Dealer-cost website reports heavy traffic

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The controversial SeeDealerCost.com website has attracted 23,000 unique visitors and 250,000 page views since it went live March 17, according to the company.

Traffic has come from 88 countries and the site is ranked at 116,788 in the United States by Alexa.

"See Dealer Cost is not a selling site, but instead provides product information, including prices, features and specifications," company spokesman Dave Taylor said in a statement.

"Site users are able to configure products and save configurations in their account or print them out. In addition, a wide range of supportive information is available, including financing, insurance, relevant articles and pre-owned value information," he added. "For participating companies, See Dealer Cost is a lead generation and/or advertising site."

Soundings Trade Only left messages last week for some of the site's marine advertisers, but the calls were not returned.

The company said it has received many complimentary comments, including:

  • "Awesome site. You guys are pioneers and I certainly appreciate the hard work. Hope you prevail. Keep up the awesome work."
  • "I'm in the boat business and while I'm not directly impacted by what you are doing one way or the other, I do believe that information is the lubricant of a free market. Maybe the weak will be hurt or even fail, but the strong and adaptable will survive and in the long haul what you are doing should be good for business. I'm surprised and disappointed that so much of the industry sentiment seems to be otherwise."
  • "Thank you for opening this site. I just started looking for buying a boat and commented to my wife 'Hey, there's no edmunds.com for boats at least for price'. Then you launched yesterday"

Soundings Trade Only has received more than 150 comments about the site, many of them from people in the marine industry who are concerned that it will hurt their business. The main concern is the inclusion of the dealer's cost of a boat vs. the manufacturer's suggested retail price.

Phil Keeter, president of the Marine Retailers Association of America, previously told Soundings Trade Only that the price on a dealer's invoice does not include what happens to the boat at the dealership to prepare it for sale. Also, he says, there is no set invoice cost for every dealer of a specific brand. The price can be determined by many factors, including the volume that the dealer does with the manufacturer.

J&D Acquisitions said last week that it had filed suit against the site, arguing that the use of its contractual and proprietary pricing information "will damage our brands and our dealers and we will not stand for it."

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