I get the emails and calls quite a bit. "Hey Jennifer! We are thinking of adding Vendor X as a lead provider. How are they with compliance? Do you come across them a lot? Are they a good vendor?"
I love when my clients want to know if a 3rd party provider is doing the right thing. No one is working hard to build a brand and provide great services and then squander it by using a vendor that will get them into trouble.
On the other side of the coin, I also work directly with some vendors so that they are doing the right thing by law and according to industry best practices. Most companies are trying to do the right thing.
Some people are doing the wrong thing at every turn, and there are 2 types of them. The first group just doesn't know. I'm less frustrated with this group. Many times they are new to the industry and just don't know what they can and can't advertise on behalf of a certain client. When we find improper ads or practices, we reach out with the assumption that they just didn't know. Once they are informed properly, it's off to the races and a line of communication is open so that when they have questions in the future, I'm an email away, and I'm always happy to help.
Then there's that 2nd pool of vendors. They might know or not know that what they are doing is improper, immoral or illegal, but they don't care because it is making them money hand over fist. These are the people that you see in the FTC press releases that end up paying a kabillion dollars in fines and legal fees. But by the time you see that press release, they have cost their clients' money, reputation and time.
National Compliance Group runs an enormous data base of lead providers in the United States and abroad. Our database monitors the response rate of vendors when asked to omit, change or remove information on behalf of our clients. So, our clients know that they can call and get a recommendation on lead sources.
I have never told my clients who they should or should not use. I have passed along contact information for vendors upon request. And just recently was asked about the behavior of a particular vendor. I could only give an honest response: "They are combative at best when we try to communicate with them. They continue to poach leads, post incorrect or blatantly false information, and they refuse to make needed regulatory or brand changes to information they post on their properties."
The response from some of these vendors is: "The information we post is available to the public. We can post whatever we want to." Yes, except you can't. You cannot post the invitation for anyone to request information about a specific school, product or service, and then never provide that information. It it unethical and illegal. A person has provided their contact information for a particular purpose and the vendor has decided that the personal information obtained will be used or sold to some other company for some other purpose. And that is not compliant behavior. And it should not be tolerated.
If you have questions about lead generation practices, need help monitoring your campaigns or want to make sure your brand is protected please reach out. I'm happy to help. You can reach me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a fantastic week!