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Frequently Asked Questions

General Information
Who is CarsDirect?
CarsDirect (www.carsdirect.com) is the leading multi-brand online car buying service, providing new car, used car, and auto finance-related content and services since 1998. When shopping for a car, CarsDirect has become the natural choice for consumers who demand objectivity, selection, and pricing; and for dealers who want to leverage the Internet for cost-effective, incremental website traffic, sales, and revenue

How does the Affiliate Program work?
As a CarsDirect Affiliate, you'll place a trackable link to CarsDirect or Autos.com on your website. Any time a visitor clicks on a link, it is recorded. You'll earn up to $8.00 site advertising fee if that visitor submits a dealer request or finance lead through CarsDirect or a $6.00 site advertising fee if that visitor submits a dealer request through Autos.com.

What is Autos.com?
Autos.com is a separate website that CarsDirect owns and operates specifically to help consumers research new vehicles and quickly and easily be matched up with a local dealer. In order to participate receive site advertising fees for Autos.com, Affiliates are required to place a separate and unique Autos.com link or banner on their website.

What is a valid lead?
Leads are qualified when a visitor fully completes and submits a purchase request and CarsDirect is able to route that lead to a participating dealer.

What is a valid dealer request?
A dealer request is qualified when a real and unique visitor submits a completed dealer request form with a unique working email address and CarsDirect is able to route that lead to a participating dealer.

What is a valid finance lead?
A finance lead is qualified when a real and unique visitor submits a completed finance lead form with a unique and working email address and CarsDirect is able to route that lead to a participating dealer.

How does the CarsDirect Affiliate Program differ from other affiliate programs?
The CarsDirect Affiliate Program offers customers to get connected to the Internet department at a trusted dealership near them. As a result, affiliates are able to earn site advertising fees when a visitor submits a dealer request to CarsDirect or Autos.com. Our Affiliate Program includes the added benefit of a thirty (30) day look-back period and monthly payouts.

Does it cost anything to be an Affiliate?
No. It's absolutely free to become an Affiliate and maintain your relationship with CarsDirect.

How do I earn money?
You'll earn a site advertising fee every time a visitor enters CarsDirect or Autos.com from a link on your website and either submits a lead, finance lead or dealer request within a thirty (30) day period.

Who can participate?
We encourage everyone with a website to apply to our Affiliate Program. We do ask that you review the following Guidelines For Approval to submitting your application. An approved Affiliate site will:

  1. Exhibit strong traffic levels
  2. Display no obscene or discriminatory material
Please consider that these are general guidelines, and we will review each application on a case-by-case basis.

Is the program domestic or international?
Currently, CarsDirect only transacts business in the United States. As a result, only affiliates based in the U.S. are eligible to join the CarsDirect program.

Setting Up Links
How do I create links to CarsDirect?

We provide all the elements you need to link to CarsDirect. Once you complete your application and are accepted as a CarsDirect Affiliate, you'll receive a confirmation email with instructions on creating links.

Tracking and Payment
How are leads/requests tracked and credited to my site?
Activity from your website to CarsDirect is tracked by Rakuten Marketing. Rakuten monitors a visitor's initial click on a link from your site, tracks when that same visitor submits a request on CarsDirect, and credits your site.

Who is Rakuten Marketing?
CarsDirect has partnered with Rakuten Marketing, the leader in affiliate marketing. As a neutral, third party, Rakuten Marketing provides affiliate-program technology and exceptional service, including accurate tracking, comprehensive reporting and timely payouts. CarsDirect links are available to our Affiliates through Rakuten Marketing. To learn more about Rakuten Marketing services, go to www.rakutenmarketing.com/affiliate

What if a visitor goes to CarsDirect through a link on my website, but submits a lead at a later time?
If the lead/request is submitted within thirty (30) days from the time the visitor initially visited CarsDirect from a link on your website, you will receive credit for that lead or dealer request. This is called a look-back pay period because we "look back" at all activity occurring within thirty (30) days and it's tracked by CarsDirect using "cookies."

What is a "cookie?"
"Cookies" are small pieces of information that are stored by the user's browser on his/her computer's hard drive. By using cookies, CarsDirect can track a visitor who returns to our website within thirty (30) days of linking from an Affiliate site.

When do I get paid?
You will get a check during each month that you earn $15 or more. If you have any further questions about our Affiliate Program, feel free to contact us affiliate@carsdirect.com.

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