Interesting that you chose that site. I wonder if @panzermike will have
anything to say about this. He was very active in the comments on your
Comment by Dana (4 comments) — October 6, 2010 @ 7:52 am
Smart marketing IMO.
David, how’s the weather up there on your high horse? I guess you are against doctors who market that they treat certain illnesses and tug at heart strings too?
Comment by Jason (46 comments) — October 6, 2010 @ 8:57 am
I voted over the top…but did not vote that there needs to be legislation to eliminate it and/or Google needs to enforce it.
BTW: Just searched on the phrase wrongful death attorney San Francisco and that tag has been removed.
Ambulance chasing has moved into the modern digital age and more specifically into Google Places.
Comment by earlpearl (784 comments) — October 6, 2010 @ 10:10 am
I suppose it is classic ambulance chasing – tacky – shameless self-promotion – but isn’t that the name of the game for injury litigators? Broad application of such tactics do not make them right – but to make it illegal seems pretty extreme. Is taste, on the other hand, a variable in Google’s algorithm?
Once it gets some publicity and mileage tags like that will proliferate. Once they start to proliferate we’ll see what the reaction will be.
Who knows? We might start seeing professional wrestlers and porn stars start doing testimonials on behalf of prestigious law firms.
Comment by earlpearl (784 comments) — October 6, 2010 @ 10:41 am
@David at first glance I agreed with you but upon reflexion I decided that I wanted more view points to try to understand that which I did not understand.
@Dana I struggled whether to use the example so I asked PanzerMike whether it would be OK and he said yes. I am hoping that he will share his thinking and success from the tag.
@Jason I really appreciate your feedback but…. you are welcome to reproach me, I would prefer though if you took a more neutral tone towards others.
@Earl It is interesting that he changed it. As I noted above, I did ask his permission for the poll. I wonder what his thinking was before, during and after.
@Gerry there is a long history of regulation of advertising in our country. In fact it was illegal for lawyers to do any advertising until fairly recently. So there is some precedent for the view point.
@Shawn It certainly got my attention
Comment by Mike (2503 comments) — October 6, 2010 @ 10:53 am
The Wikipedia article on legal advertising was interesting. It noted:
Certain marketing practices are considered illegal, and many others may be considered violations of legal ethics. Shock advertising, for example, would be considered unethical; directly soliciting clients (known as barratry, or “ambulance chasing”) is illegal.
Shock advertising is defined to mean :
Shock advertising or Shockvertising is a type of advertising generally regarded as one that “deliberately, rather than inadvertently, startles and offends its audience by violating norms for social values and personal ideals.”
Comment by Mike (2503 comments) — October 6, 2010 @ 11:05 am
Has the flavor of barratry, but direct solicitation is not apparent. Falls in the cracks – thus the impetus for the post. Regulation – deregulation – there are certainly costs on both sides of this issue.
@Gerry so it seems. Also while it is not deliberately meant to be shocking, some people do find it so.
Thus the question of the day should a lawyer do it? not do it? Does the gain exceed the cost?
Comment by Mike (2503 comments) — October 6, 2010 @ 11:35 am
@Everyone: I got zero calls from the tag. However, I waited several days out of respect, before even posting it.
I know everyone hates lawyers. At least until they need one.
So it comes as no real surprise at all the negativity. But guess what….free speech EVEN applies to those who swore an oath to protect the 1st Amendment!
In all events, we posted it for the purpose of helping fire insurance claims victims. I am a former contractor as well, and have special knowledge in this field. I appreciate all the feedback. Thanks Mike B.
I see nothing wrong with it, is it just me? BTW looks like the tag is back and theres a link in the tag when you click through that takes you to a page with this text:
“His father, as well as himself, were licensed building contractors who assisted in rebuilding fire and explosion devastation in California, from Anaheim Hills, Villa Park, Simi Valley and other major CA cities.”
I was under the impression that advertising, being commercial speech, is not protected under the first amendment in the same way as individual speech
Comment by Mike (2503 comments) — October 6, 2010 @ 12:27 pm
That is incorrect. Commercial speech is afforded protection under the 1st Amendment. It is just held to a different standard. Commercial speech regulations were put in place to protect consumers from false advertising and fraud, etc. None of which is present in our ad.
But we removed the tag, as we noticed a decrease in click throughs. Alexa is important too!
@David. With respect, we have several locations statewide and sign clients up all across California, not just in LA. I would know, I commute all the time to get there. Making allegations that are based upon theory is unprofessional.
I have had several SEO companies threaten me with account suspension unless I hire them. Aren’t you selling Local SEO services?
This is such an interesting discussion and Panzermike is a good sport to have okayed you using his tag as an example. I think it can be instructive both for us and for him to discuss this.
Now, I didn’t vote in the above poll, because my honest response to this situation would be, ‘it depends’.
I think many of us have a gut feeling of distaste when we see money being made amidst an aura of personal loss or tragedy. I know it always strikes me as odd that a cemetery near my home has a marquee on the front of it saying “Pre-Need Sales”. In other words, people coming to visit their deceased loved ones are being met with a commercial for their own eventual demise. That makes me feel a little funny. At the same time, I understand that the cemetery is offering a service that is, in fact, needed and also that, like any other business, they need to make money to maintain their business.
So, why does ‘it depend’? When I first saw Panzermike’s advertisement, I admit, it did not make a good impression on me. We live not far from the San Bruno tragedy and know people whose loved ones lost their homes in the fire. Close to home. The most sensitive part of my heart says, “how could anyone make money off of this?”
But, on second and third consideration, I feel I have to make allowances for the unknown factors in the situation. What if the lawyer, for example, lost a friend in this fire and in his grief said to himself, “I am going to help anyone I can who lost something in this fire. I’m going to see that legal retribution is made.”
Now, if this were the back story, and I reacted with distaste to an ad like this, I would be acting in ignorance of all of the nuances of what was going on.
And what if it is ambulance chasing? Just a business tactic to be where the money is? Well, then I’m not feeling as understanding or tolerant, but I still do comprehend that lawyers have to earn a living. To me, it does seem extreme to use a tragedy as an advertisement, and I can’t imagine doing this myself, but without knowing all of the facts, I find it very hard to make a solely ethical judgment on this.
Sorry if my response is overly-long, but I think this discussion is extremely interesting and the comments being made are definitely showing all of us (including Panzermike) user sentiment regarding this practice.
I notice you have since deleted all your responses where you tried to maintain that your old titles were your legitimate business name. .I see you took my advice and changed those as well. Your welcome.
As for your fake offices, the evidence I gave in the above google help thread is concrete. I’m sure you do travel around California, but you set some of these offices up whether they were virutal or with an attorney friend for the sole purpose of creating extra listings in Google Places.
@David: If you go the LA County website you will clearly see that I had registered several DBA’s for my business.
Rather than argue with you about by business model, I tried to remove the thread, along with your commentsan as they are inflamatory and unprofessional. You sell SE0 I believe. You attacked me rather than try to help. You disagreed with my business model of having one central mail location and extrapolated from that that we have fake offices.
You obviously did not
“homework”? If you would like to continue this conversation via e mail, I will send you a link to my dba’s.
This is getting off topic. But accusing someone of lying when they are not, is reckless. Aren’t you selling SEO services?
I have reached out to you by e mail but you are non responsive. I am not into arguing just to make myself look smart.
Whether such types of marketing methods are right or wrong is not relevant and deflects from a bigger issue. I would think that any serious business that has a sense of pride in its own image would not do anything that made it appear seedy or tasteless and cheapen its integrity. There are many business practices and marketing methods that may be ‘legal’ but are not exactly ethical or praiseworthy.
Psychology is often used as part of advertisements and to a certain extent it is acceptable and even beneficial but it can also be misused – for example, to apply psychological pressure and pick at the self-esteem of women by inviting them to the swimming pool – in an advert for a popular cereal that markets itself for the health/weight conscious. However, to be fair, in that particular example, in subsequent re-runs of that advertisement, the ‘see you by the pool’ remark was dropped – which indicates that they may have done some focus group testing and realized that consumers could see through it and was likely hurting their image.
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.