Case Study: Enabling a Merger

The Challenge:

Following the recent acquisition of CarSmart, Autobytel was poised to integrate another key player, Autoweb, into its expanding portfolio. The financial viability of this acquisition hinged on our ability to efficiently consolidate the operations of both entities. This challenge involved orchestrating the seamless integration of two distinct websites, each with its unique digital footprint, onto a unified hosting infrastructure, all under the oversight of a single development team.

The timeline to achieve this was dauntingly tight. We had less than a week before a crucial meeting with the Autoweb executive team. The prevailing sentiment among stakeholders was that successfully merging these platforms in such a limited timeframe bordered on the impossible. Complicating matters further was an upcoming trial partnership with General Motors, which included a stringent condition prohibiting any major website updates for six months. This restriction placed us on the brink of a prolonged period during which our hands would be effectively tied.

The Solution:

To navigate these complexities, we developed an innovative web framework that decoupled branding and content management from the underlying domain infrastructure. Leveraging the nascent technologies of HTML5 and modern CSS—approaches that were pioneering at the time—enabled us to tailor content delivery and presentation specific to each brand while maintaining the flexibility needed for white labelling and co-branding initiatives. This strategic framework allowed us to meticulously reconstruct the Autoweb user experience on our integrated platform within an impressively brief three-day period.

“Zane is one of the true technology pioneers and innovators of the automotive Internet. No one understands the technologies behind driving cost-effective, high value automotive consumer traffic better than Zane.”

– Jeffrey Coats – President and CEO, Autobytel

The Result:

The efficacy of our solution was put to the test during the pivotal meeting with Autoweb’s leadership. The discussion reached a critical juncture when concerns were raised about the feasibility of our site theming approach. In response, I demonstrated our newly developed site that so accurately replicated the Autoweb interface, the executives initially believed they were looking at their own platform. The realization of what we had achieved visibly shifted their perspectives. By the conclusion of our demonstration, the Autoweb team was not only convinced of the viability of our approach but also fully on board, culminating in the formal signing of the acquisition agreement.

About Autoweb

AutoWeb, Inc. (NASDAQ: AUTO) – formerly Autobytel – provides high-quality consumer leads, clicks and associated marketing services to automotive dealers and manufacturers throughout the United States.

The company also provides consumers with robust and original online automotive content to help them make informed car-buying decisions.

The company pioneered the automotive Internet in 1995 and has since helped tens of millions of automotive consumers research vehicles, connected thousands of dealers nationwide with motivated car buyers, and has helped every major automaker market its brand online.