Saturday, September 20, 2014

Secret FTC Investigation of Car Dealers Who Declined Truecar Discovered by DC Reporter

FTC acknowledges auto dealer probe after discovery bust-up... Written by Harry Phillips.

The Federal Trade Commission's battle to get Ralph Paglia, a car industry blogger to hand over confidential communications, private email, subscriber lists and documents about Truecar, an online price comparison website has shed new light on the antitrust authority's ongoing and ill-advised investigation of what they claim to be potential wrongdoing among thousands of car dealers.

Harry Phillips is a reporter for "Global Competition Review" in Washington, DC. They cover antitrust news and frequently report on the Federal Trade Commission.

Mr. Phillips wrote a story last week on news that the FTC has filed a petition in Nevada Federal Court asking it to compel Ralph Paglia to provide documents and give testimony in connection with its ongoing investigation of the auto dealership industry and an alleged refusal by many car dealers to do business with in late 2011 and early 2012.


The FTC alleges that Ralph Paglia failed to provide various records and documents requested by the FTC within each of several civil investigative demands (CID subpoena). FTC states that the first CID was sent to Paglia in May 2014, and is now seeking an injunction in a Nevada Federal Court compelling Paglia to cooperate.

The big question that Harry asked Ralph was whether or not Ralph would comply, and if so, he sought Ralph's confirmation that he now planned to comply with the FTC's demand... Or alternately, would Ralph oppose the commission's demand for an injunction? He sought Paglia's comments on the petition and the FTC's investigation of Car Dealers who either cancelled participation in the TrueCar Auto Buying referral system, or never signed up in the first place.

Ralph Paglia's email reply to Harry Phillips is shown below:

"Mr. Phillips,

Thank you for reaching out, and I would like to speak with you about the matter via phone. Since the NSA and presumably the FTC is studying all emails I send despite the illegal nature of such surveillance, I would feel more comfortable speaking with you by phone.

I can tell you that I have never refused access to any information or records by the FTC, but I am not going to do their jobs for them. I believe slave labor was outlawed quite a few years ago and I am mystified about why the FTC seems to believe they can compel me into forced labor when their staff gets paid plenty to do the work themselves.

Beyond the Nazi-like zeal the FTC seems to have for compelling Americans to do work without compensation, I simply do not understand where the Federal government gets the authority to try and squash freedom of speech, freedom of the press and determine whether an individual should to do business with a particular company.

Ralph Paglia

Point of Contact: 

Harry Phillips, Senior Reporter for "Global Competition Review"

2401 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 300
Washington, DC, 20037 

Depending on your e-mail client, you may be able to follow the link in the email. If not, please open a web browser and open this link: 

For more information, please visit: 

Secret FTC Investigation of Car Dealers Rejecting Truecar Revealed by Ralph Paglia




RALPH PAGLIA, Respondent.


Assistant General Counsel for Litigation

IMAD D. ABYAD Attorney

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20580 Telephone: (202) 326-2375 Facsimile: (202) 326-2477 Email:

Attorneys for Petitioner Federal Trade Commission


Case No. Case 2:14-cv-01480-GMN-CWH 


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission), pursuant to Section 20 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act), 15 U.S.C. § 57b-1, respectfully petitions this Court for an order requiring Respondent, Ralph Paglia, to comply with two civil investigative demands (CIDs) issued in an FTC investigation. The CIDs seek documentary materials, responses to interrogatories, and oral testimony relevant to an  ongoing investigation into whether certain participants in the retail automotive industry, including dealers and consultants, may have engaged in "unfair methods of competition" in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45, by means of their participation in a concerted refusal to deal (a group boycott).

The Commission submits herewith the Declaration of Melissa Westman-Cherry, designated as Petitioner's Exhibit (Pet. Exh.) 1, to verify the allegations herein, and alleges as follows:

Jurisdiction and Venue

 This Court has jurisdiction to enforce the Commission's duly issued CIDs under Sections 20(e) and (h) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 57b-1(e), (h). This Court also has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1337(a), and 1345.

2. Venue is proper in this judicial district pursuant to Section 20(e) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 57b-1(e), because Respondent, Ralph Paglia, is found, resides, or transacts business in this District. Venue is also proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391.

The Parties

3. Petitioner, the Federal Trade Commission, is an administrative agency of the United States, organized and existing pursuant to the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 41 et seq. Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45, prohibits "unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce," and authorizes and directs the Commission to prevent such conduct. Sections 3 and 6(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 43 & 46(a), authorize the Commission to "prosecute any inquiry necessary to its duties in any part of the United States," and to "gather and compile information concerning, and to investigate from time to time the organization, business, conduct, practices and management of, any person, partnership, or corporation" subject to the Commission's jurisdiction. Section 20(c) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 57b-1(c), authorizes the Commission to issue CIDs that require the recipients to produce documents, prepare answers to interrogatories, or provide oral testimony under oath, relating to the subject of any Commission investigation.

4. Respondent Ralph Paglia resides or is found in this District, and transacts business in this District and throughout the United States. He is President of Automotive Media Partners LLC, which has its principal place of business in Las Vegas, Nevada. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.), ¶5.

The Commission's Investigation and Civil Investigative Demands

5. On January 17, 2014, the Commission issued a Resolution Authorizing Use of Compulsory Process in Non-Public Investigation, File No. 131-0206 (Pet. Exh. 2).  The Compulsory Process Resolution sets forth the nature and scope of the investigation as [t]o determine whether firms in the retail automobile industry, including automobile dealers and industry consultants, may be engaging in, or may have engaged in, conduct violating Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. §45, as amended, by agreeing to restrain competition, including by agreeing to refuse to deal with TrueCar, Inc.

Pet. Exh. 2, at 1.
6. TrueCar, Inc. is in the business of helping auto dealers market their cars 
by operating websites that provide extensive information about specific vehicles to prospective car buyers, and that seek to match buyers and sellers. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶2. As part of the investigation, FTC staff is examining whether certain persons or businesses may have organized or participated in a group boycott of, or a concerted refusal to deal with, TrueCar, thereby unlawfully restraining competition. See Pet. Exh. 2 (Compulsory Process Resolution), at 1; Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶¶2-4. Mr. Paglia provides auto dealers with consulting services, information, and training relating to online marketing. Id. ¶¶5-6. Information related to the subject of the investigation has appeared on websites and web logs (blogs) that Mr. Paglia operates or administers. Id.

7. On May 2, 2014, under the authority of the Compulsory Process Resolution, the Commission issued a CID (Pet. Exh. 3), requiring Mr. Paglia to produce specified documents and to respond to written questions, no later than May 21, 2014. See Pet. Exh. 3, at 1. To date, Mr. Paglia has not produced any documents or information in response to the May 2 CID. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶¶8-10.

8. On June 18, 2014, under the authority of the Compulsory Process Resolution, the Commission issued another CID (Pet. Exh. 4), requiring Mr. Paglia to appear and provide oral testimony under oath at an investigational hearing, which was set for July 10, 2014, in Las Vegas. See Pet. Exh. 4, at 1. Mr. Paglia failed to appear at the investigational hearing at the specified time and place. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman- Cherry Decl.) ¶¶11-13.

9. Mr. Paglia's failures to comply with the May 2 CID and June 18 CID have impeded the Commission's ongoing investigation. See Pet. Exh. 1 (Westman-Cherry Decl.) ¶14.

Prayer For Relief

WHEREFORE, the Commission invokes the aid of this Court and prays for:

  1. Immediate issuance of an order, substantially in the form attached,

    directing Mr. Paglia to show cause why he should not comply in full with the Commission's CIDs, and setting forth a briefing schedule pursuant to LR 16.1(c)(4); and

  2. A prompt determination of this matter and entry of an order:

    1. (i)  Compelling Mr. Paglia to produce the documents and information specified in the May 2 CID within ten (10) days of such order; and

    2. (ii)  Compelling Mr. Paglia to appear and testify under oath, as directed by the June 18 CID, ten (10) days from the date of issuance of such order, or at such later date as the FTC may establish; and

      (iii)  Granting such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper. 

Respectfully submitted,



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dealer Marketing Magazine: Who Invented Online Car Shopping, And in What Year?

12 Great Events in Automotive History

Written by Boyd Warner. Posted in Business Development
3d red button with number 12 (moneymaker11/

For my automotive sales article this month, I thought that taking a little quiz might make for a nice 10-minute or so break from the routine .

As we're talking about cars, dealers, and dealership business software here, I'm keeping that theme going for this quiz, which I'm calling "12 Great Events in Automotive History." Some readers may have to ponder their answers for a while. Others who've been selling or servicing vehicles for a long time may know most of the answers from memory—or from the study of automotive history.

There's no monetary reward for taking the quiz, of course, except the value you'll take away and find useful for filling lulls in conversation now and then. Write your answers on a separate sheet of paper, then look at the answers provided at the bottom of the page: Don't cheat!

I trust my research provides the right results; if you have something different, let me know. Either way, my hope is the few minutes spent to take this quiz will bring you some fun distraction and a smile.

Ready? Here we go (answers below):

  1. In what year did NADA introduce the NADA Official Used Car Guide?
  2. Which American make marketed the first front-wheel drive vehicle?
  3. What year did airbags first appear in vehicles sold in the U.S.?
  4. Who challenged consumers, "If you can find a better car, buy it."
  5. Upon what chassis platform was the original Mustang built?
  6. What current popular brand has its roots in WWII?
  7. Which upscale domestic once used V-12 power?
  8. When did the Third Brake Light law take effect?
  9. What company "invented" the dealer management system?
  10. Who "invented" online car shopping and in what year?
  11. What year did Dealer Marketing Magazine release its first issue?
  12. What company pioneered data mining and developed the opportunity selling strategy that helps more than 2,600 dealerships sell an additional 5 to 100 or more vehicles each per month to existing customers?

Answers: 1) 1922; 2) Cord 810, in the '30s; 3) Oldsmobile Toronado, '73; 4) Lee Iacocca, Chrysler Corporation, introduction of the K-car; 5) Ford Falcon; 6) Jeep 7) Lincoln, in its Zephyr model, 1936-1948; 81986; 9) The Reynolds and Reynolds Company; 

10) Ralph Paglia in 1988 using Bulletin Board Systems and Compuserve ISP while GM at Kearny Mesa VW and then Bob Lewis VW, San Diego, commercialized by Autobytel, in 1995; 

11) In 2002, with the cover feature, The Top Booths for You to See in New Orleans at NADA 2002; and 11) AutoAlert, 2002.

Boyd Warner is CEO of AutoAlert®, Inc. (, the most advanced lead generation solution available on the market today. Contact him at

[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPad Mini]

Monday, September 15, 2014

Check out these Las Vegas Dealer Conference Party Deals

Las Vegas: Car Dealer Conference VIP Experience Packages
The link below takes you to the deal packages... 

For #CarPeeps attending conferences in #LasVegas these VIP Party Packages are a great way to show clients or colleagues your appreciation with a guided good time at the best clubs.

[Sent from Ralph's iPad Air]

Friday, September 5, 2014

Get 5 Miles High To Solve World Crisis

39,000 Feet Of Ideas - How To Solve The...
Ralph Paglia
39,000 Feet Of Ideas, Or How To Solve The World's Problems

It has always struck me as odd, these thoughts and the flow of ideas that go through my mind when spending hours above 30,000 feet traveling at 650 miles per hour. Is there something about the pressurized cabins, cramped seats and music in my headphones that causes these streams of consciousness to materialize within my gray matter?

For the past 15 years I have spent most weeks flying to and fro throughout North America... Phases that include what amounts to jet powered commuting and at other times what seems like being on tour, traveling from one performance to the next... Getting up on stage, setting up, delivering my performance followed by tearing it all done, dinner with new or old friends... Or both. Back to the airport and on to the next gig on the schedule... The next city and more new friends. 

These days, travel has become much more annoying and lot less convenient. The farce that is TSA and "Security Checkpoints" makes me realize that Bin Laden may be dead, but he won. Americans now have self inflicted restraints on our freedoms that would make any Taliban or Al Qaida leader proud. Watching the interaction between novice travelers and TSA employees saddens me... The way so many people accept authoritarianism seems to encourage and embolden these government drones into treating the citizenry with an ever increasing degree of disrespect and disdain. The whole TSA system reminds me of the university research showing how the most placid of students become power mongers and sadists when given such control over the administration of pain and punishment over others.

Then there is the inevitable drama of frozen moisture due to super cooled fuel, Air Traffic Control holds, equipment malfunctions, wind shear, storms, lack of gate availability and a myriad of "SNAFU" situations that permeates air travel. The result being a distinct hesitation to predict arrival times on the part of most frequent travelers, including me. Relegating us to limbo status when it comes to consideration of plans and activities at our destinations on days or arrival. A chronic situation that results in a distinct tendency to avoid scheduling commitments. The same types of commitments that create the need to travel in the first place!

But perhaps the most fascinating part of all this time being voluntarily jammed into long aluminum tubes that shoot through the air at rates exceeding the land speed record are the intimacies with the other people as we rub against and press our thighs together with on airplanes. It is really amazing that homophobes can tolerate plane travel at all! To spend so many hours should to shoulder, hip to hip pressed against another man or woman in a manner that approaches the intimacy, and at times exceeding how much we touch the loved ones we share our home bound beds with!

I know these relationships mean something because when I am getting on a plane with travelers I have flown with in the past, we save seats for each other and genuinely enjoy the conversations around each other's family matters and business challenges. On many occasions I have flown with plane buddies and had lunch or dinner with them while waiting for our next flight, at times boarding the same connecting flight to our mutual destination. The inevitable exchange of business cards morphs into the occasional email... Sometimes an invitation to a multi level marketing seminar, social network or even the occasional party.

The pondering and musings that happen at 39,000 feet and 650 miles per hour seem distinctly different than while stationary on the ground... Thoughts and inspirations seem to have more weight... More reality... Greater potentiality. Business plans formed at high speed and altitude are more Rube Goldberg contraption like in their complication and moving parts. Yet, at high speed and altitude every problem seems easier to resolve... Plans that normally seem preposterous become seemingly more executable when viewed from the perspective of 6 miles high and moving at barely sub-sonic speed.

This brings me to what should be an obvious conclusion... The world's leaders should meet and discuss trade relations, world peace and the resolution of armed conflicts on a Boeing 747 at 39,000 feet while cruising at 660 miles per hour. I am convinced the agreements reached would transcend anything they would otherwise come up with while stationary on the ground.

[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPhone]

Ralph Paglia

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

7 Times You'll Kick Yourself for Not Learning HTML

These Tips Will Have You Kicking Yourself 7 Times for Not Learning HTML

by Ginny Soskey

html_code-1I don't know about you, but when I travel, I'm terrified of leaving something at home. I obsess over making sure I have enough T-shirts, jeans, shoes, travel-sized shampoos, earrings, books, magazines -- because what in the world would I do if I didn't have them, but needed them? And even if I over-pack, I know I'm prepared for any situation vacation will throw at me -- a random fancy dinner out, a day at the pool, or just an afternoon out shopping with the family.

In the same vein, knowing HTML is like making sure you're fully prepared for a vacation. You may not end up using it every single day, but the times you do end up using it, you are so grateful that you had the foresight to figure it out. Knowing HTML can save you hours of frustration, precious time with your design team, or even money dealing with an external contractor.

HTML has always been nice-to-have knowledge, but it's becoming more than nice-to-have for the marketer trying to save a buck. (And that sounds like every marketer I've met.)

In fact, there are a bunch of situations I've caught myself in in which handy HTML knowledge saved the day ... and thus, this post was born. If you're not quite convinced that you'd benefit from knowing basic HTML, keep reading. Here are seven* scenarios you might find yourself in that can be fixed with just a bit of HTML know-how. 

1) When Formatting in Your Blog Post/Email/Landing Page Goes Awry

Sometimes, I swear my content has a life of its own -- and a mean streak. That blog post that I worked on all day will suddenly have images with funky spacing, no text wrapping, and outrageous sizing, and, of course, all looks okay in my WYSIWG editor. Luckily, with some HTML knowledge, I can dig into the post to remove and tweak code that is causing the problem.

HTML Pro Tip: If you find a bunch of funky tags you want to remove, copy the raw code and paste it into a raw text editor. Then, choose the Find and Replace option -- you can search for offending snippets of code and leave the "replace" box blank. Once you're done, you can paste it back into your HTML editor, and poof! De-bugged formatting. 

2) When You Paste a Blog Post Into Your CMS From Word or Google Docs

Lots of people don't know that writing a blog post in a typical word processing program -- like Word or Google Docs -- and then copying it into your CMS will give you lots of HTML headaches. Sometimes, when you do that, your CMS will add extra snippets of code to your piece that will mess up formatting.

With some HTML knowledge and the pro tip above, you can easily remove any offending snippets when transferring content from Word or Google Docs to your CMS.

3) When You Need to Tweak an Email Template

I'm going to take a wild guess that you don't want every email you send to look exactly the same. While sending consistent emails is a great thing most of the time, there will be specific campaigns you're going to want to customize emails for. This could be as simple as right-aligning your images instead of left-aligning them or changing up the color of your text to stand out in your subscribers' inboxes.

With HTML knowledge, though, you can make these changes yourself, instead of relying on an in-house designer or hired development shop. Seriously, it's empowering to make the changes yourself and move on to more pressing marketing matters. 

4) When You Need to Make Your Content Easy to Read

One of your top concerns when creating content is to make it easy for people to consume. This means using formatting (bold, italics, headers, colors, etc.) to make your content scannable and digestible. And while most WYSIWG editors will let you easily apply those formatting options to your content without touching code, not all will. So take control of the way your content looks by souping it up with some <b> and <h2> tags. 

5) When You Need to Make Your Content Easy to Use

With long-form content especially, you need to make it easy for people to find the content they want. An easy way to do that? Use HTML to create internal links. See them in action in our glossary of website optimization terms -- isn't it easy to jump to the letter you need? This is an easy hack to do yourself, if you know HTML.

6) When You're Embedding Content on Your Website From Other Sites

One way to easily spruce up your blog posts is to use embedded content -- you know, posts from your social media accounts that can supplement your blog content. We're talking embedded YouTube videos, tweets, Facebook posts, Pinterest boards, and SlideShare presentations.

If you know HTML, you'll know how to embed content in the first place, not to mention troubleshoot any issues if the content isn't appearing correctly. It's been a lifesaver more than once for me!

7) When You're Pitching Guest Posts

Almost every guest post we receive in a Word or Google Docs format. And while that's a great way to judge whether we'll accept the post or not, once we've accepted the post, those formats are time-consuming to format in our CMS (because of the reasons mentioned in bullet point #2).

To save your new guest post editor time, attach a Word and an HTML plain text document to your guest post pitches. Trust me -- they'll be grateful, and maybe want to invite you back to post more often. 

*Bonus Scenario: When Your Internet Goes Out and You Want to Save Your Team Time

Okay, I know I said that there would only be seven scenarios in this post, but I couldn't help but include this little tidbit. This isn't something you'll run into maybe ever, but this happened to me last week so I had to share.

My internet went out the afternoon I was on deadline for the next morning's 8 a.m. slot (yeah, we're a pretty agile team) and all of a sudden, it happened: MY INTERNET WAS GONE. Cue panic attack ... until I remembered that I could write the post -- and format it with the correct HTML snippets -- in my computer's text editor to save my teammates time.

And that's the story of how HTML saved my life and the post I was working on. I wouldn't recommend doing this every time you blog, but it can come in handy when you're in a pinch and you know what you're doing. 

So really, think about learning HTML as one of your New Year's resolutions. It could be something that ends up saving the day on that random day in June when you need to make one little formatting tweak. 

When has knowing HTML come in handy? Share your stories with us in the comments!

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Written by Ginny Soskey

Ginny Soskey is a Staff Writer for HubSpot's inbound marketing blog, where she loves to create written and multimedia content day in and day out. Say hey to her on Twitter @gsosk.

| Website

[Sent from Ralph's iPad]

Ford Dealers get Google+ Services from FordDirect at No Charge to Dealership

Great News! To help drive more web traffic into the dealership for sales and service appointments, Ford and Lincoln have partnered with FordDirect to provide professional Google+ business listings at no charge to all dealerships and Quick Lanes.  

Every Ford and Lincoln dealership and Quick Lane Retailer will soon have a customized Google+ business listing, and all you have to do is complete a brief survey that has been pre-populated with your dealership's information. Please click here to complete the survey. The survey will remain openuntil April 18, so don't wait! 

If you don't complete the survey by April 18, a Google+ business listing will be claimed for your dealership using existing information, and you will have the opportunity to make changes as needed. Dealers can opt out of the claiming process by using the same survey if they do not want their page claimed.  However, dealerships and Quick Lanes without Google+ business listings will lose traffic and sales and service opportunities.

Remember, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online.  Your Google+ page connects you with customers on search, Google Maps, and Google+, no matter what device they are using. (Source: Google) For more information about Google+ business listings, including FAQs, please visit our website at:

If you have any questions, please call your Digital Performance Manager at 1-866-550-7812 or visit

[Sent from Ralph's iPad Air]

Apps To Drive Automotive Consumers Into Your Dealership

[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPad Mini]