Several vendors offer computer programs designed to assist businesses in lead generation. Ethics are an important consideration in the choice and implementation of such programs. The use of spyware, Trojans or other intrusive means of gathering information without the knowledge or consent of targeted individuals or entities is frowned upon. Mass unsolicited e-mail advertising (or spam) is also considered unethical by many, and it can result in electronic blacklisting.
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Search engines also provide lead generation options. Any business with a website can appear on a search engine listing for related searches, and visitors can then click a link and be taken to that company's website. However, some search engines also offer a pay-per-click lead generation option. The search engine posts a link to the company's website at the top of the search results form, making it much more likely that prospective customers will choose to visit that website. However, when a visitor does click the link the search engine charges that company a small fee, as opposed to the free 'general' listings.
Sales leads are generated on the basis of demographic criteria such as FICO score (United States), income, age, household income, psychographic, etc. These leads are resold to multiple advertisers. Sales leads are typically followed up through phone calls by the sales force. Sales leads are commonly found in the mortgage, insurance and finance industries.
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