"Do Not Call List"...Death Knell For Leads Programs?

By: Michael Lemm ">

I'd pay close attention to this for awhile. There are implications for leads programs especially.

In about 6-10 months or so your company is going to have to subscribe to the FTC 'Do Not Call' (DNC) list of people that do not want calls. Even if it is an innocent prospecting call your company (& you) can get in trouble. The wife may have answered your ad, the husband may have put them on the DNC list. Bang....your company (& you) innocently gets burnt. The fines are pretty noteworthy so be careful.

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/edcams/donotcall/index.html

Here's my general thoughts on this issue:

1. The leads companies will have to be VERY careful. Anyone selling leads had better make sure that they are truly 'waiting to hear from you'....opt-in permissive marketing compliant....fresh....yada yada. Any slip shod harvesting of leads without thorough scrubbing of their viabilty will lead to big trouble. I see a lot of leads companies going under....or just plane being scams hoping to make a quick buck and leave customers holding the bag.

2. The number of companies offering leads will likely decrease due to the effort, cost, and risk involved to ensure the leads are compliant. What will be left could be just a few expensive high quality companies....and a few scams after the quick score.

3. Those leads companies that 'survive' will pass the increased cost on to the consumer....you. Meaning the cost of leads will likely go up significantly....regardless of the source.

4. Those who purchase leads will also be vulnerable to some extent (how much I'm not sure) since they are the individual 'contacting' the lead. I doubt regulators and agrieved 'leads' will not hold those who contact them faultless. Since 'we' aren't employees of the leads companies we would have some responsibility/accountability attached. Their argument would be that we 'chose' to contact these people. As opposed to an employee of a telemarketing firm who is 'told' to make the contact.

5. If leads companies can navigate this challenge successfully....the resulting leads will truly be 'quality'. They will definitely be interested in being contacting. So this could be a silver lining...or glass half full....situation. However, it could well be at a higher cost than we now see.

6. Now....if you read carefully on the FTC website, it mentions that there is a period time of which someone can still be contacted.

a. If they were a customer, you may contact them for up to 18 months after the last business transaction.

b. If they requested information (as the website says, submitted an inquiry) you can contact them for up to 3 months.

Lead companies will have to provide Date/Time stamps and IP stamps with every lead. Is this hard? No, they do it anyways, so it shouldn’t result in large cost increases.

Additionally, all company/personal “prospecting" websites will need to contain language similar to this: 'By submitting your information you agree to be contacted by phone, email, or regular mail with information regarding a home based business, secondary income source, or a work from home opportunity.' This will bind the user to 3 months of being contacted.

All that doom and gloom aside....what we hopefully will see is a drastic reduction of junk lead companies or companies that generate leads not targeted for our industry. Those that navigate the impending changes with quality compliant opt-in systems will survive and prosper. Those that don’t.....m’bye bye.

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