Autobytel Appoints Automotive Internet Innovator Zane Rathwick as Vice President Development for IT

Former Kelley Blue Book, Local.com and Autobytel.com technology leader returns to bolster Autobytel’s consumer web brands and traffic acquisition strategies

IRVINE, Calif.--()--Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq: ABTL), a leading Internet marketing services company, today announced that Zane Rathwick has been named as Vice President Development for IT. Rathwick returns to Autobytel from successful tenures at Local.com and Kelley Blue Book where the programs he developed resulted in significant traffic increases. At Autobytel, he is charged with developing new technologies and enhancing existing systems to support the company’s renewed focus on leveraging its historically popular consumer websites for the attraction of high quality, in-market automotive consumers.

“We are very pleased that Zane, who is one of the true technology pioneers and innovators of the automotive Internet, is rejoining Autobytel. No one understands the technologies behind driving cost-effective, high value automotive consumer traffic better than Zane,” said Autobytel President and CEO Jeffrey Coats. “Zane’s previous tenure at Autobytel means that he is able to hit the ground running as we work to enhance the core values of all our consumer web brands and further develop the products that enable us to provide dealers with the industry’s highest quality leads and advertisers with targeted traffic—all while driving further efficiencies into our marketing and operational initiatives as we continue on the path to profitability.”

A former technology Senior Director at Autobytel, Rathwick was responsible for the development of a number of patented technologies at Autobytel as well as key architecture for the company’s family of consumer automotive websites, many of the tools and technologies that power its new and used car leads businesses, and a highly regarded, proprietary search marketing system.

“I am very pleased to return to Autobytel, a company that I have always considered my technology home base,” said Rathwick. “I look forward to the opportunity to continue to innovate for the company that invented the automotive Internet as it returns to the core values that led to its greatest successes.”

Rathwick initially joined Autobytel in 1998 and led the company’s technology development teams, including developing and architecting the web engine that powered the company’s category-leading sites - Autobytel.com, Autoweb.com, CarSmart.com, Car.com. He also developed the initial version of the company’s customer lead routing engine, delivering millions of customer leads to Autobytel dealers, and led the integration of CarSmart.com and Autoweb.com into the Autobytel platform following their acquisitions. Rathwick was also responsible for leading the group that developed a cutting-edge and very successful search engine marketing system which automated the tracking reporting and bidding of over a half a million keywords across all the major search engines and was unique in the industry for its ability to function simultaneously for both lead and ad traffic acquisition. Rathwick repeated this success at Local.com, where the internal bidding algorithm he developed out-performed several of the leading products on the market in a head-to-head test. Returning to the automotive sector in 2007, Rathwick joined Kelley Blue Book as Director of Online Marketing turning their fledgling paid and natural search programs into a major source of the company's traffic.

“By building and enhancing Autobytel’s internal SEM and SEO programs, reinvigorating the best aspects of our consumer websites to serve in-market car buyers, as well as developing new and better technologies to help consumers, automakers and dealers connect in the car buying process, I believe that we can make a real difference during this very challenging time for the industry,” concluded Rathwick.

About Autobytel Inc.

Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq: ABTL) is an Internet automotive marketing services company that helps dealers and manufacturers sell cars and related products and services. The company owns and operates several consumer-facing automotive websites, including Autobytel.com®, AutoSite.com®, Autoweb.com®, Car.comsm, CarSmart.com®, CarTV.com® and MyRide.com®. By providing a convenient and comprehensive automotive consumer experience across the purchase and ownership lifecycle, Autobytel seeks to provide dealerships with opportunities to connect with a steady, diverse stream of motivated, serious shoppers, while providing manufacturers with precision-targeted brand and product advertising opportunities. In addition to its websites, the company generates leads and advertising opportunities for dealers and automakers through its marketing network, which includes the AutoReach ad network, co-brands, such as ESPN.com, and marketing affiliates such as AOL, Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book.

Contacts

Autobytel Inc.
Media Relations
Crystal Hartwell, 949-437-4755
crystalh@autobytel.com
or
Investor Relations
Crystal Hartwell, 949-437-4755
crystalh@autobytel.com
or
PondelWilkinson Inc.
Roger Pondel/Laurie Berman, 310-279-5980
investor@pondel.com

Contacts

Autobytel Inc.
Media Relations
Crystal Hartwell, 949-437-4755
crystalh@autobytel.com
or
Investor Relations
Crystal Hartwell, 949-437-4755
crystalh@autobytel.com
or
PondelWilkinson Inc.
Roger Pondel/Laurie Berman, 310-279-5980
investor@pondel.com