THIS. IS. SPARTA!

Law Practice

More specifically, this is Sparta Townson, aka Internet Guru Girl. Just as the Spartans abandoned their weak babies, exposing them to die in the wild, Sparta would you like to abandon your reputation and ethics to her (she would say "outsource"), exposing you to widespread ridicule and contempt.

That is to say, Sparta is a "professional legal marketer."

Sparta offers services including search engine optimization and link building. Unsophisticated attorneys buy into the sizzle that "professional marketers" are selling — they believe that marketers will use sophisticated, legitimate, and benign methods to improve their search engine rankings. Little do they know that marketers frequently employ bots, or low-paid net jockeys on the Subcontinent, to flood legal (and non-legal blogs) with spam comments in a highly offensive, and usually fruitless, attempt to build their clients' web presence.

And so, credulous and careless attorneys who have outsourced their marketing — and hence their reputation — suddenly find that their names are associated not so much with legal excellence, but with the same marketing technique favored by cut-rate porn sites and the multitude of pills that make your dick hard. Just ask Bradley Johnson. Ask him twice. Or this guy. Or this one. Or this one (who was shrewd enough to hire a registered sex offender to handle her reputation for her). No blogger likes spam. No reader likes spam. So the attorney whose marketer has resorted to spam has generated hostility and contempt for dubious (if any) gain.

Sparta's clients (or at least some of them) are apparently in the same boat. See, she spammed Austin criminal defense attorney Jamie Spencer with inane spam comments on behalf of clients. Spencer took the high road, called a couple of the lawyers to warn then, and then called Sparta herself. Sparta showed the insufferable sense of entitlement and utter lack of actual marketing savvy that spammers are famous for:

Sparta had already heard from at least one unhappy client by the time I spoke with her, but was not at all sympathetic to my plight. She asked if my blog was open or closed, and told me that since it was open, my comment section was fair game. What I got from the conversation was that she would damn well put whatever idiotic comments she wanted on my blog, and happily associate her client’s names to them, as often as she pleased, and that there was nothing I could do about it. Open blog, therefore the fault was mine.

Sparta is foolish. Very foolish. Spencer blogged it. Then Mark Bennett, who routinely savages scummy marketers, picked it up. Many more lawbloggers will follow. Her ranting and largely incoherent responses will not help her. [Edit: She deleted it after Bennett and I linked it. You can see it cached here. Plus I have a screenshot, dear Sparta. The post headed "baffled Austin criminal." Sparta was snooping around here shortly after I published this.]

Lawyers who hire comment spammers ought to know better. There are plenty of hints that the profession of "legal marketing" is shot through with bumblers and scam artists and uber-spammers. Take, for example, the fact that these people often spam to find clients. So it's a mystery to me why people don't expect their outside marketers to spam unless specifically told not to. It's a mystery why customers of "legal marketing experts" don't educate themselves and realize that comment spam doesn't work — which is why only crooks and morons use it.

Unfortunately, as the links above demonstrate, too few lawyers are sensible. To few lawyers obey the truism coined by Eric Turkewitz: when you outsource your marketing, you outsource your reputation and your ethics. If you must outsource, supervise closely, and monitor your trackbacks and other indications of what your marketer has done for you. Or you may find yourself regarded as the kind of lawyer who has to spam lawblogs to get business.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

6 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Grandy  •  Jul 16, 2010 @6:25 am

    A blogger's blog is their castle. Just because they leave the gate up during the day, and invite passers by in to partake of the local fair and engage in honest trade, doesn't mean one can go in and do whatever one wants.

  2. Ken  •  Jul 16, 2010 @9:36 am

    Hi again, Sparta! Sparta has visited us four times now.

  3. Chris  •  Jul 16, 2010 @11:25 am

    The most recent post on her blog boggles the mind. She sends a "proposal" to a "a particular counties criminal lawyers association" and thinks her generic disclaimer signature makes it unethical/illegal for a recipient to post it on a blog. Right.

  4. Mark Bennett  •  Jul 18, 2010 @4:34 pm

    Now she's threatening to sue. She also claims she has some producer at one of the networks interested in the story.

    Worst. Internet. Guru. Ever.

  5. Ken  •  Jul 18, 2010 @4:42 pm

    Did she threaten in a post? I must have missed it. What a nut.

    The core of it all is this: she admitted to Jamie she committed comment spam. She didn't dispute his description of their conversation. And her own blog post about open/closed blogs confirms it. Bashing comment spam is opinion. It's not, by any stretch of the imagination, actionable. What does she think she's going to sue for?

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