Reading the Mark Bennett’s monumental Blawg Review #199, I sat in awe of the Texas Tornado. No, not just for its thoroughness and depth, which is what I’ve come to expect from Defending People, the best criminal law blawg anywhere. Bennett took his tome a step farther, using it for good as well:
Speaking of outsourced legal ethics, one thing that I love is to mess with internet legal marketers. Knowing this, some kind soul submitted for my Blawg Review consideration this crassly self-aggrandizing post on a crass advertising blog (I have edited away any possible SEO value): Mchigan Trock Acsident Atturney is the Authority for Trock Acsident Victims | Michgan Auto Law Blog. . . Oh, and by the way Grant Griffith wants to teach you to blog for profit for profit (that is not a typo); he has manufactured a scarcity of 250 “members.” I wish he had set the number considerably lower, like zero — I don’t believe the world needs another 250 Michgan Trock Acsident-type atturneys who are “blogging for profit”.
There aren’t many who have the balls to use their BR for good instead of evil. But soon after reading this, the issue ripened with Carolyn Elefant’s post about Blawging Lawyers. Naturally, Bennett got to it ahead of me (because that’s what the best does), and went to town. When Carolyn asks why both substantive blogging and marketing blogging can’t peacefully co-exist, Bennett analogizes it to a book store.
You’re going to the law bookstore looking for some interesting reads. You browse the spines of the books, pick one, and pull it down off the shelf. It’s three hundred pages; every page ends with a call to action — “if you’ve been injured, call me.” Skimming the text, you notice that the words “truck accident,” “lawyer,” “attorney,” and a few others are mentioned over and over and over again. You put that book back and try another. It’s got more of the same, except instead of “truck accident” it has repeated references to “DUI.” You’d be interested in learning about both topics, but the writing with all those repeated phrases is hackneyed, and you don’t care to be sold. That one goes back on the shelf.
The next book you choose has interesting information without the marketing; you put it in your basket and continue. After about fifteen minutes you realize that 75% of the books in the store are thinly disguised advertising. The other books are what you’re looking for, but they’re hard to find, and it’s frustrating.
Will you ever return to that bookstore?
My normal M.O. is to grab someone else’s ball and run with it. This time, I’m too late. Bennett has said all that needs to be said. When the blawgosphere is filled to the rim with blatant self-promotional blawgs that make readers want to puke, it will die. No one wants to return to a bookstore than only sells advertisements.
Grant Griffiths and Michael Martine are in the business of selling “the promise of success” to lawyers who are apparently too stupid to figure out how to blog on their own. (Hint: write good stuff. That’s all there is. No charge.) The “limited to 250″ nonsense is a pathetic and obvious come-on, and anyone who falls for it deserves to pay Griffith and Martine for their services. Once the blawgosphere has suffocated under the weight Blawging Lawyers, the salesman will move on to the next marketable object, maybe Twitting for Profit. Regardless, it’s about getting money from lawyers foolish enough to fall into the marketers claws. Lawyers are suckers for get rich quick schemes.
So why can’t we all get along? Because the marketers don’t care about the blawgosphere. They care about the quick buck and scheme. They will turn the least competent lawyer into the warmest, most sincere, most qualified lawyer in all of Dubuque to the detriment of society. And they will churn SEO to clog the blawgosphere with enough garbage to choke it to death. And when the blawgosphere dies, the good go down with the rest of it.
No, I don’t think the blawgosphere is big enough for all of us. I think the marketers, given half a chance, will suck it dry, then watch it die. And I thank Mark Bennett, the Texas Tornado, for joining me in trying to do something about it.