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American Lawyer Media (ALM) joins Internet discussion, LexisNexis and Thomson FindLaw not heard from

American Lawyer Media (ALM) has begun to develop an Internet presence through participation in the blogosphere discussion. LexisNexis and Thomson FindLaw have ignored participation. It may be that the later two companies believe they can maintain their dualopoly of selling legal research & related services longer without active discussion on the Internet.

American Lawyer Media, through it’s own blogs, not the featured law blogs on, have begun to establish an Internet presence. It’s not the blogs alone, but listening to Internet discussion on other blogs and joining the discussion via comments on blog posts, emails to blog publishers, and emails from ALM bloggers to ALM senior management about issues raised on the blogosphere. This is all being done in a transparent fashion that will make people more trusting of ALM, build relationships and serve the company well in the long haul.

Here’s specific examples. I blogged about not having widespread WiFi for attendees at ALM’s LegalTech Conference a few weeks ago. Monica Bay, an editor with ALM and publisher of The Common Scold blog, commented on my blog that ALM would look into the issue for next year. She also emailed me, copying ALM senior management, that they were working on it and pointing out some places at LegalTech where WiFi could be picked up.

I also recently blogged about another issue of concern to the legal community. This morning there was an email, copying me, from Monica Bay to senior ALM management about the issue.

Marketing these days is a discussion. A company needs to communicate with their customers and their customer’s influencers. This communication needs to be done in an open and transparent fashion. The danger of failing to participate is real.

In addition, when a company is the subject of criticism on the net, they better have an effective way to respond. Press releases or, even worse, marketing communications coming weeks or months or later, are way to late to stem the tide of Internet discussion about a company’s deficiency.

LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell senior management have posted a comments on my blog a few times and there have been the exchange of emails about my blog posts. Thomson FindLaw has never posted a comment on my blog, that I recall, but I have exchanged emails and had discussions with their communications’ person. Rather than jumping into an open Internet discussion and engaging the Internet legal community at large on an issue I posted, the companies were only responding to me.

I urged LexisNexis and Thomson FindLaw to begin corporate blogs almost a year ago. Despite hundreds, if not thousands of corporate blogs having been launched and the legal industry being among the most active blogosphere, the two companies have said no go.

That’s disappointing when LexisNexis and Thomson FindLaw are likely earning in excess of a Billion Dollars from law firms. Ought to be equally concerning when I here from law firms that these companies products are often lacking.

ALM still has a ways to go. Take some of that internal email and get it onto your blogs so the legal community as a whole can engage in real time discussion. This discussion is only going to improve your products & services as well as your relations with bloggers, who have the ear of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of your customers.

But at least ALM is entering the discussion. Been waiting 11 months for a LexisNexis or Thomson FindLaw blog. How many more months will it be?

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