Today we see a face-off: It’s the American Bar Association v. LexisNexis.
First up, the annual ABA Blawg 100: Go figure. They still like me. For the fourth year in a row, the ABA Journal has picked me as part of its top 100 law blogs in the country, out of about 3,500. Thank you. Yes, I have an ego. Yes, I appreciate it.
I haven’t always been completely charitable. When they first started doing this thing, they completely missed the personal injury field. They learned from their mistakes. They added two the next year and had six the year after that. This year I’m joined with some superlative blogs in the tort category: Overlawyered, Marler Blog, Drug and Device Law, Abnormal Use, and Jackson on Consumer Class Actions.
Do they have all the best blogs? No. They can’t. Because there are more good ones than the category can hold. This is completely subjective, of course, but there isn’t a dog in the bunch.
My only real pet peeve is that, once again, they are going to have a beauty pageant vote for the best. Since there really is no such thing as “best,” I think everyone understands and appreciates that it’s all in good fun. But still. If they want to give out “best of” prizes I think they ought to let the law bloggers do the voting, since we are the ones most familiar with the rest of the blogs. While it might be nice to have bloggers drive their readers to the site to vote, that just gives a sense of politicking for votes.
And politicking has been a problem and zapped some of the fun from it. There was one blogger two years ago, Neil Squillante from TechnoLawyer, who ran a sweepstakes to award $500 to two people and $100 to five others who cast their votes for him. He actually retained a lawyer for it. TechnoLawyer will never live down that taint.
Now on to the challenger in the law blog contest business: LexisNexis. They named me one of the top 25 tort blogs. I provide the link (coded “NoFollow“), despite what I am about to write, because there are some good blogs in there. But there are also some real barkers, like two faux-blogs from the Illinois firm of Levin & Perconti that are little more than thinly disguised ads for the firm. LexisNexis apparently wasn’t too concerned about quality, as those aren’t the only ads posing as blogs.
The email alert that I received from their “Content Editor” promoted this as:
The Top 25 group includes some of the best talent in the blogosphere and creates an invaluable content aggregate for all segments of the Torts Law practice. Most good blogs provide frequent posts on timely topics, but the authors in this year’s collective take their blogs to a different level by providing insightful commentary that demonstrates how blogs can—and do—impact and influence the world of business and corporate law.
High praise considering that some of the blogs aren’t really blogs. There seems to be some disconnect between the promotional words and the actual content they listed.
But there’s something even worse than just being bad. And that is the way they have opted to promote themselves: This was also part of the pathetic LexisNexis email I received from their “Content Editor” after posting my blog there:
We would appreciate having the LexisNexis Litigation Resource Community linked to your site as well. Our visitors appreciate the links to valuable sites, and of course reciprocal links to high quality sites increases the search engine optimization for both of our sites.
Makes me shudder. LexisNexis is using the same spammy language as all the other hucksters on the web. It reminds me of Martindale-Hubell spamming me a couple years ago. Wait! Did I say Martindale-Hubbell? Are these two companies joined at the hip? While the ABA Journal obviously wants traffic — and why wouldn’t they since they are a legit magazine? — they’ve never, ever asked anything of me, in crass terms or otherwise.
Let me be clear about this. It’s not an honor to be lumped in with crap. Because it shows that the LexisNexis editors — to the extent there is anyone actually reading the content of the sites as opposed to just finding 25 to list — don’t really give a damn.
This LexisNexis nonsense, it seems pretty clear to me, has just one purpose, to juice their Google pagerank so that they can appear higher in the rankings for any of the products that they sell. It’s little more than link bait.
Now back to the opening of a Tale of Two Cities, which seems so appropriate, 152 years after these words were penned:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Anyway, all that stuff aside, it’s time to deal with the ABA voting.
And to handle that auspicious detail, I will now trot out the same campaign manager I’ve used the past three years.
Paris has so far managed to lose every election for me, and I have every confidence that she can pull it off again. If you want to vote, here is the link. But remember, the best part of the link is that it gives a nice roll of good blogs that are out there, some of which you may not have heard of. So leave here, go there, and rummage around to see what you find.
But stand very clear of LexisNexis.
Update 12/15/11 – Fresh in from the “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” Department, one of the Levin & Perconti shitblogs noted above has “won” the most votes. (A shitblog is a faux-blog whose primary purpose is advertising. See: Are FindLaw’s “Blogs” Tainting Its Clients, Commentators and the Profession of Law?)
For added amusement, read the stuffed “comments” from the various employee/friends/relatives that they posted so that they could obtain this “honor.”
Note to LexisNexis — it will take you awhile to get the mud off your face for this one.