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Event Description

The Federal Trade Commission hosted a workshop on October 30, 2015 to explore online lead generation in various industries including lending and education. The workshop brought together a variety of stakeholders, including industry representatives, consumer advocates, and government regulators.

Lead generation is the practice of identifying or cultivating consumer interest in a product or service, and distributing this information to third parties. For example, as consumers search the Internet for all kinds of goods and services, they may express interest in or make an inquiry regarding specific products or services, such as educational programs, mortgages, or small-dollar loans, by submitting their personal information online. These consumer “leads” sometimes contain sensitive personal and financial information that may travel through multiple online marketing entities before connecting with the desired businesses. The workshop will explore the consumer protection issues raised by the practices of the lead generation industry, and what consumers and businesses should know and do to address them.

Video From the Event

  • 7:45 am


    8:30 am

    Katherine Worthman
    Attorney, Division of Financial Practices, FTC

    Opening Remarks
    Jessica Rich
    Director, Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC

    8:45 am

    Panel 1: Introduction to Lead Generation Marketplace and Mechanics

    This panel will provide an introductory overview of lead generation, including the roles of lead generators and related entities, the mechanics of collecting and selling leads, and the potential benefits and risks associated with this activity.


    • Evan Zullow
      Attorney, Division of Financial Practices, FTC


    • Michael Ferree
      Director & Board Member
    • David Morgan
      Chief Revenue Officer
      PerformLine, Inc. 
    • Paul McConville
      Chief Revenue Officer
    • Liad Wagman
      Faculty Chair & Associate Professor of Economics
      Illinois Institute of Technology, Stuart School of Business
    • Jonathan Gillman
      Founder & CEO
      Omniangle Technologies
    10:15 am

    Panel 2: Case Study on Lead Generation in Lending

    This panel will discuss how lead generation is used in the lending industry, including the use of an auctioning process known as a “ping tree” and other models. Panelists will also discuss related consumer protection issues.


    • Katherine Worthman
      Attorney, Division of Financial Practices, FTC


    • Pam Dixon
      Founder & Executive Director
      World Privacy Forum
    • John Henson
      Vice President & Head of Compliance
      LendingTree, Inc.
    • Tim Madsen
      PartnerWeekly LLC
    • Glenn McKay
      Co-founder, President & CEO
      Selling Source LLC
    • Aaron Rieke
      Director of Tech Policy Projects
    11:15 am


    11:30 am

    Panel 3:  Case Study on Lead Generation in Education

    This panel will focus on how lead generation works in the education marketplace, similarities and differences from lending and other verticals, and consumer protection issues related to education marketing by lead generators.


    • Brian Shull
      Attorney, Division of Financial Practices, FTC


    • Jeff Appel
      Deputy Under Secretary of Education
      U.S. Department of Education
    • Nathan Blake
      Assistant Attorney General
      Iowa Department of Justice
    • Daryl Colwell
      Senior Vice President
      Matomy Media Group
    • Jonathan Gillman
      Founder & CEO
      Omniangle Technologies
    • David Halperin
    • Amy Sheridan
      Blue Phoenix Media
    12:30 pm


    1:30 pm

    Panel 4:  Overview of Consumer Protection Concerns & the Legal Landscape

    This panel will focus on the consumer protection issues raised by lead generation – as discussed in the case studies and as exist in other verticals. Panelists will also discuss the applicability of the FTC Act and other legal principles.


    • Sandhya Brown
      Assistant Director, Division of Financial Practices, FTC


    • Marty Collins
      SVP of Corporate Development, Legal & Compliance
      QuinStreet, Inc.
    • Pam Dixon
      Founder & Executive Director
      World Privacy Forum
    • Ed Mierzwinski
      Consumer Program Director
      US Public Interest Research Group
    • Jonathan Pompan
      Venable LLP
    • R. Michael Waller
      Division of Enforcement, FTC

    2:30 pm

    Panel 5:  Looking Ahead – Protecting & Educating Consumers

    This panel will focus on the steps both industry members and regulators can take to better protect consumers, and information and strategies for improving consumer understanding of lead generation and avoiding problematic practices.


    • Malini Mithal
      Acting Associate Director
      Division of Financial Practices, FTC
    • Patrick Eagan-Van Meter
      Financial Technology Program Specialist
      Division of Financial Practices, FTC


    • Joseph J. Chambers
      Assistant Attorney General
      State of Connecticut Office of the Attorney General
    • Greg Gragg
      Chairman & CEO
      Blue Chair, LLC
    • Peter Marinello
      Vice President
      Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc.
    • Lisa McGreevy
      President & CEO
      Online Lenders Alliance
    • David Morgan
      Chief Revenue Officer
      PerformLine, Inc.
    • Kim Taylor
      Co-Founder & CEO
      Ranku, Inc.

    3:45 pm

    Malini Mithal
    Acting Associate Director, Division of Financial Practices, FTC


  • Jeff Appel

    Jeff Appel is Deputy Under Secretary of Education at the U.S. Department of Education. As Deputy Under Secretary, Jeff oversees postsecondary student aid policy initiatives that align the efforts of Federal Student Aid, the Office of Postsecondary Education, and the Office of Vocational and Adult Education. Jeff first joined the Department in 2011 as a Senior Policy Advisor for Higher Education and Student Financial Aid in the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development. From 2007 to 2011, Jeff worked as a Senior Policy Advisor for the U.S. House of Representative’s Committee on Education and Labor. Prior to that, Jeff was an Assistant Director at the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Education, Workforce, and Income Security group, responsible for managing much of the GAO’s research concerning student aid and other postsecondary education issues. He holds a BA in Business Administration/Finance from the University of Arizona and an MA in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University.

    Nathan Blake

    Nathan Blake is an Assistant Attorney General in the Iowa Department of Justice. He serves in his office’s Consumer Protection Division, focusing mainly on privacy issues and complex financial crimes. Over the last two years, he has helped lead a multistate effort investigating for-profit colleges. Attorney Blake previously worked on anti-hunger policy and helped oversee the nation’s fifteen nutrition assistance programs at the United States Department of Agriculture. He began his legal career with Belin McCormick, P.C., before joining Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2007. After graduating with a BA from Union College, Attorney Blake earned a MAR from Yale Divinity School and a JD from Yale Law School.

    Joseph J. Chambers

    Joseph J. Chambers is an Assistant Attorney General in the Finance Department of the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General, where he has represented state agencies in varied litigation before state and federal courts since 2009. In addition, he assists Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen with multistate investigations, litigation, and settlement negotiations related to consumer financial protection matters, including settlements with large mortgage loan servicers over foreclosure and default servicing practices, a settlement with a major national bank over credit card debt collection practices, and ongoing investigations of several large for-profit colleges. Attorney Chambers also collaborates with federal and state agencies, municipalities, businesses, and non-governmental organizations on outreach and other efforts related to foreclosure mediation, tenant protection, urban blight, and student loan debt. Since 2012, Mr. Chambers has served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Law at Trinity College, teaching an advanced course on environmental policy and an introductory course on the U.S. legal system. Attorney Chambers earned a JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law, an MA in Northern Studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and a BA in Political Science and English from Marquette University.

    Marty Collins

    Marty Collins is the senior vice president of Corporate Development, Legal & Compliance at QuinStreet. Prior to joining QuinStreet, Mr. Collins served as Vice President of Corporate Development at Bloom Energy, a distributed energy provider. Prior to that, Mr. Collins was the General Counsel and head of internal audit at Novellus Systems. He was also previously in charge of M&A and corporate and securities matters for Oracle Corporation’s legal department. Mr. Collins received his JD from Georgetown and his BA from Williams College.

    Daryl Colwell

    Daryl Colwell oversees Matomy Media Group’s North American performance advertising business, including client procurement, strategy and media. He is responsible for successful client and media management in order to maximize revenue from the relationships between advertisers and Matomy’s global base of media partners and networks. Advertiser partnerships he has forged for the company include such blue-chip marketers as American Express, HSBC, Nielsen and The Home Depot. He joined Matomy in January 2013 following the acquisition of performance media agency MediaWhiz, where he served in a similar capacity. Previously, he held senior management and sales roles at Relevance-X, the online behavioral and life-stage targeting division of Acxiom, and digital advertising agency SilverCarrot. Mr. Colwell earned a BA in psychology at the University of Texas.

    Pam Dixon

    Pam Dixon is the founder and executive director of the World Privacy Forum, a non-profit public interest research group with a strong focus on consumer privacy research. As an author and a researcher, Ms. Dixon has written many studies in the area of privacy, including the Scoring of America, a groundbreaking report on predictive analytics and privacy co-authored with Robert Gellman. She has also written reports on Medical Identity Theft, the One Way Mirror Society Report on digital signage networks and retail privacy, and a series of reports on data brokers, among others. Ms. Dixon has testified before the United States Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, the FDA, and other agencies on prominent consumer privacy issues, including issues related to data brokers, big data, health privacy, financial privacy and credit scoring, genetic privacy, the Common Rule, facial recognition, and online and offline privacy. Ms. Dixon serves as an expert advisor to the OECD as part of an advisory group on health data privacy. In 2015, she was appointed to the editorial board of Harvard’s Journal of Technology Science and her forthcoming reference volume on privacy and surveillance will be published in 2016 by ABC CLIO.

    Michael Ferree

    Michael Ferree is the Vice President of Corporate Development at Anomaly Squared, Director and Board Member of the LeadsCouncil, and Member of the LeadsCon Advisory Board. He holds a strong passion for promoting lead generation best practices for both buyers and sellers of leads. Mr. Ferree has enjoyed multiple roles within the industry that give him a unique perspective and rounded experience base. He currently hosts the Buyers Summit at LeadsCon and a live interview series call LeadsCon Live.

    Jonathan Gillman

    Jonathan Gillman is the founder and CEO of Omniangle Technologies, a cyber intelligence firm providing actionable consumer experience reporting to Fortune 500 companies and the financial sector. Previously, Mr. Gillman worked at the Florida Attorney General’s Office, where he founded the Cyber- Fraud Task Force and led numerous successful investigations. The task force resulted in multi-million dollar settlements with AT&T, Verizon Wireless, mQube, World Avenue, Media Breakaway and others. In 2008, Mr. Gillman left the Florida AG to run Compliance and Regulatory Affairs for Epic Advertising. During his time at Epic, he worked on a variety of R&D initiatives designed to increase visibility into the marketing activities of affiliates operating within the CPA ecosystem. In 2011, Mr. Gillman authored “The Business of Bots,” a white paper he presented at the DOD Cyber Crime Conference, describing the ramifications of the widespread penetration of bot-nets within the United States and how the online marketing community can help manage this threat. Mr. Gillman is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Criminology.

    Greg Gragg

    Greg Gragg is the chairman and CEO of Blue Chair, LLC, and Gragg Advertising, as well as the chairman of the board of Leads Council. Mr. Gragg started his first advertising business in 1992 and has over 30 years of business management experience in business management consulting to sales and advertising particularly in education. He has started five additional companies specializing in lead generation, online compliance, consulting, military and veteran education, and business services. Through his years of experience, Mr. Gragg has had the opportunity to work with other business owners in an effort to improve their revenue outlook and grow their businesses.

    David Halperin

    David Halperin engages in public advocacy and advises organizations on strategy, policy, communications, and legal matters. He is of counsel to Public.Resource.Org. Previously, Mr. Halperin founded and served as director of Campus Progress. He has also been senior vice president at the Center for American Progress, senior policy advisor for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, the founding executive director of the American Constitution Society, a White House speechwriter and special assistant for national security affairs to President Clinton, co-founder of the Internet company RealNetworks, and counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee. He has a BA from Yale College and a JD from Yale Law School. He writes at Republic Report, and his articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Nation, Politico, Foreign Policy, and other outlets.

    John Henson

    John Henson is Vice President and Head of Compliance for LendingTree, Inc., where he focuses on compliance matters ranging from lending compliance to consumer law compliance to cybersecurity legal issues. He joined LendingTree in November 2014 as Assistant General Counsel. Prior to LendingTree, Mr. Henson worked in Consumer Lending Compliance at Regions Bank in Birmingham, Alabama. While at Regions, Mr. Henson worked on various residential lending compliance issues, including compliance with Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) requirements, Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) requirements, and Truth in Lending Act (TILA) requirements. Mr. Henson has also served as Corporate Counsel for a large regional real estate firm prior to joining Regions. Mr. Henson obtained his JD from Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama.

    Tim Madsen

    Tim Madsen is the President of PartnerWeekly LLC, a company that provides consumer acquisition and digital marketing solutions for the financial services industry. As an ambassador for the online lending industry, Mr. Madsen has served as a member of the Online Lenders Alliance (OLA) Advertising and Marketing Committee, as well as a moderator on OLA’s Data Working Group Task Force. Mr. Madsen has over 13 years of digital marketing experience primarily focused on providing solutions for consumer based services.

    Peter C. Marinello

    Peter C. Marinello is the Director of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council’s (ASRC) Electronic Retailing Self Regulation Program (ERSP) and a Vice President of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. (CBBB). Before joining ASRC in July 2004, Mr. Marinello had been the Associate Director at the National Advertising Division of the CBBB (NAD) since 2000 and a Senior Staff Attorney with NAD since March of 1993. He has written over 1000 self-regulatory decisions on various advertising topics and products involving traditional and direct response advertising. In the course of his work, Mr. Marinello has addressed issues pertaining to new media, telemarketing, dietary supplements and lead generation advertising, among others, and has spoken on behalf of the NAD and ERSP at a number of trade conferences and workshop seminars throughout the country. He has also been the author of a number of articles regarding advertising self-regulation in various industry publications. Mr. Marinello has a JD from St. Johns University School of Law and has been a member of the New York State Bar since 1988.

    Paul McConville

    Paul McConville is the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) at LeadiD, a suburban Philadelphia-based data and analytics platform that enables marketers to make smart decisions on intent-driven, online consumer interactions. McConville has nearly 20 years of expertise in building high performing sales and marketing teams focused on exceeding client expectations and growing businesses. He spent the last 10 years at Neustar and TARGUSInfo, serving as senior vice president of sales for Neustar's Information Services Division. In that role, he led a 60-person team responsible for $80 million in revenue in consumer analytics and scoring, identity verification, digital marketing measurement and Neustar's Localeze business registry, for the largest US consumer-focused enterprises. Prior to TARGUSinfo, Paul spent seven years in global management consulting at Strategic Management Group, as well as time at the Corporate Executive Board, focused on Fortune 100 companies including General Electric, MetLife, Prudential and Ernst & Young. He holds an MBA from Drexel University.

    Lisa McGreevy

    Lisa McGreevy is the president and CEO of the Online Lenders Alliance (OLA), the center for lending, technology and innovation, representing the growing online lending industry. Ms. McGreevy has spearheaded the development of industry best practices and code of conduct, as well as guided the online lending industry to ensure that consumers have the safest and best possible customer experience. She contributed to launching LEND360, the conference that connects every angle of the online lending industry, from business to consumer lenders and vendors. Prior to OLA, Ms. McGreevy served in leadership positions with the Financial Services Roundtable, Managed Funds Association and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors. She has extensive public policy experience in Washington, in addition to having worked in the White House, U.S. Treasury Department, and on Capitol Hill.

    Glenn McKay

    Glenn McKay is the co-founder, president and CEO of the Selling Source LLC group of companies. Selling Source LLC is one of the largest privately held digital marketing and data services companies in the country. It grew from 10 employees in 2001 to over 300 employees in just over 10 years. Mr. McKay is involved in the online lending industry as a co-founder and board member of the Online Lenders Alliance (OLA). He serves on the OLA Management Oversight Committee, as the chairman of the Events Committee, and co-wrote the organization’s Best Marketing Practices. Mr. McKay has over thirty years of experience leading technology companies as well as an extensive background in hardware, software, and Internet based companies.

    Ed Mierzwinski

    Ed Mierzwinski has worked in the Washington, DC-based federal lobbying office of the Federation of State Public Interest Research Groups (U.S. PIRG) since 1989. He often lectures or testifies before Congress, state legislatures, agencies and events on a wide range of consumer issues. Recently, Mr. Mierzwinski has had his articles published in the American Prospect, the Journal of Consumer Affairs, Suffolk University Law Review and the new consumer movement reference guide “Watchdogs and Whistleblowers.” Since 2009, he has served on the board of directors of Consumer Reports (formerly Consumers Union), the world’s largest consumer product testing and advocacy organization. He chairs the Americans for Financial Reform Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Task Force. Mr. Mierzwinski has a BA and MS from the University of Connecticut and previously was Executive Director of the Connecticut PIRG.

    David Morgan

    David Morgan is the chief revenue officer at PerformLine, a marketing compliance company with a particular focus on consumer finance markets. Mr. Morgan is an expert in the digital advertising industry, lead generation, and compliance in regulated markets. With PerformLine, Mr. Morgan leads new client growth, deploying advanced compliance monitoring, discovery, workflow and reporting offerings for marketers and compliance professionals. PerformLine oversees more than 50 million compliance observations a day on behalf its clients.

    Jonathan L. Pompan

    Jonathan L. Pompan, a partner in Venable LLP’s Washington, D.C. office, is co-chair of the firm’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Task Force, and a member of its Advertising & Marketing practice group. His practice focuses on counseling advertisers and marketers, including lead generators, with a focus on consumer financial products and services. Mr. Pompan regularly appears on their behalf before the FTC, CFPB, state Attorneys General, and state regulatory agencies. He is a frequent speaker and author on legal and regulatory issues of significance to providers of consumer financial products and services, advertisers and marketers, and nonprofit organizations.

    Aaron Rieke

    Aaron Rieke is a Director at Upturn, a team of technologists based in Washington, DC. Upturn works alongside social justice leaders to shape the impact of new technologies on people’s lives. Recently, Mr. Rieke has co-authored reports on lead generation and new types of credit data. He works closely with major civil rights and consumer groups. Before joining Upturn, Mr. Rieke served as an attorney with the FTC, where he focused on privacy and data security, and as a Ron Plesser Fellow with the Center for Democracy & Technology. Aaron earned his JD at Berkeley Law.

    Amy Sheridan

    Amy Sheridan is the CEO of Blue Phoenix Media, a performance based affiliate network and almost 100 lead based websites in popular verticals such as Education, Home Improvement and Insurance. Blue Phoenix Media has been honored multiple times with the Inc 500/5000 list for fastest growing companies including in 2010, the first year they were eligible. Previously, Ms. Sheridan worked at Omnicom as the sole person focused on the emerging Performance Marketing segment. During that time, she transacted the first performance deal of any Omnicom company introducing her client British Airways to a relatively unknown performance company, Google. Ms. Sheridan has been quoted in business and trade publications, including a case study in New York Times Best Selling Book “Get Rich Click.” She has spoken at a variety of advertising and marketing conferences such as LeadsCon, OMMA, Affiliate Summit, Search Marketing Expo, Online Marketing Summit and Search Engine Strategies.

    Kim Taylor

    Kim Taylor is the CEO and Founder of Ranku, a Seattle-based education company that builds recruitment technology for state systems with online degrees. Ms. Taylor oversees product design, software engineering and strategy. Prior to starting her career at Ranku she worked on strategy with hundreds of universities with online degrees as a Director at a Silicon Valley startup. Ms. Taylor graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in journalism. She’s a guest lecturer in the entrepreneurship program at UC-Berkeley, a contributor to CNBC and named to Business Insider’s Silicon Alley 100.

    Liad Wagman

    Liad Wagman is the Faculty Chair and Associate Professor of Economics at Illinois Institute of Technology, Stuart School of Business. Wagman works on topics in the areas of Information Economics, Industrial Organization, and Entrepreneurial Finance, studying issues of information utilization and trade, innovation, e-commerce, and privacy. Mr. Wagman is a recipient of the Sigma Xi University Research Award, the Bauer Family Excellence in Teaching Award, the Yahoo! Labs Research and Engagement Award, and has been selected into Poets & Quants 2015 Top 40 Business School Faculty Under 40. He was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, a research fellow at the Duke University Computer Science Department, a research fellow at the Duke University Social Sciences Research Institute, a recipient of the Program for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences Fellowship, a recipient of the Educational and Research Initiative Award, and a recipient of the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence Outstanding Paper Award.

    R. Michael Waller

    R. Michael Waller is an attorney in the FTC’s Division of Enforcement. Before joining the FTC, he worked for the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Inc., providing legal representation to the indigent in Atlanta.

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