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.