Martindale-Hubbell is a LexisNexis company that serves as an attorney and law firm search, branding, and rating service. Similar to traditional, premiere search listing services like Yellow Pages and Google, customers of Martindale (attorneys and law firms) can pay for a priority listing, which syndicates their information across other consumer facing search resources (see below for more details). Two weeks ago, the blog What About Clients put up a post, Martindale-Hubbell: Should we all “just say no?” in which they questioned whether the service was worth the cost and questioned what attorneys really got for listing there. Dave Danielson, VP LexisNexis Client Devlopment for Martindale-Hubbell commented on the post, giving reasons for Martindale’s legitimacy. This prompted What About Clients to post a blog today titled, Towards a Reinvented Martindale-Hubbell, where they featured Dave’s comment and highlighted the new direction of Martindale.
What follows here is my comment to the second post. I do not know if it will be approved by the editors at What About Clients, but thought it made for an interesting blog post here:
This will be a biased comment; I work for LexisNexis (albeit in a separate division), but I will try to comment here as an attorney and a blogger interested in technology, rather than an employee plugging his company (i.e., this is not LexisNexis talking here). With the disclaimer out of the way, let me comment: I too had similar questions about Martindale’s relevance in a Web 2.0 world. We all have access to free marketing tools (blog, twitter, social networks, etc.), so why would anyone need to pay for a listing in Martindale? The answer is two-fold: (1) consistent brand syndication (aggregated on MH & Lawyers.com), and (2) legitimacy.
On point (1) Dave Danielson said it above, (regarding a paid listing on Martindale) “that listing puts them in Martindale.com as well as Lawyers.com and also syndicates their profile/contact information to many alliance partners like Google, Yahoo, CitySearch, MSN, superpages, and many others.” This is repurposing at its finest – the effort that would go into an individual managing such syndication efforts so that their brand can aggregate consistently across multiple consumer platforms would cost more than the fee to list with Martindale, both in time and money. In today’s fast paced world, people want to see your name whereever they look. The word “search” in online life has a strained meaning at best; most of us do not look beyond the first page of Google results.
On point (2), ratings and feedback matter to the consumer. Creating a legitimate snapshot via AV ratings gains legitimacy and credibility among both colleagues and potential clients; this translates into more business. Martindale presents an opportunity to be the more relevant than others in a client’s search results.
Along these lines, a feature that is on Lawyers.com (and would be great to see on Martindale) is client feedback. An enhancement to this feature, and something very useful for Martindale would be the ability of clients to enter a net promoter score (scale of 1-10 measuring whether they would recommend this lawyer to a friend). When choosing a service or product I find such ratings helpful in deciding whether to put my hard earned money there.
In sum, Martindale provides many existing benefits (syndication, search and profile, legitimacy), and has the potential to do so much more, especially with M-H Connected (think Linkedin for lawyers).
What are your thoughts about Martindale’s legitimacy? What about the new, attorney networking service Martindale Hubbell Connected? Are you a member?