Online Dealer Mall Tries to Gather Stores

Publish Date: 
Sep 15, 2009

ONLINE DEALER MALL (, a website launched recently, describes itself as a one-stop source for car, boat, RV, motorcycle and ATV shoppers. The site, which links to an auction site owned by the same company, claims that dealerships that join will place higher in search engine results, and benefit from national ads promoting the site.

Unlike similar sites, Online Dealer Mall does not sell leads. Instead, dealers pay $100 per month to be listed on the site and post inventory in the auctions. The contract is month-to-month.

Dave Ward and Sam Cowan, two veterans of the automotive world, reportedly created the website, which allows people to view product comparisons, check their credit score, read dealer reviews, get new and used car pricing information, pre-arrange financing and check insurance quotes, among other things.

Once visitors decide on a vehicle, they can find the dealers in their area and search their inventory.

“Most consumers would rather do their research online instead of spending time running around town,” Ward stated in the news release. “We can provide all the resources for them to do this research without jumping around from site to site.”

Cowan stated, “While there may be similar automotive sites online, most of them are lead generation services designed to coax the consumer into filling out a credit application, and this application is then forwarded to multiple dealers within a geographical region. Once they fill out this application, many consumers are plagued by phone calls and e-mails from multiple dealers trying to bring them into their dealership.”

Online Dealer Mall claims that dealers using a lead generation service can pay up to $20 per lead, even though the average closing ratio is less than 1 percent. Online Dealer Mall, on the other hand, “brings the consumer to the dealers website, and it is then up to the dealer to convince the customer that they should do business with them.”

Many dealers have trouble attracting customers via traditional search engines, Online Dealer Mall claims, adding that it takes time, money and effort to achieve a decent ranking with the major search engines. “Online Dealer Mall will take care of search engine positioning for the dealer,” Cowan stated. “In addition, the dealers benefit from our national advertising campaigns and achieve better search engine ranking as part of our mall.”

In the real world, the press release notes, automotive dealers have long enjoyed the greater traffic generated by auto malls. Powersports dealers haven’t been as successful.