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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Dana Gardner, Elizabeth White, Jnan Dash, Kevin Jackson, Peter Silva

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DealerRater/Polk Study Finds Auto Dealers with Higher Average Online Star Ratings Enjoy Higher Increases in Vehicle Sales

Recent DealerRater/Polk study offers auto dealers compelling evidence on the quantifiable value of a comprehensive online reputation strategy.

WALTHAM, Mass., Feb. 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- DealerRater, the world's premier car dealer review web site, today announced the results of a joint study with Polk that demonstrates the direct connection between auto dealerships' average online star ratings and new vehicle sales.  Based on study findings, dealers with an average star rating of 4.0 or higher had a 25 percent greater increase in sales compared to dealerships with an average star rating of 2.0 or less over the study period (Jan-Sep 2012 vs. Jan-Sep 2011).

In the DealerRater/Polk Dealer Reviews study, dealership ratings and reviews from DealerRater's database were matched up with new vehicle registration data from Polk.  Polk analysts then investigated and reviewed the changes in registrations over several time periods. 

"DealerRater and Polk have worked together to bring greater insight into the effect of an auto dealership's average star ratings on new vehicle sales," said Brad Korner, vice president, sales and client services, automotive retail and media solutions with Polk. "We work with automotive marketing decision makers to help them understand and measure market performance at the OEM and dealer level. After viewing every slice of this study data, we are very confident that it looked at dealers in a fair and equitable manner.  The powerful and meaningful insight gained from this study finally puts some hard data behind the strong influence of online consumer reviews," he added.

The DealerRater/Polk study also compared the sales performance of DealerRater® Certified Dealers to the general market as well as to non-Certified Dealers.  Results show that Certified Dealers experienced a 23 percent greater increase in vehicle sales during the study period compared to non-certified dealers.  In addition, Certified Dealers who had been on the program for at least 12 months outperformed the general market.  On average, Certified Dealers experienced a five percent increase in new car sales after six months on the program and an eight percent increase after 12 months – regardless of market conditions.

The study further found that dealers using the premium level of DealerRater's Certified Dealer Program - 360Certified™, experienced nearly a 50 percent greater increase in sales compared to non-certified dealers during the study period.

"Our joint study with Polk is compelling evidence of the quantifiable value of an online reputation strategy in the automotive industry," said Chip Grueter, president at DealerRater.  "Today, 89 percent of car buyers read reviews online before purchasing a vehicle.  This latest study with Polk further validates the importance of online reviews and finally demonstrates the direct correlation between our Certified Dealer Program and higher increases in new vehicle sales.  Real, trusted reviews really do drive business and we now have the proof," Grueter added.

The DealerRater site receives an average of 1,000 new reviews per day during the week, with a new review submitted every 55 seconds during daylight hours.  With its unparalleled volume of dealer reviews now approaching 950,000, 26 percent of all franchised dealers in the U.S. have embraced DealerRater and its award-winning Certified Dealer Program as a critical component of their online reputation management efforts. 

For more information, visit www.DealerRater.com, call 800-266-9455, or visit DealerRater at Booth # 3353 at the upcoming NADA General Conference & Exposition in Orlando, Florida February 9-11, 2013.

About Polk:
Polk is the premier provider of automotive information and marketing solutions. The organization collects and interprets global data, and provides extensive automotive business expertise to help customers understand their market position, identify trends, build brand loyalty, conquest new business and gain a competitive advantage. Polk helps automotive manufacturers and dealers, automotive aftermarket companies, finance and insurance companies, advertising agencies, media companies, consulting organizations, government agencies and market research firms make good business decisions. A privately held global firm, Polk is based in Southfield, Michigan with operations in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.  For additional information, visit www.polk.com.

About DealerRater:
DealerRater was founded in 2002 as the first car dealer review website worldwide.  DealerRater is the world's #1 online resource for anyone seeking trusted third-party information on automobile dealerships.   DealerRater features nearly 40,000 U.S. and Canadian car dealers, nearly 950,000 consumer reviews and over 1 million cars for sale.  DealerRater attracts more than 9.5 million consumers every year who visit the site to search for car dealerships, read reviews, write their own descriptive reviews, and find car deals – all for free. 

In addition, DealerRater offers qualified car dealers a Certified Dealer Program as a reputation management tool to help them grow their online presence and achieve higher SEO rankings across the Web.  Today, more than 4,600 dealers are members of the award-winning DealerRater® Certified Dealer Program.  DealerRater is proud to have earned the #137 position on the 2012 Inc. 500 list, an exclusive ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States.  For more information, visit www.DealerRater.com or call 800-266-9455.

SOURCE DealerRater

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