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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Happy Birthday to Google - What Can Your 9-Year-Old Do?

Today is Google's 9th anniversary. Even though they've only been around for a short time, Google is one of those companies that has changed the world already. They are a perfect example of what success and innovation can accomplish. When Google products aren't accessible all hell breaks loose. No ads to click on, no videos to watch on YouTube, no way to see your appointments for the day on Google Calendar, and you can't even read our blog with your Google Reader. Oh yeah, and you'll have to use another search engine like Yahoo! or MSN to find that recipe for bread pudding you like so much. What's the real difference between Google and your auto dealership? The world would come to a screeching halt if you were closed for a day, right?

You probably only have a few revenue streams like wholesale and retail sales, parts, service, detailing, etc. Google has so many things going on it's hard to keep track at times, and a lot of these generate significant revenue for them. They have billions of "inventory units" (pages indexed), and they do business on a global scale. How about your little dealership in Anytown, USA?

I believe there is no reason a car dealer can't change the world as Google has. I'm sure that comment will elicit a chuckle from several readers, but I really believe it. The problem lies in the fact that car dealers are inherently "old school". Sure there are a few that are ahead of the curve, but it's common knowledge that most have the mentality that change is bad, especially when things have worked for 100 years. Would the world survive if Google wasn't around? Sure. Does Google make life easier for everyone? You bet.

The auto industry needs to have a few people step up with some forward-thinking ideas. So many dealers and vendors are concerned with money from current opportunities above all else, but sometimes a focus on making the industry better is the logical first step. If you can accomplish the successful deployment of a new product or business model, the money will fall into place. Just ask anyone that has been with Google for 9 years.


Anonymous said...

I am a long time internet manager for a local auto dealer. I want to increase traffic. Please let me know your ideas as far as using a blog goes. I don't even know the first steps to doing this. Some internet manager, huh?

Jake said...


I think the mere fact that you're asking that question shows you're ahead of the curve and not behind it. I think you will find Ryan Gerardi's blog to be a good source of ideas on what strategies to think about when using a blog for marketing. If you're not familiar, Jeff Kershner is an ISM who has been using blogs and other "outside the box" ideas for a while now to increase visibility/ranking of his dealer website and ultimately drive traffic to the lot.

As far as actually setting up a blog, this can be done for no cost through a few providers (such as the one we use at blogger.com). The difficult part is maintaining it with fresh content on a regular basis. Most dealers think in terms of the right here, right now. Blogs are something that take time to build up just like any other site. It requires fresh content on a regular basis, and patience because under a lot of circumstances you'll be hard pressed to get people to comment (as evidenced on this blog). I think initially the benefit of a blog is with the search engines picking up the content. After a while it has enough content and picks up subscribers so it eventually becomes a "voice" for your dealership.

I definitely recommend checking out Ryan and Jeff's blogs.