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Jeff Kershner

Jeff Kershner DealerRefresh / Founder

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Dealers, wake up! Edmunds & Zag / TrueCar Has Your Transactional Data

As you know or if you're not already aware, Edmunds.com is going direct to dealers. They're cutting out the middle man (AutoUSA, Dealix and Autobytel) and coming after our business with a newly hired sales team.

edmunds vs TrueCar pricing analysisDealers, WE/YOU have a very important choice to make that WILL help determine change (good or bad) to our industry. Keep in mind, Edmunds.com has never been one to treat the dealer fairly. I've been watching this for a while, and it's not rocket science, but follow me... A few years ago, Zag is re-selling leads to dealers per lead basis. Zag changes their subscription model and starts charging dealers on a per sold basis. "So I don't pay unless I sell a car?" - nope. That is music to a dealer's ears! However, in order to determine what to charge you, Zag needs access to your DMS in order to match-up customer sold data (dare they say "transactional data to the dealer") with the leads they've sent you over the last few months. Dealers don't think twice about signing up for the new Zag subscription model. But not thinking twice is the potential issue. You just signed an agreement allowing a 3rd party company to proudly scrub your DMS for YOUR transactional data! Only to use this data to power a CONSUMER facing price analysis tool - TrueCar!

TrueCar Inc. is an automotive solutions provider focused on changing how cars are sold by providing a significantly better customer experience while helping qualified dealer partners to gain incremental market share and reduce costs. TrueCar.com is a transparent, visual publisher of new car transaction data.

How much more transparency does our business need? Perhaps this is nothing more than the evolution of our business.

I've spoken to several higher-ups at TrueCar and trust me, this is a determined company. They "want to change the way cars are sold and bought". Yeah, we've heard this before, but this time we dealers need to listen and pay attention. The challenge; how does TrueCar turn TrueCar to be a household brand?

Let's review the top visited online automotive research sites ...

In order for TrueCar to become a household name, they need a platform to brand themselves. Edmunds.com fits the bill. Before I go any further, allow me to inform you the following is pure speculation on my part... ;) TrueCar's people speak to Edmunds people about a possible synergy between the two. They consider a deal UNTIL Edmunds.com say "Whoooaa - wait a second, we already have a TrueCar piece and it's over a decade old". TMV - True Market Value.

Surely you haven't forgotten about TMV have you?

Edmunds.com quickly figures out exactly what they need to do. Sell direct to the dealers. And in return suckering dealers into allowing them to pull their transactional data.

edmunds.com Dealer Contract for DMS Polling

Click here for a copy of the Edmunds.com Dealer Agreement For Dealers. TrueCar already claims to have over 40% of all transactional data In the United States. Dealers allowed this to happen due to our ignorance and oversight.

Are you going to allow Edmunds.com to have YOUR data transactional?

Click here to read over 40 interesting comments so far.

 

Michael Ryan
Excellent note. Between this and the low-gross deals on which we would have to pay the partner marketing fee, we've decided to steer clear of ZAG / TrueCar in the interim.
Bryan Armstrong
Great post Jeff! Your right, this is a huge issue and we all need to wake up. We have collectively allowed our names and inventory to be "pimped" for years. It's time take back ownership. Thanks for being an Advocate and watchdog for all.
Jeff Kotlarek
I don't see the issue, we pay for info all the time and we get info from our group. I use Zag and love it, great easy tool and if you are a true salesperson you can recover the fee.
Jeff Kershner
So Jeff, you're totally OK with a company dialing in your dealers owned database to extract your owned transactional data? And you're OK with this company taking all your transactional data and using it to build averages to show the customer what people are paying for your vehicles. I'm not so against the second part - it is what it is BUT allowing a company to have my data, there I have an issue.

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