Last week the FTC hosted a full-day workshop focused entirely on the lead generation industry, common practices and the issues that the industry presents. As a government agency focused on protecting individual consumers, it is no surprise that a common theme of the workshop were some of the dangers that the lead industry and, specifically those who operate within it, present to consumers. As a leader in the industry, we took it upon ourselves to dig deeper into these issues in hopes to explore the best possible courses of action for lead generation companies.
Over the course of several hours of lead gen presentations, several speakers elaborated on the dangers of fraud and the aggressive marketing tactics that are so prevalent in the online marketing sphere. However, one of the most interesting trends exposed in the workshop was the amount of big data collected and analysis done within the lead industry itself. It wasn’t long ago that the lead generation industry remained relatively low-key and therefore lightly regulated. The fact that this is no longer the case is more obvious now than ever before.
Jonathan Gillman, CEO of Omniangle Technologies went into great detail about the type of data they have collected and analyzed regarding the lead industry. Gillman explained that the self-correcting mechanism that is present in most industries and even traditional marketing spheres is broken in the lead generation industry. Because of this, Gillman insisted that additional discussion and potential intervention is required to reel in black-hat practices that take place within the lead generation industry.
While Gillman was neither condemning the lead gen industry nor demanding institutional reform, it is important to note that while in the past, lead gen companies might have been able to succeed by utilizing misleading or unsavory techniques, in today’s industry much less is slipping through the cracks. There is no denying the mutual benefit that the lead industry presents to both the advertiser as well as the lead itself, but for lead companies to survive long-term in today's regulated and scrutinized industry they need to make sure that consumer protection is a top priority.
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