FTC Announces Workshop to Examine Online Lead Generation

For Your Information

The Federal Trade Commission will hold a workshop on October 30, 2015, to explore the growing use of online lead generation in various industries, including consumer lending and education.

Lead generators identify or cultivate consumer interest in a product or service, and sell the consumer “lead” information to third parties. For example, as consumers search the Internet for goods and services, they may express interest in specific topics, such as educational programs, mortgages, or small-dollar loans, and submit their personal information to the lead generator. The consumer leads sometimes contain sensitive personal and financial information that may travel through multiple online marketing entities before reaching the desired business.

The workshop, “Follow the Lead: An FTC Workshop About Online Lead Generation,” will gather a variety of stakeholders, including industry representatives, consumer advocates, and government regulators, to discuss consumer protection issues raised by the practices of the lead generation industry, such as:

  • How online lead generation works and its variations, depending on the industry,
  • What types of lead generation conduct may be unlawful under the FTC Act’s prohibition against unfair or deceptive practices,
  • Best practices for entities that generate and sell consumer leads, and
  • How consumers can avoid unlawful conduct in the online marketplace.

The FTC is seeking research, recommendations for discussion topics, and requests for panelists in advance of the workshop. Please email any relevant information to leadgen@ftc.gov by August 25, 2015. The deadline to submit public comments about the workshop is December 20, 2015. Comments can be submitted electronically.

The workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be at the Constitution Center, 400 7th St., SW. The FTC will publish a detailed agenda at a later date. Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests should be submitted to Fawn Bouchard at Fbouchard@ftc.gov or 202-326-2743. Requests should be made in advance and include a detailed description of the accommodations needed and contact information.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Frank Dorman
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2674

STAFF CONTACT:
Katherine Worthman
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-2929