Earlier this year the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released a set of best practices for online lead generation. As I’ve written about in the past (here, here and here), online lead generation is a smart strategy when it is executed well. But when you work with shady partners who are more interested in fulfilling invoices than in creating great subscriber experiences, your ROI and even your brand reputation can suffer.
So it shouldn’t surprise you that we at Return Path have been involved in the creation of these lead generation best practices. And we are proud of the contribution the IAB has made to the overall health of the lead generation industry. It reflects our view of the world: that online lead generation benefits everyone when the process is clear and transparent. Consumers should know what they are signing up for and what to expect after they sign up. And by “know” we aren’t talking about having language buried three links deep in 6-point type. For too long the online world has allowed technical disclosures that are confusing to the average consumer. The IAB document pulls away the fig leaf and calls that sort of disclosure the sham that we all know it to be.
The IAB best practices also call for transparency in the relationship between publishers and advertisers. Advertisers need to understand what they are buying, the sources of the data, how information is collected and used. Again, this is a stance that we at Return Path have advocated for a long time. We are thrilled to see it adopted as an industry standard.
I encourage you to check out the IAB’s document now and then challenge your team and your vendors to live up to the principles it lays out. And if you need some help, give us a call. We’ve been doing online lead generation the right way for some time now and we are happy to help others jump on the bandwagon.