Posts tagged website
From an ageing fluxette…….
I’m not usually given to gloating at others downfall, but the recent Google penalty for GoCompare, probably for paid blog post spamming and massive scale paid link buying. Hitwise estimates that they have lost around 87% of their traffic from the coveted ‘car insurance’ terms – but currently they are not even appearing in results for their own name (apart from paid adverts).
The real message Google is sending out through this slap on the wrist for Gocompare, and a similar one they handed out to MoneySupermarket last year, is that companies buying their way to the top of the Google listings aren’t going to have such an easy ride anymore.
I wonder how much money Gocompare have spent on this link building? Presumably they haven’t yet spent all of the £30 million that esure bunged the ‘independent comparison site’ for marketing.
Sorry if this post is a bit of a minority interest for regular readers, but bear in mind next time you type car insurance into Google how the results may well be skewed towards companies with the largest online marketing budgets.
Some more analysis of the Direct Line spat with confused.com and the other aggregators.
Another avenue that Direct Line have cited as a problem with aggregators is the “jumping quote” syndrome, where you get a quote from the aggregator, only to get a different, higher quote when you try to take out the policy.
In reality there are several reasons why an initial online quote might be modified when you try to take out the policy, none of them are entirely the aggregator’s fault. In fact many of the problems are also faced by brokers, who also have to deal with a panel of insurers with differing rules and requirements.
First off, the questions the aggregator (or indeed broker) initially asks may not be the same as the questions that the insurer wants to ask. There may well be factors that an insurer takes into account that have not been accounted for by the designers of the “one easy form.”
Second, the proposer may have omitted certain information about the risk, whether deliberately or not, that the insurer may be in a position to pick up on more easily than the aggregator could.
Thirdly, it is usual for quotes to be valid for a set period of time, which may well vary. If you come back to the insurer after that time, the quote may have gone.
Fourthly, some quotes assume an online discount which will not apply if you ring in to take out a policy.
Of course Direct Line choose to get out of these difficulties by not making their rates available to aggregators at all, the form on their website, which they have designed is the only one you can fill in for a Direct Line Quote. There would be real problems if their quotes varied in the same way between web form and policy go-ahead.
There’s been a lot in the papers about the spat started by Direct Line, whose wheeled telephones (more of those in another post) have been gracing our screens for many years. As you may have seen, their recent commercials have pulled no punches in exposing perceived shortcomings with the price comparison “aggregator” sites, like confused.com, gocompare and insurancesupermarket.
They’ve suggested that the comparison sites are too focused on price and take no account of added features, such as courtesy cars, or the weird and wonderful extras that Direct Line attach to their policies, whether you want them or not.
This has sparked a full on barney between Direct Line and the aggregators.
First, Direct Line’s blanket TV ads accused Confused, Money Supermarket, Go Compare et al of numerous alleged offences:
- deceiving the public by not being open about how they were funded.
- providing cheap quotes which go up when you try to take out cover.
- not offering extras and add-ons.
- not being honest about who owns them.
- that many people did not realise that not all insurers appeared on the price comaprison sites.
So then the comparators struck back, pointing out Direct Line’s own shortcomings. But Direct Line were on a roll and promptly produced new research claiming they were the cheapest insurer. This research came across as a little suspect from the off, as DL were defined as the cheapest “major insurance provider” on the basis that they “were amongst the three cheapest providers” 257 times out of 1000 quotes.
So MoneySupermarket released figures that showed that in many cases Direct Line wouldn’t even get into the top 10 quotes on their site, and suggested this was the reason that Direct Line hated comparison sites.
In all of this, brokers like us seem to have been ignored, although our record levels of business so far this year would suggest that there is plenty of opportunity for the old sort of “middle man”.
So let’s have a look at this in a bit more detail. Over a few posts I’ll be asking some pertinent questions.
- What about the points raised in this spat between Direct Line and the aggregators?
- And who should you choose, a direct writer, comparison website or broker?
Some of the answers may be surprising!
You’ve probably noticed that postings have not been so prolific in the last couple of weeks.
We’ve been working on quite a few things here including the relaunch of the HIC website – www.hertsinsurance.com
The previous version was an unwieldy flash app. The new site is crisp, clean and much easier to navigate, as well as loading much more quickly. You can also get a quote and buy online.
A whole raft of other things are in the pipeline too – Bikesure will be getting an online quote facility early in the new year, and our car quotes are moving to a new computer system.
You may also have noticed some changes to the Adrian Flux website – www.adrianflux.co.uk – we’re trying to make the user experience as excellent as possible. If you can think of anything we’ve missed, drop me a line.