There are numerous ways to advertise your law firm online. You don’t even need to have your own website to make efforts to reach potential clientele through the internet. However, as recently-filed lawsuits make clear, the benefits of having your own website – and the control that it gives you over your own image – are crucial.
Legal Marketing Site Avvo Facing New Lawsuits
Avvo, a searchable online directory of attorneys that not only helps users find lawyers but also allows them to rank attorneys, as well, is facing a new set of lawsuits over its advertising practices.
According to the lawsuits, to follow through on its business model, Avvo creates and maintains a profile page of any attorney that is licensed to practice. Importantly, though, these attorneys do not have to consent to Avvo’s creation of a profile page – Avvo can make their profile without their consent or even without their knowledge.
In order to make money off the site, though, Avvo sells advertising space on these profiles through the use of two programs, Avvo Advertising and Avvo Pro. The lawsuits claim that Avvo Advertising allows attorneys to pay a monthly fee to have their ad shown as a “sponsored listing” on the profiles of other attorneys. Avvo Pro, on the other hand, allows attorneys to pay a monthly fee to prevent these same sponsored listings from being shown on their profile.
According to the lawsuits, the result of Avvo’s business model and these advertising programs is that attorneys are forced to have an Avvo profile, and coerced into paying a monthly fee to prevent competing law firms from encroaching on them.
The core of these lawsuits is, of course, an attorney’s right of publicity, which prohibits the use of a person’s name or likeness for commercial purposes without consent.
Hosting Your Own Website Gives You More Control Over Your Image
Avvo’s business practice is fairly typical for the web: Create or manage content that attracts visitors, and then sell advertising space alongside that content. Unfortunately, this can lead to others influencing the perception of your firm that the content was made to create. When your competitors are allowed to get involved, it can turn into an ugly battle to make sure that your image doesn’t get tarnished.
Having your own website and investing in it is a good way to prevent this from happening, or at least fight back. By having a website, you provide the online world with an official statement about how your firm operates and how it can help potential clients.
Myers Freelance and Legal Blogging
One of the best ways to make your law firm’s website perform well is through legal blogging. Packing your site with quality legal content and articles in a law blog can boost its performance in search engines, bringing it to more people than it would reach, otherwise.