I think Eric Turkewitz' exhortation for bloggers to name and shame law firms that engage in comment spam is a worthy crusade. I agree with Eric that lawyers are responsible for the acts of their agents, including crooked SEO firms. I've argued before that reckless failure to supervise "marketing professionals" reflects badly on lawyers and should be commented upon. We've called out scummy marketers and the lawyers who use them, although I have occasionally later removed their names later if they apologized convincingly. I stand by those efforts.
But for a change of pace, I decided to take a "nice" approach for once. So when we got a flurry of eight comment spams from a Florida firm, I contacted the lawyer, told him (not in so many words) that someone was taking a dump on his reputation online, sent him a sample comment spam, gave him links to some of my posts on this topic, and asked for his comment — all without posting or naming him first. He responded this morning with a cordial and non-threatening email saying he doesn't know how those spam comments got there, and that he's not aware of hiring any marketing firm. I sent back some suggestions for Googling the spam comment text to view how widespread it has become, and suggested he look harder into the activities of his web designer and anyone else he might have hired. We'll see how he responds. Then I'll evaluate whether the "nice" approach is effective and appropriate, or whether calling people out is the only way to get action and deter this behavior. (I'd be moved, for instance, if the lawyer identifies whoever did this on behalf and throws the person/entity under the bus so we can write about them.)
I'm not taking the nice approach because it's legally, ethically, or morally required. It's an experiment, to see if the nice approach has utility in the war on scummy SEO "professionals."
Be not afraid that I have transformed into a big softie. I just screamed at a paralegal, and I'm putting together some bogus "emergency" projects to hand out to associates at 4:00 today just before the weekend.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Hate Speech Debate on More Perfect Live - September 5th, 2017
- Popehat Goes To The Opera: Un ballo in maschera - August 19th, 2017
- Department of Justice Uses Search Warrant To Get Data On Visitors to Anti-Trump Site - August 14th, 2017
- America At The End of All Hypotheticals - August 14th, 2017
- Lawsplainer: Why John Oliver Is Anti-Diversity Now - August 11th, 2017