The Beginning of the End for Incentivized Lead-Generation Online

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If you’ve read my previous post on Valueclick and its lead generation practices, you already know about my experience with incentivized leads the ad network delivered. Valueclick is not the only company under scrutiny by the FTC, reports ClickZ.

“At a conference in New York yesterday, an Internet industry stock analyst familiar with several firms in the lead gen space said another unnamed firm already has settled with the Federal Trade Commission as a result of an investigation into its lead generation practices. In addition, the analyst indicated other lead generation services as well as advertisers using such services have been subpoenaed, or spoken to lawyers regarding potential legal issues surrounding such marketing practices.”

Incentivized marketing is under the microscope by the FTC and the issues of the hour in the online space in terms of regulation. Is incentivized marketing ethical? The promise of an item which is impossible to win in exchange for personal information which is then sold (most likely) to a third party as a “lead”. We don’t really know what the outcome of what could become the end of incentivized marketing online if the FTC begins regulation this practice (somehow), as the online space is as many put it, the wild wild west. Many of the affiliate networks allow publishers to promote the advertisers offer with incentivized traffic as an option, this could very well change.

One of my questions in all of this is where is the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau)? What is their take on incentivized traffic and what they think about ValueClicks lead generation practices? Ummm…maybe because valueclick is one of their sponsors…they are in the lead generation committee after all.

IAB Lead Gen Committees mission:
“The mission of the IAB Lead Generation Committee is to define best practices that ensure lead quality and improve conversion; and, educate marketers and agencies on lead generation/customer acquisition as a cost-effective vehicle for advertisers to drive high quality customers. The committee will also evangelize lead generation targeting new industries not utilizing lead generation today”

In the next few months this will keep developing as the investigation will move forward into Valueclicks and other companies practices in incentivized marketing. AOL has expressed interest in buying VC (as Google, Yahoo, and MSN have all acquired advertising companies/networks in the past year) but is awaiting this investigation to come to a conclusion before deciding on such purchase which could be in the millions…maybe billions?

Pablo Palatnik
Pablo Palatnik is the author of the blog PalatnikFactor, focusing on all things Online Marketing and Search Engine Optimization specialist for Fortune3, a shopping cart... Read Full Bio
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    I think your last several articles have made some good points but i don’t think incentivized lead generation is nearing its end. IMHO it is just the beginning of a revolution, i’d even go as far as to say a new marketing world order. The advertisers just need to catch up with the potential of this industry.

    Imagine if i could drive 10,000 visitors to your website tomorrow. To an experienced salesman and a good marketer, that would be a goldmine of oppurtunities knocking at his door. But if the product is bad and the sales and marketing team is ineffective, then all those people would be more of a burden then their worth. I’ve experienced the consumer side of this industry first hand. In all honesty, if i complete an offer at an incentive site for some form of incentive, and I receive a phone call from a salesman 10 minutes later trying to ramrod some product down my throat without hardly answering any of my questions and who forces me to listen to an audio recording about the product or service he’s selling for $50 a month, i’ll hang up the phone. This is just bad sales tactics and its all to common in the industry. People want quality customer service. Other times i have had people contact me who knew the industry they were working in and actually had a good product or business oppurtunity available. They didn’t push me to buy the product and were very honest about their experiences with it. I was so happy i found out about it that i bought one and referred 3 of my friends to get one too. As long as incentive websites don’t condone bad business practices i think they are absolute goldmines for the advertisers and businesses that use them, assuming the product is good and the salesmen are great. But once they start getting greedy and support fraud, thats where an advertiser has to draw the line.

  • I think there are enough visitors on any website, but hardly 1ù ever leaves contact details behind.
    Thus another solution is required to discover and identify business visitors, revealing company names, and defining needs by pages visited.
    Not an email tracking solution, which requires massive amounts of emails.
    It is combined with a CRM for effective interaction and follow-up for converting visitors into leads into prospects.