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CHICAGO — Automotive Internet Media recently launched a new program so dealers can better track when consumers search for vehicles and stores online using the myriad of search engines and other tools now available.

Executives stressed that the basis for DealerLocal is to provide dealers with information and ratings about their dealership across more than 1,200 popular search engines, online directories and local search sites.

"The challenge for almost every dealer is to make sure they can be found in these sites and ensure they are aware of all consumer ratings — both good and bad," AIM insisted.

The company went on to mention that consumers sometimes use multiple online directories such as Yellowpages.com, Superpages.com, DexKnows.com when looking for a dealer. Executives contend that countless dealerships are not listed in these directories or they have inaccurate information. Furthermore, they think some directories have negative reviews that dealership management might not know about. 

AIM explained that DealerLocal can submit, manage and monitor a dealer's information on these sites until all data is current. The program also can produce a monthly report with details on the dealership's online reputation and notification of the number of ratings and average score per site.

"We saw an opportunity to help dealers get their arms around this critical aspect of managing their online information and reputation," noted Mike McDonnell, chief executive officer and co-founder of AIM, who shared details about the program with attendees at a Chicago Automotive Trade Association seminar.

"I learned how much time and effort it takes us to do all this work for www.AutoSales.com and realized that most dealers aren't going to take the time and effort to do if for their site," McDonnell continued.

"It's very important because many consumers are using these sites to find your store and learn about other's experiences. And as importantly, it can help your site's SEO ranking," he added.

Tony French, president and co-founder of AIM, further highlighted how DealerLocal can enhance a store's online presence.

"Our program does most all of the work for the dealership. We look online at various search engines and directories to see if the dealership is listed, and the depth and detail of their information. If anything is missing or the information is wrong we correct it," French highlighted

"It's not as easy as submitting information and then you're done. Most all of these sites have their own process and usually takes weeks if not months to get a dealership listed or information changed," he went on to say.

"It's very important for dealerships to be found online, but once the consumer finds the dealership it's equally important to have a good reputation. We make it very easy for dealer to be listed everywhere online and to know what their customers are saying about them," French concluded.