Who's Who? Who Cares!

Whos_who_cube_1There's been a hot discussion on the LawMarketing Listserv as to whether there's any value being in one of the "Who's Who" books.  The response has been a resounding NO.

There's Marquis Who's Who, Strathmore's Who's Who, Who's Who Online, Europa's International Who's Who, and so forth.  I responded, "Didn't it used to  be called "Wastemoremoney's Who's Who?"

"I'm assuming this is another listing that is unnecessary and carries no prestige," said Melissa L. Jones, Marketing Director of Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir, P.C.

Tom Kane chimed about a great article in Forbes FYI in March 1999 that debunked all of these "Who's Who" listings.  It's great ammo to show to a partner who need his prominence confirmed: http://www.forbes.com/fyi/1999/0308/063.html. "That article was a great help to me in staving off requests for lawyers' inclusion and references to "Who's Who" listings in the attorney bios when I was in-house," Tom said.

The article is great ammo to present to partners whose egos have caused them to be interested in "an honor that only a select few ever enjoy."  Being listed used to mean you had attained a significant achievement or position in your field. Not any more.  It turns out, anybody can get into Who's Who.  It now includes bowling coaches, gym teachers, undertakers, administrative assistants, landscapers and school nurses.  There are more than 100,000 entries in "Who's Who in America."

Of course, I can't remember ever looking up anybody in a Who's Who book, except for my own listing, which I first got when I was an Associate Editor at a bar association magazine.

The Who's Who publication's aren't picky about who gets into their books.  John Fox Sullivan, a member of a Who's Who board of advisors, told Forbes, "The reality is, I don't do anything."  So there are a lot of self-nominated people who haven't really accomplished much.  Nearly everyone who is nominated gets into the book. 

Afterwards the publisher works hard to sell you copy of the book for $749 ($1,595 for the Web version), and a mahogany wall plaque for $99, crystal desktop ornaments for $149, crystal bookends for $349, silver charm bracelet for $129, lapel pin for $64, Bulova watches for $195, or a leather briefcase for $199.

Whenever I saw someone touting their inclusion in Who's Who, I immediately thought "what a pathetic loser" or "what an insecure egomaniac."

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Golden Practices - May 28, 2005 10:15 AM
I've been saying this to professionals for years and it is a discussion that keeps coming up, much to my dismay. Larry Bodine posted a summary of a recent Lawmarketing Discussion List thread on whether or not there is value
Golden Practices - May 28, 2005 10:19 AM
I've been saying this to professionals for years and it is a discussion that keeps coming up. Larry Bodine posted a summary of a recent Lawmarketing Discussion List thread on whether or not there is value in a Who's Who
Comments (5) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Nita - February 16, 2006 6:34 AM

Who's Who? Who Cares!

Bryan - November 20, 2006 9:17 PM

Haha, you know what makes this even more hilarious? I'm a 17 year old in high school and I received an "invitation" to the Who's Who Registry.

It makes you think how much people waste money on these "titles".

Lisa Coburn - January 18, 2007 7:08 PM

I just got a invitation to Strathmores Who's Who; after being told about the "honor" they told me that it would only cost me $600+
for a life membership or $300+ for a three year membership. I passed.
At least with some of them, you can say yes to the listing and just pass on buying a book.

Mike - January 30, 2007 9:27 PM

I live in a rural Texas town pop 748 people and 2700 cattle. What cow in it's right mind would want to see me in a book that costs a lot of money. That's what I call high priced toilet paper.

Philip L Franckel, Esq. - February 26, 2007 7:58 PM

My grandfather is listed, and I am listed as his grandson, in Who's Who in Paris where Who's Who really means something. These publications mean nothing in the United States. They are solely an attempt to make sales and they are quite good at that. I receive many junk mail invitations to be listed in all kinds of Who's Who from different companies. These companies offer to list my name and sell me a certificate or plaque.

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