Using Sandy Hook Massacre for Law Firm Marketing? (Updated x2)

1/4/13 – Update - this post has been modified where indicated to remove the name of a law firm and add the name of marketing firm. Explanation below.

1/9/13 – Update - The comment might have been left by a “Negative SEO” company trying to use this blog to damage someone else. Explanation below.
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I’ve written before about the dangers of lawyers outsourcing their marketing to others, because marketing and legal ethics are intertwined. Thus was born the simple formula:

outsourcing marketing = outsourcing ethics

But it isn’t just ethics that get outsourced. Those who outsource their marketing are also outsourcing their brains. Why? Because now you have an agent writing on the web on your behalf. The fact that something might not violate the code of professional responsibility doesn’t mean it isn’t stupid and humiliating.

Now comes today’s example. In late December I wrote about a fundraising event for Sandy Hook (12 Miles to Newtown). I don’t need to explain the many levels of horribleness of the massacre of children.

But because the New Jersey law firm of [redacted] apparently outsourced its marketing, this piece of tripe was posted in the comments:

Its a good way to show that, people are still care for each others.
Thanks for this!!!
It was a phase which is gone so now we have to move on.

The  writer is listed as haddonfield new jersey law firm, which is obviously the first clue to spam. The second clue is the link to the website embedded with the name. The third clue is the Gmail address of bobbywilson315@gmail.com.

But the final clue is, of course, the meaningless gibberish, which is definable as crap unrelated to the posting. Really now, “It was a phase which is gone so now we have to move on”?

Congrats to [redacted] for having someone write this in their name. Well played gentlemen, well played.

And now an offer to the firm — an idea I poached from Popehat and have used before– if you are willing to cough up the name of your godawful marketing company, I will modify this post.
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1/4/13 Update: Last night Drew Rigler of Impact Internet Marketing in New Jersey contacted me via email, aghast at what had happened. His small company does the Internet marketing for the law firm.

He says that everything they currently do is in house, and that their one attempt to outsource the creation of an app did not work out well. There isn’t anybody overseas that is paid to make comments on blogs. (The IP address for the comment spam says India.)

As I type, he said he is scrambling to find out how this happened. Now you would think that anyone looking to save their skin would claim to be aghast, right? But Rigler had this to say also, in his very first email to me:

I stand by our client and if you wish to drag anyone through the mud, feel free to use my name, my company, but not the great lawyers and team at [the law firm that hired us]. This is in no way reflective of them as a company or a firm.

That is an upstanding comment to make that I simply can’t take issue with.

I expect to update this again after Rigler completes his investigation. Since he (and the law firm) have a vested interest in finding out who did this and why, I expect that I will hear back from them.
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1/4/13 Update - Rigler got back to me again to let me know that their current belief is that a “Negative SEO” company was trying to damage the law firm, by dropping comment spam here and hoping that I would write about it.  While I know there are bad people in this world — and that such black hat tactics might go on in politics —  I never knew that a company could be founded on that principle and then target lawyers for its “marketing.”

And yet, Rigler tells me that such a company had actually pitched its services to one of the lawyers previously, which they obviously rejected, and then two bits of subtle attack popped up. One was here and one was elsewhere (which he showed me). He also gave me a link to the company that does it, which I won’t share so as not to give it any link juice.

Why did this happen? Was it anger by a company whose entreaties were spurned? A competitor hiring it? Someone testing the waters to see what happens? I don’t know.

Caveat Jurista.

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One Response Leave a comment

  • Max Kennerly 2013.1.5 at 22:53 | Quote

    Bottom of their website includes a link with the anchor text, “New Jersey Search Engine Optimization.” Gonna take a wild guess they’re connected.

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