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Talk about time flying, it sure doesn’t seem like this Dealer Outlook blog should be marking it first anniversary today, but it is!

Twelve months and more than 100 blogs ago, Trade Only’s talented Editor, Lois Caliri, described her vision for developing the industry’s first blog specifically for retail dealers. I recall telling her the idea could be a real winner! Then, she offered me the chance to write it.

“But, Lois, I don’t blog,” I responded. “I’ve hardly even read blogs. And, I’ve never submitted a comment to any. You probably want someone else,” I added. But if Lois was anything, she was very persuasive and, today, I can say I’m genuinely glad she was. This past year has been a lot of fun. So, give me some slack to just reflect on this anniversary occasion.

The most amazing thing about Dealer Outlook has been the readership accorded it. I can’t tell you how often people have said they read Dealer Outlook regularly. It’s not just dealers, either – manufacturers, bankers and trade association executives, among others read it. In fact, Trade Only’s IT people can monitor the total readership and it’s in the thousands weekly and the tens of thousands monthly!

Trade Only's IT people, indeed, confirmed the high numbers. During the past year, there were 47,556 visits to Dealer Outlook and 110,301 pageviews.

What also made it fun has been the wide variety of subject matter the blog has included. Lois has put no restrictions on the blog, allowing me to write about everything from specific retailing concepts to political matters effecting dealers. But the best part has been when the comments have flowed back from you.

Looking over the year’s blogs, I have some definite favorites. Among them, I was particularly glad to get great input from many dealers who suggested subjects and questions for the Industry Giants Panel at MRAA’s Convention last November. Another favorite was the blog on battery technology and the future of electric boats. In this one, comments and new technologies were revealed from readers in England and Germany where electric boats technology is advancing rapidly.

Oh, yes, also among my favorites were a couple of blogs that drew sharp disagreements with my thoughts. For example, I was heartily blasted for attacking those Democrats in Congress who opposed drilling in ANWR. I was accused of pandering to Ann Coulter and of being a Republican. I’m not, but I still think we should drill there!

However, my favorite, and the blog that drew the most comments, was last December 4 when I asked if it was time to consider a new all-industry national meeting? Still an interesting question, I think.

Finally, above all, I believe Dealer Outlook has become a good forum for exploring industry issues, encouraging dealers who are on the front lines every day, and for presenting new ideas that could help improve the retail side of this business. So, I intend to stay with it and I hope you will, too. And, I’d sure value any suggestions for issues and topics we should look at in year two. Bring them on.

My sincerest thank you for a great year!

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