprised by this practice as Jim astutely shares? Many of us can share< Social Media freely, many 3rd party share for a price... I suggest you take a strong review at your provider's contractual vernacular you signed for this allowed freedom, on their behalf...
    I personally do not support at all, but, never signed from the few third parties utilized before 'necessary' protective narrative was added...
  • I'd be happy to and will update all asap.  Has anyone else seen this or anything like it.  If we can narow down the companies that are and cut them off at least we are making strides.

  • I don't know how to respond to that Joseph Pagano. Please keep us informed how it turns out and what the parties tell you.

  • So I shop my market on Edmunds, Truecar, etc. aggressively every week. At times
    I have to submit bogus leads to competitors to ensure our pricing is the lowest.
    The other day I submit a bogus lead on Truecar on a new Jeep Wrangler in my Chrysler/Jeep location...3 minutes later I get an Autobytel lead on a new Chevy Malibu in one of my Chevrolet locations...FROM THE BOGUS CUSTOMER I WAS USING TO SHOP OTHER DEALERS ON TRUECAR FOR A JEEP WRANGLER. Needless to say my rep has a lot of explaining to do and has yet to come up with a viable excuse or explanation. I've come to terms with the fact that these lead "providers" will buy my keywords and "steal" my leads by out-spending me...and then literally sell me my lunch back...and then sell it to my competition. This is another story altogether. Unreal!

  • Now that's some scary shizzle Michael...

  • As a current Informational and a Lead provider that is well founded with the consumer base, and we all know the 'name', beware of narrative clauses integrated into your current and upcoming agreements. Your signature may very well grant the 'provider' the right of all information they capture for and from you, to sell, distribute monetize... Of past, had a contract atty. review any 'agreement' the General Management with support staff of a dealership desired. Nominal fee for 'protection'.  

  • This issue is going to be explosive (FINALLY) I predict a renewed groundswell of dealers and government agencies will turn the spotlight on the activities of formerly trusted vendors scraping websites, using dealer inventory as bait to switch, pirate landing page websites, redistributing customer identifiable information they took from forms and reselling it to God knows who... ultimately compromising the customers' identity, violating trust and privacy, and putting the dealerships in harms way with great liability for security breaches in information trusted to them. 

  • Jim, Long ago most all lead providers at the Sr level acknowledged reselling leads at some point to other aggregators when consumers did not purchase or... Does anyone truly believe 3rd parties can make money at $20-$25/lead sold 1x?

    As far as data from the DMS systems being resold, when the relationship with a provider is initially signed for protective confidentiality, not so sure in the case of termination of dealer and provider there is a so called statute of limitations in continued tenure beyond a certain time frame...

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