In the email exchange below, I have changed identifying information. Replacements are in boldface. The use of [FNAME] and [BPNAME] is in the original. The email came to me titled "Quick Message for *[FNAME]*."
Hey *[FNAME]* – The reason I'm reaching out to you is because I recently came across *[BPNAME]* and thought you might be able to give me some valuable feedback — I recently (re)launched a new community for lawyers and law students called LegalMarketeeringPit.
A bit of background…My name is Mork the Marketeer and I'm the founder of PonyHub, the largest online community of pony professionals with over 4 million hits per month. For LegalMarketingPit, we already have 1,000s of visitors per month with some awesome bloggers (law students and practicing lawyers), but we have a LONG way to go! I want to make sure to fulfill our primary mission: to build the most entertaining and useful legal community online.
It's not easy starting an online community from scratch, so I hope you will take a few seconds to check it out and let me know what you think! Any thoughts? If you can hit "reply" and tell me just one piece of advice, I will be forever grateful. :-) Or you can give me call and tell me in person (# below).
Thanks so much and talk soon!
Mork the Marketeer
Chief Pony & Founder, LegalMarketingPit
ps – If you want to help out our team and become a blogger or syndicate your content from *[BPNAME]* onto LegalMarketingPit, please shoot me a quick note and we can try to work together
pps – We also send new members a free legal compensation report, so we hope you'll join us and help other members in our community by sharing your wisdom / expertise as well.
What is LegalMarketingPit
You are receiving this email as part of being a contributing author for LegalMarketingPit
[Unsubscribe and contact information omitted]
You say you will be forever grateful if I offer you just one piece of advice.
Here it is.
1. If you are going to spam, get competent help, so you don't wind up sending spam addressing [FNAME] and talking about their post [BPNAME].
2. Don't spam in the first place. Lawyers who are worth knowing hate it, and lawyers who don't hate it aren't worth knowing.
3. If you spam lawbloggers indiscriminately, sooner or later you are going to spam a lawblogger who writes to a large audience about scummy marketing, and who likes to name names. See, e.g. http://www.popehat.com/tag/marketing/
Technically that's three pieces of advice. Sorry.
Ken, thanks for the response.
1. That was me, so maybe I should fire myself?
2. We are a small business trying to get more lawyers on board. Promise there is a human right here trying to build a similar resource for lawyers and law students like we did for PonyHub.
3. I hear you – but we did painstakingly research hundred of law blogs to send our intro message to. If I had sent one by one the exact same message, would that have made it less scummy?
Either way, thanks for your feedback – I'd be annoyed as well.
I don't know what kind of "painstaking research" you did. It wasn't painstaking enough to reveal that you targeted a blog that's part of a group of lawbloggers who call out sleazy marketing and who spend a lot of time arguing about how the ethos of legal marketeers is bad for the profession.
I'll be interested to see who else received this, to further evaluate the claim of careful selection.
Right now, quite frankly, I'm just deciding whether to write about it or not. It's exactly the sort of thing I'd normally write about.
I've omitted the identifying details because — hell, I don't know why. Because I felt like it.
Mork is not in the same category as Mickey, a marketeer for an established law firm with a reputation that could be harmed. Mork works for a web site that is nominally about the law but actually about marketeering.
1. What kind of lawyer would write for a site that promotes itself with incompetent spam like this? Would you want to hire a lawyer like that, any more than you would hire a lawyer who markets through comment spam? Would you heed any career or legal advice you got at such a place?
2. Scott Greenfield makes the point that it is the role of older lawyers who care about the profession to speak truth — mean truth — to marketeering-drivel-addled newbies. Will LegalMarketingHub have anyone to speak truth to newbies?
3. Do you think I should have named and shamed here? I can see both sides of the question. On the one hand, the quality of mercy is not strained and so forth. On the other hand — one of the only ways we are going to deter scummy marketeering conduct, including spamming, is if more and more people start to name and shame marketeers, so that engaging in such conduct carries risks.
4. What else can lawyers do, in the online marketing age, to push the profession away from insipid crap and towards client service?
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