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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Joe Webb

Joe Webb Founder / Trainer

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Automotive Bandits


I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio and throughout my youth, our fine city would be infiltrated, so to speak, with unsightly visitors.  Bandits would swarm the town, shopping malls, and neighborhoods.  They would loiter about, often even able to go unseen without a keen eye looking for them.

They were vagabonds and pick-pockets, always looking for the edge to take advantage of you and fleece you on something (purse, wallet, game tickets) if you weren’t watching your belongings.  Some would go to the extreme.  If they saw you grilling out in your backyard, they’d walk right in through the open front door and steal the paintings white off your walls.  They were almost magicians at taking from you without you ever noticing.

Well we have Automotive Bandits as well.  They are right there, taking from you, and you don’t even see them.  You do nothing to prevent it because you are unaware they are taking money away from you.

The Bandits of the automotive world are these lead-generating website on YOUR Google Page One, singlehandedly stealing your customers right out from under your nose.  They live and breathe off of you and your business.  They optimize their own sites for your dealership’s name and gather leads that should be yours.  They take your business, customers looking for you specifically, and they sell them off to the highest bidder.  These Automotive Bandits are scavengers and will take whatever they can get their hands on.

They litter Google Page One with both organic positioning – based on their optimized content about YOUR dealership or they actually pay through PPC campaigns, leeching right off of you.

Here are some of the top Automotive Bandits I see.

I’m sure there are some others I’ve missed so feel free to share them with the rest of us.  They are a dime a dozen and worth less than that.

Some of these are sometimes just microsites to third-party lead providers trying to maliciously get in on YOUR opportunities such as: 

Edmunds (everyone who wants to harvest leads buy PPC on dealership names)

Autotropolis – Going after YOUR organic internet shoppers because they are optimizing their site with keywords involving your dealership name and city in an effort to sell your leads right back to you – or your closest competitor.

Some are local directories, using solely PPC/SEM to break in onto your turf, such as: – local directories where they can search for other cars.

I strongly urge you to start keeping a close eye on the 10-12 spots that take up your dealership’s Google Page One.  Are they all of your online entities and digital assets that you control or are they Automotive Bandits, slyly pickpocketing your dealership of its leads right from under your nose.

Do your best to dominate these sites and move them down the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) so you can protect what is rightfully yours.  Automotive Bandits aren’t deadly.  They are just dangerous to your bottom line if you let them run wild on the streets of Google. 

Keep your eyes open.  Do you see them?  You may not even noticed they’ve been hanging around you all along.  They’re tricky little buggers and the first step to preventing their mischief is by seeing them in the first place.


Bryan Armstrong
Great post. It kills me that Dealers put themselves in this situation by signing up for free or low cost inventory posting sites.
Jeff Cryder
I agree Bryan, here's my rule of thumb. Never buy from someone who has called you. If they're not worth seeking out they're not worth your time and more importantly not worth your money. Down with the gypsies! ....that is all.
JD Rucker
Funny - I always get told I don't call people enough.
Keith Shetterly
I think we risk the same thing with reviews, and we have a chance to change that model before sites that co-opt a dealer's review get as big as these inventory sites. Someone goes to search you, finds your Google Places, and there's reviews rolled up there from sites like DealerRater . . . and if those sites are visited, guess what? Other buying opportunities are presented. That's why I like Real reviews by real people really in the dealership. Rolled up to Google. All without competitors being able to buy ad space on your review, all without competitors being able to buy LEADS generated by your review, and all without YOU having to pay to try and protect your review from being poached for these activities. Joe, you hit a great point here.
Tom Gorham
Excellent post Joe. I grew up in Ohio too but I never saw those gypsies. Too late now I suppose... sounds cool. BUT, I have seen the gypsies that steal leads by coopting the dealers name. Thanks for shining the light on it. Hoping to meet you soon at Apple Chevrolet.

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