Join thousands of weekly readers and receive practical marketing advice for FREE.
MarketingSherpa's Case Studies, New Research Data, How-tos, Interviews and Articles

Enter your email below to join thousands of marketers and get FREE weekly newsletters with practical Case Studies, research and training, as well as MarketingSherpa updates and promotions.


Please refer to our Privacy Policy and About Us page for contact details.

No thanks, take me to MarketingSherpa

First Name:
Last Name:
Jul 19, 2004
Blog Post

It's 2004. Do you know where your leads came from?

SUMMARY: No summary available.

Everybody knows spammers are bad, and the only people who are worse than spammers are the uneducated goobers who help make the spam problem worse, and you would NEVER go into business with a spammer, right?

(The correct answer here is "Right!" in case you're unsure.)

Well, not so fast. Where are you getting your business leads from? We're not even talking about rogue affiliates but lead-generation services whose collection practices might not stand up even in the weak glare of CAN-SPAM.

<a href=",1,7360459.story">A story in Sunday's Chicago Tribune </a>outlined the business practices of Ryan Pitylak, 22, of Austin, Texas, who apparently is responsible for a big chunk of those emails offering to refinance your mortgage, sell you health insurance or a burglar alarm or extend your car's warranty.

Instead of actually doing the deal, though, the emails from any of over 200 shell companies Pitylak and a partner set up directed clickers to a form that collected name, address, household income and other identifying data.

Pitylak and his partner then sold the information as leads for $3 to $7 each. Companies the Trib ID'd as buying the information include IndyMac Bank, ADT Security and MEGA Life and Health Insurance.

Although the Trib couldn't get Pitylak on the record to talk about his business, one of his clients had no problems discussing it.

"'I just buy them from the lead companies,' said Kathy Mobley, regional director for MEGA Life and Health, based in North Richland Hills, Texas. 'I don't know how they get them. And I don't care. As independent contractors, we can market our business however we want to by legal means.'"

Legal? Maybe. But the practice definitely creates a murky permission trail, since nowhere in the Trib story does it say that the emails notify the respondents about the companies that will be getting their personal information.
See Also:

Post a Comment

Note: Comments are lightly moderated. We post all comments without editing as long as they
(a) relate to the topic at hand,
(b) do not contain offensive content, and
(c) are not overt sales pitches for your company's own products/services.

To help us prevent spam, please type the numbers
(including dashes) you see in the image below.*

Invalid entry - please re-enter

*Please Note: Your comment will not appear immediately --
article comments are approved by a moderator.

Improve Your Marketing

Join our thousands of weekly Case Study readers.

Enter your email below to receive MarketingSherpa news, updates, and promotions:

Note: Already a subscriber? Want to add a subscription?
Click Here to Manage Subscriptions

Best of the Week:
Marketing case studies and research

Chart Of The Week

B2B Marketing

Consumer Marketing

Email marketing

Inbound Marketing

SherpaStore Alerts


We value your privacy and will not rent or sell your email address. Visit our About Us page for contact details.