Domestic, Ethics, For-Profit, Friend, Fraud, or Fishy, Investors, Recruitment, Required, Students, University & College - Written by on Monday, September 19, 2011 15:00 - 0 Comments

Tales Of A For-Profit Lead Generator Turned Whistleblower

Peter E. Lee via Flickr under Creative Commons

The Chronicle of Higher Education had a good story earlier this month about a man named James Soloway, who worked for a lead generation company. He described some of the practices to the Chronicle and they explain it in the piece and in his attached email. It’s worth reading. It’s worth sharing. For-Profit colleges and their lead generation contractors have to stop this kind of behavior if their industry is to have any kind of respect and profits in the future.

(Online Search Ads Hijack Prospective Students, Former Employee Says – by Josh Keller- Sept. 7, 2011)

Last year, James Soloway called hundreds of prospective students per day on behalf of a company that placed advertisements on Google and Bing. The ads promised to help students contact the admissions offices of public colleges if they filled out an online form and included their phone number.

He told students that they would hear from their preferred public college, even though they almost never did. In the meantime, he said, they should consider attending a for-profit college—such as Kaplan University and Westwood College.

Most of the prospective students were confused. Some hung up. But sometimes the pitch worked. Some people, especially high-school students, believed he was an educational counselor and gave weight to his recommendations, he says.

The story shows new details of how lead-generation companies operate, or at least operated, by placing misleading search ads to lure students. Mr. Soloway worked for one of those companies called Vantage Media during 2010. Vantage contracted with a call center Mr. Soloway worked for called Inspyre Solutions. He says he was not aware, initially, that the lead generation firm was not connecting the students to public colleges. He quit his job and filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission this year about Vantage’s practices. These are the kinds of stories we want to hear at WiredAcademic. If you are a whistle-blower at a For-Profit university or a company that works with them, we would like to hear from you at

Link to Soloway’s note:

Link to Chronicle Story:


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