Jack Gordon, CEO, heads up the WebRecon team. He is a pioneer in the use of data and analytics to inform decision-making, entering the field in an unusual way in the mid-1990s. Working in corporate marketing at a Midwestern movie theatre chain, Jack was charged with figuring out the emerging “Internet” and how it could benefit the company.
He settled on two big ideas: developing a company website and developing weekly email newsletters that showcased each theatre’s unique personality and movie schedule. Developing the website, while challenging in those days to a non-programmer, was the easier of the two tasks. The newsletter project involved exploring the intersection of data with marketing, and Jack built the newsletters into a powerful marketing tool that provided a distinct advantage to the company’s locations in each of their markets.
In 2000, Jack decided to leave his job and start a new company that would bring the weekly newsletter concept to movie theatres across the country (and eventually, the world). This represented a new level of data analysis and integration. The company developed proprietary software to manage the process of aggregating large amounts of movie data and transforming it automatically into hundreds of custom newsletters with hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
It wasn’t long before larger marketing companies took notice of Jack’s innovations, and the company was acquired in late 2003. Looking for a new challenge, Jack acquired a small, struggling Michigan collection agency. It proved to be the most difficult thing he had ever done, but the company was stabilized and operating normally until 2008.
Then the first FDCPA lawsuit against his company was filed.
After a short review with counsel, the suit was determined to be without merit. The company mounted a vigorous defense, yet it still cost more than $18,000. The plaintiff’s attorney withdrew the case upon the company’s motion for summary judgment, but shortly thereafter another FDCPA case was filed. It turned out to be work of the same attorney, and the suit was equally without merit. The company managed to get the second suit withdrawn in less time than the first one, but on that same day, the company found itself facing its third FDCPA lawsuit.
Jack was learning the meaning of “frequent filer” firsthand. The lawsuits were taking place in an environment of dramatic growth in consumer litigation nationwide, and dealing with them was a huge distraction. Jack realized that dealing with legal challenges was not compatible with growing his agency, and Jack decided to exit the business at the end of 2008.
The end of 2008 was a time of economic upheaval, and after much thought, Jack decided to merge his experience in developing data-driven applications with his hard-won education in the collection industry. He created WebRecon, a service that protects creditors, collection agencies and call centers from lawsuit-happy consumers. Statistics show that 1/3 of all lawsuits under FDCPA and the like are brought by parties that have previously filed suit. By identifying those consumers in real time, WebRecon clients can avoid contacting them, decreasing their legal and financial risks dramatically.
Since launching in 2009, WebRecon has invested millions in acquiring litigation data and developing a suite of “ridiculously useful tools” to mine that data and identify the multitude of high risks lurking therein. The company has come to dominate the world of “litigious consumer scrub,” a weird little corner of the collection industry where the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is proven over and over again. The era of lawsuit mills and big damages is on the rise, and firms that ignore the power of predictive analytics are at serious risk.
WebRecon’s growing number of services can be obtained through a variety of channels. Many of the financial sector’s highest profile companies have joined with WebRecon to resell the proprietary litigious consumer scrub under their own banners.
Jack grew up in the Chicago area but now lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with his wife, two teenage kids and Husky-Chow-American Eskimo dog. He has a B.S. in Marketing from Grand Valley State University and enjoys traveling to warmer climates and scuba diving.
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