Attorney-Lawyers is a Great Directory Vertical But is it at Risk?

While browsing through this morning’s interesting web links, I found a praized-worthy combo of articles. The first one talks about lawyers advertising in business directories:

“The Yellow Pages AssociationT (YPAT) recently announced that, according to a new Attorney Advertising Perceptions Study from Wiese Research Associates, consumers have rated Yellow Pages as the most acceptable form of attorney advertising. Almost half of respondents said they would use the Yellow Pages to select an attorney if they were not familiar with or referred to a particular attorney. So, it’s no surprise the “Attorneys-Lawyers” Yellow Pages heading ranks sixth out of more than 4,000 headings and generates nearly 290 million references annually.” (via the West Virginia Record)

drive thru lawyer

The second is a letter from a reader of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune talking about their new Superpages directory:

“My new Verizon phone book arrived, and in leafing through it, I discovered that lawyering appears to be the biggest business in town. Before I even cracked the covers of the new directory, I was exposed to five attorney advertisements on the cover’s front and back and on the binding and bottom. Inside, many residential pages had ads for attorneys. And the Yellow Pages? There were 87 pages for attorneys but only 45 for restaurants and 42 for physicians.” (source: HeraldTribune.com)

What it means: this is what I call a great vertical for directory publishers: high usage and advertising revenues. But a comment from one of the lawyers interviewed in the Record makes me think this heading might come under assault by social media soon. “Most of my clients are referrals and former clients” says Charleston attorney Rusty Webb. If the web is truly becoming a big word-of-mouth machine, usage might migrate to social media in the future and this might impact revenues if publishers do not have a social media plan in place.

(Flickr picture by brookenovak)

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