It depends on who pays the bills. At the $30/pop they used to cost for an individual, there's a lot of potential there.
I'm sure the dealers get a discounted rate of some sort... but if the dealers foot the bill for every VIN check through their site, then the dealers have an incentive to sign up for the inventory system. If Autocheck (who sells these separately) feels they are losing too much by letting people have them for free, then they could just as easily require dealers to do the inventory list.
Either way, it's not really worth arguing about, so I'll bow out here. All I'm saying is that I had my VIN rejected by the first dozen or so sites that I tried, so they are starting to tighten up the holes.
No way at all it costs autocheck $30 to run a VIN search.
They just charge that much because they can.
Between paying for the price of hard drive space for your vehicle, server query time, and bandwidth to render a text based page. I'd be surprised if it cost them ten cents.
Dealers don't pay per query. They pay a flat rate bill per month. I doubt autocheck keeps track of which, and how many VIN searches are done through each dealer.
As Idasho said, there are so many dealers it's not worth it.
The other part of it, and you'll find this with a lot of computer software is the percentage of people who can use a work-around.
I bet autocheck knows there's a little back door to get free VIN checks. But so few people can actually figure it out or use it, it's negligible. They're losing less money to a few thousand people going around the system than they would to re-design the whole thing.
That requires hours of meetings, people yelling at each other.... etc.
Work with end users some time in the computer field... It's surprising how many people couldn't copy a VIN into a URL.
Edited by 987687, 11 February 2012 - 07:21 AM.