Linking Strategies

Dr. Ralph Wilson, better known to the world as "Dr. E-Biz" makes a great point in his latest newsletter.

Everyone wants a better ranking in Google and Yahoo, and some Web sites will link to anybody, including the notorious link farms, just to increase their "link popularity," and thus their ranking with the search engines.  "I'm convinced that Internet marketers must exercise restraint in linking," Wilson says.

Ralph_wilson_1 He writes:

The problem is that many so-called marketers believe that any in- or outbound link a good link. They're wrong. Increasingly, search engines are defining sites by the context and hyperlink text of webpages that link to them and that they link to. Linking indiscriminately will diffuse your site's focus and thus your search engine ranking. Be very selective. Exchange links only with sites that have commonalties with and complement your site. Don't link to a site you wouldn't want your visitors to go to.

Ken Evoy has just released a free e-book Make Your Links WORK! The 80-20 Keep-It-Real Guide to Linking (February 2005). The book contains excellence advice on linking. Chapter 3, "The Best Ways to Build Incoming Links Now," explains the importance of links from directories, both primary and second tier directories. Then, instead of the term "reciprocal links" or "link-exchanging," he advocates the term "value-exchange," because quality, focused links add value to both sites -- and their visitors.

"Bottom line? Keep it real," says Evoy. "Do not do it for the engines. Do it for your visitors." Finally, he explains how to find good linking partners and promotes the use of SiteSell's free Value Exchange to find other willing partners.


LSSO launches legal sales blog

The Legal Sales and Service Organization has launched a blog at  The initial contributors are

  • Lsso_logo Catherine MacDonough, Director of Business Development, Day, Berry & Howard LLP, Boston, MA, and LSSO Director .
  • Silvia Coulter, author and marketing consultant, of Boston, LSSO president.
  • and myself, as Regional Director of the PM Forum North America and member of the LSSO Editorial Board.

LSSO provides educational conferences and workshops to further develop the skills of legal sales and service professionals. Its faculty includes highly respected professionals and academics in sales, service and total quality and process management.

LSSO membership is for professionals who recognize that business and client development skills must be cultivated to successfully sell legal services and retain clients. LSSO delivers the education and resources that lawyers need to improve their sales and client service skills.  Chief among their programs are the excellent LSSO's RainDance Conference, which will be on June 12-15, 2005, at the Hilton Logan Airport in Boston, MA. Registration begins March 1.


Oh No! First SPAM, now SPIM!

As if SPAM weren't bad enough, a new plague is spreading in the world of instant messaging: SPIM -- unsolicited commercial instant messages.  About a third of all adults in the US who use IM -- 17 million Americans -- say they've gotten SPIM during their real-time online conversations, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

Yes, now you get instant messages about mortgages, pharmaceuticals and free cruises via IM.  IM is hugely popular with kids, and now corporations have been turning to instant messaging as a way to avoid spam.  Radicati Group Inc., a technology research company in Palo Alto, CA, predicts instant messaging will grow 85 percent through 2008, spurred mainly by rising corporate use.

In regular emails, SPAM makes up a repellent 75 to 85 percent of all messages.  This is a hideous, sickening statistic.  But SPIM is worse, because it can transmit viruses, worms and spyware.  How would you like to have a virus on your Blackberry?  As if couldn't get worse, there are filters for SPAM, but not for SPIM.  SPIM will flood you IM messages lists, bog down your cell phone and compromise your security.

This month, the police arrested an 18-year-old jerk in New York for sending more than a million pieces of SPIM to members of  Astonishingly, he was charged with violating the federal Can-Spam act, one of the most ineffective laws ever enacted.  This dorkwad runs a business that pays spammers to send spam about porn sties.  He tried to blackmail by threatening to post the computer code for sending SPIM on a public Web site.  Note to the New York Authorities: please find a cold, dark, bug-infested hole for this guy's cell.


Suppose Someone Buys Your Adword

Google Here's a great marketing idea: take out an advertisement displaying the logo and pictures of the top firm in your field.  But where the contact information appears, put in your own phone number and email address.  Imagine all the business you'll get!

That's exactly what's going with Google and Yahoo adwords.

Law Office Computing has a fascinating article "AdWords Spark Debate" on page 26 of the February/March 2005 issue about this.  Adwords are terms you can buy, so that when a person types that word in a search, your ad appears next to the results.

So what if someone buys an adword that is your trademarked term?  Google makes $1 billion a year selling adwords and will be delighted to sell the name of your firm, trademark or personal name to a competitor.

OvertureGeico insurance filed a trademark infringement suit in in federal court in Alexandria, VA, against Google and Overture (owned by Yahoo), charging they sold the adword "Geico" to competitors, causing confusion for Geico's customers.  I just tried it: I typed Geico in Google and got ads for,,, and in the right column of the results page.

Of course in the LEFT side of the page listing the search results -- the part of the page that counts -- Geico was all the listings, so I wasn't very confused.  Nevertheless, I think Geico's in the right.  Buying adwords for a competitor's name, tagline or personnel is wrong and I hope the people who do it pay millions in damages. I hope Google and Yahoo have to disgorge their ill-gotten profits.

Ostermiller complained about the tactic and Cowgill gave up the adword.  Click here for Kevin O'Keefe's summary of this story.

It's the wild west out there on the Web, and you better have your Winchester ready to defend your good name.  Start by calling up and screaming at the person who bought your name as an adword, follow up with a nastygram and finish them off with a lawsuit, right between the eyes.


Corporate Legal Times is Acquired

Wicks_logo Corporate Legal Times, one of the major national publications reaching law firm customers -- general counsel -- has been acquired. CLT was launched in 1991 and is the oldest monthly magazine published specifically for in-house counsel. It has a monthly circulation of more than 40,000 U.S. in-house counsel, including more than 11,000 general counsel. In addition, through its partnership with the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, Corporate Legal Times is also read each month by almost 2,000 Canadian Corporate Counsel.

Here is the official release:

Wicks Business Information Acquires Corporate Legal Times

Fairfield, Connecticut (February 22, 2005) - Wicks Business Information, LLC (WBI) has acquired certain assets of Corporate Legal Times, LLC, WBI CEO Douglas J. Manoni announced today. Corporate Legal Times is the leading monthly magazine for General Counsel and other in-house corporate counsel and the producer of the annual SuperConference. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.


"I am excited by the addition of the Corporate Legal Times franchise to our business," said Manoni, noting that the legal publisher and conference producer will join Investment Advisor Group, publisher of Investment Advisor magazine and the Investment Advisor Wealth Advisor Summit, and Treasury & Risk Management magazine, which also produces three annual conferences for chief financial officers, corporate reasurers and controllers. "We are impressed with the quality of the products and the team at Corporate Legal Times," added Manoni, who noted that Publisher Nathaniel Slavin and Executive Editor Robert Vosper will continue with the magazine and SuperConference following the acquisition.

Founded in 1991 and headquartered in Chicago, Corporate Legal Times has the highest quality and largest reach into the category of any publication. With audited circulation of 40,000, it serves Chief Legal Officers, senior in-house corporate counsel as well as other attorneys and top corporate executives. It covers critical business and strategy information for corporate legal departments and regularly reports on corporate governance and compliance, litigation, labor and employment, and intellectual property. Among its annual surveys and reports are the Annual General Counsel Survey, The Annual Report of Corporate Legal Departments and the CLT10, an examination of 10 innovators in corporate legal solutions. Corporate Legal Times also operates a highly informative Web site,, featuring expanded survey information, resources for in-house counsel and selected columns and articles from the monthly magazine.

Corporate Legal Times sponsored the launch of the SuperConference in 2001. The Chicago based conference attracts more than 750 attendees and 40 exhibitors and sponsors. Featured speakers have included former U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, Exelon Chairman & CEO John Rowe and Jeffrey Toobin, legal writer for The New Yorker and CNN analyst. The 2005 SuperConference will be held June 22-23, 2005, at The Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers.

"This acquisition is great news for Corporate Legal Times' readers and advertisers, as well as the attendees, sponsors and exhibitors of the SuperConference. Wicks' strategy is to improve CLT's value across the board for all our constituencies," said Nat Slavin, Publisher of Corporate Legal Times. "Wicks' management has identified and committed to a series of investments to enhance the quality and potential for our business." Added Slavin: "Our constituencies, particularly our readers, have come to depend on Corporate Legal Times for uniquely valuable information and services tailored precisely for the in-house community. Under Wicks' direction, our constituencies can be confident that Corporate Legal Times' future is brighter than ever."

The acquisition of Corporate Legal Times marks the first purchase by WBI since the announcement earlier in February of a significant recommitment of capital from The Wicks Group of Companies, L.L.C. WBI's newly focused strategy will center on the acquisition of businesses with specialized information products serving overlapping and related segments of the financial and corporate markets, including those with compliance and regulatory requirements.

WBI ( is a business-to-business information company based in Fairfield, Connecticut. In addition to the support and significant capital resources of The Wicks Group of Companies, the WBI management team has extensive experience in magazine, newsletter, and database publishing as well as event and other specialized information product management.

The Wicks Group of Companies ( is a New York-based private equity investment firm focused on selected segments of the communications, information and media industries.

# # #

The Wicks Group of Companies, L.L.C.
405 Park Avenue, Suite 702
New York, NY 10022

Contact: Douglas J. Manoni, Wicks Business Information, LLC

Nat Slavin, Corporate Legal Times


Marketer Makes Partner in Houston

Karen Love, the Director of Practice Growth of PKF Texas, has snagged the golden ring for marketers: she did such a great job for her firm that she was made a partner after working at the firm for only 4 years!

Karen_loveI picked this news up from the latest issue of Marketrends, the newsletter of the Association for Accounting Marketing, where she is a Member-at-large on the board of directors:
Under her tenure at PKF Texas, the accounting firm experienced unprecedented growth, moving from Houston's 17th largest firm to the 7th largest in 2004. The firm has doubled in number of employees and revenues over that period. 

According to PKF Texas President, Kenneth Guidry, "Karen is truly a team player in that she measures her success by how successful we are as a firm. Karen has played a leadership role in directing our strategy and branding and in helping shape our firm's culture and focus. She is an advocate for personal and professional growth and for embracing change. Her overall impact and value to our firm are immeasurable. From day one with us she evidenced an entrepreneurial and ownership mindset."

Karen has more than ten years of experience in the accounting industry, having been recognized as CPA Marketing Report's Marketer of the Year in 2002 and as one of Accounting Today's Top 100 Most Influential People in the Accounting Profession. She's even got her own Web page on the PKF site -- where she's presented as "PKF's Ambassador for the Marketplace." 

Now they'll have to upgrade her to "shareholder." Congratulations Karen.

Corporate Blogs

Robert_scoble Wouldn't you love to get paid to have a job like "technical evangelist"?  That's what Robert Scoble's job is, and he works for none other than Microsoft.  He has an excellent blog called Scobleizer.

To me, the highest and best use of a blog is a practice group or industry group blog, where several professionals in a firm contribute to a blog.  It has the advantages of drawing from several minds, doesn't put all the posting work on one person, and is a superb tool to market a practice.  Step One is to read "The Corporate Weblog Manifesto," a PDF file that covers the do's and dont's of group blogs. 

The intro says, "Before you post to the company blog again, read this manifesto. To blog guru Robert Scoble, business bloggers should have a few things in common. Among them, they should steer clear of PR-cleansed jargon, they should have a thick skin, and they should avoid writing during times of emotional turmoil. Scoble, a Microsoft strategist, knows his stuff--he's one of the best-known blogging personalities on the Web."

Read this and become wise.


Jerry Lawson Back to Blogging

JerrylawsonThe good news is that veteran writer Jerry Lawson is back to blogging actively, having recovered from a bad auto accident in which he and his wife were injured.  Jerry posted a photo online of what his car looked like after a tree fell on it after being hit by lightnight.

Jerry has written some great stuff for the Lawmarketing Portal including the seminar article, "Web Logs for Lawyers."  You can find Jerry's work online at NetLawTools, the Netlawblog and many other sites.  It's good news because as Dennis Kenny said, "I've never found anyone who 'gets' the implications of the Internet for lawyers (and others) more than Jerry does."


How to Stop Junk E-Mail: Charge for the Stamp

The best idea for getting rid of spam is in today's New York Times: simply charge the sender to deliver the message. This will asphyxiate spam immediately, because no spammer who has to pay 1 cent per message to send 1 million pieces of junk e-mail will pay it. 

As the receiver, you simply set your filters not to accept any email that does not have postage on it.  "No stamp, no entry," write Randall Stross on page 5 of Section 3, the Sunday Business Section of the February 13, 2005 paper.

The idea is so simple I'm astonished it hasn't been adopted yet.  Not only would email postage annihilate spam, it would be a new revenue source for ISPs, AOL, Yahoo and EarthLink, as they collect money to send emails.  Email postage certainly beats the CAN-SPAM law, lawsuits against spammers, port-blocking notions or stamping messages with digital signatures -- all of which have failed pathetically.

The idea mirrors the postal system: you can send out third-class junk mail, but you just have to pay a little something for it.  It forces the senders to be very targeted and careful with their mailing lists.  It permits recipients to get those discount hotel and airline offers they want to get.

The article is online at pass the link on.


Email - Alive and Well

To paraphrase Mark Twain, my earlier post about email's demise was exaggerated. For it appears that folks "in the trenches" -- like my colleague Joshua Fruchter at eLawMarketing -- who handles email campaigns for law firms and other clients on a day-to-day basis continue to experience phenomenal results with email marketing, spam notwithstanding.

Josh_fruchter eLawMarketing is a perfect example of how to do email right. With a stellar client list that includes the International Bar Association, and such large law firms as DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, and Milbank Tweed, eLawMarketing is finding that open and click-through rates on law firm email newsletters and alerts remain very strong while unsubscribes are practically nil.

And as Josh points out, email remains a medium by which you can instantly deliver content that is personalized and tailored to reader interests and in which you can track reader behavior at the individual recipient level (offering an execellent source of market intelligence).

And in the e-commerce sphere, email remains a key driver of sales. Josh tells me of one of e-commerce client - Glenny's - which saw saw annual online sales of their healthy snacks triple from low five figures to mid-six figures largely on the strength of their innovative email campaigns.

Firms such as eLawMarketing have confronted the spam issue head-on by pioneering solutions that increase deliverability, including:

  • Software to screen emails for "voodoo" words that might trigger filters
  • Whitelisting with ISPs
  • Private IP addresses
  • Participation in Ironport's Bonded Sender program.

Solutions like these separate the "email men" from the boys.

Blogs or e-mail what works best? Answer: both.  At eLawMarketing, experience working with more than 50 law firms and legal organizations has shown that email remains a powerful tool for communicating with EXISTING clients. Because clients typically communicate with their attorneys via email on a regular basis, there are virtually no filtering issues. Clients will also immediately recognize their law firm's name when an email alert arrives in their inbox, thus eliminating concerns about source. Indeed, when a client sees an email alert from their lawyer about some new law or regulation that affects their business, you can bet they'll read it - and fast.

On the other hand, blogs have emerged as an excellent tool for establishing oneself as an authority with the media, and reinforcing expertise with potential clients who may not wish to receive email from a law firm with whom they don't have an existing business relationship. Recognizing this strength, firms such as eLawMarketing have entered the blog design field with vigor. As but one example, eLawMarketing client JD Bliss has rapidly emerged as a leading information source for attorneys on work/life balance and career satisfaction largely on the strength of its blog at

Tongue-in-cheek, Josh has pointed out that for every blogger who claims "email is dead," you'll probably find a link on their blog to their email address stating "Email Me" or "Contact Me." Very true. Looks like both technologies are here to stay for the long haul.


    Firms Flocking to Blogging Webinar

    Kevin_okeefeFirms like Haynes Boone, Riker Danzig, Phillips Nizer, Orten & Hindman, Foley & Lardner, PKF Texas, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Hawley Troxell Ennis & Hawley, and many other professional firms are signing up for the Blogging Webinar that Kevin O'Keefe and I will present on February 17

    To sign up yourself just go to and find out all the details of what we'll cover.

    Kevin, in case you've been living offline all your life, is the master sensei and online maestro of blogs, the advantages of blogs and setting up blogs for professionals.  Just type "Kevin O'Keefe blog" in Google and all 10 of the top listings will be for his blog.  He runs "Real Lawyers Have Blogs" at and lexBlog at

    Kevin was a trial lawyer for 17 years, and he successfully marketed that business online. He did it in such a positive way that USA Today said if he wasn't careful, he may wind up giving lawyers a good name.

    He also served as a Vice President of LexisNexis' Martindale-Hubbell, heading the formation of content and community for small and medium law firms.  It is now incorporated into the online lawyer directory at

    In our blogging Webinar, we'll be talking about blogs like those of J. Craig Williams, a partner in a five-lawyer firm in Newport Beach, CA.  When Williams began his Web log,, in August 2003, it brought him hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of legal business.  It's a technique that will work for all lawyers, accountants, management consultants and professionals -- including you.

    I've known Kevin for years -- first meeting him online in the LawMarketing Listserv, which I operate -- and we hit it off immediately.  I have some interesting stories to tell about blogs, how they work for marketing and 7 compelling reasons to start a blog.  Fortune magazine declared that blogs are the No. 1 Technology Trend, so why not find out what the hubbub is about.  Sign up today at  You won't regret it.


    Hi-Tech to the Rescue

    I had a real "Legal Tech" moment today as I was entering the room to speak on the topic "The Latest Web Technologies and Tricks for Generating Clients"  at LegalTech in New York. One of my co-presenters came up asked me two minutes before showtime, "you've got my slide show on your laptop, don't you?"

    "No," I said, puzzled.

    "Well I emailed them to you two days ago."

    Aha! I had left my office two days ago to come to New York and my trusty assistant reads all my email in my absence.  She sorts through all the messages and forwards the really important stuff to my secret email address.  I hadn't checked email in two days, and my colleague hadn't phoned me to check that I got the slides.

    We sat down at the speaker's table and knew how tense my copresenter felt in front of the crowd of people.   PowerPoint slides are the sine qua non of presentatations to tech audiences.  We bought some time while the third panelist started the program going.  Meanwhile I remembered that the Hilton Hotel had Wayport wi-fi and I managed covertly to log on wirelessly as the program proceeded.  Once online, I went to my secret email address and discovered the slides.  I downloaded them on the spot, and tapped my colleague's shoulders as the slides displayed on my laptop screen.  No one in the audience was any the wiser.

    I was even able to add a colored background to the slides and the presentation went off without a hitch. Technology saved the day.  How appropriate at Techshow.