Someone online hates you ethical approaches to online reputation management for lawyers


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  • Note that 80-85% of professional reviews are positive.
  • What do you do if you don’t like what someone writes about you online? You could sue, but you probably don’t have a case. And even if you do, it can backfire.
  • Photographer Kenneth Adelman was photographing beachfront property as past of the California Coastal Records Project. This photo was placed online, in a collection of 12,000 photos of the California coastline. In 2003, Streisand sued for $50M. This drove massive traffic to the site.
  • In 2009, Amanda Bonnen tweeted:“Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon Realty thinks its OK.” She had less than 20 followers on Twitter. Less impactful than talking with a couple of her friends. Horizon sued for $50,000, got tons of negative publicity, and lost.
  • Rakofsky vs. the Internet
  • Anti-SLAPP. WA, CA and 30 other states have anti-SLAPP laws. Special Motion to Strike; you’ll pay attorney’s fees and a $10,000 fine. Ken Aronson sued Moore and his production company for invasion of privacy and misappropriation of likeness; his voice and likeness appeared for 71 seconds in the film.
  • Often used in political campaignsAstroturfing definition: "falsely creating the impression of independent, popular support by means of an orchestrated and disguised public relations exercise....designed to give the impression of spontaneous support for an idea/product/company/service" (source: CIPR Social Media Guidelines)
  • Purpose: Fix the situation; “Save” the clientTheme: Establish a polite, authentic relationshipThank the review for their patronage and feedbackRespond to their concernsWhat can make it worse:RudenessCondescensionInsincerityAttacking the reviewerWhat to do:Thank them for the visit and feedbackTalk to any changes you’ve implemented because of the reviewRemember that prospective clients will learn more about you from your response
  • Don’t be shy about asking clients for reviews. The ones who like your service are likelier to leave a review anyway.
  • Solicit Reviews. Make it a part of the client exit process, or use the Avvo form. No issue under Washington RPC.Discuss Florida, issues in other states
  • You can’t control social media, but you can shape it. This works both to “push down” negative feedback AND sell your services.David Ogilvy: “Long copy sells more than short copy, particularly when you are asking the reader to spend a lot of money.”Victor Schwab: “A salesman does not say, “How do you do?” speak a few words about his product, then ask you to sign the order. No; he uses enough words to get your emotions and reasoning power flowing toward a sale.Yet many advertisements virtually say little more than “Hello—Our product is wonderful—Good-by.”Likewise, it is obvious (but often overlooked) that no reader can be influenced by good sales angles which don’t appear in the advertisement at all.”
  • This is a very common way a client referral will search: name + geo. Often adding “attorney” or “lawyer”This is what “long copy sells” means in the online world – having a deep well of information about you and your practice available EVERYWHERE online.
  • Someone online hates you ethical approaches to online reputation management for lawyers

    1. 1. Someone Online Hates You:Ethical Approaches to Reputation Management Josh KingGeneral Counsel & VP Business Development, Avvo, Inc.
    2. 2. People trust other people
    3. 3. Reviews• Everything is reviewed
    4. 4. The Internet Hate Machine
    5. 5. “See You in Court!”
    6. 6. The Streisand Effect
    7. 7. Avvo, Inc. Confidential - Copyright 2009
    8. 8. Anti-SLAPP
    9. 9. Why Not Write Your Own Review?
    10. 10. Responding to User Reviews
    11. 11. ExamplesGood Comments Professional has 5 reviews Four are 5-Star One is 1-Star
    12. 12. ExamplesGood Comments Professional has 4 reviews Three are 5-Star One is 1-Star
    13. 13. ExamplesIneffective/Corrosive Comments Professional has 4.5 stars based on 94 reviews
    14. 14. Review Solicitation
    15. 15. Online Content “Real prospects — especially prospects responsible for spending large sums — are hungry for information. Research shows that advertisements with really long copy actually tend to get read more thoroughly then advertisements with shorter copy. You might be able to sell a candy bar with very short copy but you could never make a case for buying a Cessna Citation in a handful of words.” - David Ogilvy
    16. 16. Owning Your “Online Real Estate”
    17. 17. Questions? Stay up to date on developments in the law of social media – and getJosh King notification of upcomingGeneral Counsel & free Avvo CLE webinars –Vice President, Business Development with my new monthly emailAvvo, Inc. newsletter: “Socially Awkward – WhereTwitter: @joshuamking Social Media Meets theEmail: Practice of Law” Email “subscribe” to