Monday, November 21, 2005

Notes from the Mass Torts Conference

I just returned. Here are a few thoughts on what I learned/saw:

Lawyers on the Net: I think for most attorneys their eyes glaze over when they hear about SEO, sponsored links, etc. I did agree with one speaker/vendor's statement that if you judged lawyer presence (advertising) on the web, it's a 5 on a scale of 1 to 100 - that is, it is in its infancy.

I was impressed in particular with Landon Harland from ejustice. While most vendors to lawyers simply say, "here is what we can do for you", and most lawyers say "how much and where do I send the check" Landon spent time talking what might be heresy to other net vendors. Among his suggestions/comments:

*Hire your own content person/administrator. This person in the long run will be much much cheaper than paying a vendor's writer. Also, you will get quicker response from an employee. To me, it's a no brainer suggestion.

*Sponsored links versus organic links. It was suggested that 80% of the people who see a blue top of the page sponsored link on Google (the blue link at the top of the page) will never click through. The other 20% makes it worthwhile. The sponsored links work much better than the sponsored links to the right of the google results page.

Landon also told me/us about Eyetools - Eyetools’ Greg Edwards has published a “heat map” of people’s eye movements on the typical Google results page, determining both organic results rank and paid placement rank are of paramount importance. Most site viewers’ eyeballs didn’t even pass over fourth or fifth items in the lists. Go here to see the results, or to Greg Edwards' blog here.

To me, this is critical stuff. There is even a study (for sale of course) that addresses this subject. According to a snippet online:

The study found that most viewers looked at results in an "F" shaped scan pattern, with the eye traveling vertically along the far left side of the results looking for visual cues (relevant words, brands, etc.) and then scanning to the right, as if something caught the participant's attention.

"The study showed that searchers react to organic results differently than they react to sponsored listings."

You can buy the eye tracking study here.

Blogs They actually talked about them. Not for long, but they did discuss them. I think the sum total of bloggers at this conference was 10 (of about 300) based on an informal poll.

Legal Broadcast Network: My friend Jan Schlictmann was there, interviewing the muckety mucks for his show. You can find his network here.

On the non lawyering front, I was able to see upclose and personal the Rolling Stones show on Friday night. Superb. The Wynn is as advertised.

More later.