TCPA and Lead Generation

If you are either selling or buying leads, you really can not wait another day before you educate yourself on the upcoming TCPA changes that go into effect October 16, 2013. Every lead generation company must understand what is happening as it may start affecting lead buyers.


Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991

I am not a lawyer, so please do you own research, but this is my understanding of the TCPA change happening October 16. Any company that uses a telephone dialer, and is calling a consumer on their cell phone, must have express written consent from that consumer that their company is allowed to call the consumer's cell phone. The days of preselecting a checkbox with a link to some terms that state "I agree to be called by a marketing partner"......are over. The consumer has to agree to be called by the exact company that calls them IF that company uses a dialer and IF the number they dialed is a cell phone.

So who is affected here and who is not? If you are selling home improvement leads to contractors and none of your contractors use dialers, it does not seem you are affected (this goes for any lead buyer that manually dials all of their calls). If you are running branded campaigns for a lead buyer and you are showing the consumer who will be calling them AND you put in the proper terms so they do agree to be called on their cell phones, you should be ok. You probably still need to keep great documentation on the exact text you have on your lead form and if it changes, keep a timeline. Another solution may be screenshot technology that can replicate what the consumer was looking at when they filled out the form (similar to what a Clicktale does for analytics). If you are selling financial leads or insurance leads to companies that almost all use dialers, you must deal with TCPA.

I know there are already lead buyers making decisions based on TCPA. One large lead buyer has flat out stopped buying leads that are cell phones. Their business is a numbers game and using a dialer is absolutely required. One potential solution through boberdoo would be to have us build a form side leadQC ajax check that would look up the phone number the lead enters as they go through the form and if it returns as a cell phone, you may want to prompt the lead to enter a home phone number instead. If they only have a cell phone, as many people do, you may end up needing to alter your lead type in boberdoo so that "cell phone only" becomes a filter. Buyers may start telling you they do not want cell phone leads. It will be better to filter those during processing rather than having to deal with returns.

If you are not doing branded campaigns, another potential solution would be to show the lead who the lead buyers are and let them select which buyers they want to be called by. This can be done using boberdoo APIs for ping post lead with details and then sending back to boberdoo on the post the lead buyers that were selected. Is this ideal for a lead company to maximize revenue? No, probably not. Is it nice for the leads? Yes, it is. It also probably helps your lead buyers because the leads will see who is going to call them and therefore may recognize the name when the company does call.

Regarding aged leads my gut would be that if this is your business, you are going to be hit the hardest. I think every cell phone only record that you have is now worthless other than for email and postal campaigns.

While the government may see this law as a protection for consumers, there are flocks of lawyers out there who see this as a new cash cow. Your lead buyers are probably being set up right now for the lawsuits that will be coming immediately after the 16th. It may not be the lead generators that get sued in this situation, but if the buyers are all driven either out of business or just out of lead buying, it will affect lead companies.

Brad Seiler
Owner LLC

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