Flawging A Dead Horse

2011 was a banner year for Flawging.

For those who don’t know what a Flawg is; well, it isn’t a Blawg (or law blog).

Back in January of this year, I wrote a post called ” My Gift to the Social Media Law Marketers: The Flawg” where I offered the following definition:

Flawg”: noun. A legal blog without any substantive legal content that is created, monetized and promoted exclusively for profit. A Flawg will often contain posts about the latest legal tech gadgets, or the how to gain new clients through the awesome power of the internet, in the absence of anything remotely legal to discuss;

“Flawger”: noun: someone who flawgs. Usually, a non-lawyer/social media law marketer, (but also a disbarred/suspended/unemployed/underemployed/retired/or failed lawyer who quit) who writes blawg posts about how to write blawg posts, SEO, ROI, iPads, cloud computing, top ten lists, and enjoys attending law marketing conferences and twittering about using #hashtags.

Soon after, the elder statesman of the UK Blawgosphere, CharonQC (Mike Semple Piggot) took the idea one step beyond in his ‘Postcard from The Staterooms: Law blogs – but no *Flawging*?’ and wrote:

I’m not interested in the ‘Flawgs’ – blogs which merely highlight the brilliance of the law firm along the lines of *I was sorry to hear that Mount Etna killed thousands in Pompeii in AD 79 (substitute the latest disaster to taste)  – meanwhile, if you need advice on conveyancing, personal injury or will drafting etc etc …contact us at…*

Brian Inkster continued the debate in his post: “I Blawg. You Flawg. Period?

What then, does the Canadian Blawgosphere have to say about Flawging? What then, indeed.

Nothing. Nada. Zilch. 

It seems that Canadian law bloggers are an indifferent lot. The harsh truth is that most of the Canadian law blogs, new and old, are not worth the time to read. There are exceptions, of course, including Erik Magraken, Dan Michaluk and his colleagues, Veronique Robert, Lee Akazaki and Chris Jaglowitz, to name a select few.

Those lawyers I have met in the past at Blawger Meet-ups held some promise, but many have clearly aligned themselves with a former “investigative consultant” turned law marketing expert , whose online predatory conduct resulted in him getting banned from various sex worker website forums and added to a national sex worker blacklist.

Despite my cautionary post, one long-time Canadian blawger deigned to wade into the ethical trenches, going so far as to heap fulsome, treacly praise on an admitted defamer and cyber-harasser as a “builder of Toronto’s burgeoning law blogger community” as part of his #Clawbies2011 Award nominations.

Good grief.

If a certain “corner of the internet” has its way, the Canadian Blawgosphere will become a self-contained Flawgosphere, replete with self-congratulatory, Happyspheric ™ (Mark W. Bennett)  posts about iPaddery, Cloudy Computing With A Chance of Meatballery, etc. As another instant leading Canadian lawyer, who keeps asking “why can’t we just all get along” puts it:

Crowdsourcing complex legal questions discussing legal philosophy in a respectful and open exchange is a best case scenario for me because it would foster the greatest forms of creativity and collaboration, something we already see happening in the tech, communications and business sectors.

Yes, yes, it’s great to get along with everyone. Up With People!

I prefer the credo: Up Yours, People! If the Canadian Blawgosphere is to thrive and survive, it’s time that we all took a long look in the mirror and stopped turning a blind eye to blatantly discreditable marketing tactics and unethical practices.

The vast majority of lawyers are not independently wealthy; they too have families to feed and clothe and mortgages and bills to pay. Advertise all you want. Congratulate those who deserve the recognition. Just, please, please don’t start writing posts like this one:

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18 Responses to “Flawging A Dead Horse”

  1. Chris Jaglowitz (@chrisjaglowitz) Says:

    As proof of 2011 being a banner year for flawging, you could have cited the beginning of Slaw’s devolution (or “Slawgification”) on account of its questionable online advertising, which will likely lead to “sponsored posts” and other nasty things on that’s site’s way down the slippery slope to hell.

    And speaking of “Up yours, People!”, where is the Martindale-Hubbell AV toilet paper? That, in my estimation, would be the only merch from that buggy-whip-making outfit that any self-respecting practising lawyer might have any use for.

    All the best for 2012, Antonin! Keep on keeping it real!

  2. Antonin I. Pribetic Says:

    Thanks Chris. I did mention Slaw.ca’s sponsorship: http://thetrialwarrior.com/2011/12/09/having-some-fun-with-the-new-math/, although I like your “Slawgification” meme. All the best in 2012. Antonin

  3. Erik Magraken Says:

    Thanks for the positive mention. Your pointed voice is a welcome one in the often bland Canadian legal blogging landscape. No one will ever accuse you as being part of the Happysphere.

    Yours truly,

    Erik

  4. Chris Jaglowitz (@chrisjaglowitz) Says:

    Ah, of course you did.

    I’d say there (and here, too!) that, hopefully, the powers that be at Slaw.ca pay heed and avert the disaster that would come from commercializing a national treasure.

  5. Antonin I. Pribetic Says:

    Thanks, Erik. Keep on truckin’ into 2012.

  6. Eric T. Says:

    Personally, I prefer the term shitblog. Flawg is way too nice.

  7. Antonin I. Pribetic Says:

    Ok, let’s compromise and call them shplawgs.

  8. jason @ personal injury lawyer Says:

    Flawging is a real pain in the butt but all you need to do is avoid, ignore and dismiss!

  9. Flawging lawyers come out of their Chambers – The past, present and future practice of law Says:

    [...] Antonin Pribetic, who offered the original definition of ‘flawg’ and ’flawger’, considered 2011 to have been “a banner year for Flawging” in his recent post: Flawging a dead horse.  [...]

  10. Karim Renno Says:

    Antonin, while I share most of your views about flawging, I’m certainly not prepared to vilify anyone who accepts sponsorship on their blawg or derives revenues from it.

    The definition you provided in your initial posting on the topic is correct in my view in that I generally see blawgs that are created for the sole purpose of generating revenues as a waste of my time. That is not to say however that any blawg that accepts sponsorship or generates revenues should automatically fall into the flawg category. It is easy for me to conjure up examples of very interesting and useful blawgs where revenue generation is a consideration, but not the sole goal. Slaw is not any less useful or interesting because it now has a number of promotional banners up. Edilex’s blog is an extension of the services and products it otherwise sells, but I happily read it regularly and find the content relevant and useful.

    In fact, our own blawg has a sponsor that is prominently featured on the front page, but I don’t think it makes us a flawg when we produced more than 500 posts of hard legal content in 2011.

    To me the focus needs to remain on the content as you initially suggested. Frankly, while I might be somewhat annoyed at the number of promotional banners or ads on a given blawg, I ultimately won’t really care if the content is interesting.

    The real flawgs contain nothing of real legal value. They might contain value from a business perspective, but I’m not even sure that’s true.Those are the blogs that are diluting the pool of real legal content.

  11. The Inverse of Informative | Associate's Mind Says:

    [...] the flip side are flawgs. Coined by Canadian lawyer Antonin Pribetic, flawgs are “legal blog(s) without any substantive legal content that is created, monetized [...]

  12. Larry Bodine Says:

    Dear Mr. Warrior, thanks for noticing my lighthearted post from the holidays. Yes I wrote a piece on Dec. 23, two days before Christmas, that lawyers could get Martindale merchandise, which I had just discovered. Are you familiar with the holidays? It’s when people give each other presents. Check it out.

    Are you familiar with the notion of humor? I included it in the blog post when I wrote that the merchandise was a way to “put some bling in your law practice.” You should lighten up, my friend.

    As you familiarize yourself, please take note that I don’t get a cent from any sales of the merchandise. So I’m not “flawging” anything, as you so colorfully note.

    It is not a so-called marketing blog. As you learn more about law firm marketing you’ll discover that the blog has been online since 2004 and has been read by 850,000 visitors. Consider going to an LMA meeting or using “The Google,” as you may know it, to discover more about law firm marketing.

    Best wishes and good luck.

  13. Antonin I. Pribetic Says:

    Dear Mr. Larry Bodine Marketing:

    I am familiar with your enthusiastic role in legal marketing.

    Everything I need to know about law marketing does not require attendance at an LMA meeting or using “The Google”. I have reveled in the luxuriant rococo tapestry that you and your law marketing brethren have so elegantly weaved on the interwebz and The Twitter. I consider you among the elite of Flawgers in any corner of the internet.

    I note your email suffix is @lexisnexis.com which I also understand owns Martindale-Hubbell. Kudos on joining Lexis-Nexis recently as editor-in-chief for Lawyers.com and martindale.com.

    I suspect that we do not share the same sense of humour, or irony, for that matter.

    I appreciate that you don’t get a cent from any sales of the merchandise, but unless you are working gratis for Lexis-Nexis, and by extension, lawyers.com and martindale.com, then there is some value-added benefit in flawging your natty AV-rated apparel.

    Your blog has been online since 2004 and has been read by 850,000 visitors. Congratulations! Do I take away from this achievement that your blog is not cross-linked to any social media platforms or other blogs in which you do benefit from your law firm marketing expertise?

    Best wishes and good luck to you as well.

  14. Brian Tannebaum Says:

    Larry’s just defensive because his law marketing business failed and he had to take a job to earn a living. Let him be. The marketers love him, and his merchandise.

  15. Antonin I. Pribetic Says:

    I want a set of curling shoes emblazoned with a BV-rated Martindale-Hubbell™ logo.

  16. Eric T. Says:

    Larry –>> As you familiarize yourself, please take note that I don’t get a cent from any sales of the merchandise. So I’m not “flawging” anything, as you so colorfully note.

    Nino –>> I note your email suffix is @lexisnexis.com which I also understand owns Martindale-Hubbell. Kudos on joining Lexis-Nexis recently as editor-in-chief for Lawyers.com and martindale.com.

    Before reading Nino’s reply, I was going to assume the MH gear post was just a holiday joke that fell flat. Been there, done that, in the joke department.

    But you work for MH now? Didn’t know that. But it does mean that your defense of “not flawging” seems a bit disingenuous don’t you think?

  17. Antonin I. Pribetic Says:

    I strongly suspect that Larry Bodine Marketing doesn’t regard himself as a flawger, or cares if anyone else thinks he is one. 850,000 visitors can’t be wrong.

  18. Finding Australian Law Blogs « Amicae Curiae Says:

    [...] his blog The Trial Warrior, Antonin defines a “flawg” as: A legal blog without any substantive legal content that is created, monetized and [...]

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