Advertising in the Forum

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Advertising in the Forum

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Advertising in the Forum

by Gregory Allan

Here at The Lawful Path, we get lots of emails asking if we know of an honest attorney; someone who knows the real law, and isn't afraid to stand up to a crooked system. The answer is almost always, "No, sorry."

At the same time lots of lawyers try, unsuccessfully, to advertise here in our forum. We don't allow spam, so their ads are never seen by readers.

It seems there may be an opportunity being missed. People want to hire lawyers, but are afraid of getting one who is incompetent, crooked, lazy, or who will sell them out. Lawyers want clients, but even if they're honest and competent, how can they make contact with the clients, when sites like ours won't let them advertise?

Spam Kills Opportunity

Spam, or bulk advertising, is a huge problem on all forums. If a forum owner allows spam to get in the way of genuine information, then readers will abandon the forum in favor of a friendlier place. Forum owners know this, and most of them do their best to reduce or eliminate spam.

Most spam these days is done with computers, automated systems or, if you prefer, robots. That's why we limit posts to registered users, and registration requires you to answer a question that is simple to you, but hard for a robot. That way, the majority of spam posts never happen in the first place.

Spam protection is also why registered users must get three posts approved by a moderator before their posts will appear immediately, without further approval. It establishes trust.

So the question I'm going to answer for you today is, "How can a lawyer begin to establish trust, so that he can get his name into the hands of the readers of this Site?"

A Change of Perspective

Let's put ourselves in the lawyer's shoes for a moment. Let's say I'm one of these smart, honest, hard-working lawyers who's not afraid to stand up and risk my bar card to get justice for my client. How do I spread the word, so people know they can come to me? How do I make myself known and establish trust?

The answer is simple. In online forums, how does anyone make themselves known, and establish trust? Become a regular participant in the forum. Share valuable information at no cost.

You ask, "But how can a lawyer make money by giving away his time and information?" As an example, let's look at a company called Red Hat.

Red Hat produces a top-notch computer operating system, called Red Hat Enterprise Linux. They have many full time employees, and spend a great deal of time and money improving, fixing, and furthering development of this software. Anyone who wants the software (yes you, me, ANYONE) can legally get it absolutely free. Yet for the past four years in which I found their financial information readily available online, they have averaged a BILLION dollars in profit EVERY YEAR for the past four years.

How do they make their money? Service. Red Hat offers a great product, which people can obtain free, and use to their heart's content, for both personal and commercial purposes. Red Hat also offers various support contracts, including phone support, online help, and onsite visits. People can use and test their software free. No one is ever required to buy their services. But enough people value their services to have put them over the Billion dollar mark for at least four years in a row.

Similarly, here on The Lawful Path, I offer a book for sale called How to Survive Hospital Costs Without Insurance. The book explains how hospitals charge a variable rate for services, with insurance companies paying as little as twelve cents ($0.12) on the dollar compared to what they charge an uninsured patient. This book shows people how to save literally thousands of dollars, the very first time they use it.

How much do I sell this book for? I give it away for free.

Lots of people download the free book. Lots of people also send me $49.95. They don't have to, so why do they do it? Because I provide an additional service. Using my book requires writing some carefully worded letters to the hospitals, and sometime doing the same for collection agencies. The free book contains all the information people need to write those letters, and people are free to do so if they want. Some of them probably do. But there are many people who, after reading my free book, decide they're willing to pay fifty bucks for my letters.

Red Hat and I do our business the same way. First we establish trust by offering something of real value at no cost. Then, for those who want it, we charge a reasonable amount for a valuable service.

So this is the challenge. I'm throwing down the gauntlet. Are there any attorneys who are willing to go the extra mile to get clients? I can say with fair certainty that most of our readers are not dummies. They know that any lawyer who is too lazy to first gain their trust, is probably also too lazy to perform a reliable service once hired.

There may be lots of lawyers out there who who have studied conflict of law, and the differences between the unaligned man and the 14th Amendment Citizen; who are willing to take a stand. Just because I don't know any, doesn't mean they don't exist. I've never seen bigfoot either, but I'm willing to admit the possibility he may be real. After all, gorillas were only a myth until they were officially discovered in 1902.

If you're a lawyer and you think you might be up to the challenge, here are a few pointers.

The Wrong Way

Here is an example of a bad post. Our moderators have killed scores of posts very much like this one:
"The best [Miami dui defense] lawyers are able to get a DUI charge expunged leaving you with a license and a clean record to police as well as employers." (The area inside the brackets is a link to a law firm somewhere in Miami.)
This is a perfect example of what not to do. The only person who will ever see such a post is the moderator, just before he kills it.

The Right Way

Here's a post that convey's information:
Title IV-D of the Social Security Act

Title IV-D is lingo you must learn if you are to effectively work towards understanding, changing, or fighting the family law (domestic relations) system. If you receive a monthly child support statement from the state “payment center,” and if you make your support payments to the state instead of directly to the other parent, then your family problems are no longer a private matter; and rightly or wrongly, your private problems have become a public matter, under the control and heavy hand of the government, and you are a Title IV-D case. Over 77% of the current Title IV-D cases may not belong in the public system, and your case might be one of them.

The states have domestic relations law for individuals to handle their family law issues privately. The federal government provides aid to children when the parents are unable. Because the program is taxpayer funded, the federal government has specific laws the states must follow regarding children for whom the government has determined they must “take charge,” in lieu of the parents ability to do so themselves.

“42 USC 1301 d Parental Objection Notice" ... 20FORM.htm
The above example is an ctual post on our forum. It was not posted by a lawyer (so far as I know), and did not contain a link to an attorney's website. However, if it had contained something like the following message, I probably would have allowed it:
"My name is John Smith, and I am an attorney in Oregon specializing in family law, including divorce, guardianship, and child custody cases. If you have a problem in these areas I may be able to help. I am honest, and hard working, and will not sell you out. If you contact me I will listen to your problem, and will only agree to work for you if I think I can help. I will explain every part of my plan, and go only as far as you direct me. When I am your attorney, I work for you. My website is at:
The better the articles you write, and with more frequency, the more trust you will generate among readers. What's more, the forum itself will become more useful and, therefore, attract more readers.

The Way of the Future

Avenues for traditional advertising are disappearing with alarming speed.

Newspapers are dead, or soon will be. With a steadily declining readership they are now jacking up the prices to their advertisers. In turn, the advertisers see they are paying more money while fewer readers are seeing their ads. Eventually they stop advertising.

Television is expensive. More often than ever, people are using Netflix or watching rented movies. Many fewer ads of any kind are viewed with each passing year.

Even radio is declining, as it has become easier to play music with today's mobile devices.

That leaves social media such as our forum, as the way in which advertising will be done in the future. The days of a short ad message are over. Site owners have no incentive to carry such ads unless they are paid, and sites such as ours will not carry paid ads.

Advertising will go the way of open source software. I think it's a change for the better.
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