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Social media sites the next bubble : Lawyers will get sucked in

Steve Rubel shares Nielsen NetRatings report that websites that empower people to participate or create content are driving half of the top 10 fastest growing web brands in the U.S.

Reminds me of TheGlobe (two guys worth billions at the time), iVillage, About.com, and others which generated huge traffic and became the stock market darlings of the the late ’90’s. Most failed completely and those that survived had a 90% + reduction in their value.

You’re going to see lawyers getting into blogs and RSS in a big way through aggregators, directories and communities. It will be similar to the law portals of MyCounsel, Ed Kopp’s law site, USLaw and many others of the late 90’s. As far as I know, all but FindLaw know owned by Thomson/West and Prairielaw, incorporated into Martindale-Hubbell’s lawyers.com shut their doors.

Don’t get me wrong. I am an evangelist on blogs, RSS, syndication and collaboration. Innovation is good. Effective use of low cost technology is good. And the strong social media sites such as Flickr and MySpace are going to survive.

Ignore history at your peril though. Just because there is a huge buzz about what you are doing and you are attracting capital doesn’t mean you are a success. Success will be measured by a strong business model, a valuable product or service people will pay for, and a lot of hard work by a talented group of people.

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