Too Seldom Is The Question Asked: Who Are Be Defensing Our Criminals?

Here at Popehat we like calling out lawyers who attempt to promote themselves by spamming blogs with inane comments designed to enhance search engine rankings. Spam comments nominally promoting lawyers demonstrate what lawbloggers have been saying over and over: when you outsource your marketing to Web 2.0's snake-oil salesmen, you outsource your reputation and your ethics.

Ultimately watching for attorney comment spam gets dull. So many of them are alike. But now and then you'll see a real gem. Courtesy of Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice, today we have this one, which was left on a TSA post rather tangential to criminal defense:

i think defensing the criminal is such a great thing. The criminals must have legal rights to hire advocates. I am a criminal lawyer and my office is Detroit criminal Lawyer

This delightful spam comment ostensibly promotes a law firm in the Midwest.

Some protips, Midwest Law Firm: (1) "Defensing" is not a word.

Not to be confused with defenestrating, which is more satisfying but leads to fewer referals.

(2) Professional defense attorneys generally avoid repeatedly referring to people accused of crimes as "criminals," as that is the government's job.

And finally: (3) Midwest Law Firm, I want to believe that you didn't draft that yourself. God, I want to believe that, even though you include an attorney who proclaims himself a marketing expert. But if I do believe it, then I also have to believe that you turned over your firm's marketing, or "web presence", or "social media position," or some other vapid terminology of the month, to some slick-talking marketing stooge. That stooge is either himself a sub-literate idiot (because he thinks that "defensing" is a word, and because he thinks that comment spam works), or he is taking your firm's reputation and ethics and re-outsourcing them to someone who barely speaks English. The comment spam does nothing to improve your firm's search engine rankings; it just leaves drivel droppings across the web making you look like a moron. Fire your marketeer forthwith. Use a shovel if necessary.

By the way, I'll make the Midwest Law Firm the following offer: I will scrub this post of data identifying him and his firm on two conditions. First condition, he must make a sincere apology for outsourcing his reputation and ethics (or, if he did this deliberately himself, a sincere apology to the English language and to defendants everywhere). Second condition, he must provide emails or other documentation identifying the marketeer he hired who produced the comment spam and proving their responsibility for this, so that we can alter the post to call them out by name. Because lawyers who hire bad marketeers have bad judgment, but bad marketeers are vermin, and ought to be stomped.

Edited September 2012: the lawyer in question has made a satisfactory statement of contrition and I have scrubbed the post. The point remains.

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. says

    Just emailed the gmail address in the comment spam with a link to this post. I told them that if it is a marketeer controlling that account, they have two days to come clean to Scott about spamming on his behalf until I turn them in.

    That should be a fun conversation.

  2. says

    I really like this post.
    The likelihood of [the attorney] doing the right thing in response is close to nil, but if he does, it'll elevate him quite a few pegs in the eyes of myself and I'm sure many others as well.

  3. says

    Oh come now, you are denying the wonder of English, where any noun can become a verb at need. And when you have a verb form, surely there must be a gerund version lurking in the bushes some where, waiting to strike.

    This "you kids get off my languaging!" attitude is so 19th century or something. Crankinessing will get you nowhere.

    (Besides which, Googling (there it is again!) "defensing" comes up with a disturbing number of results. People are defensing against anything from their uncle to climate change it seems.)

  4. Josh says

    Just for giggles, I ran that IP address through a geolocation service. I'm sure you have already done this, but I found it interesting that it resolves back to Dhaka, Bangladesh. Based on this, I think it's quite unlikely that the law firm in question made this post themselves; instead, I think they have hired a scumbag PR or SEO firm, and that this is a terrible, terrible attempt to boost their pagerank.

  5. J says

    Wow. As a moderator on a rather large forum with some 75k accounts, fighting spam is a big part of what I do. And surprise, we could get rid of 80% of the spam just by blocking IPs from India and Pakistan.

    Every now and then I investigate some especially weird spam. Once I found some Indian spammer going by "Egon Spengler" that outsourced "reputation management" to other people, by means of making vaguely on-topic posts all over the forums.

    Which, given the horribly broken English used, didn't last many minutes. There are only so many posts of "I agree" they can do before suspicion is raised.

  6. says

    If the attorney in question meets your demands, can you leave this post up with obfuscated information, like calling him "Scott Q Pseudonym" or something, so we can still laugh when we read your archives three years from now?

  7. Tom says

    I can only hope that he's also paying for all the "potential clients" suddenly visiting his site.

  8. Bob says

    "I can only hope that he’s also paying for all the “potential clients” suddenly visiting his site."

    Comment spam DOES work!

  9. Dan says

    My solo law firm website has no blog, so no comments. I do get, however, frequent emails through the firm website submission form.

    Here is the text of one I got today: "We are Internet Marketing experts who can help you answer these questions, drive mass traffic to your site, and dramatically increase sales." No phone or address, just a name and email for responding to this very tempting offer.

    As a fairly regular Popehat reader and someone with common sense, I simply discard these emails. I'm (happily) very busy and don't have time for anything more than deleting them. The troublemaker side of me is strongly inclined to bait the spammer into a series of foolish email responses – I just never get motivated to do so.

    Clearly the comment spam is nonsense. An attorney, even a really bad, foolish attorney, who responds to a cold-call email promising web traffic will be put off by speaking to someone with a language barrier. There is some middleman farming out the marketing of naive attorneys to the third world. That middleman needs to be shamed.

  10. ElamBend says

    I love [the lawyer's] pic on the website with "the look". Scott Aronson, he stares down the law.

    gucci bags kin kardashian

  11. Helmut Schpunkewitz says

    i think defensing the spammer is such a great thing. The advocado must have legal rights to hire marketeers. I am a marketeer and my office is Detroit spammy Marketeering

  12. Rich Rostrom says

    One very teeny point in defense: it is possible that "defensing" is a probable typing error, S and D being adjacent keys. I'd guess that's why
    "defensing" gets a lot of search hits.

  13. markm says

    "Just for giggles, I ran that IP address through a geolocation service. I’m sure you have already done this, but I found it interesting that it resolves back to Dhaka, Bangladesh."

    Darn, you mean this may not be the perfect place to find a trial lawyer if you expect to lose and appeal on grounds of incompetent counsel?

  14. Rick C says

    @Ken, how often do lawyer spammers actually respond at all, relative to the number of spams you get?

  15. Rick C says

    @Wilhelm Arcturus, regarding your accusations of fuddy-duddyism, have you seen the video by one of the #occupywhatever protests, where he shows a bunch of hand signals, and mentions that one of them signifies "agreeance?" This must not stand.

  16. says

    Yeah, they have to use their "quiet hands" to show support or dissent.

    My only two questions were:

    1) does me punching them in the fucking face count as a "quiet hand" and 2) would it signal support or disagreement?