NewLawyer.com, Attorney.org and Laws.com one and the same animal

You may have recently received an email from a company called NewLawyer.com, lavishing praise on your blog and asking to highlight your “top blog” on their website. It might offer you an award badge to add to your blog. The email may promise you an increase in traffic to your blog, and all they want is for you to add a link back to their site in your blogroll or sidebar.

You may have even received a similar email a day later. Maybe it was from Attorney.org this time, or Laws.com, or another website with similar form text in their email. If your alarm bells aren’t going off already, they should be.

The company behind all the emails is PhoneToPhone Inc., whose lack of legitimacy is underscored by the fact that their website merely says “Coming Soon”, as new media attorney Bob Ambrogi pointed out in his post, A ‘Top 100 Honor I Can Do Without.’

I was contacted by Michael Foti, Director of Marketing at PhoneToPhone Inc., by phone and email a month or two ago. He wanted to work out a business development deal with LexBlog as soon as possible. After getting nothing other than that PhonetoPhone is the parent company of NewLawyer.com and the like, I emailed Foti.

Who is PhoneToPhone? Who is the owner? Who are the principals/executives leading the company? Making some significant claims on its websites as to leaders in law. I am wondering on what basis? What’s the reason for getting into the law – to help consumers? to help the lawyers? 

Have to tell you your law sites look very, very shallow and look very, very suspect when make no mention of who the company is. As a leading blogger guiding lawyers and having over 2,700 lawyers on our network as clients, I have an obligation to discuss new developments in Internet law.

I have asked more than once and get no response from anyone at your company.

Foti’s response:

I’m not sure if there was something that I personally did or if we as a company have done to bother you, however I apologize if that was the case. Our goal as a company is to help provide legal advice for those who cannot afford it as well as to help lawyers generate more business. We do not receive any type of commission or referral fee from either side. I am the Director of Marketing for our legal network of websites. PhoneToPhone Inc. is our company name because of our phone-to-phone technology that we feature on NewLawyer.com and NewDoctor.com.

Sorry if I am bothered here. And maybe I am dumb as a rock, but I sure don’t see PhoneToPhone Inc.’s mission in life to ‘help provide legal advice for those who cannot afford it.’ They won’t even tell me who their principals are.

This is just my opinion, but I see PhoneToPhone Inc.’s goal as being one of three, or perhaps all three. 1) Generating ad revenue from Google Adwords once they achieve high traffic to their web sites; 2) Selling ads to lawyers once they achieve high traffic to the sites; or 3) Selling their domain names to others once the domain names achieve enough value.

Each of the above is contingent upon PhoneToPhone Inc. getting enough incoming links to their domains from informative websites. Links from law blogs that have earned a lot of incoming links from other sites over time would be most desirable to PhoneToPhone.

So when I didn’t want to do some business deal with PhoneToPhone d/b/a NewLawyer.com, the company, under a variety of aliases, began soliciting members of the LexBlog Network and other law bloggers in these mass emailings. They were out soliciting inbound links because their own content isn’t strong enough to earn organic links, and ultimately high search results on its own.

It’s America, everyone is entitled to make a buck, I suppose. But be straightforward about it please. Don’t hand out badges under the pretense that you’re recognizing great law blogging and want to help lawyers and the public at large.

LexBlog is advising its clients not to fall for the ego badge in return for giving PhoneToPhone a valuable link. One, because I don’t want to see good lawyers get used. And two, because people coming to your blog may think less of you for selling out to a company like PhoneToPhone, whose motives may be viewed as suspect by your blog readers.

Need more reason to pause on PhoneToPhone? Eric Goldman, Law Professor & Director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University School of Law, has chronicled what he describes as spam from NewLawyer.com.

Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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