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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dealer Website Content: Who Is Responsible?

The ADM Community is lit up in response to a blog post by Timothy Martell titled "3 Reasons To Fire Your Website Vendor" in which he exposes multiple egregious examples of duplicated content, along with what appears to be rampant violation of copyright laws.  His furor seems to be the caused primarily by the negative SEO impact when a dealer has the same content on their website as other dealerships do. There is no doubt that at a minimum Tim has exposed some very shoddy content creation and publishing practices that have been going on for a very long time... 

Tim Martell squarely points his finger at OEM designated, approved or mandated dealer website suppliers. 

HOWEVER, without apologizing for what may very well be a systemic failure by dealer website suppliers to collect unique content from each dealer, I must ask your opinion... Who is ultimately responsible for reviewing and either approving a dealer's website content and text based business descriptions, "why buy here" messaging and mission statements, or changing them to better reflect the dealership's actual information? 

I agree with Tim Martell that the dealer website suppliers he cites have failed to serve their dealer client's best interest by insisting that each dealer provide unique and genuine content for such pages in the dealer's website... But while everyone is jumping on the band wagon of chastising the supplier, I know that ultimately their is a dealership manager who should have insisted that such crap be replaced with the dealership's authentic descriptions and statements. Who is responsible for the content that is approved and published on behalf of a dealership? When it is wrong, who should catch the errors and get them corrected?

I must ask this question because in my opinion, a dealer or GM who lets the templated and prepopulated examples of dealer description, mission statements and business policies stand "as is" on a dealership website is the competency equivalent of buying a new wallet and leaving the stock photo inserts in place, expecting people to think they are your actual wife and family. I have never let prepopulated generic website content stand as is for any dealer I worked for, and I cannot imagine the sheer marketing ineptitude of any GM or Internet Sales Manager who would. 

So, as bad as Tim makes dealer website suppliers look with his article... Who REALLY is responsible for providing the unique descriptions, business philosophies and "why buy here" value propositions that most competent dealers would want to publish on their websites? Who approved the obviously generic and stunningly dull dribble that was used as a content example and filler by the dealer's website supplier?

Here is a link to the blog post on ADM Community that I am referring to: 

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