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Biggest Jerk Award Goes to LexisNexis

LexisNexis jerk

Update – Sept. 4 – Lexis posted a comment below.

It’s funny how some big companies just don’t understand the internet. And it’s infuriating when they breach simple rules of netiquette. LexisNexis wins the Biggest Jerk Award today.

I linked to Lexis

I wrote an article (Lunch, Break, and Hour Laws) over a year ago that linked to one of Lexis’ products. Ironically, that article is the most popular one on my entire site.

I provided a link to Lexis’ lawyer directory, since I thought it added some value to the post. And based on the number of visitors that post receives, I’m sure Lexis has received some traffic from me. I’ve also linked to their sites in other articles throughout my two years of running Legal Andrew.

Lexis complained

A few days ago, I received the following email from a LexisNexis “Content Specialist.” I have added emphasis and removed their links.


LexisNexis website ***removed*** has recently upgraded its websites and would you to update/add our links. For generations students have relied on Martindale-Hubbell as the authoritative resource for information on the worldwide legal profession. With a history spanning 140 years, the Martindale-Hubbell Legal Network hopes to provide authoritative legal resources to you.

Please update our links on the following page:

Please use the following links and text:

Law Firm directory from Martindale

The phrase “Law Firm” should be the clickable link to ***removed***. The following sentence “directory from Martindale” should be plain text (not the clickable link). (“Law Firm” should be the hyperlink)

Also LexisNexis has re-launched its new website for Lawyers.com and would like you to add our links on the page listed above.

Please use the following links and text:

***truncated here***

As you can see, they’re asking for me to change the links that I have given them to use the specific anchor text they’re targeting. And they want me to add links to their other sites.

Let me think about that… HECK NO!

What self-respecting website owner would EVER ask someone to do this? “Hey, thanks for the link. But please use the proper anchor text.”

I tried to educate Lexis

What kind of blogger would I be, if I didn’t help Lexis understand their error?

I responded to Lexis’ email:

I understand that you are just doing your job, but I am insulted by this email. I hope you can pass that along to your supervisor.

I included Martindale in an article I wrote over a year ago. I essentially gave LexisNexis free publicity, traffic, and search engine “juice.”

And now I receive this email from you guys that I need to update that link to reflect your targeted anchor text. AND I should add your other links as well. That is not the way to do business online and create goodwill among internet publishers.

I would be happy to have LexisNexis advertise on www.LegalAndrew.com. I would even consider a barter agreement, where LexisNexis could sponsor my blog, and I could receive free research access. Feel free to call or email to discuss this idea.

I sent that on August 13. As of this article’s publication (August 30), I haven’t heard anything back.

That must mean that Lexis doesn’t care about its completely rude behavior. They don’t want to be a member of the online community. They just want to dominate the search engines. Jerks.

No more links from me

I have now removed ALL Lexis links from my websites. It’s the least they deserve. I encourage you do to the same.

Yes, I’m mad. Maybe I’m petty, but that’s ok.

Will Lexis care?

When I wrote about a Fastcase problem, the CEO called me. He worked things out pretty well. Fastcase obviously cares about its users and its online image.

Now I’m curious if anyone from Lexis will contact me about this post. I’ll certainly let you know if they do.

Am I wrong here? Full of shit? Let me know.

Update – Sept. 4 – Lexis posted a comment below.

Photo background above by Jeremy Brooks

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27 Responses to “Biggest Jerk Award Goes to LexisNexis”

  1. Jeremy Brooks
    August 30th, 2008

    It’s actually my picture, but I think Thomas linked to it on his blog.

  2. Eric S. Mueller
    August 30th, 2008

    I don’t think you’re full of it . Some companies just don’t have a clue how to do business online. They think they’re still working in 1980s or earlier. I’ve heard that companies who “get it” set up Google Alerts to keep them informed of problems and some even respond personally. Others just don’t care. I guess it depends on the philosophy that the company operates under. Some companies consider it their privilege to serve you. Other companies consider it YOUR privilege to have access to THEIR product. I wish more of those companies would go out of business more often.

  3. Pinko
    August 30th, 2008

    I thought a Permanent Redirect was supposed to do what they are asking automatically? It’s not just netiquette they don’t get, it is internet technology.

  4. Banker
    August 30th, 2008

    waw…good for us, its informative. Good job…

  5. Andrew Flusche
    August 30th, 2008

    @Jeremy – Thanks for letting me know. I updated the attribution link accordingly. Great shot!

    @Eric – I definitely think Lexis operates under the latter philosophy: I’m privileged enough to have access to their products. Jerks.

    @Pinko – It’s not really a redirect issue. Their URLs didn’t change. They just wanted better anchor text for SEO purposes. And they wanted me to add links to other products and websites.

  6. Sean Cooksey
    August 30th, 2008

    Well done. I don’t know if this is typical for you, but for certain responses or communications like this, I have notoriously little self-control for writing a scathing and pithy response to whatever I find offensive. Most recently, I blew up at a certain organization I belong to for writing some “inflammatory” letters to a local newspaper on a completely unrelated topic. But back to the point, I’m with you, I have absolutely no patience for people whom, “you give an inch and they take a mile.”

  7. Andrew Flusche
    August 30th, 2008

    @Sean – Yeah, it’s pretty horrible when people just keep asking more for. That definitely doesn’t help goodwill.

  8. sean
    August 30th, 2008

    Just to say – nothing about Lexis surprises me at all although i think you should feel honoured. In 5 years of publication of my newsletter “Law Librarians News” not one individual at LN has ever deigned to communicate with me although i am read by legal KM’s and Law Librarians around the world

    By the way i love the image

    Keep up the good work

  9. Andrew Flusche
    August 30th, 2008

    @sean – Honestly, I was surprised as well. It must’ve taken a lot of effort for Lexis to email people who have a couple links to them.

  10. George
    August 30th, 2008

    I think they just hired a BAD SEO firm… However, it certainly was a big mistake on their part.

  11. Andrew Flusche
    August 30th, 2008

    @George – That could be it. But the email I received was from an individual Lexis employee. I don’t think this was outsourced. And since Lexis does tons of online stuff, I doubt they’d outsource just for SEO.

  12. Marc
    August 31st, 2008

    I think this would classify as an, “epic fail.”

    big companies are slow to react, but I hope they catch on soon. this post should definitely wake them up a bit at least.

  13. Andrew Flusche
    August 31st, 2008

    @Marc – I love that: “epic fail.” Nice!

  14. seo
    September 2nd, 2008

    I disagree with you – you obviously know nothing about SEO, if you know anything about link building, you need good targeted anchor text, “click here” or “lexisnexis” doesn’t help anyone get good quality traffic. They obviously see your site as relevant and need the anchor text cleaned up. If you refuse its really your lose not theirs as they have greater site authority according to Google and you would only benefit by more quality traffic.

  15. Andrew Flusche
    September 2nd, 2008

    @seo – You obviously haven’t read anything else on my blog. I know my share of SEO, and I certainly understand the importance of anchor text.

    LexisNexis is just trying to increase their bottom line. They saw a free link from me, and they wanted to squeeze everything possible out of it. And they thought I’d be gullible enough to give them some more free links.

    I don’t see how I’m losing anything by removing links to Lexis. They never linked to me anywhere. My link to them didn’t help my site traffic. It wasn’t a link exchange.

    I guess you missed my point: if a website links to you, don’t be an a**hole and complain about the anchor text.

  16. Law Student
    September 2nd, 2008

    @Andrew: Lexis’s email is remarkably ridiculous. Thanks for making us aware of this. If Lexis fails to resolve this issue to your satisfaction, please notify me and I will remove all hyperlinks to Lexis on LawStudent.tv.

    @SEO: It is you, not Andrew, who doesn’t know much about SEO. First, Google rewards websites when the anchor text is varied; having the same anchor text seems artificially manipulated (which in this case is exactly what is happening). Second, you state that Andrew’s failure to comply would affect his traffic, but there is no correlation between Andrew’s traffic and the anchor text of an outbound link on Andrew’s page.

  17. Bob
    September 2nd, 2008

    They have some set of balls. I wonder if there will be any back lash from this. The very least they should do is give you a link with good anchor text or better yet offer some incentive for hooking them up. This in America and nothing is free. They should be happy the got a back link for free with some PR.

  18. Andrew Flusche
    September 2nd, 2008

    I have actually been contacted by a guy from Lexis. We’ll see what happens….

  19. health
    September 2nd, 2008

    Please you are not being petty at all. They have some crazy guts to ask you to change the anchor text for the links. I don’t have any links to them but I really hope that the readers here do remove their links. You are doing them a favor and they say that your favor needs to meet their favor guidelines.

  20. Nick
    September 4th, 2008

    Hello Andrew,

    As the person responsible for Traffic & Alliances here at the LexisNexis Client Development organization, including the optimization of our web properties, I wanted to follow up here with some information that may be helpful.

    First, we do leverage a consultant to perform optimization outreach initiatives. This would include notifying influencers such as you about our sites/new releases and, if you choose, linking to the appropriate pages utilizing relevant keywords. We strive to both practice and preach best search practices within the legal community as described in this Law.com article authored several weeks ago: http://www.law.com/jsp/legalte.....2423253023

    Second, I fully agree that the email you received was cold and inappropriate, and for that I apologize. We have taken steps with our consultant to eliminate this process and encourage more personalized outreach for our product releases.

    Nick Karrat
    Senior Director, Traffic & Alliances

  21. Andrew Flusche
    September 4th, 2008

    @Nick – Thank you for the response. I greatly appreciate LexisNexis taking responsibility for this inappropriate email, and I’m glad to hear that you are improving these things for the future.

  22. Shawn
    September 7th, 2008

    So, are you going to give Lexis credit for contacting you and following up with their contractor who sent the offending message?

  23. Andrew Flusche
    September 7th, 2008

    @Shawn – Yes, a follow up post is in the works. Stay tuned.