On October 30, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") held a workshop entitled "Follow the Lead: An FTC Workshop on Lead Generation." Lead generation was defined as the creation of consumer interest in a product or service, and the distribution of that information to third parties. The workshop convened a variety of stakeholders, including industry representatives, consumer advocates, and government regulators. Panelists discussed the benefits and risks that accompany lead generation, and explained best practices and codes of conduct that can make lead generation more transparent.
The Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, Jessica Rich, began the workshop by emphasizing the economic value of lead generation. She contrasted lead generation's economic potential with its capacity for facilitating fraudulent activity. Ms. Rich asserted that the FTC's objective in this space is to ensure a fair and efficient marketplace for businesses and consumers.
Panelists conferred on how lead generation is used in the lending and education contexts, the intersection between lead generation and consumer protection, and the steps that both industry members and regulators can take to better protect and educate consumers. Assistant Attorney General for the State of Connecticut, Joseph J. Chambers, stated that attorney general offices need to develop a multi-pronged approach and technical expertise to address developments in the lead generation industry.
The acting Associate Director of the FTC's Division of Financial Practices, Malini Mithal, gave the closing remarks. She encouraged interested parties to submit comments on the lead generation industry to the FTC by December 20, 2015.