I’ve been getting quite a bit of traffic coming to my site from Avvo. It isn’t because I’ve finally claimed my profile there, which I haven’t, or because I paid for some advertising there, which I didn’t. To tell you the truth, the visitors that come here from Avvo probably aren’t looking for me at all.
Avvo, which purports to provide “Expert Advice When You Need It Most,” is directing traffic to my site through the profiles of three lawyers whom I’ve never met. Avvo, a company that people apparently use to make the extremely important decision of finding a lawyer and that touts its supposedly unbiased ratings system as being based on a mathematical model and capable of enabling prospective clients to assess a lawyer’s qualifications, can’t seem to figure out that my website isn’t some other lawyers’ website too. It’s actually worse than just that.
Avvo thinks my website belongs to three people whose only connection to me is commenting on this blog. One guy just wrote a post about one of my posts, which resulted in a trackback. When I put up another post discussing his post, he commented on that one. Now, Avvo thinks my website is his website. Personally, I find it somewhat tragic and almost ironic that a marketing behemoth like Avvo would link to my sleepy little blog after getting the website wrong for a lawyer who runs his own attorney marketing center. The other two erroneously-linked profiles are even more bizarre.
One guy, who seems quite fond of marketing guru, cloud lawyer extraordinaire, and public legal advice expertRachel Rodgers (here too), is only linked to this site because he took the time to stop by and let me know in a comment that my blog and what I wrote were nothing more a joke. He accused me of speaking before reading the rules and examining the evidence. He concluded as follows:
I must admit it’s one of my all-time favorite comments; I had no clue that “boom” was the sound that happens when someone gets lawyered, and I’ve been waiting for a good opportunity to use that little gem of a phrase in a pleading ever since. Regardless, you can imagine my surprise when I found out that my blog is actually his website. According to Avvo, at least.
The other guy may dislike me even more, if that’s possible. After one post, he accused me of “[o]bviously not” reading certain police reports, “[going] off half-cocked,” and lacking logic. After another, he accused me of not knowing of what I spoke, making “[b]latantly false statements” that harm me and the bar in general and misinform the general public, and not taking some sort of schooling he thinks I received to heart. For that, he earned the honor of having Avvo direct traffic from his profile to my website. He’s currently suspended from the practice of law for a variety of reasons, but I doubt Avvo’s making him terribly happy by directing prospective clients over here.
As funny as Avvo’s incompetence might be, hiring a lawyer is an incredibly serious decision. Some of the people who end up on Avvo may be desperately looking for help in life or death matters. For most criminal defendants, regardless of the stakes, choosing the right lawyer is one of the most important decisions they will ever make.
Before all of this, I thought it was ridiculous to try to convince people that skilled professionals can give adequate answers to important and often complex legal questions through an online Q&A forum. I thought it was even crazier to try to convince people they can find the right lawyer based on some silly math-based rating system. Now that I’m seeing a little farther down the rabbit hole that is Avvo, the situation appears even more dire. How can someone seriously seek legal answers and consider lawyer ratings from a website that can’t even figure out the right websites for the people about whom it is supposed to be providing “expert” advice?