Attorney Michael P. Ehline of Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC, is one of the first 5000 or so original Avvo members. His partial public profile is above for reference. Michael Britton Avvo founded AVVO in 2006. Formerly, he was an expedia.com executive, according to the AVVO website.
He proclaimed that there must be a more efficient way to choose experts besides ‘pay-to-play’ Yellow Pages. At that time, attorneys and physicians frequently used the Yellow Pages as an avenue to advertise their specialized services. Here is an example of an attorney user profile on AVVO. The mission of Avvo is to ensure people have the best opportunity to make sound decisions for vital matters like legal and medical requirements.
How is the AVVO Rating Achieved?
1. AVVO let’s consumers look at professional information about attorneys. So it includes reviews by clients about specific attorneys. But it also contains peer ratings by other lawyers.
2. Avvo’s includes its lawyer ratings for no cost on its website.
Examination of Avvo’s Criteria and Practices
The process is as follows:
1. With scrapers and other data AVVO creates a profiles of at least 90% of all practicing attorneys. And this includes professional information about the attorney and a rating by AVVO.
2. An attorney has the option of claiming the free profile Avvo creates, and they can edit it as many times as they’d like via use of their username and password assigned after registration.
3. Once an attorney claims their profile, they are provided with the choices below:
a. Keep the basic profile for free (contains ads purchased by other attorneys).
b. Upgrade profile to “Avvo Pro” for a monthly fee of $49.95. (does not contain ads and provides advanced marketing tools).
c. Purchased advertisements:
d. An attorney ‘Sponsored Listing’ includes a picture the attorney provides, preferred tagline, and the choice of having their rating and customer reviews by Avvo on their listing. Also, AVVO randomly places sponsored, paid ads on its advice and search sections.
These are for consumers to use when they are looking for law services.
e. Display advertisements
f. A display ad is paid for by the attorney and is placed on the pages for attorney search results, competitor profiles, Q & A pages, and legal guides. (pages for legal advice). Of course potential clients normally see the paid ads first.
It is apparent that the more time an attorney stays on Avvo’s site, the more business from potential clients they are likely to generate. It is ironic that Avvo’s site is somewhat like the advertising model ‘pay-to-play’ version of the Yellow Pages. Ironically, that purportedly caused Britton to start the AVVO website, to begin with.
AVVO assigns a calculated rating to each lawyer’s profile. AVVO’s opinion on the importance of attorneys’ profile information is what these weights reflect. But legal expertise ratings are just the general opinions of AVVO.
Ultimately, the smarter and more technical the firm, or their SEO guy, the better they rank on AVVO. Similar to Google, AVVO also uses a mathematical algorithm. So it creates ratings from the use of their secret numerical system.
The basis used for the Avvo rating is backround info. But the weight assigned to the information remains a secret. This is mainly because Avvo does not want bets made on the rating system. AVVO states they want the reliability. So this is why their inner-workings are secret. But a little reverse engineering can tell you a lot about the AVVO algo.
Avvo’s attorney ratings are based on AVVO’S secret system. And various kinds of attorney information gets assigned specific weights.
The basis of Avvo’s ratings is:
- Critical factors in selecting an attorney, according to Avvo’s opinion.
- When it is provided, attorney information, they have delivered on their profile.
- How the information gets weighted remains secret.
- Regardless of the weight, no proof exists that attorney information is factual.
- Information that is obtained from the internet is not verified, which is not a precise source for getting information that is true. (online user reviews and even colleague ratings can be faked by use of algo defeating methods, by use of voting rings, etc.)
- Avvo has demonstrated many cases of researching the experiences of lawyers where the data gathered was a misrepresentation of the attorneys’ information. For example, the specialties provided by attorneys have not been correct.
- Attorneys are not assessed, interviewed, or met in person when information is collected. The attorneys are being evaluated blindly.
The following describes Avvo’s practices:
The mission of Avvo is to provide consumers with the help needed to make sound choices when they require legal or medical services. A basic amount of information about attorneys located in their general area provided to consumers. Of special interest, the search slows down due to paid ads promoting competing lawyers.
Our Closing Opinion:
In a world of automated algorithms, Avvo is a smart business model for those wishing to make money off of publicly available attorney information. And they charge a fee to enhance the listings, or sell other forms of advertising to lawyer and law offices. For finding an attorney, it is probably better to go online and do a search.
That way you browse the recent verdicts and settlements of the website that you like. Then you can call the attorney who looks good.
All online user ratings are suspect. Semi intelligent people can easily fake or game AVVO. So AVVO should not be the last word in your search for the best personal injury lawyer.
AVVO is useful if you pay to get your listing on the home page, for example. Other lawyers and consumers may click your enhanced or PRO listing, and drive traffic to your website. So at least this can help your Alexa rating, etc!