A failure to come to terms over contract renewal details related to the display of online vehicle listings has seen two iconic industry players part ways.
TRADER Corp. officially ceased distributing roughly 180,000 used-vehicle dealer listings to Canadian Black Book’s website on July 7 after the two companies failed to agree to new conditions proposed by TRADER related to placing dealers’ inventory online.
At issue, explains Canadian Black Book (CBB) president Brad Rome, was a new deal that would have seen CBB charged a fee per month for every dealer that listed TRADER content on CanadianBlackBook.com.
“They also asked for exclusivity on the listings, meaning only TRADER’s listings would appear on our site, this and a few other changes made it impractical for us and our customers to move ahead with the renewal terms,” Rome says.
Prior to this move, TRADER listings were published for free by CBB as are dealer listings received from syndication partners including Auto 123, Boost, Strathcom, 180Solutions, cDemo, eDealer, Autocatch, AMVOQ, Carpages.ca, Homenet and Canada Car Buyer – all of whom continue to push inventory content for free to CBB.
“We’re trying to give back to the people that have supported our business for so many years by allowing them to display their inventory for free to almost a million visitors a month who are looking for a vehicle,” says CBB’s executive V-P of operations Larry Shred.
According to Robert Rath, V-P of dealership products and business development at TRADER, the company has been working to streamline and standardize syndication agreements with all third parties in Canada for the past 18 months.
With the CBB agreement coming up for renewal in July, he notes TRADER submitted the “standard new agreement” and that there was no focus specifically on CBB.
“We were just going through the process of standardizing things. The terms and conditions of that are fair to everyone we syndicate to as we want to avoid having individual agreements that could replicate the original problem,” he says.
All other partners approached with the new agreement have agreed to the new terms.
Rath says he was unable to discuss the particulars of the contract out of respect for the commercial arrangements with other parties. He did confirm TRADER was moving to a payment model.
“If we have established that people derive value from listings and if other parties have agreed to pay for it, it is hard to single out others that would receive the content for free.”
It is about being consistent in how we approach the market, he says.
He also stresses TRADER has the utmost respect and admiration for CBB calling it a “great Canadian company.”
Rome says total listing figures on CBB’s site dropped briefly but backfilling through other syndicators has the current total hovering around 150,000 vehicles.
“Trader is a great partner and we anticipate continuing and growing that partnership over the next year,” he says. “But there is always a problem moving from an economic model that is free to one that adds a significant cost. And it was not just a cost to us, it was new cost to dealers… and that just wasn’t practical in our mind.”
Shred says CBB will always be a source for dealers wanting to display their inventory for free either pushed through their DMS or via syndicators.
“We see about a million total visitors every month of which around 500,000 of them are unique, and those visitors generate thousands of leads each month for dealers,” he notes.
“If you want to show your inventory on our site, we will gladly take it. We don’t charge dealers for listings or the leads. Just let your syndicator know you want your listings on CBB,” Rome says. “We are open for business.”