Avvo Review – Week 1 Results

1 Week Later…

I mentioned last week that of the 1,000 or so searches for my practice area, I could expect around 20-25 “leads”, which sounded too good to be true. Now I get a sense why.

So it turns out the way that “leads” are calculated also includes people clicking a link to visit my website. Normally I would not consider a click to visit my website a lead, since my website gets a decent amount of traffic and a smaller percentage actually reach out or call. But, Avvo doesn’t give you the option to track clicks to a website but not count them as leads. I could remove the website link, but I would prefer that I could track how many people visit my website from Avvo. So that was a bit disappointing.

Reviewing the week, here are my Avvo stats:

“250 people saw you on Avvo” (that sounds incredibly vague – I guess that really just means my profile showed up in a search result)

5 potential clients contacted you through Avvo:

1 phone call

4 website visits

So, the phone call I received was from a legitimate potential client! We spoke for awhile and it was a case that might be worth taking. So we’re 1 week in and this may pay for itself. I was pleasantly surprised.

Now that I’m a week into the Avvo experience, I’ve been getting emails from Avvo about answering legal questions on Avvo’s forums to boost my rating and credibility on the community. Prospective clients, or tire-kickers most likely, ask very specific questions about their legal issues. Some of the questions make me hesitant on where the line is on legal information and attorney-client relationships.

I notice that there’s an art to answering these questions. In three sentences you have to demonstrate you know what you’re talking about, and then tell them to hire you (but not say that explicitly because it would be a solicitation and likely ethical violation).

Here’s a Q&A you might expect:

Question: “Someone owns a website address, but I did a business search on some random directory and saw that no one operates a business with that name. Can I register that business name and then sue them to take the domain?”

Answer 1: The issues you are dealing with are covered by this law. [Brief explanation of the law]. An experienced Internet lawyer can help you out.

Answer 2: Maybe. A thorough trademark search is needed. You should consult a lawyer.

Answer 3: No. You can’t do that.

Answer 4: Here’s my thorough legal analysis: [6 paragraphs of relevant case law].

Notice how #1 demonstrates knowledge and then not-so-subtly asks for the hire. #2 probably didn’t read the question, just knew the subject matter and asked for the hire. #3 does the questioner a service. #4 has too much free time.

I think part of the problem keeping me from getting more “leads” is that my Avvo rating isn’t super high (8.2). People go to Avvo and there are a lot of 10-ranked lawyers on the site. Why would I go for an 8.2 when there are plenty of 10s out there and Avvo very easily lets you search by the highest ranked lawyers.

So in this next week maybe I’ll try to answer some questions, and get some reviews from peers and clients.

Andrew Cabasso
About the Author: Andrew Cabasso
Andrew Cabasso is an attorney and co-founder of JurisPage, an online marketing agency for law firms, now part of Uptime Legal. Andrew has given many lectures and CLEs on website design and Internet marketing to legal professionals. He is the author of Search Engine Optimization for Lawyers and The Complete Guide to Attorney PPC. Follow Andrew on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

6 comments on “Avvo Review – Week 1 Results”

  • Andrew – Folks in the Bar Association world have been watching Avvo with interest and some apprehension, particularly with its free and easy melding of publicly available discipline data, consumer ratings that are “gameable”, etc… Your description of your experience is fascinating and detailed, as you are applying a marketing mentality to the encounters you are having with potential clients. Your posts are always worth reading.

  • Very interesting series on Andrew’s Avvo results and experience. We did the 3-month advertising experiment on Avvo as well, with two of our attorneys. One has been practicing over 50 years and is rated 10, the other has been practicing 10 years and is rated 7.9. Neither has any client reviews.

    I agree with Andrew on several points:
    1. A website click is not a lead.
    2. “X people saw you on Avvo” is way too vague.
    3. It’s tough to compete with lawyers rated at 10 if you’re not.

    Based on setting up two profiles, I think the rating is based on experience. Adding publications, speaking engagements, legal guides, etc., and of course time practicing, seemed to influence our attorneys’ ratings. I don’t see any improvement in rating from answering questions. Both our attorneys have answered a similar number of questions. One just has a lot more publications and speaking engagements.

    The other main two parts of the profile, peer endorsements and client reviews, also seem very important for distinguishing one’s profile. There are plenty of attorneys rated at 10 with excellent client reviews. I would certainly choose an attorney with good reviews over no reviews or bad reviews, especially if they respond to their reviews.

    Bottom line: I would recommend we advertise on Avvo again once our attorneys both have a 10 rating and at least one client review.

  • We actually had a very poor experience with AVVO. In the many months that we advertised with AVVO, we did NOT GET ONE viable lead! Many of the phone calls were from out of state and many more were from telemarketers. During that time, we received multiple calls from AVVO trying to get us to advertise more lawyers in our office so we were constantly getting sold to. In addition, when we spoke with them the end of Nov. to get a few more days (into Dec.) to decide if we wanted to cancel, their customer service rep said yes but when we tried to cancel on Dec. 3, they said we had to pay through Jan. (per their 30 day cancellation policy).

  • What do you think about the new Avvo’s Legal Services?. In the oppinion of some lawyers, and assuming this is a fairly accurate structure, the service means that the attorney is essentially accepting an uncontested divorce for just around $800. Even assuming as we must that court fees are separate this is not the sort of fee that makes sense when representing the general public. How do they handle the issue when the case is no longer uncontested? Does the attorney get to continue the representation? I

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