The domain usedcarsforsale.com, just recently sold for $340,000.00. This is the largest purchase of a domain name in the automotive industry since carsales.com in 2008 and autos.com in 1999. This adds to an extensive list of domains (5,000) owned by the purchaser (Steve Tackett) that are predicated on behaviorally targeted “Exact Match” Google search phrases, and make up a network of Google search-based, classified listing sites. The value of such sites is measured by the traffic each site generates based on keyword search inquiries.
Usedcarsforsale.com will be a high-profile addition to an existing network of 350 websites and domains that makeup what is the largest classified automobile listing syndication network in the world (see automotiveleads.com). Not so much a “lead broker” or “processor” platform, traffic routed from these sites to a dealer’s home site is considered by the industry as “first generation” which means leads are qualified on the dealer’s home site and not harvested, redirected, or collected on any of the listing sites that make up the aforementioned network.
All of the other properties in this search-engine powered, classified listing network includes domains that express each aspect of the automotive business, for example; bestpriceusedcars.com, autodealersforbadcredit.com, usedcarsboston.com, wefinanceanyone.com as well as hundreds of others.
“Used Cars for Sale” is a search phrase that is keyed in by just under 1 million people every month via the Google and Yahoo/Bing search engines which makes it an extremely valuable web asset in the digital marketing industry. Google “Best Practices” and search engine behavioral studies suggest people are highly inclined to visit the sites that are exact matches for the searches they employ not only for cars but other consumer goods and services as well.
In fact, as a typical car shopper goes from site to site, it has been calculated on average that they will visit up to 20 sites during their journey, 9 of which belong to the new owner of usedcarsforsale.com based on the Google exact match search premise. Extrapolate that out to other industries and just imagine to what extent such a strategy can change the direction of search engine traffic and eliminate competitors.
If you’re a divorce lawyer and somehow had the vision to have purchased bestdivorcelawer.com, bestdivorcelawyerslosangeles.com, and divorcelawyersinLA.com, your phones would never stop ringing because you would dominate the SERPS (search engine results pages) in a very busy search category. You’d essentially block out competitors who would be forced to buy ads to stay visible in the search process. That costs a lot of money and organic search returns are clicked on at a much higher clip than paid ads.
Transforming these search terms into valuable domain names and creating a large network of classified listing sites on which to syndicate dealer inventory means that new and used car dealers now have yet another way of increasing their online visibility. With this particular classified car listing network, there is no advertising on any of the sites. Not offering advertising is a marketing position that makes these classified listing sites unique in an industry where ad revenue is the Holy Grail. There is no option to pay extra to have premium ad location positioning above or aside any other dealership listings let alone buy page take-over ads, share of voice, retargeting, overlays or underlays of any form.
Other listing sites rely heavily on ad dollars to boost profits and have been very successful at it because it makes heavy duty dollars and sense. Autotrader generates 1.025 billion per year, Cars.com which just went public under the new ticker symbol CARS was part of a 1.8-billion-dollar transactional package in January 2017, and Autobytel showed a healthy 156 million in revenue in 2016. Not all revenue is ad-based but by definition, it should be agreeable that these are more like advertising sites that list cars.
With the Usedcarsforsale.com model, a dealer with 3 cars will have the same visibility as a dealer with 300 cars and leads are not shared or sent to other dealers with the same or similar inventory. There are no limits being put on how many times a dealer can reach out to a “lead” via email, nor are there retargeting ads that carry similar inventory from nearby dealers or sudden increases in listing prices. When a customer clicks on a dealer’s listing it takes that prospect/lead directly to the VDP on the dealer’s website. The dealer gets charged per click.
This kind of listing system can be effective for companies who sell consumer goods and products because trackability is so much easier than having to deal with a 3rd party vendor or even affiliates who control the process and the lead flow. In this model, all tracking is done via Google analytics on the dealer’s own responsive site.
The announcement of this domain transaction comes at a time when car prices are getting pushed lower and lower under the gravity of heavy supply and bankers who have raised the bar on those seeking loan approvals. This platform is being positioned as a window of opportunity for new and used car dealers who are seeking ways of ever- increasing their unique lead counts, sales, and leveraging search engine optimization in a way they never have before. The usedcarsforsale.com model is strictly a search engine, point and click construct whereby the shopper finds the site via search, is enticed by its description, and clicks over to the dealer’s VDP, the baton is passed, mission is accomplished.
Now celebrating 10 years in the digital marketing space, Kelly Kleinman’s experience includes working in a variety of marketing and advertising capacities with such iconic American entities as the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Lakers, MLB, NASCAR, Sony, Universal Studios, MGM, Allstate Insurance and many others. He’s written blogs covering a wide spectrum of topics from the pitfalls of manufacturing in China to influencer marketing, the benefits of Pokemon Go obsession to the similarities of online dating and car buying. Highly experienced in the world of Google AdWords and B2C Social Media campaigns, he has also written dozens of websites across all categories and is a go-to digital media consultant for many companies looking to push the needle and get into the next gear. EMAIL: email@example.com
Author: Contributing Writer
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