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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Bryan Armstrong

Bryan Armstrong e-Commerce Director

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A Review of Cobalt's Dealer Command Center

First off, it is no accident that I am writing this review, I volunteered immediately upon hearing that Cobalt had released a new Dealer-friendly platform.

You see, I had never been a Cobalt fan. I have been saddled with them as a sole provider due to O.E.M. mandates and had more than one unpleasant conversation with their tech support and/or my “Dealer Advocate” and never thought either group lived up to their title.

                Therefore, it was with a healthy dose of skepticism and almost malicious glee that I went into this demo. I emerged on the far side of our scheduled 20 minutes a full 46 minutes later if not an evangelist than at the very least excited and hopeful. The new platform and User Interface with analytics is nothing short of the largest 180 degree turn around I’ve ever been privy to see with any company. The website editing tool is real time, easy to use and has an ever growing library of easy to install widgets. Combined with the ability to fully control my own SEO or utilize either Cobalt’s or any other providers SEO Services was a complete but pleasant surprise. In addition, the ability to create custom URL landing pages limits this new platform’s usability only by one’s imagination and OEM constraints.

The real shock came when we got to the analytics section. Though not as detailed perhaps as what a competent Google analytics user could find out, Cobalt placing most key performance metrics in easy to use graphs and charts most of which can be dialed in or out to varying desired parameters makes this UI definitely friendly for the average user and has most key indicators a power user would look for. In addition, keyword suggestions, search reports, inventory analysis and easy to launch and replicate Specials Pages round out an impressive new offering. I guess that overall I felt just this signals a change in the core service level of this Company.

                This feeling was best backed when:

1) The next day for an unrelated issue I called tech support and my issue was solved with a follow-up call and survey within 10 minutes.

2) During the presentation I made a few suggestions I thought would help and the next day I received this following e-mail. (F.Y.I. Highlighted portions were MY addition)


 I wanted to thank you again for your time yesterday – as you can tell I enjoy showing off our new Dealer Command Center.  In addition, I spoke with the product team this morning on your recommendations (adding Stock number to the inventory reports and adding Average Page views to the funnel) – they will be adding those enhancements in a future release.  Feel free to send me any more suggestions – I believe in the notion that we are here for our customers, not for our products, and I want to make certain everything we build is designed for our customers and the way they work.

 Thanks again for your time,

 James Fabin

Sr. Product Marketing Manager

ADP Digital Marketing Solutions


               More importantly, I believe they mean it. Cobalt may still be your OEM-Mandated Provider, but if they continue in this mien, that is no longer such a bad thing. Log on to your Dealer Command Center and play around, I believe you too will be SHOCKED by what you find!

Congrats to all the members of the team that put this together in just 9 months on a job well done and for listening to your end-users.

*P.S. This article is entirely my opinion and therefore probably correct.

Brian Pasch
Bryan It's good to read this post since I had similar positive reactions to my review of the new interface which I summarized in a whitepaper review that is available on It's great to see that I was not alone in my reaction on how much has been accomplished in 9 months.
Jim Bell
You and I have shared our frustrations on Cobalt and they are similar. Hopefully with this new product, they are turning the corner to make everything more dealer friendly. I am with you that I don't think that an OEM should make you be with a certain vendor. As long as you are fulfilling their requirements with a website, who cares who you are with. I think that Cobalt has seen the frustration from the dealers and are hopefully trying to make their product better with this new one.
Daniel Boismier
I had a glimpse into the product also and for the most part it was showing features/technologies others already have. Playing catch up to and Vin, nothing really revolutionary imo. But a big improvement over what is currently available.
Bryan Armstrong
Brian, I intentionally didn't read your paper (though I normally purchase every one you publish) because I wanted to go into the presentation with no pre-conceived notions of the platform. I was pleasantly surprised as you can see. COuld have saved the time and just re-posted excerpts as it turns out! :) Thanks for staying atop so many of the trends and innovations in our industry.
Bryan Armstrong
Daniel, As a current and founding VinSolutions Dealer Advisory Board Member, I've been privy to the inner workings of what many have called the most innovative Company in Automotive. So I understand your point, however, to see the focus of Cobalt switch from wooing OEM's into mandating their solution to actually making it more end-user friendly and transparent is surely a move in the right direction and I hope it continues.

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