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Thomson-West-FindLaw responds to criticism, wants to enter blogosphere discussion

March 27, 2005

I received an email from Kyle Christensen, a communications person with Thomson-FindLaw, the end of last week responding to my post criticizing Thomson-FindLaw and LexisNexis Martindale for their minimal efforts in educating lawyers about Internet marketing.

It’s wonderful that Thomson-FindLaw is engaging in this online discussion and is looking for ways to have a presence on the blogosphere. Here’s a little of what Kyle and I discussed in an email exchange covering both what FindLaw is doing to educate lawyers and their request to learn how to enter this online discussion on the blogosphere.

On FindLaw’s legal marketing education efforts, Kyle cited, and I am sure there are others:

Kyle also liked my idea of leveraging FindLaw’s salesforce to hold brown bag lunches to help lawyers develop Internet strategies. He believed some of their sales reps already do this on an informal, case-by-case basis, but would like to explore developing something a little more structured.

Though supporting some Internet marketing education, I challenged Thomson-FindLaw to do more.

  • The ‘Five Fundamentals‘ is alright, but its primary focus was pitching the merits of FindLaw. The sites and blogs published by individuals, whether they be my blog, Justia’s blog & SEO Resource Center, Larry Bodine’s law marketing site and quite a few more Web sites and blogs offer a lot more concrete Internet marketing information. All have a lot less money than Thomson-Findlaw.
  • The Law Marketing Forum appears to be for larger firms who can afford a seminar at a high priced resort. But smaller firms who do not have large marketing departments were probably not well represented. Plus when it came to some nuts and bolts on Internet marketing you had a program on blogs & SEO where none of the presenters published personal or marketing blogs nor were search engine optimization experts.

I really appreciate the offer to do more low key programs and offered to have the Seattle area Thomson-Findlaw sales rep contact me so we could set up brown bag lunches and/or Internet marketing education programs. A program or series on creating an effective Internet presence could cover directories, sponsored links, Web sites, blogs, SEO and the like.

Kyle asked me to elaborate on my statement that as far as their failure to be accountable on the Internet marketing front. I agreed with Thomson-FindLaw’s assessment that if customers do not receive value they are free to go elsewhere.

However, I am talking about the dualopoly’s failure to provide solid information on Internet marketing and what lawyers’ Internet marketing alternatives may be. Thomson-Findlaw’s educational materials such as the ‘Five Fundamentals’ and I am guessing the sales people’s calls are focused on the FindLaw directory and the related Web site products the company sells.

I may be an idealist but I would like to see readily accessible, free and practical information on Internet marketing for lawyers. Information that can be put to immediate use and that will make lawyers informed buyers of Internet marketing solutions.

In less than a year I have published almost 600 entries to my blog offering a ton of free info and inspiration on legal marketing. And I have 5 kids, am launching a start up and have no marketing & communications budget, let alone a staff of professionals.

Kyle indicated Thomson-Findlaw is looking at ways to enter the blogosphere and asked what to do to enter the online discussion if I were in Thomson-FindLaw’s shoes?

Jump in. Look at the blogs being published by CEO’s and line employees of companies. Blogs could be publsihed by various Thomson-West-FindLaw employees including CEO Mike Wilens, developers, division heads, SEO experts, and sales people. They would personally publish what lawyers are looking for, their insights on legal marketing, what they are reading on the relevant topic and allow comments and feedback from lawyers and legal marketing professionals.

Great to have this dialogue going. Look forward to days, which hopefully will be soon, where the dualopoly is actively engaged in the blogosphere discussion.

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