The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced it will explore the growing use of online lead generation in various industries, including consumer lending, mortgages, and education, in a workshop on October 30, 2015.‎

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.

Topics include:

  • 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. Relevant information may be provided to leadgen@ftc.gov by August 25, 2015. The deadline for submission of public comments about the workshop is December 20, 2015.

The FTC is not the only federal enforcement agency focused on lead generation activity by consumer financial services providers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) also has been focused on advertising and marketing of student loans, mortgages, and consumer loans, including by lead generators. The FTC, CFPB, state attorneys general, and other government agencies are increasingly scrutinizing lead generation advertising and coordinating in unprecedented ways.