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Why Sponsorship on Lawyers.com Is Not Worth $900/Month

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Apparently, LexisNexis-Martindale haven’t heard of the Internet.  Because if they had, they wouldn’t be hoping to trade in on their name-recognition to lawyers and charge $900 a month for a national sponsorship service available on their lawyers.com data base as reported here in Lawyers.com Courts Legal Marketers, ClickZ News (5/17/05).  The article reports that:

LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell has begun selling two sponsorship products on its Lawyers.com database of legal professionals. The offerings, which debuted last quarter, give legal marketers access to users of a respected vertical search brand.  Lawyers and law firms can purchase either sponsored links or content sponsorships on the site, which contains legal information and listings for approximately 440,000 lawyers […] Martindale-Hubbell is offering three levels of coverage for the paid listings product: Nationwide, from $900 per month; statewide, from $160 per month; and by county, starting at $50 per month.

Paul Gazzolo, CEO of LexisNexis Martindale Hubbell believes that these marketing vehicles will allow law firm customers to deliver their messages directly to prospective clients. 

Sounds good, except for one thing – the service won’t work.  The
journalist wrote the article noted that in, for example, a search for
medical malpractice attorneys in Los Angeles, only two paid listings showed up.  If other users obtain those same results, they’ll
look for lawyers elsewhere on the Internet, not on lawyers.com.  So
anyone paying $900/month (or even $50/month) for exposure won’t be
attracting anyone.

The other problem with paying for a service like lawyers.com is that it
won’t buy lawyers what they really crave from Internet listings – wide
web exposure.  If you’re listed in lawyers.com, try googling your name
on the Internet.  It’s likely that your lawyers.com listing won’t even
show up.  Even if you google your specialty – say, Maryland civil
rights law – and lawyers.com appears at the top of the list, users
aren’t going to want to deal with a scroll through menu.  Rather,
they’ll just go to the lawyer with the weblog on Maryland civil rights
law who comes up at the top of the listing – or the lawyer who bought
the Google ad words "Maryland civil rights" whose links appear in a
feature box.

Maybe once upon a time, Lexis-Nexis-Martindale were the gold standard
of lawyer advertising.  Not so anymore with the Internet.  I just want to make sure that my fellow
solo and small firm colleagues realize that and don’t waste money on Lexis’ lawyers.com service because of the Lexis name.  Instead, shop around spend your advertising dollars
where you’ll get the biggest online bang for your bucks.