As if LendingTree needed more problems…

LendingTree, in  the midst of a major revenue tailspin, has another problem to deal with; one that compromise the brand.

According to the Charlotte Observer, LendingTree alerted customers of a breach in their consumer profile security. Worse, it appears that this breach was ongoing for 1.5 years. According to the same report, “More than 160 data breaches were reported during the first quarter of 2008.”

How does this happen? It’s rather incredulous that a company with such a large headcount and arguably leading mortgage lead generation firm could let this continue for the duration that it did.

Even Tier 2 lead generation firms guard their data more feverishly. The lead generation space is usually inhabited by more questionable marketers than some other industries, however with the continued news out of Valueclick and sensitives over behavorial targeting and customer acquisition strategies this is really poor timing…and certainly sure to at least impact near term form conversion in a negative way.

Looks like Diller split the company apart just in the nick of time.

If I’m a unique supply-side firm, like Zillow or Bankrate even, I’m sending an email to my users right now stating how I protect their data. That’s sure to win points and increase brand equity.

More commentary:

Lead MarketWatch

Lead Critic…who had the story on Monday


2 comments so far

  1. Bill Rice on

    I think Bankrate already did: Not the release time and date. I don’t think this was a coincident. I think they heard something on the “whisper wire” and took the opportunity to amplify the news by releasing this before the breach was public.

    What do you think the effects will be?

  2. saveproduction on

    Thanks for responding to the Quinstreet post Bill. The feedback is well appreciated.

    In terms of “buying” or “sending on the news” BankRate and Zillow are largely supported by CPM-based advertising.

    By picking up on this story quickly, these sites can:

    – drive traffic to their site on the news for more page fires
    – appear to serve the customer by merely providing the news
    – gain brand equity by reinforcing their trusted nature.

    Further by issuing a release, as BankRate did (smart), it allows BankRate to drive traffic through SEO links that will come up today on the story (through Google Reader, etc). Nice move, BankRate.

    Thanks for the comment Bill.

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