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?