Recently a dealer contacted us about taking over their web site. The dealership had set up a domain through a nationally recognized automobile advertiser and publisher known to every dealer several years ago and while they were getting some business from the exposure their inventory got, the dealer realized that his site was missing some important pieces, was not optimized with keywords or title statements, and could not be found in any of the major search engines.
Troubles set in when the dealer contacted his representative with this other company to arrange for the domain to be transferred to our server. The rep met with the dealer to ‘explain’ his options. The first thing the rep made clear to the dealer was that he owned the domain but not the site.
It would have been fine if it stopped there. The rep then said that if the dealer moved the domain from their server he would no longer be able to benefit from the plan that he currently had and that his monthly expense with them would dramatically increase. The dealer was happy with the service he got through them and felt that his Inventory would get more exposure if he could keep his inventory on this other company’s web site. What he wanted was for JTZ Enterprise to build a better site that included more than just a Home Page and Inventory Listing. His site did not include a Map & Directions Page, a Staff/Company History Page, a Vehicle Locator Page, a credit application or any other pages that would set his site apart from every other dealer’s site. Instead, his site looked much like every other site that this other company hosts. They take a cookie cutter approach to building sites by filling in the blanks with each dealer’s information.
JTZ Enterprise wanted to create the rest of the site for this dealer while at the same time optimizing the site for search engine registration, something the other company had never done for the dealer. The dealer was saying to the representative that he wanted to keep his inventory page with them but wanted a Webmaster to bring the rest of his site up to speed. Their response was if you want less service from them, they want more money!?! The representative did say that if the dealer agreed to another dramatic increase in monthly fees, they would be able to provide some of the services we were discussing. If the dealer called off the improvements, fees would stay the same.
The dealer was faced with three choices. First he could live with a substandard site and keep his fees the same, or he could agree to a price increase in order to get some of the services he should have been getting all along, or he could pay more for less service while paying another company to do what the original company can not.
Other dealers faced with similar choices have opted for a second site so that they could get the best of both worlds; leads from this other company and a professional, unique site that gets leads from Yahoo!, Google and other search engines. Some dealers faced with ever increasing fees from Trader have stopped advertising with them all together.
If your dealership has a website, make sure that you have full control of that domain. And finally, I would continue to do business with any company that earns my business with good services, not with a company that is only concerned with how much they can increase their fees from year to year.