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Options for charging for leads – fixed or per lead basis

Since the soft launch of in Oct 2007, we have been delivering value to our users and customers. The value delivered right now can be categorised into “exposure” leading to “prospects contacting you”. We are now entering a phase where our customers will have the opportunity to access “leads”, delivering further value.

We now need to figure out the best way to commercialise the new value addition, “leads”. The two options available are:

1. Charge per lead
2. Charge a fixed fee

I am a great believer of simplicity and keeping all things as simple as possible. Charging a fixed fee is easy. You set up a particular subscription and demonstrate value whereby targeted customers subscribe to the additional new service.

Charging per lead becomes harder to manage. Software need to be able to calculate the number of leads after those leads which are considered to be “noise” (e.g. employee of edocr) are removed, use a set fixed or variable price per lead and invoice or charge paypal the due amount. If variable rate is used, then the quality of leads need to be considered. The customer may also object to the quality of the leads resulting in disputes. The whole issue of providing added value becomes complex to manage from’ point of view.

I assume you are familiar with the term “catch 22”. There has been numerous occasions where our customers have asked to know the details of who viewed or downloaded their documents. Whilst this information has always been available to edocr employees, the current build will provide various tool kits for our customers to extract this data with consents where needed. I can almost smell the next catch 22, once customers have the leads, they will no doubt be seeking to understand the quality of the leads we provide.

At this stage, we can only provide details of who looked at a document or a company page (with consent). We cannot judge the quality of these leads and it should not be our role to do so. However, I am convinced that third parties might be able to play a role in here by taking our leads and dissecting them on behalf of our customers.

With that thought, our hunt for those third parties have just commenced. A clue might be in here!

All thoughts on this subject is very much appreciated.