Lead Scrubbing

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Definition of Lead Scrubbing

The process of removing non-legitimate leads captured by a web site, with the result of lowering expected revenue from this monetization technique.

Lead Scrubbing in Depth

Sites that monetize via lead generation typically have an automated process for collecting contact information (i.e., generating these leads). For example, visitors to a site may be prompted to fill out information in a widget similar to the one shown below:

When these leads are being sold to aggregators or third parties who intend to sell products or services to these individuals, the process of “scrubbing” the leads is often necessary to avoid charging for worthless information. For example, some visitors may enter names such as “John Doe” or a phone number as “123-456-7890” or an email address as “asd@fgh.com. The lead scrubbing process involves reviewing the list of leads generated and removing any worthless leads that are associated with bad information.

Avoiding High “Scrub Rates”

When the lead capture widget acts as a “wall” preventing visitors from accessing certain content, the percentage of scrubbed leads can be relatively high. This wall often prompts visitors to enter in bogus information in order to make the desired content visible.

When the lead capture comes in the form of a request for more information, there is little incentive for visitors to enter false contact information (there’s little point in requesting information using an email address that you’re unable to check or a phone number you’re unable to answer). For example, forms like this one should see lower instances of bogus information:

There are also strategies that can be employed to drive visitors to submit real contact information. For example:

  • Reject any phone number starting with “555”
  • Reject any email address not containing @ or a dot
  • Reject non-valid ZIP codes
  • Reject phone numbers or email addresses already captured
  • Email verification (i.e., require visitors to click a link in their email address to confirm validity)

Unqualified Lead Scrubbing

Though this page has focused on removal of leads containing bad information, lead scrubbing can be broken down into two types:

  1. Removing Nonsense / Fraudulent Leads. As discussed above, it is often necessary to remove any bogus leads.
  2. Removing Unqualified Leads. A more sophisticated process involves removing any leads deemed to be low quality, and thus unlikely to lead to a sale. For example, some aggregators may not accept leads from certain geographic areas or below a certain credit score.

This second type of lead scrubbing will typically be more dependent on the exact niche in which the site operates and the data points that are collected in the lead generation process. For example, lead capture widgets that collect multiple pieces of demographic information provide additional opportunities for lead aggregators or buyers to filter out certain leads.

Publisher Action

For most sites that monetize via lead generation, lead scrubbing is going to be a frustrating part of the business that reduces your overall revenue. Unless you’re a major player with the ability to negotiate custom deals and contracts, you’ll generally be subject to the decisions of lead aggregators or other buyers when it comes to scrubbing.

This is one of the reasons why it pay to develop relationships with multiple buyers and not rely too heavily on a single company to monetize your leads.

See Also

Related terms include: Cost Per Lead (CPL), Lead Aggregator.