Autobytel Inc. has reached an agreement with America Online to integrate its lead generation programs on AOL for new and used automotive dealerships.
This arrangement is expected to offset recent financial setbacks for Autobytel. The company operates the Autoweb.com, CarSmart.com, Car.com, AutoSite.com, Autoahorros.com and CarTV.com Web sites, which generate leads for a network of dealers. The company generated $16.5 million in lead fees in the third quarter.
Revenues reported by Autobytel in the third quarter this year were $28.2 million, reflecting a $2.4 million or 8% decline, compared to the $30.6 million in revenues it reported in the third quarter of 2005.
Autobytel generated roughly 710,000 purchase requests during the third quarter of 2006, compared to 800,000 during the second quarter, and 830,000 in the third quarter of 2005, according to Mike Schmidt, executive vice president and acting CFO.
Under the arrangement with AOL Autobytel will become the exclusive fulfillment channel for thousands of consumers each month who visit AOL each month for price quotes from dealerships.
“We’re looking forward to connecting with AOL’s large base of customers with our expansive and growing nationwide dealer network,” said in a statement Autobytel’s CEO Jim Riesenbach.
Autobytel has plans to launch a new search marketing product for dealers in the next several months. It recently began beta tests offering consumers direct telephone access to dealerships, which it reports increased contact rates for dealers by an average of 50%.