Hey Anthony Hughes: Comment Spam is Ethically Bankrupt! Hey Mr. G: Comment Spammers Should Be Personally Injured!
We talk and we talk and we talk about comment spam, but lawyers still do it. Time to call some out.
Anthony Hughes, a Sacramento bankruptcy attorney, only got his bar card in 2007 after graduating from Lincoln Law School. Anthony is apparently a very hard worker; in four years he's already been involved in lots and lots of cases:
Bankruptcy Attorney Anthony Hughes has been involved in over 5,000 bankruptcy cases which have resulted in discharges of millions of dollars of debt. He has spent an average of 20 hours per week for the last two and a half years in the bankruptcy courtrooms and the rest of his time has been spent assisting clients throughout California to obtain all the relief available to them under federal and state law, and attending substantial amounts of seminars on cutting edge topics affecting Bankruptcy Law, Foreclosure, and Debt Relief.
By my calculations, that means that Anthony Hughes, Sacramento bankruptcy attorney, has been involved as a lawyer in 3.42 cases per day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks per year, since he got his bar card. Jesus, Anthony, take a vacation! Unless Anthony is exaggerating, or "involved with" means that the case files resided in the same office in which Anthony is physically located, or — worse yet — Anthony is being tricky and referring to cases he was "involved in" before he became a lawyer. But Anthony wouldn't be tricky like that. Would he?
Anthony is too busy to be tricky. Anthony, or some marketing expert working for Anthony, spammed this blog last week with ten comments saying this:
Good post, its nice to see some real analysis! [spam link to Anthony's site omitted]
Anthony, or his marketing expert, liked our analysis on a number of posts — including posts calling out attorneys for using comment spam. The kids these days, with their irony: I can never tell when they are serious.
Now meet Mr. G, a personal injury attorney. I know that sounds familiar, but this is a totally different spamming personal injury attorney.
Mr. G's hobbies are personal injury litigation and banal website copy like "our firm's greatest asset is our people," by which I frankly hope Mr. G does not mean his marketing people, because they suck. Mr. G or his marketing team left the insightful comment "Thank you for that great article" on two posts this morning, both of which related to prostitution. I'm not sure whether Mr. G or his marketing team is particularly enthusiastic about prostitution, or thinks that his potential clients will be interested in prostitution, or thinks that prostitution-related posts are particularly effective for SEO manipulation. Who can say?
As I see it, there are four possibilities:
1. Some third party, without Anthony's or Mr. G's permission, plugged their names and web sites into some auto-comment-spam program just to test it out. Unlikely.
2. Someone vile enemy, wanting to darken Anthony's and Mr. G's good name, plugged their names and web sites into an auto-comment spam program to make them appear sleazy. I suppose it's possible. But it seems unlikely.
3. Anthony and Mr. G hired "marketing experts" or "SEO experts" without understanding (or caring) what they did, and failed to supervise them adequately. This is a strong possibility.
4. Anthony and Mr. G deliberately chose to attempt to improve their search engine ranking by comment spam, and don't see anything wrong with it, or don't care if it's scummy or not. Experience suggests that this is entirely plausible.
Anthony's and Mr. G's web sites both appear to have been designed by a moderately talented fifth-grader, so I'm guessing that they didn't personally fire up an auto-spam program and type in their insipid spam comments. My bet is that they used a "marketing expert", and either (1) went "eh, whatever" when the "marketing expert" told them what they were going to do to improve their search engine position, or (2) utterly failed to supervise what methods were being used to "improve their web presence."
When you outsource your marketing, you outsource your ethics and your reputation.
Comment spam doesn't work. All it does is piss people off. If you are someone who depends on a good reputation — like a decent lawyer — then it can be counter-productive, as searches for you or your firm can start to return hits on your shitty little comment spams, or on posts like this. Plus, anyone familiar with lawyering, or with SEO, or with internet etiquette, will conclude that you are either (1) ethically challenged, (2) judgmentally challenged, or (3) incapable of supervising your hirelings.
I have previously called out comment-spamming lawyers by name and subsequently deleted their names upon sufficient apologies or explanations. The problem persists. Here is the price of getting your name taken off a post like this: (1) a personal apology, including taking responsibility for either bad judgment or for inadequate supervision, (2) the name of the marketer who spammed on your behalf, so that I can call out that person and/or company by name, and (3) sufficient proof (like email correspondence with that marketer) to show that you're not just throwing some random marketer under the bus.
Attention, lawyers who engage in, or permit, comment spam: we will name and shame.
[Editor's note: based on an apology, I removed one of the names on this post.]
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