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The Plaintiffs’ Bar Goes Digital – Increasing Information to Consumers

Online legal marketing by consumer lawyers apparently shocks Big Business. Big Business has funded a study about legal marketing on the Internet that’s actually pretty interesting to read.

Would you believe that law firms which represent consumers will spend over $50 million on Google keyword advertising in 2012? That’s the estimate in a 38-page study, The Plaintiffs’ Bar Goes Digital. The study was just released by the Institute for Legal Reform, a front-group for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Multinational corporations have been waging war on consumers’ legal rights by spending millions lobbying in Washington, D.C. and every state capitol. They also have spent the past twenty years or more funding so-called “tort reform” publicity campaigns with millions spent to limit individuals’ legal rights.

Don’t consumer lawyers have the same right as Big Business to communicate directly to the public?

Both consumer lawyers and legal marketers will find lots of interesting nuggets in the study. The study, which is based on its own “estimates,’ say the biggest law firm spending money on Google keywords is Danziger & De Llan. The Institute suggests that the Danziger firm will spend over $16 million on Google keywords. This easily beats spender number 2, The Sokolove Firm, which will spend a little over $6 million according to Institute estimates. [Read more…]

Google and the Gulf oil spill at BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig

I’ve recently been blogging (with some help) about the Gulf oil spill at BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig. When I started the blog, I was struck by the fact that there were no pay-per-click lawyer ads when I used Google News to search for articles. But that changed in a hurry. Within a couple of days the lawyer ads began emerging in an ever escalating war to sign up claimants. When mass tort ad campaigns such as this start, I’m usually either involved in it professionally or I follow the campaigns because I find them interesting and, sometimes, educational. As of the time that I’m writing this post, there are seven law firm ads displayed on Google News when you run a “BP oil spill” or “Gulf oil spill” search. Seven law firms and one almost unnoticeable ad by BP.

Perhaps it’s the technology geek in me, or my interest in Internt marketing, but I enjoyed comparing the ads. The lawyer ads all utilized the top line of the ad well, with large blue letters proclaiming something such as “Gulf Oil Spill Lawsuit” or “BP Oil Spill Lawsuit.” BP’s ad, by comparison, simply said “Spill” on the top line. It’s as if they are ashamed to be associated with it, and don’t want to admit which particular “spill” it is they are talking about. But if BP is too embarrassed to shout out its message in a way that competes with the lawyer ads, why even buy an ad on Google? And if BP, a company which had profits of $6.1 billion in the first quarter of 2010, wants to run an ad on Google, why doesn’t it bid high enough to rank higher than sixth out of eight ads?

Somehow the fact that BP is inept in handling its PR makes me even less confident of its ability and intention to clean up the mess it’s making in the Gulf. I’ve written more at about BP’s poor PR, including its waffling and refusal to commit to pay for damages caused by the Gulf oil spill. You can also follow my posts about the Gulf oil spill at Facebook and on Twitter @bpoilnews.

Top Google AdWord price in 2008? Mesothelioma for $99.44 per click

An Online Media Daily article reports that Google’s top-priced AdWord in 2008 was “mesothelioma” costing $99.44 per click. The article cites AdGooroo’s Search Engine Advertising Update: Q309. According to the same report, “mesothelioma” was also Yahoo’s top-priced word, at $60.68 per click. Rich Stokes, founder and CEO of AdGooroo, couldn’t say how many times the top keywords were clicked on each month.

Report: average click fraud rate on search engine content networks is 28.2%

One of the reservations I’ve heard some lawyers express about pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is that you don’t know who is clicking on your ads.  If you’re paying $85 for someone to click on your mesothelioma ad to visit your site, is that person a mesothelioma victim or a competitor?  Now comes a study from U.S. based Click Forensics that says the average click fraud rate of PPC advertisements appearing on search engine content networks, including Google AdSense and the Yahoo Publisher Network, was 28.2%, up from 27.1% in the previous quarter.  See article here.

Note that this figure applies to the “content” networks, such as ads that appear on blogs and news sites using Google’s AdSense program.  There is a built-in incentive for the publishers of the sites to engage in fraudulent clicking, as they share in the revenues from each click.  The article does not give an estimate of the number of fraudulent clicks on Google’s and Yahoo!’s search engines.

One user of PPC ads suggests that you factor the fraud rate into your calculations.  Tony Jewell , chief technical officer of job search engine Workcircle, advises factoring in a degree of risk and focusing on return on investment. “If 20% of clicks are invalid, are the other 80% good enough for it not to matter?” he said. “If the traffic sends customers who convert, and hence is profitable, then we’re happy.”

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