When I started the TrueCar Blogs back on November 27th it was the beginning of a movement. Hard to believe I was able to get thousands of people involved. When I started the movement to expose TrueCar, even I didn’t realize how huge a thing I was creating.
You can read the two main blogs at:
State Dealer Associations mobilized and dealers responded to the threat. WE came together and voiced our opinions and the entire industry heard us. At the time I believe that TrueCar was the biggest threat to our industry that has ever existed…and that threat still exists in other vendors extracting, assimilating, reselling, re-purposing and sharing dealers’ data from our DMS.
The industry mobilized and we have prevailed. I am pleased we handed them some humility. They’re arrogant and consider themselves to be “intellectually superior” …and possibly genetically to us “Car Folks”. How many times has Scott Painter talked down to us saying we just don’t get it? Sometimes I get the feeling they feel Car Dealers and employees are insignificant cockroaches not fit to breathe their air.
We cannot let our guard down or think we’ve won the war. There are companies like Edmunds and CarFax who need to come under close scrutiny. What possible reason could either of these companies have to extract dealer data? …and then use our own information against us. If I were a dealer I would never give it up and would throw all intruders out of my DMS. Even if I were to allow them access, they should be paying us for the data they resell for a profit?
Scott Painter has said repeatedly they get most of their data from other sources BUT what we need to realize is those other sources he refers to originally stole the data from a dealer DMS.
Every Dealer needs to have a full audit on your DMS and find out what vendors are tapping your customer information and service information and passing it on and reselling or sharing it.
There are companies right now taking dealer data and selling it to your direct across town competitor…your customer information.
We found one dealer that had one store signed with a vendor, and then that vendor tapped into the data from his other five dealerships that had NOT signed with that vendor.
Just where does CarFax for example get all of our service and R.O. information they use to price our cars and run television commercials portraying dealers as crooks?
What possible reason should anyone give Edmunds.com Customer transactional Data? Are we that stupid? And the dealer is liable for data security…you’re the one who will go down when the customer class-action suits start.
I promise you there are thousands of dealers who are totally unaware there are so many vendors taking so much information out of their systems. Clauses hidden in their contracts that went unnoticed.
The larger battle is only beginning. 2012 is the year of The Data Wars we are going to educate the entire industry and we will villainize These Data Pirates and throw them out with the bath water.
If your company is extracting data, transactional, financial, personally identifiable, service records or otherwise from a dealer to resell, re-purpose or share… you need to be very nervous because it’s all about to rain on your parade.
Any vendor who is extracting Data, sharing data, re-purposing data, re-selling transactional or personally identifiable data… we’re putting you on notice… YOU’RE GOING DOWN.
We realize that some vendors need some information to perform your services, and we urge the dealers to release that data specifically with a firm written agreement that it won’t be shared or resold or published.
AND all data released to a vendor must be signed off by the dealer principal or corporate officer, NOT some low level employee.
In short, be advised… We’re coming.
I’ve decided to wait and see what happens with TrueCar. From the beginning it was never my intent to see them totally destroyed, although; that was always Scott Painter’s goal to destroy the retail car dealerships.
If their new business plan restructures them to being another competitive “Lead Provider” …not setting prices, then I’m all for backing off completely. As a matter of fact, I might want to talk one-on-one with Scott Painter about it. I have other windmills to fight. Right now nobody trusts them.
I had some really sinister things brewing concerning these people, BUT if what I am seeing, reading and hearing is TrueDisclosure I am prepared to back off the tribe and maybe even work with them some. The biggest issue still remains… Is TrueCar willing to get out of the Dealers’ DMS systems? Their new business model gives them no need to extract any data at all if they’re sincere.
I spoke with hundreds of dealers in the last few days and most of them congratulated and thanked me for spear-heading the Anti-TrueCar movement.
I saw TrueCar Executive Michael Timmons at one of the evening events… he reached out, shook my hand and told me his name. … to which I replied… “YES, I know who you are.” and I kept on walking.
Excuse me! This guy is one of the them. He is the warm and fuzzy, former “AutoNation” guy who I believe is assigned to soften everyone up on the real issues. I am sure Timmons is a decent guy and all of that BUT I am not yet ready to be pals with these guys. NOW… that is my opinion based on a keen understanding of how this works.
I do not believe TrueCar has a chance unless their board of directors totally removes Scott Painter… too many car people just flat out don’t like him, don’t believe him or trust him.
I also believe Charles Kim is a liability to their continued survival. If I were on the TrueCar board of directors, we would have to make a decision concerning Charles’ future.
The incident with Steven Dietz, Partner at GRP Partners messaging me my son’s arrest record and arrest photo was, in my opinion, over-the-top tactic by a person who is not decent. It showed me that these are not ethical people, nor are they honorable by most people’s standards of morality.
Now I am not saying Steven Dietz is a pompous, arrogant, full-of-himself, idiot…that is a decision only you can make based on his actions and self control or lack of it. http://www.GRPPartners.com
All I can say is what kind of guy would do the things he’s done and made the questionable (by me) decisions he’s made? Would you consider this guy to be out-of-control loose cannon? I don’t know the answer to that…read everything and guard your investments is all I can say. If I were an investor I’d run…run very fast…away from anything Steven Dietz and GRP Partners was involved with. Of course this is all my opinion because I am still in a in a surly mood over what he tried to do bringing my family into it.
I am extremely gratified and relieved that Scott Painter of TrueCar had the decency and the personal integrity to call me personally and apologize for what this Steven Dietz did by bringing my family into it.
My kid was arrested when he was 21 years old for driving without a license. Who’s kid hasn’t had something similar at one time or another? AND, apparently Steven Dietz was going to use it to blackmail me? Little did he realize I’d already written about it in a national magazine. My life is an open book, the good, the bad and the ugly.
So we survived the TrueCar dirty tricks and showed them a couple of our own during the process.
When TrueCar registered the following web addresses it showed me what they really think and what their TrueAttitude is toward us:
- ” www.f**kedbythedealer.com “
- ” www.f**kedbythedealer.org “
- ” www.f**kedbythedealer.net “
Yes, they really did… AND they spelled out the obscene word in the web address.
When I exposed it, they said it was done by a low-level employee and they un-registered those obscene web addresses and apologized… again.
No one is letting their guard down here. We’re all watching TrueCar and their every move is under the microscope. All I’m saying is let’s shift the focus and expand it to the much larger area of Data Wars.
You can respond to Jim Ziegler directly about this article at ZieglerSS@aol.com.
James A. Ziegler, CSP, HSG
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