Things are getting interesting in what’s best called the ‘FindLaw selling links scandal’ or Linkgate that’s been widely discussed across the net – in legal and SEO blog posts, comments on blogs, on Twitter and now reported in the the Wall Street Journal.
FindLaw’s been reportedly selling a service to lawyers whereby FindLaw gets high search engine results for the law firms. FindLaw calls this product SEM (Search Engine Marketing) Advantage.
The problem is that a key element to FindLaw’s methods for getting high search engine results for the firms is the placing of links around FindLaw property websites, not links for users to click on, but links in tiny text below footers on webpages. They’re called ‘spam links’ and in violation of Google’s guidelines.
FindLaw got caught by Google a couple weeks ago for allegedly selling links. FindLaw started changing the ‘spam links’ so that the links no longer provided ‘Google Juice’ to the lawyers’ websites. Doesn’t appear FindLaw has told the lawyers who paid upwards of $2,500 per month for this SEM Advantage product that FindLaw got caught by Google nor that FindLaw took away a significant part of the lawyers’ ‘Google Juice.’
FindLaw will not respond to bloggers but did respond to the Wall Street Journal saying ‘We don’t not sell links to law firms.’ I am also informed from a reliable source that talking points given to FindLaw employees in order to respond to blogged reports of FindLaw misconduct includes the same ‘We don’t not sell links to law firms.’
FindLaw did say they may have sold links to corporations, but never law firms. And that the sale of such links has stopped and the money has been refunded to those corporations.
Now we have an informed source known to be a former FindLaw Sales Representative blowing the whistle on FindLaw’s misconduct. What started as simply misconduct is appearing to me to be every bit a coverup – Linkgate.
And another comment on the same blog from the same source.
And yet another comment from the same source.
Readers, please keep that information on Linkgate coming. If need be, set up an alias email address at GMail to send me information and documents. I’ll do my best to share what I can.
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- FindLaw selling links story is spreading like wildfire
- FindLaw selling links update : Dow Jones reporting FindLaw misconduct and lawyers questioning what FindLaw sold them