All right, the wait is over.
I am officially seeking board members for Responsible Enterprises Against Consumer Harassment (R.E.A.C.H.), a California non-profit (tax exemption pending) dedicated to stopping unwanted robocalls—and in turn, increasing deliverability rates—by cutting down on fraudulent and misleading practices in the lead generation industry as well as by setting best practices for direct-to-consumer marketers.
You all understand the issues here.
Without a trade organization setting standards that the entire industry abides by there will continuously be a race to the bottom. “So and so is doing such and such” will continue to be the refrain. And companies will continue to engage in practices that are short sighted and lead to an overall deterioration of market conditions for all.
This deterioration is obvious to anyone with eyes. Regulators are clamping down like never before. The TCPA class actions continue to grow with extremely dangerous recent rulings highlighting the risk to lead buyers and sellers alike. Plus, the carriers are turning off the spigots—making it harder and harder for traffic to get through—while a distrusting public now refuses to answer their phones.
What is the future of direct to consumer marketing and the lead generation industry if this trend continues?
Yet, direct to consumer marketing is a critical component of the American economy. These companies provide TREMENDOUSLY valuable services—particularly to vulnerable members of our communities who are unable or unwilling to conduct business in person. These companies serve an absolutely critical role in connecting consumers with the products and services they are looking for. Quickly, easily, and at zero cost to the consumer.
But this story is not being told.
Direct-to-consumer marketers need a powerful industry organization designed to ADVOCATE on their behalf. But before we have a leg to stand on we need to show regulators and the public at large that we are a PARTNER in proactively working to prevent unwanted robocalls. That means industry needs to take a hard look in the mirror and make REAL CHANGES to assure that the number of unwanted robocalls in this nation drops.
Last month there were 4.6BB robocalls in this nation with 1.4BB of those calls attributable to telemarketing.
Simultaneously leading statistics tell us that 25-45% of all leads are fraud. Plus a huge number of calls are made based on leads obtained through dark patterns and other less-than-transparent processes that dupe consumers into providing consent to calls hey never actually wanted.
Given the prevalence of these issues I estimate about a BILLION unwanted marketing robocalls attributable to questionable lead generation practices are made every single month. I intend to stop them.
You know the Czar as a guy who gets things done and when I say I intend to stop a billion calls a month that is not hyperbole or wishful thinking. That is a mark I intend for the industry to hit. And R.E.A.C.H. is the vehicle to get it done.
A TON of you have asked to be part of R.E.A.C.H., but make no mistake that the proposed standards and practices will be deliberate, far reaching, and—for many—painful. This will, indeed, be strong medicine. Because the patient is very ill.
Membership in R.E.A.C.H. will send a strong message to consumers, regulators and Plaintiff’s lawyers—many of whom will sit on a R.E.A.C.H. advisory board for consumer advocates—that the member company takes consumer privacy seriously and is committed to stopping unwanted calls.
Of course, those who choose not to join R.E.A.C.H. will be sending a different message.
So here is what R.E.A.C.H. MEMBERSHIP entails:
- A commitment to abide by lead generation standards and best practices set by the board;
- An annual fee to be set by the board but presently set at $1,500 for Dec. 1, 2022- Nov. 30, 2023;
- Membership is PUBLIC—no hiding—and that is by design. Consumers and regulators should know what industry participants THEY CAN TRUST to take privacy and a commitment to stopping robocalls seriously (and, by extension, those they, perhaps, cannot);
- A special R.E.A.C.H. seal will be provided to all lead buyer R.E.A.C.H. members (with a different seal provided to board members) that MUST be displayed on a consumer-facing portal;
- A special R.E.A.C.H. seal will be provided to all lead seller R.E.A.C.H. members AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN CERTIFIED to meet or exceed R.E.A.C.H. standards—a fee will be charged for this service although the group will remain a non-profit— (with a different seal provided to board members) that MUST be displayed on a consumer-facing portal;
- All members must be either lead buyers or lead sellers or direct to consumer marketers that run owned and operated sites;
- All members will receive access to super cool “members only” educational materials and perks that will be rolled out throughout the year;
- It is contemplated that R.E.A.C.H. will have its own trade show at some point either in 2023 and 2024. R.E.A.C.H. members will receive either free, or exclusive, access to the event (still working through this);
- Other cool and fun perks as I dream them up (and I will).
Here is what R.E.A.C.H. BOARD membership requires:
- Affiliation with an enterprise that is a R.E.A.C.H. member;
- A firm and demonstrated commitment to cleaning up the lead generation industry and stopping unwanted robocalls;
- A firm commitment to advancing the R.E.A.C.H. brand and advocating for industry participation;
- A general agreement that consumers need to be transparently advised what they should expect (including how many companies may call them and for how long) when they agree to receive contact via a webform submission, that clear standards in terms of font size, color, and location for disclosures should be set, that fraud should have ZERO part in lead generation, that prize and sweepstakes websites cannot be used to generate leads outside of narrow parameters, that multi-vertical forms cannot be used outside of narrow parameters where the consumer is fully aware of the scope of consent being provided, that direct to consumer marketers should engage in consumer-friendly contact cadences and cease calling after determined periods of times, that proactive measures to detect wrong and reassigned numbers should be utilized, etc.;
- To be clear the standards to be set will go beyond what the law currently requires and will align practices with consumer preferences so as to EMPOWER consumers to receive ONLY the information they want and seek.
I am recruiting a total of 30 board members. 15 will be representatives of lead buyers/brands/marketers. 15 will be representatives of lead sellers and vendors.
We are also looking to fill a few positions. Here is our current slate:
- President—The Czar
- Vice President—Angela Cherill TESICO, LLC
- Treasurer—Ryan Ramsey, Amerilife
- Chair, Carrier Relations Committee— Brien Jones-Lantzy, US Messaging Compliance Manager, Sinch
- Chair, Media Relations Committee—Open
- Chair, Government/Regulatory Relations Committee—Open.
To apply to be a R.E.A.C.H. MEMBER email me with details regarding your company (full name of company, address, years in business, whether you’re a lead generator or lead seller and for what verticals.) I will then provide more information regarding finalizing membership and paying dues, etc.
To apply to be a R.E.A.C.H. BOARD member please provide the following information:
- Name and company affiliation and commitment that company will be a R.E.A.C.H. member;
- Description of company activities;
- Description of your role at the company;
- A brief, but meaningful/impactful, discussion of your demonstrated commitment to furthering the R.E.A.C.H. mission;
- If your company is a lead buyer, an approximation of the number of leads purchased annually and a list of verticals;
- If your company is a lead seller, an approximation of the number of leads sold annually and a list of verticals;
- If your company is a direct to consumer marker or call center, an approximation of the number of outbound calls made daily or annually (either is fine.)
I am looking to fill all Board seats and complete our slate of officers by December 1, 2022. I expect the Board will vote to approve practices and standards within 60 days. So if you want a voice in the process THIS IS YOUR ONE AND ONLY OPPORTUNITY.
Make no mistake folks, this is your chance to help change the world. Don’t miss it.
I am here to discuss.
Great news, Eric! Sounds like you’re really hitting the ground running! And this clearly has the potential to effect massive change for the better to all involved; especially us poor consumers who are literally fed up with illegal robocalls & spam texts!
Would love to hear more details about the “… R.E.A.C.H. advisory board for consumer advocates…” when you get a chance. Cheers!
Remember telewatch? I wish you luck because self-regulation has never seemed to work but in all fairness you should give it a try.
I’m the Czar. Succeeding where others fail is sort of my thing.
In fact doing the math quickly if 1B out of 1.4B are fraud/dark pattern/dubious that’s closer to 70%!!!!!! 😱