I agree with Gretchen 100%. These are the top two in the nation and they have many spin-offs like Yahoo, AOL, etc. You can't even judge them by how many leads and phone calls you get directly from them. They weave many "webs" (pun intended). Check your website analytics and you can see that many of your visitors lead back to them, so they are also part of your search strategy. My only gripe is how they keep coming up with "new" "premium" packages. Here's the latest greatest super-duper premium package.
At one point we were signed up with both companies. I don't think that there is a good or a bad. I feel it depends on your market and what area that you are in. I wish there was an alternative. These two companies have gotten "too big for their britches". Autotrader has every dealer signed up for their partner package, which still doesn't mean you get at the top of the search. Its all just a gimic. I do agree that it is good to be listed on as many sites as possible. If you allow your vehicles to be seen on each of the sites, there is a better chance for contact. We need something that will allow each dealer to set themselves apart from each other.
cars.com offers ancillaray features to its basic product (Video, website Mobile Dealer webites etc.) as far as what is important to car dealers I think cars.com offers a much better value because of whats included in their basic package versus AT.com. cars.com chat, unlimited 1-800 calls , links to the Dealerships website , not to mention a fully functioning backend interface that replaces third party cost all come in cars.coms basic package. Many OKC Dealers use both but theres no doubt in my mind that cars.com is the better value. I've done sid by side comparisions of both sites and on 90% of Vehicle models searched in a 500 mile radius cars.com consistently bought my models up higher in the search result I mean time after time folks. Thats the only reason I'm online ...to sell the car. If my $14500 truck can be seen in St. Louis as the 12th truck on cars.com as compared to the number 123 of 255 on Autotrader.com Then to me thats a no brainer I'm not going to shed AT. but I keep a presence there because I know the 2 sites have different audiences. Dont take my word for it try the side by side yourself and if your goal is just to sell the vehicle then it will be obvious what works.
We use both. AT is the best out of the two for us, but cars.com is not far behind. By using both we get pretty descent exposure in our local market and the chicagoland area. I am not a firm beliver on being a premium partner on AT, but you should focus on being one of the top listings.
Somewhat smaller sites offer basically the same services that the “bigger” auto classifieds companies offer at nowhere near the prices the guys are paying. Your listing will be just as likely to be found on our site through organic Google, Yahoo or Bing searches, as it would be on the bigger classifieds sites.
Plus, using sites other then the “bigger” sites also means your vehicle(s) will more likely be seen. In turns means it’s more likely to be sold, cause you can’t sell it if they can’t find.