THIRD DAY OF CZARMAS!: The Czar Brings Hope for an Entire Industry…

So it is the third day of Czarmas, and today the Czar brings word of R.E.A.C.H. lead generation standards, which were circulated earlier this week to a select few.

On the third day of Czarmas the Czar gave to me–REACH standards;

A holiday podcast episode

And a totally free TCPA Annual review.

Singing is fun in the morning.

If you want a copy of the draft standards to review I can send them along, but here are the high points:

  1. The standards impose a duty upon publishers to make affirmative warranties TO CONSUMERS regarding how many entities may contact them as a result of a webform submission—meaning that a lead seller cannot just sell a lead into the market and forget about it. Rather selling practices must align to consumer expectations. This one is really world changing.
  2. Webform content and format requirements are proposed.
  3. With rare exceptions, sweepstakes sites and multi-vertical leads are forbidden.
  4. Lead buyers agree to stop buying non-conforming leads within 180 days of membership.
  5. There is a public shaming provision for companies that join R.E.A.C.H. and then get kicked out for failing to comply with its standards.

Here is the template form disclosure, required to be directly above the button:

If this feels world-changing–it absolutely is.

Obviously these standards are in excess of what the law currently requires but they are being put in place to assure that consumers are no longer tricked or mislead into providing consent an to assure that consumers know EXCATLY how many callers will reach out to them and are ASSURED they will not be contacted about nonsense they did not sign up for.

And why would lead sellers sign up for this? Because the lead buyers are going to require it.

And why would lead buyers require it? Because the whole industry is going down if they don’t, and the regulators are going to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Let me say it plainly: everyone is on to the lead gen industry at this point. The 25% fraud rate and instances of consumers “consenting” to receive calls from 5,000 “marketing partners” chickens have come home to roost. The FCC understands that this industry is the last bastion of domestic robocall hijinks and they are looking to drop the hammer–once and for all.

R.E.A.C.H. gives everyone a ray of hope. And more–a promise of a brighter future. Because I don’t just come to clean up the industry–I come to assure it has a set at every table as a DESIRED partner of regulators and telco carriers that provide a VALUABLE service to consumers and businesses alike.

To that end, here are the bullet point objectives and big-picture strategies of the organization:

  • Mission 1—Stopping Unwanted Calls (Target is 500,000,000 to 1 billion per month)
    • Set firm standards for lead generators to prevent consumer confusion
    • Require fraud detection to stamp out fake leads
    • Best practices to limit overly-aggressive outreach by direct to consumer marketers
  • Mission 2—Changing the Perception of the Industry
    • Proactive media outreach responding to every single story about “robocalls” or “telemarketing” in the country;
    • Proactive FCC and regulator engagement to establish rapport and a seat at the table for good actors;
    • Establish consumer trust with the REACH brand using direct advertising and prominent consumer-facing branding by member organizations
  • Mission 3—Obtaining Positive Rulings From FCC and Favorable Treatment From Carriers
    • Leverage goodwill created from success on Mission 1 and 2 to establish credibility and favorable treatment for members;
    • Seek to obtain TCPA safeharbor for calls when REACH standard is met;
    • Seek to have REACH member traffic “green lighted” by carriers and aggregators;
  • Mission 4—Publicly Shame (Expel) Bad Actors
    • Establish pipeline with regulators and prosecutorial agencies, as well as the ITG and other stakeholders to share information about potential bad actors in the lead generation space;
    • Likewise create concerted efforts to penalize litigators who are abusing the TCPA’s private right of action

In short:

R.E.A.C.H. is the dawn of a new—but sustainable and healthy—lead generation and direct-to-consumer marketing world.  A bridge between industry and consumers, industry and regulators, industry and the media, and industry and the carriers.

Hats off to all the BRAVE lead sellers and lead buyers–and supporting vendor partners–who are signed up to make this happen. Really are pioneers. Forging a new future is tough.

Will be discussing this a BUNCH more next week at LGW. Hope to see you all there.


1 Comment

  1. Aw, c’mon, Troutman, this R.E.A.C.H. is nothing but smoke and mirrors. All you are trying to do is create a bogus “good actor” award for those that pay the dues to R.E.A.C.H. (And, I suspect, R.E.A.C.H. members will get referred to your law firm.) Not much different than how many telemarketing scammers will flaunt membership in the Better Business Bureau as some sort of certification to their honesty.

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