Web Lead Generators Give Birth to OLGA

Four companies in the online lead generation and co-registration space formed a club called the Online Lead Generation Association Inc. to give voice to an interactive industry segment that this year may account for an estimated $750 million in advertiser spending.

New York-based OLGA (www.olgassociation.org) touts best practices and standards among Web site publishers, marketers and lead generation providers. Though a growing channel for developing customer lists and sales, lead generation practices vary by service provider and advertiser.

“What we decided was that we wanted to create an association that is solely focused on this area,” said Dan Felter, CEO of Opt-Intelligence Inc., New York, and chairman of OLGA. “We want to be flexible, we want to work quickly and we're looking forward to working with other [trade] organizations.”

Founding members include Felter; Stephen Pretorius, president of Acceleration Marketing; Chris Redlitz, president of Feedster; and Kitt Collier Odukoya, director of online marketing at EarthLink. The association is a nonprofit.

Felter said 25 other firms have shown interest in joining OLGA. This would demonstrate that organizations serving interactive marketing aren't giving enough recognition to online lead generation.

“It's becoming ever more popular for Web site partners to generate ancillary revenue and, at the same time, from an advertiser perspective, it's becoming a very attractive medium to generate a highly targeted base of users who are interested in specific products,” Felter said.

Online lead generation's working is simple. Once users register and opt in on a site, they can be served opted-in ads at any point onward. The ads are served based on criteria decided by the advertiser and the individual profile of the consumers registering on the site. Also, consumers may opt in specifically to let their information be shared with one or more marketers. These third parties then can send them information directly.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau claimed revenue from online lead generation and referrals grew to account for 6 percent, or $347 million, of all Internet ad spending in the first half of this year. By contrast, spending in this discipline for the year-ago period was $114 million, or 2 percent.

Buoyed by this growth, online lead generators realize the need for standards if the discipline is to gain an even larger chunk of interactive marketing budgets.

“Web site partners can be attracted by the revenue stream and not keep the site as user-friendly,” Felter said. “The association is interested in a user-friendly experience.”

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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