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.
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.
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?