Is Dealer.com Corrupting Your Data?

Sep 22, 8:24AM, UPDATE: James Grace has contacted Wikimotive and shared findings with us: “We’ve tracked down the source of this issue to a 3rd Party Integration with Edmunds.com that was active on approximately 16% of our sites.  Edmunds pushed tracking code to these sites that was causing the Google session-ID to be overwritten with every “event” on the website, ultimately creating a new session for each event.  This dramatically increased direct traffic in these clients’ GA accounts.  We’ve deactivated these integrations across the Dealer.com platform and the issue has been resolved.  We will be communicating with Edmunds to discuss whether or not to reactivate the integrations.  Dealers with questions or concerns should reach out to their Dealer.com Digital Advisor.”

Thanks to James and his team for their efforts to bring transparency to the dealer community. The dialogue I’ve had with James gives me hope that there will be more transparency to come and that digital agency’s like Wikimotive will have better access to staff in a position to take action for the benefit of their dealer clients. Wikimotive will be meeting with James and his team next week to discuss other areas of concern regarding data integrity and 3rd party integration.

BREAKING Sep 21, 2:16pm: James Grace, Sr. Director of Analytics at Dealer.com has contacted Wikimotive and is looking in to this issue as well as original potential causes. We have a tentative meeting scheduled to discuss this as well as other data concerns for improving analytics data quality at dealer.com. See future article to follow.

FINAL UPDATE, SEP 21, 10:23AM: AT THIS TIME WE CAN CONFIRM THE ISSUE HAS BEEN RESOLVED. DDC IS NOT ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THIS AFFECTED MULTIPLE WEBSITES. WE ATTRIBUTE THE ISSUE AS A SERVER/PERFORMANCE ISSUE.

Yesterday we were measuring site load times in excess of 50 seconds. Today we are measuring them at just above 10 seconds fully loaded. At this time we consider this resolved, however you should check for this issue if you are observing slower than normal site load times.

IMPORTANT: DDC IS NOT ACKNOWLEDGING THAT THIS ISSUE IS AFFECTING THE PLATFORM GLOBALLY OR TO ANY DEGREE OUTSIDE INDIVIDUAL INSTANCES. THEY ARE NOT TAKING ACTION TO TROUBLE SHOOT THIS ON OTHER WEBSITES. IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE AN ISSUE YOU WILL NEED TO CONTACT DEALER.COM DIRECTLY!

SEP 21, 9:19AM, UPDATE:DEALER.COM CLAIMS THIS ONLY AFFECTED A SINGLE SITE AND WAS DUE TO A ABD IMPLEMENTATION OF GOOGLE ANALYTICS. THEY CLAIMED THE ISSUE IS RESOLVED, HOWEVER WE STILL SEE THIS ISSUE OCCURRING.  IT APPEARS THAT DDC HAS REBOOTED ONE OR SEVERAL SERVERS. THIS IS UNCONFIRMED. WE STILL SEE THIS ISSUE AFFECT SOME SITES WITH INTER-MITTEN REGULARITY – MORE NOTICEABLE WHEN WE OBSERVE WEBSITE FUNCTIONING SLOWER THAN NORMAL (IF YOU NOTICE YOUR WEBSITE LAGGING OR LOADING SLOWLY, YOU SHOULD CHECK FOR THIS ISSUE). OTHER SITES ARE STILL TRIGGERING THIS ISSUE ON EVERY SESSION REGARDLESS OF SPEED – THIS SEEMS LESS REGULAR.

12:23PM EDT, LATEST UPDATE: THIS ISSUE DOES AFFECT CHROME BROWSERS BUT IT IS LESS CONSISTENT WHEREAS IT CONSISTENTLY HAPPENS ON ALL OTHER WEB BROWSERS INCLUDING CHROME AND SAFARI IN MOBILE. THIS WILL LIKELY DIRECTLY AFFECT YOU AND YOU SHOULD TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY.

UPDATE: THIS MAY ONLY AFFECT SAFARI & INTERNET EXPLORER BROWSERS. MORE UPDATES TO FOLLOW.

 

Today at Wikimotive, we found an interesting development regarding analytics on Dealer.com websites while reviewing a client’s data. We noticed a 767.32% increase in their direct traffic, seemingly, overnight. At first we thought maybe a rogue email campaign was generating bot traffic, but instead we found something a bit more surprising.  You can see this happen for yourself using the realtime tool in Google Analytics.

Search your dealership name and click the result which will take you to your homepage. From there, navigate to new (or used) inventory. Next, filter your results by make, model, body style or any available filter option. Once your filter is applied you will notice that your organic session has ended and you are now listed as a new direct session.

If you continue to refine filter options your direct session will bounce and a new direct session will be created. This is very concerning as the level of data corruption can be significant depending on user behavior. If your store’s IP is not filtered from your view and your sales people use your website to show different vehicles to customers in the showroom this will create substantial additional traffic that never really existed. In the most extreme case we found, one dealer went from 921 new (direct) users for 3,309 (direct) sessions  to 7,988 new (direct) users and 10,435 (direct) sessions in just 30 days.

Worse still, this will impact all session data from other sources. If your referral traffic filters inventory that session data is lost form that point forward. If they visit multiple VDPs or other pages and submit a lead it will be sourced as direct instead of the true originating source – same for Organic, or any other traffic source. This has far reaching consequences and should be corrected swiftly.

I have confirmed that this was not a one off by testing this on multiple brands across multiple dealers. I would strongly urge that if your website is provided by dealer.com, that you reach out immediately and find out what they are doing to correct this. We have contacted dealer.com about this issue for our clients, but have not yet received a response.

Tell us what you find! Are you seeing the same thing? Did you have different findings? Be sure to check multiple browsers and check mobile vs desktop!

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Welcoming Brandon Parker Director of Social Media

The team at Wikimotive is proud to introduce its latest hire, Brandon Parker. Invoking old school journalism, we enlisted our Managing Editor to pose a few questions to Brandon and highlight what makes him such an asset to our company. Without further delay, check out their brief interview…

Brandon, what brings you to Wikimotive?
Years of marketing experience and the drive to increase sales. I’m excited to execute successful social media marketing strategies that I’ve learned throughout the years to help our clients increase sales.

What unique skills do you consider your trademarks?
I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset my entire life. I’ve always looked at something and asked myself, “How can I improve that?” I have a wide range of experience, from setting up POS systems for stores, merchandising displays, teaching snowboarding, and, of course, extensive experience in social media marketing. All of my past endeavors play a vital role in the skills I use every day at Wikimotive.

Our team at Wikimotive is made up of individuals with varied and vast interests. Got any hobbies we should know about?
I’m an avid Jeep and off-road enthusiast. I’m part of a 4×4 club based out of central Massachusetts called The North East Rebs. We organize toy drives and holiday dinner deliveries to veterans in need, in addition to exploring and off roading throughout New Hampshire. I really enjoy helping our local community through a multitude of outreach efforts throughout the year.

Of course you’re a Jeeper! How fitting. Let’s hear more about this Jeep!
I’ve always been fascinated by Jeeps and the carefree adventurous lifestyle that goes along with them. I’ve owned a Jeep since I first got my license. I’m on my third Jeep so far and I love bringing my vision to life by modifying Jeeps myself.

Why Wikimotive?
The focus on results and the team-based atmosphere! I immediately felt right at home with the team. The business model is non-conventional—we don’t utilize contracts, for example. The ability to apply years of my own experience to existing strategies really benefits our clients. This overall atmosphere really makes Wikimotive an awesome place to work!

From the entire crew at Wikimotive – Welcome aboard, Brandon!

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Welcoming Josh Billing, Front-End Developer & QA Specialist

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Wikimotive is pleased to introduce the newest member of our development team, Front-End Developer & QA Specialist, Josh Billings.

Working closely with Wikimotive’s CTO and co-founder, Andrew Martin, Josh takes on the critical role of content publishing and front-end page development. After all, our writers can produce the best content on Earth, but someone with a sharp eye for detail needs to bring that content to life on the web. Josh Billings is that someone!

Josh is the younger brother of COO, Zach Billings, but rest assured there is no nepotism here! Josh brings to the table a keen and flexible intellect, with the ability to problem solve and think outside the box, while keeping himself necessarily grounded to crush through miles of code.

Josh brings with him a fascinating and accomplished history as Wikimotive’s youngest employee to date. IDF_1After voluntarily enlisting in the Israel Defense Forces, Josh learned to speak, read, and write fluent Hebrew in just three months, and went on to become an Anti-Tank Infantry Sergeant in the illustrious Nahal Brigade. It was in the IDF that Josh gained a profound appreciation for operating as an invaluable piece of a larger whole, and it is that attitude which shines through in his exemplary efforts at Wikimotive.

 

The Wikimotive team is thrilled to have Josh on board, and we look forward to him growing alongside us.

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Employees Are Your Business’ Greatest Reputation Management Asset

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Employees are hired based on their ability to perform and complete specific job functions. What is often overlooked is the significant role employees play in the business’ reputation.

In the past, managing a business’ reputation was purely a matter of effectively handling public relations. This, alone, is no longer enough.

In today’s world, technology has greatly altered the way businesses’ reputations are formed, monitored, and managed. Social media and online review sites are major factors in evaluating how a company is performing, but a businesses’ reputation does not start with online reviews; it begins with your employees.

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You Have More in Common with Your Customer Than You Think

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When a potential buyer walks through the door, calls you up on the phone, or chats with you online, your immediate reaction is to find ways to connect with them to provide quality customer service.

You engage in small talk by chatting about the weather or current sport scores, hoping to uncover similar interests to aid you in providing great service. Although this approach is useful, you already have more in common with your customer than you think.

Stored in the back of your mind is a toolbox full of methods from courses you took or books you read about how to provide excellent customer service. However, there is one vital piece of knowledge you can use when offering customer service and it is the one thing all of us possess — the experience of being a customer.

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Navigating SEO: 4 Problems Still Plaguing Dealer Websites

Dealer Website Problems

Your website is the most important part of your digital marketing strategy. Even with a large budget, you could fail to achieve results if you’re lacking the foundation necessary to convert visitors into leads and sales.

In this week’s Navigating SEO column, I’ll detail a few of the problems that still plague dealer websites years after being pointed out and condemned by the automotive SEO community.

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Navigating SEO: 3 Ways to Improve Your Dealership’s Keyword Research

Keyword Research for Car Dealers

Do you feel like you’re getting nowhere with SEO? It’s tough to pinpoint the exact reason you’re not seeing results, but there are ways you can improve your process to push through and start seeing green numbers.

Keyword research is one of the smallest things you can improve upon; however, it can make the difference between successful and unsuccessful car dealer SEO campaigns.

In this week’s Navigating SEO column, I’ll provide three tips to help you improve your dealership’s keyword research using proven methods used by Wikimotive to boost our automotive clients’ SEO.

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Navigating SEO: 3 SEO Content Tips to Boost Traffic and Conversions

SEO Content Tips

In 2016, every business wants to use content to get more traffic to their website. From there, they want to better convert those users to boost client sign-ups or sales. But none of that comes without understanding some fundamental facts about SEO and how to create better content.

To give you a leg up on your competition, I’m going to give you three important SEO content tips that will provide you with more knowledge on what goes into a great piece of content.

You’ll be able to use this information to better research, write, and design content pages that bring in business to boost traffic and increase your conversion rate.

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Navigating SEO: Best SEO Advice to Kick Off 2016

Best SEO Advice for 2016

New Years is more than just a time for personal resolutions; for your business it’s a perfect time to commit and stick to resolutions to make 2016 your best year ever.

If you’ve been procrastinating on your digital marketing, I won’t shame you. Instead, I’ll present you with some of the best advice that you can use to kick off your own SEO campaigns.

We’ll likely have a lot more to talk about by the time 2016 comes to an end, but the following tips will provide you with a solid foundation to start seeing results in the new year!

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Navigating SEO: How to Make the Most of Link Building in 2016

How to Make the Most of Link Building in 2016

Link building isn’t dead, and it’s not likely to die in 2016. If you want to build authority for your website to increase organic traffic, link building is still a crucial component of SEO.

The problem is, you may not be aligning your link building efforts with the standards that will lead to success in 2016.

In this post, I’ll step you through a few of the ways you can get your link building hat back on straight to see more success than ever before!

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