What's in this article?
The FCC has been asked to shut down third-party lead generators and data brokers due to the amount of “unwanted and illegal phone calls and text messages” to consumers.
Lead generation agencies are fighting back.
But Eric Troutman of the Troutman Firm is warning these companies that the allegations pose a real threat to ending lead generation services — even if most companies are following the rules and providing a legitimate and helpful service.
As a result, companies that rely on third-party lead generation are at risk of losing their sources.
Instead of taking a “wait-and-see” approach to the FCC’s decision, it’s going to be most beneficial to use this time to begin building out an internal lead generation capability.
What’s going on?
Lead generation agencies are under FCC and FTC scrutiny for allegedly serving as “one of the root causes of unwanted and illegal robocall proliferation.”
Washington, D.C.-based public interest group Public Knowledge recently filed a reply comment with the FCC asking them to end lead generation.
In the reply comment, they ask that the Commission perform the following:
- Issue a declaratory ruling to clarify that prior express consent to receive a call or text can only be provided to one caller at a time
- Clarify and finalize its TCPA exemption rules to specifically exclude scam calls and texts
- Properly reclassify text messaging services as Title II services to strengthen its authority to combat illegal text messages and advance its efforts in parallel with the Commission’s mission to eliminate unwanted and scam telephone calls while ensuring texting remains fair, accessible, competitively-neutral, and nondiscriminatory
Public Knowledge explained that the root causes of unwanted and illegal robocall proliferation are lead generators and data brokers.
They say generators and brokers “harvest consumer telephone numbers along with thin—if not outright fraudulent—consent agreements attached and pass on those numbers and supposed consents to telemarketers and scam callers.”
Why is this happening?
Leading up to the reply comment, there have been other instances of unlawful lead-generation activity that have tainted the FCC’s and FTC’s views of these companies.
The FTC shut down a lead generation company back in 2017 that placed millions of calls to consumers on the Do Not Call Registry. And one lead generator had to pay $1.5 million last year for collecting and selling sensitive consumer information under the guise that they were connecting them with lenders.
Recently, FTC lawyers and the FCC have been scrutinizing lead generation opt-in forms from companies that use “consent farms.”
Consent farms involve collecting prior express consent from hundreds or thousands of marketing partners for telemarketing purposes.
The FCC does not believe that consent farms are adequately meeting telemarketing regulations. It also believes that collecting consent for too many products or for reselling data are questionable practices.
The bottom line is that there are a lot of gray areas when it comes to consent farms, and the FTC and FCC are collecting examples of instances where it has gone wrong.
What you can do to protect your business
Whether your third-party lead generator is following all regulations or not, they may either be facing FCC/FTC scrutiny or be at risk of a total shutdown in the future.
The solution is to immediately allocate resources to developing your own internal lead generation strategies and capabilities.
It’s possible to build and rely on a consistently full pipeline of sales leads using your own website, blog, paid media, and social media.
Some of the essential elements to build your own lead generation strategies include:
- Web design for conversion
- Content marketing
- Search engine optimization
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Social media marketing
The lead generation process is simple and straightforward:
- Build a website designed for conversion
- Fill it with optimized content
- Add in landing pages and lead capture forms
- Create a lead capture strategy to show every visitor a clear path to your product
- Track your visitor activity and interactions
This is a proven lead generation strategy, built on the ability to meet people where they are and guide them to your services.
You can make this path to building your own lead generation capability even shorter by working with Kaleidico, an experienced lead generation agency. Experts are direct to consumer startups and transformations.
Our version of “lead generation” means you are the one generating the leads. Public Knowledge is asking the FCC to only allow one caller the ability to request prior express consent to issue a call or text.
When you generate your own leads, you are the “one caller” allowed to issue that call or text. Your website visitors will be providing contact information directly on your website, so those leads are unmistakably yours.
Kaleidico has over 15 years of experience generating leads for mortgage lenders, law firms, and other types of businesses.