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Beware of Nolo / Experthub Paid Attorney Listings

In August of 2011 a good salesman for ExpertHub suckered me into purchasing a listing for estate planning lawyers on Nolo’s website at www.nolo.com.  Here’s a link to my listing.  The “referrals” I got from my listing on Nolo were of no use to me and did not result in a single dollar of income.

I paid ExperHub $750 eight months ago in return for which I would get a listing for estate planning probate and commercial real estate lawyers when people looked for that type of lawyer in Maricopa County, Arizona.  If somebody left an online inquiry about that type of legal service ExpertHub charged me $25 and sent me an email message with the text entered by the prospective client.

Here is a sample of some of the “leads” ExpertHub emailed to me:

  • Father and grandfather passed away on the 2nd. We would like some assistance with the estate and paying final bills and distributing what remains of the estate.
  • Misty said she was underage when her father died and his ashes were given to another person. Now that she is older she wants to get her fathers ashes back. But this other person will not give them back to her.
  • Significant other has been diagnosed with life threatening illness. Need to know how to protect assets upon death. is marriage the only solution?
  • Do I need a living revocable trust if my son is listed on all my accounts as the beneficiary?
  • father died, assigned girlfriend personal rep., she wont answer our calls
  • Review purchase and sales contract to see if earnest money can be returned.
  • My Aunt died and has no will.

The next one is my favorite.

  • I have a judgement against me for $160,000. I am single and make $10 an hour and will not be able to pay this back in my lifetime but what would happen if I were to marry a man with substantial assets? Will he also become liable for my judgement?

Bottom Line

In my opinion the $750 I paid ExpertHub in August of 2011 was a complete waste of money.  Now to add insult to injury I recently reviewed my March 2012 Amex account and saw that ExpertHub charged me another $750 last month. On April 20, 2012, I called ExpertHub and sent an email message asking to cancel my account immediately and refund my $750.  Today I got this message from Maria Albano, ExpertHub’s Billing Analyst, Ad Services Manager:

“We received your request for cancellation that was sent to our Customer Service department on April 20, 2012.

 Per our Terms and Conditions, our Advertising fees are non-refundable. Nolo/ExpertHub will terminate the automatic renewal of services and charges at any time, provided that Company delivers written notice to Nolo/ExpertHub by confirmed email, fax or letter at least two business days prior to the start of the next billing cycle date if paying on a flat rate or before the account balance reaches $0 if paying per lead.

 Because your request came in 4 weeks after we replenished your account on 3/13/12, and after the requirement of notification before your account balance reached $0, I am unable to issue the requested refund. I did however set your profile to deactivate upon reaching $0 balance and you will not incur further charges.

 You will be hearing from your Account Representative Dan Haight on our team for feedback and perhaps to offer suggestions for altering your Campaign to retain better results.

ExpertHub never sent me an email with an invoice that showed the charges and the balance remaining in the account.  Why do you suppose it didn’t do that?  ExpertHub never sent me a notice that my account would automatically renew and be charged $750 unless I cancelled before a certain date.  Nor did it send me a message that it had charged my credit card and renewed my account.  Why didn’t ExpertHub use the power of technology to keep me informed about the status of my account at least once a month.  P U!

Nolo vs. Avvo

For over a year I paid Avvo over $200/month for a priority attorney listing on its website.  I had the same result with Avvo, i.e., a complete waste of my money.  I do not recommend that any attorney pay money to Nolo / Experthub  or Avvo to get client prospects.  My opinion is that the primary reason prospective clients use these types of services is because they are looking for free legal advice.  If your experience is different, please comment.

15 comments to Beware of Nolo / Experthub Paid Attorney Listings

  • I just had the exact same experience. I am totally disgusted with this company and agree with each point you made about the autorenewal process that involves very large sums of money with no notice that either (a) the amount was about to be charged or (b) the amount was charged.

  • Robert Perry, Admin

    Thank you they just pitched us for a subscription. My attorney wanted to know about the reputation of such services on the the market. We are grateful that the community of lawyers are willing to be open about success and failure in their marketing efforts in their practices. Thanks all the best to you Richard, and Sheila

  • Timothy W

    I am considering signing up for this service. Your opinion is the exact opposite of a colleague’s. He has gotten a lot of legitimate leads that turn into cases. We are in NYC however, so there is a much greater concentration of people.

    He also told me that if you get somewhat “bogus” or worthless leads, like your example where the fellow has a $160,000.00 judgment and earns $10.00/hour, you can call them and they will reverse the charge.

    Now I am not sure, because it is a fairly pricey service…

  • I have to agree, as an immigration attorney I did not find nolo to be very helpful. However, I have been with lawinfo for several years and I have to tell you the response is very good. Lawinfo is a huge website that has thousands and thousands of pages of legal information and you are charged a flat rate. Check it out.

  • [...] Note that LawQA is not ExpertHubs’ only web property where lawyers get leads from. While we do get mostly legitimate leads, and ExpertHub says it will refund the cost deducted from your account for any solicitations, it should be noted that the firms we have worked with in the past have not had good luck converting these leads into clients. Apparently, we are not the only folks not 100% satisfied. [...]

  • Thank you for sharing your experience. I just stumbled into Nolo’s lead program and received an offer from their sales team. I was reluctant about signing up since I had a bad experience with Avvo’s priority listing.

  • Hal

    One of my clients started using Nolo about 6 months ago and he also get’s a number of leads that are bad – some are on a completely different topic than what he is advertising for. But there have also been some good leads, at least that are topic and have a chance to turn into something.

    I recommend reviewing or planning what your pages and listings will say on Nolo or any site. If you are not precise in your marketing you can’t expect to get great results. Even when you do take care you still get junk coming in, but that is what happens when you market to humans. :-)

  • I am a social security disability attorney in Tennessee. I was sold a package a year ago. At that time, I paid $830 a quarter for unlimited leads. Only 2 each month were valid leads. My leads just suddenly stopped. (I was billed an automatic $830 on 7/20/13 for this quarter) They “changed the way they were doing things” and they (without my knowledge or consent) changed me to a pay per lead customer. So, my funds were exhausted very quickly. They didn’t bother to call me and tell me this. I inquired of them when the leads stopped. They refuse to honor our prior agreement. I let them know that my new mission would be to inform every attorney that I came across about their shady business practices. RUN the other direction if you are contacted by them. They cannot be trusted. By the way, I have not been able to speak to a manager because this is “non-negotiable.”

  • Brian D

    I am an IP lawyer in NJ and was sold a package in May of 2013, when I began my solo practice. What a ripoff. In the past five months, I have received seven “referrals”. The four of the first five did not respond to calls or emails. The last two consisted of a “forged signature to a contact” matter – for which Nolo refused to offer any credit despite it having nothing to do with my practice area. The other was from “Joe Average” with phone number (732) 123-4567. At least the area code was real. There is no guidance offered on how to apply for a credit – I had to contact their online customer service group (they don’t ever give you anyone’s number to call), and then was told about it.

    I have already elected not to renew, even though I am not even 1/3 up to the minimum number of referrals that I paid for. At this rate, I will be retired before that happens anyway.

    I echo the sentiments of others STAY AWAY FROM NOLO for any form of attorney advertising. PERIOD.

  • Neil J

    I also paid for a NOLO campaign of $500. It was completely worthless. These guys are probably the worst advertising/marketing dollars one could waste. Not one lead could even be qualified as a bona fide lead. Avoid!

  • I’ve used Nolo since April 2013. I wouldn’t say it is a complete rip off but here is what people considering using it should know: the people submitting leads expect a free consultation and most have no real intention of hiring a lawyer. It’s also worth noting that the leads are submitted to up to 4 different attorneys at the same time. The conversion rate is somewhere around 1 every 30 leads–if you give a free consultation to all thirty and convince one to hire you.

    That said, the advertising cost is about 10-15% of the revenue I’ve generated from the leads. But that doesn’t take into account all of the bullshit I had to go through to get clients from the leads. I haven’t lost money, but I have spun my wheels a whole lot without going very far. If you are not willing to do that, don’t pay for Nolo leads.

    The people who submit leads through Nolo expect someone to call them to give them free advice. Don’t forget, Nolo is a do-it-yourself publisher. In the beginning, I would call each one immediately and spend 10-30 minutes giving them a free telephone consultation. Then I realized for 29 out of 30 leads that is all they wanted! I found myself wasting a lot of time. In the past month, I began having my staff call and ask them if they want a 30 minute consultation for $100. My theory is that if you aren’t willing to spend $100, you aren’t serious, don’t plan to hire an attorney, or can’t afford one. It is more of a screening device than a revenue generator (each lead costs me $15-$20 depending on the practice area). Asking for a consultation fee gets them off the phone real quick and I don’t have to waste my time giving them a free consultation, but I’m probably lowering the conversion rate even lower by requiring payment for a consultation.

    Since I started paid consultations for nolo leads a month ago, I don’t think I’ve had a single nolo lead pay for a consultation, and many are offended by the notion they pay for the consultation–like I’m wasting their time by calling if I expect them to pay for a consultation. In the beginning I was advertising in several surrounding counties. Recently, I’ve dropped every county except the county I am actually in. That drops half the volume of leads. I’m considering dropping Nolo altogether if after a few more months I don’t maintain a revenue to expense ratio of 10%-15% after implementing the $100 consultation policy.

    As far as AVVO is concerned, that is a complete waste of money. I spent $277 a month for 3 months advertising in two counties on AVVO. I didn’t get a single client from AVVO. I have good reviews and and good rating on AVVO. I don’t suggest anyone advertise on AVVO.

    If anyone else has some suggestions, please let me know. I’m considering LawInfo.com, and Lawyers.com.

  • I don’t understand why lawyers would pay for the privilege of writing articles to build content for these sites & then give up rights to the content. I spent approximately $200 with Avvo & quit. I’m not trying Nolo. I just signed up for a month with manta so we’ll see what happens.

  • Peter

    I got one client from them in 8 months. It was a wash in terms of money but a waste of time in terms of bad leads. Don’t waste your money or time.

  • My biggest complaint with NOLO is that they don’t qualify the leads in the slightest. Nor, will they give credit for a lead completely outside my geo area, simply because the lead used a local zip code. For example: Lead is a Florida resident and drives through Nebraska where he is arrested for DUI. I’m a Florida lawyer, but this is a Nebraska case. They refused to give me credit.

    I’m done.

  • I just wanted to thank Timothy Gambacorta for the kind words regarding LawInfo. We’ve had great success for Immigration as well as our other Practice Areas and continue to grow.

    If anyone needs assistance growing their business, let me know.

    Best,

    Keith Newstrom
    Keith.Newstrom@thomsonreuters.com

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