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Law Firms & Internet Scams

By Bob Schwartz, CRS, GRI ©2007 Promotions Unlimited All rights reserved.

This material is subject to copyright and any unauthorized use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.

Many still say the Internet is like the Old West. When it comes to the proliferation of scams, this is certainly true! As webmaster for over two dozen legal, real estate, and other business oriented websites, we receive a lot of email and phone solicitations. Often our clients ask our opinion on an Internet service or software product. We have studied and found the majority of offers directed toward law firms are what I call the half-truth variety.

It is interesting that these offers directed at small to mid-size firms are like live Internet viruses, they seem to transform over time. The core remains, but, the exterior packaging (a.k.a. sales pitch) appears totally different.

One of the most giant savings over the legitimate legal directories. The perpetrators of such scams provide impressive ‘traffic’ figures, and in many cases, even show that their directory is listed on the first page of a major directory.

Looking at one scam in detail revealed the following facts:

A. Traffic amounts can be manipulated. For about $50, anyone can purchase ‘traffic’ directed to any site. The way this ‘traffic’ is brought in is the problem. The majority is machine generated overseas, or carried through MLM /porn/music sites. In either case, your site will register visits but no business will ever be generated.

B. For placements on the first page of large search engines, there are two highly used methods. The first method, usually just makes the statement that the site has page one placement. Question further and it is usually the name of the directory that has page one placement. The directory name might be www.lawyers-intercontinental-directory1.com and a search for lawyers international directory could appear on page one of many search engines. However, how many potential legal clients in Houston, Texas, will be likely to type in this precise directory name into their search engine? What they may use will be phrases like: Houston lawyers, Houston attorneys, Houston TX lawyers, Houston Texas lawyers, etc. The other method used is bidding on popular legal phrases on the major pay-for-click search engine programs. The problem here is that these ‘sponsored’ ads have to be separated from the real or ‘organic’ results. Once spending limits on the bids are reached, or the bidding program is terminated, the standing vanishes. After all, these standings were only achieved by cash payment, not a properly designed and optimized legal website. Another factor to consider here is that current webmaster opinions suggest 50 to 70% of searchers pass over such ‘sponsored’ listings in favor of the ‘organic’ listings.

Almost any high school teen can create a ‘legal directory’ with an impressive sounding name like www.professional-law-legal-advice-directory1.com, but do you really want to be listed there? Believe it or not, many naive lawyers have taken the bait. I asked one such attorney what results his law firm had achieved during almost a year with the listing. The reply was NO BUSINESS, and he believed they never received any phone calls. I then asked why he chose to advertise with this firm. The answer was because they only charged $99 for a full page ad for one year.

The old lesson of “You get what you pay for” really fits here. Be careful out there, very careful!

Copyright 2007 Promotions Unlimited - search engine optimization - All rights reserved.


Bob Schwartz, is the founder of Promotions Unlimited, an Internet legal directory (CA, TX & Las Vegas) publisher and search engine placement technology analyst. You can contact Bob via e-mail at seo711@gmail.com or visit his San Diego legal directory at: http://www.sandiegolawyerforyou.com/special.htm


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