There has been a lot of progress on building out the system and there is continued customer engagement. Lead duplication continues to be a problem in for-profit education lead generation based on all information I have gathered from big and medium-sized lead sellers / publishers. Even a small criminal justice schools resource site is impacted by voids as deal terms for affiliates either assume a 10-15% scrub in pricing or some bigger players void out duplicates after reconciliation with their advertisers. In any case, we are ready to enter beta this month and will do so once we have a critical mass of testing parties aboard. In the meantime we do internal testing and continue to build out additional modules required for commercial launch.
Industry shows are great places to combine multiple prospect and customer meetings. Leadscon was great for this although I missed all breakout sessions except one. But, I wasn’t hitting the tables. I was meeting back-to-back with prospects and old friends in the industry. It was a 2-day marathon and I will be at Ad Tech SF, CCA in Vegas and Leadscon East to continue outreach efforts as we should be in beta shortly after Ad Tech SF. There is already enough interest to hit critical mass for beta with a commercial release very reachable thereafter.
There is clearly a movement to clean up problems in the industry. This will partially occur due to government re-regulation of the schools. Better are the efforts of new startups to solve problems. These startup efforts are led LeadClearing, which is seeking to provide better handling of problems with cross vendor duplicate leads for lead sellers. Other efforts like Jay Weintraub’s startup are seeking to create standards for good actors. Times they are a changing…but better that trusted industry insiders solve problems than the heavy hand of government.
Clear interest at Ad Tech as dupe problem grows and some general musings on the edu lead gen industryThursday, November 12th, 2009
The recipe for increased dupes continues to pester edu publishers. This problem is a function of increased competition for paid traffic, ultimately. A good proxy is Google’s growth. Last time they reported for Q3 2009, Google noted a 14% increase in paid clicks in Q3 2009 versus Q3 2008. More clicks means more competition. And for for-profit edu lead gen, the downturn meant growth, and so the pressure was even greater due to this (make hay while you can — especially when you financial backer is barking at your heels). Most major publishers have seen 15%+ growth in topline in this ~$750mm industry (just the 3rd party leads). Anyway, more competition, means more IPI (inquiries per inquirer — or plain old more ads matched to a lead). Since people (potential leads) tend to research across a couple weeks, they hit multiple publishers. Dupes are the inevitable outcome in 7-15% of overall cases. Since these leads are not voided usually until reconciliation, they become almost worthless. And that is the exact problem Leadclearing.com solves. And who doesn’t want to see half or more of that lost profit returned? Knowing industry multiples, it will create some nice enterprise value.
Anyway, at the recent Ad Tech NY, several prominent lead gen companies expressed strong interest in seeing the system launch early in 2010. So, that is the goal.
It is clear to me the edu lead gen market will undergo some consolidation over the next year. But there is the next wave of publishers one or two of which will crack into space left by the larger players’ moves. Personally, I have my eye on a few of them. It was a great benefit to see the industry from 2007-2009 as an Exec in Corp Development / Bus Development at All Star Directories. It allowed me to get to know the bigs and the up and coming players. I will now find a way to serve both of those groups and shift some profits back from the advertisers to the publishers.