Online Reputation Management for Automobile Dealerships

by Mark Ishman on Oct. 26, 2012

Industry Specialties Science, Technology & Internet 

Summary: The shift from print media to online advertising for the Automotive Industry

Online Reputation Management for Automobile Dealerships: CONTROL AND OWN IT


In 2010 dealers spent more on online advertisements than print media.  The explanation is simple: More than three-fourths of new-vehicle buyers (79%) use the Internet during the shopping process.   However, spending money on online advertisements, alone, will not bring customers to your dealership.  You must also have a positive online reputation. 


Potential customers conduct Internet searches about you, both before traveling to your dealership, and at your dealership, with their mobile telephone.  If they discover negative comments, they often will look elsewhere.  You must control and own your online reputation to keep these customers focused on you.


Your ability to close transactions depends on having a positive online reputation. 


Take proactive steps to control your online reputation.  First, publish new websites, blogs and other-like online content that provide positive comments about your automobile dealership.  Second, at least once a week, monitor your online reputation by conducting Internet searches at various search engines and specific industry-related websites to discover any negative posts about your dealership.  Finally, when you discover negative posts about your automobile dealership, analyze and determine the most effective way to address the negative online comment. 


In addressing negative online comments about your automobile dealership be sure to copy the URL (i.e., website address) of the negative online comment, or “bookmark”/add it to your “favorites.”  When revisiting the negative online comment, go directly to it.  Do not continue to view the negative online comment by conducting an Internet search and then hitting the link to it.  If you do, then you tell the search engines that this negative online comment is relevant and warrants a top search result for your dealership.  Second, save a copy of the negative online comment by printing it or saving it as a PDF file.


There is no “cookie cutter” approach to analyzing a negative comment.  Each negative online comment has its own unique set of facts that will ultimately determine the best approach to manage it.  Some facts to analyze include: (i) determining  the specific situation complained about; (ii) was it published  anonymously (iii) where was it posted; (iv) did it contain your company name, slogan(s) or any of your advertisement content; and (v) was it an opinion or designed to damage your business. 


At Ishman Law Firm, we can assist you in analyzing negative online comments about your automobile dealership as well as explore various options in how you can effectively address negative online comments including (i) quietly and quickly removing  negative online comments from the website; (ii) post a proactive reply that discloses how you addressed the situation and prevented it from reoccurring; (iii) reveal the identity of an anonymous poster(s) of the  comments; and (iv) recover  damages  suffered as a result of negative online comments. 


Often your dealership name, slogans, website content and online ads are the subject matter of negative online comments.  We can proactively assist you protecting them through federal trademark and copyright law.  By being proactive, rather than reactive, you will control and own your online reputation. 


Mark Ishman is the founding attorney of the Ishman Law Firm, PC. You can reach Mark at: (919) 468-3266 or

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