ed. note: below is the continuation of this conversation i had with mohamad mova al’ afghani in which we discussed the website i developed in association with attorney, entrepreneur, programmer kreig mitchell (“k” in this post).
the business model of the website is simple: users post content for others to download, such as:
- documents: pleadings, letters, briefs, memoranda, research
- presentations: power-point, flash, PDF
- media: videos, photographs
- applications: applets or widgets
authors and items receive user ratings. highly rated authors and items are featured more prominently. revenue would be generated through
- e-commerce: host site would take a fair % of the value of each transaction
- advertising: start simply by deploying ads then work up to sponsorship
- subscriptions: as mentioned above
- licensing: application could be licensed for use within an enterprise
i have lots of ideas too. one that pops up for now is a social networking site for lawyers. so it appears that the site you propose would not only collect, share, and sell documents, but serve as a recruiting and outsourcing tool for those who do not wish to be tied to a firm? that represents expansion from the previous idea, and such expansion generally delays implementation. but i still find the idea compelling.
i recommend that you not focus on the social networking aspects of the concept. our profession is not ready for true online social networking, even though that would be a boon to the 70% of lawyers who work alone or in small, often isolated, offices. instead of social networking, the internet is driving 2 simultaneous effects in our profession:
- the long-tail: making it cheaper and easier to compete
- consolidation: allowing firms to grow bigger, faster
lawyer-only social networks like lawbby.com are not gaining traction and represent nothing new. the point is to create a genuine community. findlaw was on this track but never found its voice; they were trying to create community in 1999 when the world just wanted portals. their customers (lawyers) could not even conceive of what was to come.
what would attract these people in signing up and giving away their docs? you can give the answer in your blog, and I will reply it in my blog if you like.
and the answer to that question is …