Kelley Blue Book’s Launches Online Marketplace

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Kelley Blue Book recently launched the Trusted Marketplace, a car-buying site that matches shoppers to new and used cars. The LA Times has more:

In the past, Kelley’s car buying, dealer lead mechanism was cleverly partnered with used inventory giants Cars.com or, in more recent past, Autotrader.com, serving up dealer leads and sharing revenue with the partnered company. The new venture aims to serve both consumers and dealers in a more judicious way.

With the rising popularity of used car buying in the past few years, Internet service providers have become increasingly clever about how to streamline the consumer buying process while making a profit by selling dealer leads. Kelley’s secret sauce for consumers is search algorithms that “match” consumers with the right vehicle, which in theory, should lead to more valuable leads for dealers. For used buyers, things like condition, options and the like, are harder to come by so finding the right make, model, price and proximity becomes vital in the search process.

…when it comes down to who has more used car listings, Autotrader is tops with 3 million listings nationwide and Cars.com with 2.5 million new and used cars. Kelley has partnered with aggregator, Vast.com who culls listings from other pay-per-lead online sites such as Dealix, AutoUSA, AOL, Overstock.com and Autobytel Inc. But, ultimately, the largest input will come from the monthly 12 million car buyers KBB attracts who are first looking for the value of their current car and second, shopping for a new car. But is it a case of the cart before the horse?

I don’t think it’s a case of putting the cart before the horse. Kelley Blue Book’s main advantage is its strong, trusted brand. Once it grows its database to the size of its competitors’, and continues to convince users that it has their best interests at heart, it stands a good chance of coming out on top.