PSA: Numbers Don’t Lie

There’s no doubt in my mind that somebody, maybe a whole lot of somebodies, are going to burn me bad for doing what I’m about to do, but there’s a point to be made here and I can’t figure out a better way to make it then to pull down my drawers and show what I’ve got.  Whoever is going to scream that I’m bragging, bite me. If anything, this is proof of meaninglessness, even if its makes you feel underappreciated.

I’ve been pretty hard lately on legal marketers and SEO types who are hard-selling ways to crank up your numbers, drawing the unquantifiable inference that numbers of readers somehow translates into huge wealth and prestige as a lawyer.  I say it just ain’t so.  I’m told by the cheerleaders that I’m wrong, an idiot, a liar.  I’m called a “notorious asshole” by the marketers, who just can’t stand the fact that I keep saying bad things about them and their business. 

So here goes.  Yesterday was a fairly normal day around SJ, with three posts.  Here’s the top secret inside baseball stats from my team of crack of highly-paid accountants in the backroom.

May 10, 2011 – May 11, 2011

NOTE: When collecting site statistics, we do not include visits to your site from web crawling bots.

Showing:    1 through 10  of  1688   


Top Entry Traffic

Entry# HitsDirectReferring SitesSearch Engines
Would An Atheist Moan, “Oh God”?9383 9357 26 0
Prosecutor + Misconduct = ?8044 8005 39 0
A Fabulous Defense7372 7356 15 1
Skyping It In6170 6154 16 0
The Savvy Consumer6012 5993 19 0
Avvo Shows Its Integrity2623 2614 8 1
What Did You Do With My Judge?2200 2009 191 0
Take The Train1753 1748 5 0
A Decent Lawyer Violates Turk’s First Rule1230 1228 2 0
Even Scalia Has Contractor Issues1072 1056 15 1

To put this into a bit of context, the top ten posts from yesterday had a grand total of 46,059 hits.  There were hits on another 1678 posts of mine yesterday.  How many doesn’t really matter.  It’s a lot of hits any way you slice it.

So did I make a killing yesterday, my phone ringing off the hook from callers overwhelmed by my social media importance?

Check this out :

Can’t make this stuff up: Emergency email: Need free crim lawyer immediately. What are your qualifications?

Jealous yet?  I also got a couple of calls about whether I do shoplifting cases in Peoria and if I charge when people are innocent.  That’s right, this whole blogging thing means I’m just the cat’s meow.

Love to write?  Have stuff to say?  Then blawging is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Do it.

Have a very unusual niche practice that people need to find but can’t otherwise?  Then blawging may work for you.  Work in a small market where the locals can’t find a lawyer?  Then blawging may be just the ticket.

For most, however, it won’t pay the monthly freight, no less bring you the success in your practice that’s being constantly touted.  Doubt me?  Ask the thousands of blawgers who gave it a go and whose dead blawgs litter the internet.

And now, to those who think I desperately want to read your email about how much your month old blawg that you are absolutely certain will turn you from an complete unknown into the next Johnnie Cochran, and how you weren’t a complete fool to bet the farm on blawging rather than developing the chops to be a good lawyer, getting your next case by referral from a satisfied client, I have one final thing to say: The numbers don’t lie. 

Caveat: Any comments about how blawging has made you rich and famous will be deleted, unless you’re prepared to provide the backup to prove and quantify your claim.  Otherwise, it’s just more of the same worthless, unproven and unprovable nonsense. I’m not interested and I’m not going to let you slime my blawg with your baloney. Yes, some blawgs work under unique circumstances, but that means nothing to anyone else.
And to anyone inclined to try to spin this into my touting my own numbers, as if this makes me the “king of the blawgosphere,” let me be absolutely clear.  If I’m anything, I’m the biggest fool around for having spilled as much ink here for no greater benefit than having an outlet to write.  BFD.

28 thoughts on “PSA: Numbers Don’t Lie

  1. Dan Hull

    Scott, you’re the purest of Cyber Souls.

    You write because you must, and because you are bursting with messages about what quality and fairness takes. Like pigeons in the more civilized cities of the world, however, your messages dump shit on the unwary and deserving: Looters, the thin-skinned and those who are unrealistic or out-to-lunch about what quality and fairness takes.

    If you ever got biz from it, BTW, it’s the dumb luck of the caller-client.

    Besides, you’ll get a book deal from all this. All I’ll get is ATL reader-hitmen trying to get my goat, another girlfriend who thinks I can’t ever stop working, and a really high-profile job in either the White House or the satanic Kelly’s Irish Times Saloon, next to The Dubliner, the latter of which is the prissy tourist “Irish” bar where I’m still not welcome after 25 years. (And all because we fired a military rocket from the inside out the front window during a Saturday lunch toward Gonzaga High School. Some people.)

  2. John Burgess

    Whew! You had me going there for a minute. Talking about ‘PSA’ and ‘numbers’ and ‘dropping your drawers’ was leading me to an entirely different meaning of PSA!

  3. Bad Lawyer

    Scott, I’m very impressed by your um, package (of stats)–yeah, the blogger statistics feature is pretty cool, pie charts and all. The only problem is that by history, the most inane posts get by far the greatest peeks.

    But the numbers are awesome, confess that knowing that I get lots of looks helps to motivate me.

  4. Bruce Carton

    Any chance you could put out a complete collection of the “Caveats” inserted in your posts through the years? I’d pay double for that.

  5. SHG

    The validation aspect of all this wears thin pretty quickly.  I was more excited to get my tenth subscriber than my 10,00th hit.  I have no idea whether people read because they love it or hate it, or just want to see whether I trashed somebody today.

    If I hope to accomplish anything, it’s to motivate the lawyer who has given up hope in frustration to try one more time, the judge who hates his job to give a damn, the prosecutor who thinks no one is watching to know at least one person sees, the cop who thinks he can hurt people to know that he’ll be called out.  There’s no grand illusions, but maybe I can do something useful for someone.

  6. Bad Lawyer

    Gee Scott–that was just too beautiful (sniff)–I’m so inspired I may even climb back off my ledge high above-OurTown. No seriously, you do a great job and since I privately told you that I think SJ is the best blawg on the Internets I’ll say it again, here.

    BTW, any advice on how I get the ABAJournal blawgers to acknowledge the items they swipe from me that I swipe from local news sites….

  7. SHG

    Hey, I’m allowed to use this as my soapbox. It’s mine. I paid for it.

    As for ABA Journal (not to mention a few others), there seems to be some sort of inside line on who gets credit and who doesn’t, bordering on the stingy to the disingenuous.  Maybe Molly McDonough will read this and feel bad about stealing your stolen property with due attribution.

  8. David Sugerman

    By comparison, my numbers are so much lower as to be laughable. Of course it’s an unfair comparison. I blog intermittently and for multiple purposes, and you are a freaking machine with consistently good content.

    I think you’ve mistakenly connected your awesome inquiries to your stunning blog success. Despite my trivial traffic, I get equivalent calls and emails in my area. (“I want to file a class action because I could’ve been ripped off.” “My neck strain injury left me unable to work out for two whole weeks.”) Maybe you get more, and that’s the true benefit?!

    It’s rank speculation, but my sense is that marketeers and their blog product sales have peaked and are headed down the backside. Or maybe I’m being uncharacteristically optimistic.

  9. SHG

    I can only tell it the way I see it.  But I do know a few PI lawyers online, and they tell me they get a few calls via the blawg.  No brain damaged babies and usually after being rejected from a half dozen direct referrals.

    As for marketers having peaked, I see just the opposite.  They’re more strident and pervasive than ever, as are hungry lawyers looking for the magic bullet to success.  You may be “uncharacteristically optimistic” about this.

  10. Max Kennerly

    The real problem is that your site is not set up for conversion. You are on the first page of Google for searches like:

    from the rear
    bad law schools
    drop dead sex
    peep show new york
    klondike bars
    rocks for jocks

    I didn’t make these up, Google them and see. (For the curious, I also didn’t just keep Googling to find them, there are tools for this stuff.) None of those will earn you a dime. I similarly rank well for worthless terms like “unprofessional email” and “ticket scalpers,” neither of which can ever earn a dime. If we ranked for “mesothelioma” or “topamax lawsuit” or “fixodent zinc poisoning,” we’d be killing it. There are a number of firms which do exactly that, and do it all day long. Remember good old Jim Sokolove and his TV ads? Google “Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer.” He’s not up there for the love of blogging.

    Of course, if you re-did your site to start writing about those terms, and to start setting up pages for client conversion, nobody would link to you, and you’d have to go out and pay an SEO company a boatload to manufacture links for you. Plus you’d have to live with yourself writing spammy marketing content all day long.

    Therein lies the rub.

  11. SHG

    The first page of Google is a different animal for those who want to be there. The real estate is limited and costly, in terms of money and dignity. In return, you get the perfect response for a high volume craptastic practice.  But it’s got nothing to do with blogging, creating “trust” and demonstrating “expertise.”  It’s just paying for SEO to get the thousand phone calls asking if you “take 18b.”  If that’s someone’s gig, they can have it.

    Do I really make the first page for klondike bars?  Cool. That explains why my ice cream sales are going through the roof.

  12. Max Kennerly

    I know of a couple firms that make huge money with the combination of first page of Google and dozens of paralegals to do intake on the (literally) thousands of cases. You reject >95%, but 5% are real cases which can then be referred out for riskless profit in the future. It is, obviously, not for everyone.

    According to my internet tools (which never lie and are never wrong), nearly 1% of your traffic comes from your stellar “klondike bars” ranking. You get even more traffic from “cavity search,” where you’re also on the first page. But nothing compares to the juggernaut of “from the rear,” your highest traffic-generating keyphrase (over 2% of your traffic) after “simple justice.”

  13. SHG

    That could explain why so many of my calls for ice cream involve such creepy tangential questions.

  14. Eric L. Mayer

    I just found your blog, and I need help. The police in St. Robert, Missouri tell me that I’ll be arrested unless I mow my yard. I know my rights! It’s in the Constitution!

    Can you represent me and get the police off my back and out of my yard?

    If you can’t represent me, could you at least come and mow my yard?


  15. Jdog

    Somebody who, say, thinks — correctly or otherwise — that they have a claim against a nursing home, and doesn’t know a lawyer to call to get a reference, might google for that, and find his page. Knowing less than nothing about such things, I’d bet that successful folks in that niche have a lot of staff to wade through the contacts. People with visible websites tend to get calls from folks whose needs don’t match their — claimed, perhaps accurately –expertise.

  16. Jdog

    I think it’s horrible. Here’s this well-qualified estate planning and divorce lawyer, and to make ends meet he has to mow lawns and fix bicycles.

  17. Mark Draughn

    I wonder how many of those hits you get to recent posts are caused by people reloading to watch the fights breaking out in the comments. You can probably count on at least 2 to 10 reloads a day just from me. More if you savage someone and they show up to defend themselves.

    Also, Simple Justice may not get you a lot of sales of your primary product (ahem), but I think if you put out some Google ads, you could make some nice change. You’d probably get even more with more targeted ads. I’m not talking big money for a lawyer, but it would be more than most bloggers earn from ads. It might be enough pay for the latest iPhone and iPad every year!

  18. SHG

    Duly noted that the two non-lawyers in the neighborhood like to reload with great frequency.

  19. SHG

    But then, you always have a full calendar, no matter what, so the number of readers means nothing to you.

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