The importance of community interaction and navigating Google


We would like to give a special thank you to Robert Ambrogi. Marketing On Trial received our first mention ever on June 10th, 2012 via Robert Ambrogi of his LawSites legal marketing blog. It feels great to have our name on a fellow legal blogger’s website. This all came about in a fairly unorthodox manner. I was doing my usual round of morning blawg surfing and I happened to run across Robert Ambrogi’s new post concerning his Trivia challenge.

There were 3 questions asked:

  • Which law firm of more than 25 lawyers was first to launch a website and when?
  • Which court was the first to make its opinions available in electronic format?
  • Which company was first to provide Web access to its legal-research research database, Westlaw or LexisNexis, and in what year did that happen?

Question 3 was already taken by the time I had seen the post. I found Question 2 to be a little vague, and I figured SCOTUS was too obvious of an answer. So I set off after Question 1:

Which law firm of more than 25 lawyers was first to launch a website and when?

When a query similar to the question is entered into Google, the explorer will find the answer to be Heller Ehrman, a prestigious international law firm that dissolved in 2008. Had a previous person not guessed this answer I would have probably made the same mistake. Knowing that the answer was not Heller Ehrman I decided to exclude their name from my query. This was done by placing a dash( – ) in front of the search term “Heller Ehrman”. The dash is an operator that removes a word or phrase from a Google query. Since the dash could be a minus sign think of it as subtracting out all matching search queries using that term. Also used were the quotes. When a search is done with quotes, the exact phrase is searched rather than various queries that cross reference the words you enter. So my exact search query ended up looking like:

[ -“Heller Ehrman” “first law firm website” ]

This gave me a little over 20 results(the results have since been boosted my Robert Ambrogi’s recent article). On the 2nd page I found a possible answer. It was a blog article from an inactive law blog that not so surprisingly quoted a 2 year old article from Ambrogi’s own blog.

So there was a bit of a circle of life moment as Ambrogi’s was the source for his own question. If you search through Google without using these operators then you are making your life much harder than it should be. If you don’t want to memorize these operators then you can use Google’s advanced search page.

Luckily my educated guess turned up as the right answer.

Spending the time to answer this blog post correctly was initially due to my own curiosity. But in the end I received a mention on a much more popular legal marketing blog than my own, and I won a valuable prize in which I plan to use or to pass on as a gift to a party who can make the best use of it. If you are a small firm who is interested don’t hesitate to contact me. I think this shows how important it is to be involved in your respective blogging communities and interact with each other. Blogging is not about throwing words on a website. It’s an exchange of ideas. Be active on twitter, discussion boards, and comment on articles. This is the real spirit of blogging. Put in more than you are taking out. If you don’t attempt to connect with others then how will they ever want to connect with you?

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