OEM Web Site and Digital Advertising Requirements

Eric Damiani

Just some thoughts about what is happing in our business:

There is a requirement by some OEMs to force their dealers to use a limited number of Certified Web Site Providers. There is a major OEM that has just started this. Reasoning is, that these 6 vendors make up 85% of current providers for their OEM Dealers.

Every retail market is different. To force OEM dealers to choose between only 6 web site providers, that not only work with our other OEM dealers, but our competitors as well, limits our marketing and strategies at our local level. Also, these companies are capturing all our data and customer usage information to do what they want with. 

What can they do with this data, some examples of companies using dealer data:

Recently, I was told by an Third Party Vendor representative that they have a marketing program that uses data from all their sources , including their dealer web site products, to market new car shoppers. So people going to a dealer web site could be marketed to by a different dealer using this program.  

I understand that there was a Third Party Vendor that used dealer data and made some sort of deal with independent large Dealer Group.  Other vendors in the past were using dealer data too for other products and services.

Seem to me, by forcing OEM dealers to use these 6 companies, we are increasing the value of these companies and helping them to take over the market, causing a lot of other great web site companies out of business. These 6 companies will have all the data from these dealers and other OEM dealers to use and sell the way they want.

I think there is a danger in putting all our digital customer information and behavior in the hands of a small number of non-exclusive vendors.  These companies are digital information companies, not really web site vendors.

Our advertising is what drives people to our web site and to some extent, the OEM’s web site. It just doesn’t seem right to have to use one of these vendors or be penalized by not getting Co-Op, receiving OEM leads or other limitations.

Due to the strict OEM compliance Guidelines, there should be no need to force dealers down this path.

I would appreciate any insights anyone else has and suggest that dealers that want to keep their data private, object to such practices.


Randi DeSantis

I agree with you- and it is sad to say that it has actually gotten a LOT better. It used to be only one option... Everyone had Cobalt. Then they started allowing DDC into the mix. Now it is a whopping 6 options. 
I don't like the way that it allows the vendors to trap us into pricing either. I have DDC for all 6 of my franchises- but pay a different amount- which was negotiated by the OEM and not me- for each of them. Same thing when it comes to Digital Retailing, when it comes to my OEM site- I am trapped into pricing set by the OEM. AND ITS REQUIRED! It is kind of shady. 

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