Your OWN Dealership Data is Being Weaponized AGAINST You!
For a first sense of this hard truth, consider your dealership’s website: Did you know that your website vendor, especially your OEM-approved website vendor (and other vendors), most likely allows tracking “pixels” (scripting) from 3rd party data companies? That track your visitors?
“So what?” you think: “What can they do with an IP address?” A lot, it turns out. If you’ve been watching the news about Facebook’s data issues, it all turns on a very simple process: Map the IP to an email login, get the email, match the email to an address and phone number. and “poof” they know who’s visiting your site. Same day, in about 70% of the cases.
Here is one example of an actual OEM-mandated website and all the tracking pixels:
One particular company—who, to be fair, has raised alert to dealers on this dangerous issue of tracking pixels at several industry conferences—now offers to “weaponize” your competitor’s data and website visitors to get them to YOUR website and YOUR showroom. Sounds great!
Except . . . what if that’s also happening to you? It’s like banks all left their vault doors wide open and unprotected while they went to take the money from other banks: Not a very long-term business model, considering that they can come home themselves to an empty vault.
And it’s not good for you, either. There are ways to stop and/or mitigate this risk, but first you need to understand it as above stated: Your OWN Data is Being Weaponized AGAINST You.
DMS data also is at risk, and has been for a long time, but that horse has really long left the barn (or bank) already: Whether you allow vendors to access your DMS data or not, your sales data is already sold on the data market in some form. Even the government registration information says WHAT dealer sold the car, WHEN, and to WHOM. How do you think the data aggregators get the data they want to sell you about “registered drivers”?
As far as your online inventory, is your inventory company taking your pictures and providing content? Your website company? The idea that online merchandising sites actively “scrape” your websites for their data even when you don’t sign up to them…that is just an old myth: They just buy the feed. Yes, they do. From the people taking your pictures and/or providing your website.
All the above is in the fine print of your agreements with them. Or it’s a “radio button” or selection in something online when you sign up. Look for wording that mentions “syndication”.
If all this is making you wonder what the 3rd-party merchandising sites that you DO sign up with do with your own data . . . well, it should make you wonder. It makes me wonder. A lot.
This is quite a bit to take in, but you can study and take action to protect your websites. Maybe first by asking your OEM-approved website provider about those pesky tracking pixels. That’s a good start.
However, want some strong help sorting out what’s happening with your data and your website?
Call The BullCutter! 🙂
Have a great rest of the month!