The Spammer’s LamentPosted on December 3rd, 2009 Mark Bennett 2 comments
Anyway, even though you disagree that my free online participation is a positive thing, isn’t it a lot more civil to have a dialogue such as this as opposed to your name calling blog [avvo-answhores.html]. One of the things I teach in ethics and professional responsibility to young lawyers is that civility assists lawyers to make a point more rationally, peacefully, and powerfully than name calling.
And here’s Bennett Michaels (Brilliant Business Borrowing! Adoptions! Suspension Lift Kits! Rifle Scopes! Spam Spammity Spam!), on Popehat in response to the calling-out of Seattle Lawyer Spammer Bradley Johnson:
Patrick you are a real a-hole. Why not grow up a little and just not approve the comment like the rest of the world?
Why, when they discover spam, don’t blogs like (list via Eric Turkewitz):
- Eric Turkewitz’s New York Personal Injury Law Blog;
- Scott Greenfield’s Simple Justice;
- Ronald Miller’s Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog (re: Denver Motorcycle Lawyer Comment—Scott Sullivan);
- Mike’s Crime and Federalism (re: Bradley Johnson, Seattle Spam Lawyer);
- South Florida Lawyers (Let’s Meet Jason Diamond, Ticket Attorney!); and
- Roy Mura’s Coverage Counsel (Outing Blog Content Spammers, Starting with All States Public Adjusters)
just send a quiet email to the spammers? Wouldn’t that be much more . . . civil? In other words, “Why can’t we just have a quiet little talk about this, ending in me promising never to do it again, instead of you outing me and my clients as spammers to the whole world?”
It’s a fair question. The answer: If the problem were simply one lawyer causing one blog to be spammed, then a quiet little talk would probably suffice, but it’s not all about you, Alan Brinkmeier, or Bradley Johnson, or Jason Diamond, or Scott Sullivan, or All States Public Adjusters.
Nobody ever spams just once. When Scott Sullivan’s agent spammed Ronald Miller’s Maryland Injury Lawyer Blog, he also spammed honolulu.injuryboard.com, washingtoninjuryattorneyblog.com, michiganautolaw.com, and probably many others. That’s the point of spam—trying to make worthless or unwanted content valuable by distributing it widely. If Ronald had had a quiet word with Scott Sullivan about his comment spam (which doesn’t work, by the way), it would have stopped the comment spam to Ronald’s blog. But it wouldn’t have kept that particular spammer from spamming everyone else. Bradley Johnson is a case in point: even after promising to stop leaving comment spam, he continued.
It also wouldn’t have made an impression on any other potential spammer. But calling these spammers out publicly might not only get them to change their ways, but also discourage other people from following in their path. A reaslawyer, reading about Scott Sullivan and Bradley Johnson, and Jason Diamond, would be extra-careful who he hires to do his marketing for him (outsource your marketing, outsource your reputation).
Why does that matter? I can’t speak for Turkewitz, Greenfield, Hat, Miller, Mike, SFL, and Mura, but for me it’s mostly a matter of aesthetics. I don’t see the internet as a place to turn a quick buck—a flea market—but as a place to educate and entertain, and to be educated and entertained. Spammers and marketers and everyone else trying to make a quick buck clutter up the internet with their bullshit, obscuring the work of those who actually apply talent and effort to educate and entertain.
It is also a matter (though this is secondary to me) of ethics. The Bradley Johnsons, Jason Diamonds, and Scott Sullivans of the world are trying to commercialize the creative work of others. Rather than try to earn attention by producing interesting and informative content (which they may well be incapable of, as are most people), they are trying to coopt a little of the authority that others have earned.
Even if I don’t write for money, I can fairly object to others trying to make money off my writing. While there is no law on the internet, that doesn’t mean there can be no order. And if those bloggers with some authority (by dint of their readership, which comes because of their talent) want to step up and impose order on their little corner of the internet, then order there will be.
Mark – I think you are a fantastic writer & I appreciate your efforts to at least somewhat curb those who abuse the efforts of you & others to educate & entertain. You are entertaining, & I know that you spend a lot of time not only on criminal law “work” but also helping others. Cheers.
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