I'm Going To Make A Bet With You, Bradley Johnson, Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer, And Spammer

Irksome

Though this is not a legal blog, we do from time to time to provide valuable services to the legal community, such as education.  One of our favorite educational topics is the importance of marketing oneself on the internet responsibly.  For instance, don't spam weblogs. In the case of attorneys who spam, we try to educate them by naming them, so that they can see their names through a Google or Yahoo search, branded as spammers.

Often these attorneys don't know the internet from a hole in the ground.  They've hired a marketing company, which claims it can bring them the top ranking on a search for, say, "Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer" and they don't ask questions about how that will be done.  How it's done is by automated spamming of weblogs, internet forums, and other sites with some focus on law.  For instance, "Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer" or "Seattle Criminal Lawyer" will post a bland blog comment along the lines of

Really enjoyed reading your blog post.  I will have to bookmark your site for later.

or

Great post about the law. I found it to be very useful. I will have to bookmark your site for future reading.

with a "trackback" link to the spammer's firm website, in hopes of gaining Google mojo through the magic of page rank.  Of course the attorney has never read, or probably even heard of, the blog in question.  It's all automated.

Here's where the service comes in.  When we name spamming attorneys, we suspect they'll find the post sooner or later, and ask that it be removed.  After all, who wants to be known across the entire internet as a spammer?  Some, such as Denver attorney Steven Hill of Ticketvoid, demand removal or are otherwise unrepentant.  Others realize something's wrong, apologize, and promise to correct their errors.  For these folks, we're happy to help.  We've removed such posts from public view, or removed the offenders' names from the post, when convinced of their sincerity.

One of the firms for which we did that was the law offices of Bradley Johnson, Seattle criminal and personal injury attorney, just 17 days ago, when a representative of Johnson's office contacted us to request we remove a post naming Johnson as a spammer, and explaining that it was all a misunderstanding caused by an overzealous marketer. After an email exchange, we got an apology, and a promise not to spam again.

Bradley Johnson has a nice smile!

Bradley Johnson has a nice smile!

So imagine our distress on reading this post at Crime and Federalism.

Evidently Bradley Johnson is a really great lawyer. He found a loophole.  Where we'd been complaining about his spam under the monicker, "Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer," we never asked him not to spam under the name, "Seattle Criminal Lawyer."  So like suckers, we took down our post.  Well it's back now and it will stay.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

So here's my bet, Bradley Johnson.  Since you evidently have so much faith in "black" search engine optimization that you're going to allow your marketer to keep spamming law blogs and not-quite-law blogs, I'll bet you that Crime and Federalism's post naming you a spammer is about to hit page one of a Google search for you, and will stay there for a long time.

We can name the stakes later.

UPDATE: Reader Bennett Michaels, who has never previously graced us with a comment, but who does sell a "money making program through Google by working just 3-4 hours a week", a "money making program that forces money directly out of the internet into your bank account" gives this pertinent observation:

Patrick you are a real a-hole. Why not grow up a little and just not approve the comment like the rest of the world?

He's assessed my character correctly.  My response:

Because I’m tired of people thinking they can shit all over my blog to promote their business Bennett, and I’m especially tired of lawyers doing it. I have to read all of the spam (hundreds a day) because sometimes legitimate comments get caught in the filters.

It isn’t Bradley Johnson’s site. It isn’t your site. It’s mine. And anyone who spams it risks being named if I can identify him.

There is a simple solution to avoid this situation.  Don't leave spam comments.  Don't hire spam marketers.  I don't leave my business cards in other lawyers' lobbies.  Why should lawyers think they can leave their business cards on my website?

Last 5 posts by Patrick Non-White

31 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Ken  •  Dec 1, 2009 @1:48 pm

    Outsource your marketing, outsource your reputation and ethics.

  2. Mark Bennett  •  Dec 1, 2009 @2:03 pm

    Bradley Johnson is a very common name. It'll be quite a feat to get Mike's post on page one.

  3. Ken  •  Dec 1, 2009 @2:06 pm

    I nearly choked when I read the mouse-over text on the picture, by the way.

  4. Patrick  •  Dec 1, 2009 @2:08 pm

    Popehat's already on page two of a google search for "Bradley Johnson Seattle Lawyer" (without quotes). I'll bet with a little help Mike's post can hit page one. Crime and Federalism is bigger than Popehat on its own.

  5. Ezra  •  Dec 1, 2009 @2:14 pm

    You know, I could probably swing it so we can offer MCLE credit for our "education" on marketing…

  6. PLW  •  Dec 1, 2009 @2:46 pm

    Why do you keep showing that picture?! I'm still having nightmares from last time.

  7. Patrick  •  Dec 1, 2009 @2:52 pm

    He can hardly eat you through the monitor PLW. For that, he'd need a personal consultation.

  8. E.Z.  •  Dec 1, 2009 @4:13 pm

    It's the fifth Google hit if you search 'Bradley Johnson Seattle'. Here's to shooting for number one!

  9. Mark Bennett  •  Dec 1, 2009 @4:32 pm

    Defending People is #6 for 'Bradley Johnson.'

  10. Jen  •  Dec 1, 2009 @6:55 pm

    He looks like a rodent to me, with those teeth. A well polished rat.

  11. Eric T.  •  Dec 1, 2009 @9:05 pm

    Oh, I suspect it will go higher.

  12. Mark Bennett  •  Dec 1, 2009 @9:43 pm

    His bio says he's a TLC grad. Hmm.

  13. Robert  •  Dec 2, 2009 @7:39 am

    I would've never guessed he spent time in a prominent hip-hop group from the late 90s, but I've been wrong about other things.

  14. Little A  •  Dec 2, 2009 @1:04 pm

    He has some lovely videos on Youtube. They don't appear to have any comments. Yet.

  15. Bennett Michaels  •  Dec 2, 2009 @1:34 pm

    Patrick you are a real a-hole. Why not grow up a little and just not approve the comment like the rest of the world?

  16. Patrick  •  Dec 2, 2009 @1:47 pm

    Because I'm tired of people thinking they can shit all over my blog to promote their business Bennett, and I'm especially tired of lawyers doing it. I have to read all of the spam (hundreds a day) because sometimes legitimate comments get caught in the filters.

    It isn't Bradley Johnson's site. It isn't your site. It's mine. And anyone who spams it risks being named if I can identify him.

  17. Mike  •  Dec 2, 2009 @4:50 pm

    That attitude is the problem, Bennett Michaels. People know they can leave spam with impunity. It's an odds game. What are the odds that you'll get caught spamming? Usually low. What are the odds that get called out for spamming when caught? Very low. Thus, spamming is worth the risk. Some of us would like to change that analysis.

    I'm reminded of the advice my tax law professor gave. "When clients ask about being audited, I tell that that their odds of being audited are low. If they are audited, there's a 100% chance that they will going to feel the hammer of the IRS. So don't cheat on your taxes."

    The odds of being caught spamming might be low. If you're a lawyer spamming my site, though, there is a 100% chance that I will identify you and do everything I can to ensure that the world knows you're a spammer.

  18. Mark Bennett  •  Dec 3, 2009 @6:54 am

    I figured you must already have known each other, since he called you an a-hole.

  19. Patrick  •  Dec 3, 2009 @7:38 am

    Oh if a friend had callled me an a-hole I wouldn't have bothered to respond Mark. I don't dispute the charge.

  20. South Florida Lawyers  •  Dec 3, 2009 @7:44 am
  21. Patrick  •  Dec 3, 2009 @7:58 am

    It was utterly gratuitous and unnecessary for you to point out that spammer Jason Diamond went to the same law school as Scott Rothstein. My hat is off to you.

    And what the hell? FIVE DOLLARS for a traffic ticket? I'm willing to work pro bono on the right case, and I give free advice to longterm clients whose business I appreciate.

    But I wouldn't spit on someone for five dollars if he was on fire.

  22. Mark Bennett  •  Dec 3, 2009 @7:59 am

    A friend wouldn't have left out the two S's to which you're justly entitled.

  23. Mark Bennett  •  Dec 3, 2009 @8:03 am

    Michaels is in the internet marketing racket too:

    http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/author.cgi?C=125024&l=10&s=51

    I don't know if it's technically spam, but it's cluttering up the internet with a bunch of murdered words.

  24. Eric T.  •  Dec 3, 2009 @9:13 am

    Two more law blogs added to the growing list that have agreed to out the spammers (Including South Florida Lawyers above)…list at bottom of post…

    http://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneyblog.com/2009/11/new-spam-comment-policy-for-law-firms.html

  25. Mark Draughn  •  Dec 3, 2009 @12:52 pm

    My blog caught actual human-typed spam from a blog that was trying to drum up interest in a book by a law prof. I started to write a snarky post, but it turned out, as I suspected (because it's the kind of thing profs do), that the prof was making one of his grad students do it. Having been a grad student once, I took pity on him and didn't post it.

  26. just another lawyer  •  Jan 30, 2010 @4:45 pm

    Not leaving real name or email because I don't have the flame-retardant suit handy, but just one question that you can post or ignore.

    I get the fact that the spam pisses you off. However, it looks like Mr. Johnson hasn't posted any more spam on YOUR site. Don't you think it would be a better use of your time if you let others police their own sites while you move on to more substantive things?

  27. Patrick  •  Jan 31, 2010 @6:52 am

    No, because I wasn't told Johnson wouldn't spam my site. I was told it was a mistake, that the mistake had been addressed, and that there would be no more spamming.

    Period.

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