Biz Idea #75 – Angie’s List for Lawyers

by Byron on April 17, 2012

The Problem:

It is exceedingly difficult to find unbiased reviews of lawyers from real clients.  How do you know if the testimonials on the web are real?

The Business

Angie’s List for Lawyers.  Unbiased reviews, and you need to pay to be a part of the site.

Doableness

The technology isn’t that difficult.  Ultimately, it’s just a reviews site with different permissions.  The tough part, as ever, is drawing the audience.

It’s somewhat surprising to me that Angie’s List isn’t the Angie’s List for Lawyers.  Maybe that tells you something about the space.  More difficult than you’d initially think to get reviews?  Didn’t want to compete with the big directories (Lawyers.com)?

My Thoughts

Lawyer advertising remains a dominant force in disruption marketing.  You see lawyer ads on TV and billboards.  I’m guessing they are by far the largest revenue source for the (not quite yet extinct) yellow pages.

Choosing a lawyer is a very personal process.  You will ask the opinion of a close friend who will know about your situation anyway.  But you will not ask your facebook feed to recommend a DUI lawyer.  Dentist, sure.  Lawyer, no.

How much will this issue change over time?  Probably not a ton.  Picking certain things is always going to be a personal, private process. (Despite anything Mark Zuckerberg may think.)

My father’s law firm, Warnken, LLC, has a testimonials page.  It’s impressive, and every testimonial on there is real.  I know because I put it together.  We went through a lot of time, trouble, and expense to send out about two thousand mail back cards to old clients.

We didn’t get a single card that was outright negative.  Some talked about how expensive the firm was or how they wished the firm had gotten a better outcome, but none said negative things about the firm.

Ultimately, after all that time and energy, what you have is a list that could have been fabricated in half an hour.  Angie’s list works because the reviewers are actually paying to be a part of the community.  That’s a key distinction, but not an easy value proposition to sell.

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