Look, I’ve not been a big supporter of this TrueCar lynchmob for a few reasons. I don’t believe that TrueCar is solely responsible for all of the issues pointing their way. In my opinion, they are just a very visible and convenient target for a much wider-spread problem. My position has always been that the dealer needs to police its own data, not get mad at a vendor that’s been taking it and repurposing it. If you don’t want any vendor to have access to your DMS, don’t give it to them. Be mad, yes, but at yourself.
Transparency on the internet is not going away. Consumers won’t allow it. There are many third party sites that operate in a similar way to TrueCar. Getting rid of one is not going to stop other sites from taking their place.
If TrueCar is really changing to conform to state regulations, that’s a step in the right direction. You can’t blame THEM for the race to the bottom, dealers are to blame. Steve Stauning laid out the argument perfectly in his recent blog post: “How TrueCar.com Caught Dealers Off Guard”
This post, however, is not to debate whether TrueCar is right or wrong or any of the arguments for or against them.
I read today that TrueCar has purchased some interesting domain names from Domain Name Wire.
Now I don’t know about you, but that certainly doesn’t seem like a “dealer partner” to me. The only reason for buying those domains is to attract consumers who are pissed off at dealers. I mean, c’mon, anyone who wants to buy a car (which is what TrueCar is supposed to help people do easier, right?) and is searching with those keywords may not be a customer I want to have. That’s pretty extreme. Even if they optimize for DIFFERENT keywords, the fact remains that if someone were to click on that URL (after reading the domain name), I highly doubt they’re going there to try and buy a car. Chances are they’re going there because they feel like they’ve been.. well.. “f*cked by the dealer”. Now you’re going to try and massage that and send them to a dealer? What?!?
That’s a CSI nightmare waiting to happen and probably on a loser deal. (Not that the amount of profit should make a difference.)
Is this a preventative tactic? What will they actually PUT on those websites and/or where will they redirect them? Time will tell.
Like they didn’t have enough heat to worry about.
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