Higher Ed Growth has a steadfast commitment to marketing compliance. In addition to providing total transparency to our partners and more, we believe it’s important to share the latest news and best practices for navigating the changing regulatory environment.

Last week’s Federal Trade Commission decision in a performance marketing case was yet another benchmark ruling. Here’s what happened.

The FTC alleged that a lead generator operated a number of websites promising to match applicants with a lender and loan terms to best meet their needs. However, the FTC charged that the defendants:

  • sold very few of the loan applications to lenders;
  • did not match applications based on loan rates or terms; and
  • sold the loan applications to the first buyer willing to pay for them
  • had little regard for how the information would be used or whether it would remain secure

The operators of the lead generation business have agreed to settle charges brought by the FTC.

It’s a noteworthy ruling. One that helps our industry move in a more positive, transparent direction. It’s also a noteworthy reason for the industry to continue a strong, united effort in not only improving the lead generation ecosystem, but shining a light on the many lead generators going above and beyond in marketing compliance.

This is where independent trade associations like LeadsCouncil play an important role. LeadsCouncil pushes for more standardization and the establishment of ethics guidelines in performance marketing. In fact, HEG CMO and Managing Partner Joe Laskowski has been an active LeadsCon board member since 2015 and works to help give the industry a voice in Washington.

Here was LeadsCouncil’s response to the performance marketing company settlement.

FTC Lead Generation

Washington, DC, July 06, 2017 — Today, LeadsCouncil expressed support for an action by the Federal Trade Commission to protect sensitive data from marketers who blatantly exploited the consumer for profit. The official Federal Trade Commission Press Release can be found here.

This “bait-and-switch” style of marketing tactic is not the standard by which LeadsCouncil members adhere.

LeadsCouncil Chairman of the Board Gregory Gragg said, “LeadsCouncil’s goal is to establish the benchmarks for what are acceptable and appropriate practices, as they pertain to the performance marketing industry. Transparency is paramount when it comes to how a consumer’s information will be treated and managed, as they move through the online inquiry process. Any marketer who establishes a façade business while selling data out the back door should face the consequences of engaging in such behavior.”

The organization takes such violations very seriously and has demonstrated their commitment to better serving consumers through the release of their 2017 Lead Generation Standards Guide. In addition to prohibiting unlawful and deceptive marketing practices, the Standards hold LeadsCouncil members accountable to a higher standard, as they encounter consumers in the marketplace.

The full LeadsCouncil press release can be found here.

 

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