12/12/2006

Eleanor Precious doesn't really like me.

Today I got an email from Eleanor (or Ellie) Precious, which enclosed a press release on a survey of law firms’ views on the likely effects of Age Discrimination law on their firms. I’m not going to link to it here, for reasons that will become obvious, but the firm that undertook the survey was F*x W****ams.

Now the press release wasn’t uninteresting, although peppered with links to *ox **lli**s, in fact the only links were to *** *i******. But I don’t know anybody called Ellie Precious, let alone an Ellie who routinely emails to herself with my address as ‘envelope to’. So I was curious.

Maybe, I thought, it was an eager reader, responding to my few posts on age discrimination in law firms. But Ellie didn’t mention those posts. In any case, if that were so, why wouldn’t Ellie comment on the posts?

Digging into the email headers a little, it appears that Ellie posts from a ‘netrank’ email account, part of this domain, netrank.co.uk. Netrank are, and I quote,

a group of innovative companies whose purpose is to make our clients’ websites more attractive to search engines

Oddly, Ellie didn’t tell me that. In fact, given that her email from and reply to was a ‘net-additions.com’ domain, she seems a little ashamed of her employer.

At the risk of being a little cynical, I don’t think Ellie was actually interested in this blog. In fact I suspect that she might have stumbled across this site by a basic google search like “legal professional blog uk”.

I’ve been trying to avoid this, but I can’t help thinking she was trying to get me to link to *** ******** in this blog to, oh I don’t know, maybe help bump their search engine ranking and gain legal linkage. My initial sense of being vaguely flattered at being such an obvious opinion former was rapidly tempered by realising I was being crudely targeted by a google search and a stunningly inept approach to link farming.

I feel rather betrayed by Eleanor, after she showed such interest (and actually looked for my email address on the blog and everything), so much so that I haven’t called her on the phone number she included, 01392 411299, although it was sweet of her to think I would.

Netrank, I’m talking to you now. I assume that you google references and links to yourselves.

You are crap at this. You clearly have no idea how to approach blogs for PR purposes. Post and run doesn’t work and won’t work except perhaps for a short term hit. If you want to build serious interest and linkage for your client, tell your client that they are going to have to engage with blogs, talk to them, add interesting information or responses, even run a blog of their own if there is the admittedly remote chance they might do it well. Get a blogger or two on board to learn how to approach this.

If you must cling to such pathetic methods, here is a clue or two. Don’t hide the source when it is ludicrously easy to unmask. Why pretend a person is the origin of the PR flack? Why use a method that is teetering on the brink of being spam? (Unsolicited email? Certainly. Commercial? Arguably.)

Aha, what have we here? Why it is new managing director of Netrank, Lucy Allen, claiming that

Our ethical approach combined with our outstanding research and development teams puts us at the cutting edge of the natural search industry.

That would be ethical in the sense of dissembling as a standard practice and cutting edge in the sense of ‘don’t have a clue about blogs’ then? (At the bottom of that page, it turns out Ellie is not so shy about having a netrank email after all.)

And lastly, to Fox Williams, re-read the above and have a think about the kind of online PR agency slash link farmer you want to use. The survey was interesting to me, (although perhaps not in the way you intended), but the way it reached me was, at best, annoying. I don’t respond well to that. That is one of the perils of dealing with blogs.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

4 Comments

  1. Geeklawyer

    I can confirm that I too received such an email – though I didn’t consider it of interest to my blog and therefore ignored it.
    Props to you for investigating it.

    I will however give them a kicking in a post to be made soon.

    Reply
  2. contact

    Geeklawyer
    Well, they will be expecting it now. Visits from their IP address have been very frequent today. Oooh, someone has had a whois lookup on nearlylegal.co.uk too.

    (Waves) Hello Netrank. No need come over all shy now, come and explain yourselves (and by the way, if it was you doing a whois look up, that is not me listed, it is the terribly nice man who runs my hosting).

    Gavin
    Did you find it annoying.

    Reply
  3. Nick Holmes

    Life is too short to spend time conversing with these types. Various infolaw email addresses are on our website and consequently in addition to zillions of spam emails we also receive many more-or-less legit, but unsolicited, approaches such as this. If I received one from Precious (who, lets give her credit, has done some homework), it went in the bin. If I did not, I am not miffed. Let her efforts whither through our lack of interest.

    Reply

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