Monday, September 30, 2013

Beware of What You are Paying For

Would it surprise you that many of the product images you see on the internet are not actually truly representative of the product being sold? That many of the Affiliate Marketing web sites, which accept your money for a Hotel or Tour booking don't have anything but a passing and informal relationship with the product or service in question? Many of these Affilate sites don't even have a quality process in place, to guarantee that what you are paying for is of the highest quality, or that the Tour you have booked maintains the highest safety standards and holds the appropriate accreditations etc.

To our horror, we stumbled on one such fraudulent web site last week. One displaying images that we know were not theirs and not representative of the product or service they were selling.

How can we prove this "outrageous" claim, you might ask? Well, as it turns out they were using an image captured by HD Chauffeur Ride Pty Ltd Director - John Karmouche, an image captured by John himself using a GoPro camera mounted on the handlebars of his 2012 Heritage Softail Harley Davidson.

The problem? This web site was not selling Harley Rides on behalf of HD Chauffeur Ride Pty Ltd. We know the company who supplies their product. We also know that their quality standards have never been checked by the Affiliate Booking site in question. If they had done so, we feel things may have been different. Below is the offending image:

Harley Rides in Melbourne
John's Photo

And here is the offending web site page:

Affilate Marketing Fraud
Offending Website Using John's Image
We have contacted the management of this site and alerted them to their copyright infringement, and they have since removed John's photo from their site. John is considering what further action he will take in regard to this blatant copyright infringement.

Why book via one of these affiliates, when you can quite easily go direct to the supplier. Maybe that's because the Harley Ride company in question here doesn't have Credit Card booking available on their site, or is doing things on the cheap by not maintaining that facility. HD Chauffeur Ride Pty Ltd, does maintain and operate a Merchant Facility. Maintaining this facility is not cheap. It also leaves one to ask what other cost shortcuts is the Harley Ride company in question taking (who this Affiliate Site is taking your money)? What is the quality of the motorcycle they utilise? How often are they serviced? Is the bike repaired by a qualified mechanic? What safety standards are being bypassed? The list of questions left unanswered is long.

Why doesn't HD Chauffeur Ride Pty Ltd use Affiliate sites? Quite simply - its because they charge a 25% booking fee, that we don't add if you book directly via us. Compare the rates charged by this Affiliate to us - the rates are identical. Ever wonder where these rates originate - from us as it turns out. Here in Melbourne, HD Chauffeur Ride Pty Ltd sets the standard, behind which everyone else follows. They can't offer a cheaper rate - so one is left to ask why use them at all?

HD Chauffeur Ride Pty Ltd takes pride in maintaining exceptionally high standards. All of the bikes we use to take our customers for Harley Rides are up to date models, serviced only by qualified Harley Davidson mechanics. No safety corners are taken. Safety and quality is expensive - but its an expense we are proud to say that we are prepared to wear - even if it means losing business to cheap and nasty alternatives that utilise Affiliate web sites to save costs.

At the end of the day, we can only direct you to the Testimonials left by our customers on Trip Advisor on on the Testimonial page on our site.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sharing the Harley Davidson Brand

The Harley Davidson story is a marketing legend. Long known for giving its customers what they want, and understanding the people who ride their machines Harley Davidson have survived against all odds by leading the field with "Iconic branding".

If it were not for the iconic nature of the Harley Davidson motorcycle, and the throb of the Harley Sound emitted by their "head turning" machines, I doubt that the Harley Rides Industry would have evolved in Australia, as in did in the early '90s. Since 1993 when HD Chauffeur Ride Pty Ltd was founded literally hundreds of thousands of people have been introduced to the Harley Davidson Brand on individual Harley Rides given to them as a gift by a family member or friend as a birthday gift, Hens and Bucks Day rides, wedding anniversary surprise etc. In addition there have been many thousands of tourists visiting Australia (and in our case Melbourne) who have recognised that taking a ride on the back of a Harley Davidson motorcycle is the best form of transport that guarantees that they will see more of Melbourne, the nearby hills and the Great Ocean Road. Its simply because the view one gets seated on the back of a motorbike, while someone else does the riding just can't be matched by any other mode of transport which sets the Harley Ride Experience apart.

But, by far the largest group, outnumbering all others are the children and their parents with whom we come into contact at school fetes and fairs. It is at the fundraising events, that over just a few hours we expose up to 100 or more people to the Harley Ride Experience. At these events we bring people into contact wit the Harley Davidson Brand for the first time. Most have never possessed an inclination or any interest in motorcycles, and many have never even heard or been aware of the Harley Davidson marque. What occurs at this time quite often results in a transformation, creation of desire, and a marked reversal in attitude towards the Motorcycle. For many, it marks the day when they decided to get a motorcycle of their own. I well recall meeting a guy, several years ago, who came up to me one day and told me how after his Harley Ride he went on to obtain his motorcycle licence, purchase of harley Davidson and then go on to become the President of his local HOG (Harley Owners Group) Chapter!

We have no formal connection with Harley Davidson, and our services carry no endorsement from them, despite the fact that we can claim a role in the sale of many of their machines over the years. Perhaps, one day they may give us some formal recognition, but we don't expect it.

In the meantime we will continue to share the Harley Davidson motorcycle with their potential customers. Times are becoming highly competitive and many Harley Davidson clones have emerged emulating the Harley Iconic V-Twin design. Whenever, we take anyone out for a Harley Ride Experience, our focus is on explaining to them why we have chosen a Harley Davidson over the others. Its the Icon, H-D set the standard and the height of the bar. Its up to the others to reach the level of Iconic Status held by the Harley Davidson. Its not until one has owned a Harley Davidson of their own that they are able to recognise why Harley Davidson has become the world's greatest Marketing and Branding success, a story which is studied by every aspiring entrepreneur.

Group of Harley Davidsons for tourist visiting Melbourne out on a Harley Ride
A group of tourist s visiting Melbourne