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Cobalt websites
Posted by Frank Davis on July 14, 2008 at 7:17pm
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I need a little help understanding a few things, and you say of course Frank it is you again. Let me start by saying this is mostly for
GM dealers but I am sure most of you will catch on or understand. First of all we have either one or more websites, ours is
www.jimgloverchevy.com that is the one we advertise etc. We currently have five mini sites and a GM Cobalt site. Why the GM
site? That was my question at first but they pushed it so hard I just gave in and said sure why not, more links? Name gets out there
right? What could it hurt? Well we shall see and you be the judge.
www.jimgloverchevy.com is a very well optimized site for Tulsa Oklahoma and the area for north east Oklahoma. It has about
10,000 unique visitors a month so it is about 2 to 3 times more popular than other auto dealers in the area. It has taken years to get
the site to its current state and it takes time to get the site to improve. In comes General Motors and Cobalt pushing websites for all
GM dealerships, your getting one like it or not. If you are not familiar with a Cobalt site please check out a few Gm dealers in your

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area, they all look about the same they navigate the same and all have the same thing to say, not to much difference between them.
Jim Glover Chevrolet Cobalt website is up and running, just so you know this website costs us nothing for the time being and they
also include a no cost PPC campaign. Nice huh? The address for this site is www.jimglover.gmpsdealer.com there are more than
eight GM dealerships within 30 miles of each other that have a GM/ Cobalt website, that look pretty much like the Jim Glover
Chevrolet Cobalt site. So after years of SEO work for www.jimgloverchevy.com GM in all their wisdom has come in and built us
website and is now doing PPC campaign for that website directing it to www.jimglover.gmpsdealer.com taking consumers away
from www.jimgloverchevy.com But it does not stop there. Get ready for this, Cobalt does PPC campaigns for all the dealers so they
will and do submit campaigns for names like Jim Glover Chevrolet. Before Cobalt started doing PPC campaigns in our area it was
up to the dealer to vie for that in a PPC campaign. Now GM does it at no cost to the dealers. So type in Jim Glover Chevrolet to
Google and you will see a campaign for keystone Chevrolet and Jim Glover Chevrolet all from Cobalt. Thats right in Cobalts
wisdom they actually do a PPC campaign for the name of the dealer. They do this to take the consumer away from the dealers paid
site. All make sense to you?
Imagine if you will: All Gm websites that look alike: every time you type into a browser the name of a dealership then 6 or more
dealers show up in PPC campaigns, all thanks to Cobalt and they all look the same.
My questions are: Why would GM want all dealer websites to be the same? Why would they pit each dealer against each other in
the advertising forum that we all work in everyday?
Example again: type Jim Glover Chevrolet into Google, results in paid search are www.jimglover.gmpsdealer.com and
www.keystonechevrolet.com not only is Cobalt taking away from my SEO site but they are also directing to the competition. And
all this happens when a consumer is looking for my website.
This situation will certainly get worse when Cobalt completes all of the GM websites and continues its PPC campaigns for all of its
dealers. I see a real mess, how about you?
Frank Davis, Jim Glover Chevrolet. Tulsa Ok
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Permalink Reply by Frank Davis on July 28, 2008 at 1:24pm


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I have checked into what Ralph has said and of course it is true that Cobalt is not infringing on the names of its competitors.
Those dealers have learned and are now doing PPC campaigns. Nothing has changed with GM and Cobalt they will still
conduct a PPC campaign for your dealership under your domain name and direct those consumers to the Cobalt site. Gm
considers this to be fair game and good for General Motors and the consumer as it is more inline to the national campaign and
the consumer gets the same message all of the time. That might be good for GM but I do not believe it is good for the dealer
that would like to keep and work his/her current website. I still feel directing consumers away from an advertised website to a
cobalt website is the wrong way to do business even after the dealer has asked them not to advertise for that dealer in that
respect.
I respect this blogging site and there is always a wealth of information here. It is very disturbing to hear of things like the
incidence with Ralph Paglia and the incidence with Paul Rushing. I was tought in grade school that we here in America have
the freedom of free speech. I for one will continue to write on these public forums. I would hope my job is not at stake and I
would hope my employer would back me up 100% as everything I do is in the best interest of Jim Glover Chevrolet.
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Permalink Reply by Frank Davis on July 30, 2008 at 9:49am


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Here is an update to everything that has been talked about for the last couple of weeks. To sum it all up if you did not opt out
of iMR by march 31st 2008 then you are in for one year. You cannot stop GM and Cobalt from promoting the dealership
cobalt site, or advertising for the Cobalt site using the dealership name in a PPC campaign. The only search marketing that
GM pays for through Cobalt is to advertise the GMPS site in a PPC campaign using only the dealership name. Below you will
find part of an e-mail I recieved detailing the promotion.
The new iMR program was rolled out in December with a number of IDL broadcasts, Webex, and written communications to
dealers. The new program took effect on 4/1, all dealers had until March 31st to opt out of iMR program. iMR consists of a
few components.

2. Digital Marketing Package - All dealers participating in iMR will receive free of charge:
1. The OneSource lead delivery pipe (prior to 4/1 dealers were charged $149/mo.
2. Dealer Website
3. An assigned account advocate dedicated to the dealership website
4. Search marketing
If dealer's did not opt out of iMR by 3/31, they were automatically enrolled for 1 year. I apologize if you misunderstood me in
our call, but I never intended to give you the impression that you could opt out of this program at any time.
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Permalink Reply by Joel Davidson on July 30, 2008 at 11:56am


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I shared this tidbit with my GM to keep him up to speed on things. I've actually got a conference call in an hour with my
Cobalt Advocate and one of Cobalt's "Tier 2 Search Specialist" to see if I can't get my situation straightened out. I'm not going
in with high expectations though based on the success that any of us have had thus far.....
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Permalink Reply by Joel Davidson on July 31, 2008 at 11:02am


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VICTORY AT LAST!!!!!! After weeks of trials and tribulations I have won!!! In talking to several people at Cobalt I finally
came to an agreement with them to get the Search Issues resolved so that I will get the positioning that I deserve. Once I
finally got one of the Search Specialists on the phone, we realized that not only were they sending my competitors traffic, they
were not showing my site at all. I tried to tell my Cobalt rep this but he told me everything was fine there and that all that
should appear was the DMA landing page. I knew that was not right and feel great now that all this is handled.
During my research thoug, I have seen the need for some serious SEM to drive more traffic to my site. I can also see the need
for dedicated microsites and was looking for any suggestions on hosts for these. I contacted my Website Providers and they
wanted to charge an arm and a leg for it. I know that Ralph is the "King of Microsites" so I know that this is the right place for
this question.
Thanks for everyone's help so far.
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Permalink Reply by Frank Davis on July 31, 2008 at 5:03pm


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Hey Joel
Great to hear you have accomplished your goal, microsites help check out chevytulsa.com that site cost me 350.00 and you
can do more with it if you like, if you are intersted let me know and I will get you in touch with April, she has built a bunch of
these for people.
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Permalink Reply by Ralph Paglia on August 1, 2008 at 5:45am


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I would like to point out that nobody from Cobalt has had the wherewithal or seen fit to respond to this forum post by Jim
Glover. Yet senior Cobalt executives have complained to GM management that their input on ADM has been suppressed or
deleted. This is, in fact, an outright lie and another false statement that reflects the repeated and ongoing pattern of unethical
and immoral behavior I have personally witnessed from The Cobalt Group. So, please realize that when we are dealing with a
company that is led by liars that there is a very low threshold of tolerance for accountability. These liars that lead Cobalt also
have also lied to GM about Jim Glover Chevrolet, telling GM that the dealership has an ADP website, when the site is from
Reynolds Web Solutions, and that the Cobalt posts on this specific forum have been deleted and censored, which are both
complete lies and are easily verifiable by anyone who simply takes the time to look. NO COBALT POSTS ON ADM
HAVE EVER BEEN DELETED SUPPRESSED OR CENSORED IN ANY WAY. And, other than my own posts, neither
has anyone else's!
I challenge the large number of Cobalt employees who are members of ADM to respond to the various statements made in
this forum thread right here and right now. Because, if you have the guts to go whining to GM when you don't like what is
written in a public forum, and then deliver a string of lies and false statements to GM management, then you should have the
guts to state your position, policies or simply respond to the issues raised in this forum.
One last thing, based on the communication sent to GM by Cobalt, it seems that a senior executive at The Cobalt Group does
not even know what the acronym GMPS stands for... We all know that GM stands for General Motors, can anyone tell me
what the PS in GMPS stands for? You will see GMPS in one of the URL's listed by frank Davis for his Cobalt website.
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Permalink Reply by Philip Zelinger on August 1, 2008 at 5:59am


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I would like to filter out Ralph's absolutely jutified frustration over Cobalt's back door politics in order to prevent his
commendable passion for ADM and his reputation from overshadowing the true issues raised by the honest concerns surfaced
in this forum by Cobalt's customers that warrant their attention - including many of my own dealer clients!
I have previously offered to provide Cobalt a FREE 30 minute blog talk radio show on www.adagencyonline.net to discuss
the value of their services and to address the issues raised regarding their GM supported sites. ADM has offered them this
platform from day one but if, as Ralph has suggested, Cobalt feels that ADM will "filter out their comments" - WHICH I
KNOW IS NOT TRUE BASED ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCE - then join me and my clients on AdAgencyOnline.Net so
we can all move forward and discuss the solution instead of the problem. After all, what are friends - and ADM - for!
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Permalink Reply by Ralph Paglia on August 1, 2008 at 7:54am


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Phil,
I want to publicly apologize to you for missing your BlogTalkRadio.com show yesterday... I was working with Ken Grody
and his managers in Buena Park, CA and had fully expected to call in at 9:00AM after their 7:30AM management meeting.
We got so involved with our work as a team that I lost track of the time and missed the show... I am truly sorry for this and
apologize to both you and your listeners.
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Permalink Reply by Philip Zelinger on August 1, 2008 at 7:59am


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No need - YOU WERE BRILLIANT! I simply aired your previous show discussing Google adwords and the reach/frequency
formula that you suggested and the audience loved it based on the 176 live listeners and continuing downloads!
Of course we weren't able to take live call-ins so we have a pent up demand for some input next week so I will speak to you
then. For those ADM readers who want to share in Ralph's wisdoms on the subject - no worries! Just go to
www.adagencyonline.net and download yesterday's "Lunch With Ralph" show. After all, what are friends for!
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Permalink Reply by Frank Davis on August 2, 2008 at 7:17am


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Phillip, I do not believe you will get anyone from Cobalt to air on blog radio Talk show as nothing will change such as the
PPC on Google and yahoo which uses only the name of the dealership to direct consumers to the GMPS site. As I said before
there is no more to that search marketing than the dealership name being used. To me it makes sense only to Cobalt to drive
more traffic to the Cobalt sites, it is all about numbers. If you want Cobalt to expand that search then you have to pay them to
do that but then again all the clicks will go to the GMPS site. It also seems that you are limited to what can be changed on the
GMPS website, there are rules and restrictions in place that GM will not change.
I would like to say I have looked at the Cobalt sites and I like some of the things I see and I really like the attitude of the
associate that was assigned to me, he has just a great attitude towards his product and is very professional.
Here is a major problem that Cobalt faces and GM for that matter. The GMPS website for Jim Glover Chevrolet has been up
for a number of months. If you type into Google"jimglover.gmpsdealer.com" this website is not found by Google. So much
for SEO on the part of Cobalt. From what I see there are two ways to get to that site 1. from the Chevy.com website 2. from
the PPC campaign using the name Jim glover Chevrolet.
Again Cobalt has a good cookie cutter product but without the ability to change what the dealers want I do not see very much
cooperation. I have asked for a few changes and was told "cant be done GM says no". Ok wait a minute here I thought the
website was for the benefit of the dealer? Exactly whom is to benefit most from the GMPS website? 1.The dealer? 2. GM? 3.
Cobalt? The dealer gets what GM dictates, GM get a uniform site that consumers all get the same message, that is actually
good for GM. Cobalt gets Clicks, lots of them all at GM's expense. Remember the Cobalt sites are free until you upgrade and
like any website provider there will be upgrades, so is it really free or just a ruse to get you to change? Personally I see it as a
brilliant well thought out plan.
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Permalink Reply by Philip Zelinger on August 2, 2008 at 9:02am


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Hey Frank,
I understand - the old "free razor" to sell the razor blades technique fits in Cobalt's case but unfortunately I have already
recommended them into some of the smaller dealers we represent based on a negotiated value for their packaged SEO and
SEM services to compliment their basic sites. I don't expect to accomplish anything other than allowing them an open forum
to help me - help them - help our shared clients. Frankly, I am taking the blame for introducing them in the first place and I
want to give us both an opportunity to paint the glass half full.
I just don't want my dealers to not throw the baby out with the bath water when venting their frustrations over the communal
GM site for the reasons that ADM has surfaced. As you stated, there are some good points associated with the basic site
packages and back end analytics - ESPECIALLY FOR THE MONEY WE NEGOTIATED - and I am trying to allow them an
opportunity to remind our dealers, affiliated automotive advertising agencies and site visitors to www.adagencyonline.net to
remember that before they fire both of us!
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