Many dealers remain in the dark about online piracy: when your dealer rivals or third-party sites purchase YOUR dealership’s name in pay-per-click keyword buys – or incorporate your name into their website meta-tags. The fallout? Your rightful business is hijacked, because when customers are specifically searching for you, the pirates benefit by plundering the ‘gold’ of your search position.
Why is this sneaky behavior on the rise? Not only because the World Wide Web acts increasingly like the Wild, Wild, West – but because your competitors know your search real estate is super-valuable property, generating big business. Search is huge: more than 4 in 5 online new-car shoppers turn to search engines today, and search is the #1 most-used resource consumers use to research dealers. And roughly 40% of dealer-related searches specifically involve the dealership’s name.
Common types of dealer piracy:
1. Pay-per-click: PPC piracy is when your dealer rivals or third-party sites purchase your name(s) as keywords, so their ad comes up (to the right of the search results), when someone’s searching YOU.
2. Organic: Third-party sites can embed your name in their website meta-tags, so the ever-spidering search engines find THEM, when a searcher is looking for YOU. Third-party lead providers you partner with are authorized to use your name and inventory – but some third-party sites masquerade as quasi-directories, when they’re just using your name to generate leads. Typically, hitting their official-looking landing pages you’ll see: ‘Get a price quote from Dealer X (you),’ with a form gathering customer info. (And there’s usually an option to submit leads to your competitors!) These parasite pirate-sites typically sell leads to larger lead providers, who can sell them right back…to you. Even with a lead aggregator a dealer uses, they shouldn’t use your trade name to gather leads.
Dealers need to put piracy on their radar. All businesses should be in tune with what comes up in both paid and organic results when their specific name/URL is searched.
It’s unfair and often illegal, but that’s the reality of online piracy. More information on how to spot some piracy and take action, while explaining new technology that protects you from this time-consuming, COSTLY headache will be forthcoming.