Today, the FCC approved a new ruling that has “closed the lead generator loophole” by mandating calls made using regulated technology can only be made to consumers by specific brands (FCC refers to them as “sellers”) to whom they have given their prior express written consent.  Also known as one-to-one consent. 

The ruling

  • Extends DNC protections to text messages.
  • Redefines prior express written consent to mean an agreement that “authorizes no more than one identified seller” to contact a consumer.
  • Requires that calls must be “logically and topically associated with the interaction that prompted the consent”.
  • Brands (lead buyers) must maintain documentation of consent to call and cannot rely on documentation held by the sellers.

Further details of the ruling on express written consent and logical and topical relationship (per the November 22, 2023, FCC Fact Sheet):

“We now make it unequivocally clear that texters and callers must obtain a consumer’s prior express written consent from a single seller at a time on the comparison shopping websites that often are the source of lead generation, thus closing the lead generator loophole.

Requiring one-to-one consent will end the current practice of consumers receiving robocalls and robotexts from tens, or hundreds, of sellers – numbers that most reasonable consumers would not expect to receive.” *

The Commission also requires a logical and topical relationship with the website:

“[R]obotexts and robocalls that result from consumer consent obtained on comparison shopping websites must be logically and topically related to that website. Thus, for example, a consumer giving consent on a car loan comparison shopping website does not consent to get robotexts or robocalls about loan consolidation.” **

The bottom line

  • Publishers (specifically comparison shopping sites and registration path sites) can no longer use large lists of partners and then sell a lead into a network.
  • Lead buyers will need to obtain direct consent from the consumer on the publisher’s website and retain documentation of that consent.

With this ruling, many of the long-accepted methods of lead generation will have to be completely reworked. This is a massive industry change. Comparison sites will no longer be able to distribute leads to whomever they want.  They will have to adopt models that give consumers a choice over who gets their data. We believe the Ping Post method of lead distribution will be replaced by the Ping Pick Post model.

In terms of how the new lead generation world might look, the FCC offers the following suggestions:

“Websites, including comparison shopping websites, can use a variety of means for collecting one-to-one consent for multiple sellers to comply with our rule. For instance, the website may offer a consumer a checkbox list that allows the consumer to specifically choose each individual seller that they wish to hear from.

Alternatively, the comparison shopping website may offer the consumer a clickthrough link to a specific business so that the business itself may gather express written consent from the consumer directly.

We invite you to explore our Ping-Pick-Post proposed model that, through conversations with our customers and partners, is resonating as a potential alternative to Ping-Post. Furthermore, we would love to hear from you about this new potential way of ensuring compliance with the ruling. Please let us know!

Learn more about the ruling

To delve even deeper into these changes and gain insights from industry experts, including our CEO Steve Rafferty, we encourage you to join the live webinar “How Lead Generation Will Work in a Post-FCC Ruling World,” tomorrow at 4:00 PM ET. This webinar, presented by LeadGenBulletin, is a must-attend for anyone in the ecosystem who could be affected by the FCC’s latest ruling. Register now to reserve your spot.

Stay up-to-date on all the latest developments as this new rule takes effect by subscribing to ActiveProspect’s Newsletter and InsideCBM.

Read the entire ruling

https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-399082A1.pdf

We look forward to navigating this new era of lead generation with you.

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* This quote is taken directly from the November, 22, 2023, FCC FACT SHEET: Combatting Illegal Text Messages Second Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in CG Docket Nos. 02-278 and 21-402, and Waiver Order in CG Docket No. 17-59

** This quote is taken directly from the November, 22, 2023, FCC FACT SHEET: Combatting Illegal Text Messages Second Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in CG Docket Nos. 02-278 and 21-402, and Waiver Order in CG Docket No. 17-59