This post from Larry Bodine about “Martindale Connected” touts the social network as having increased its membership from 3,000 to 30,000 within the year and also that they have member from more than half the Fortune 500 and 98 of the Amlaw 100. Obviously, “Connected” wants to be the “Gucci” of social networks for lawyers and that’s fine. What isn’t not so hot is that Martindale is using “Connected” to justify the six and seven figure subscription costs to its “Martindale” directory product.
The question isn’t whether “Connected” is a valuable social network but whether its worth the price of the increasingly valueless Martindale directory product.
Why it isn’t: this isn’t an organic social network supported by the people who join. That’s LinkedIn which is free and which includes somewhere in the neighborhood of a million attorneys and it doesn’t need the support of a huge corporation to cheerlead for its use.
Martindale touts the value of “Connected” as a vetted version of LinkedIn. I saw a demo of “Connected” and that’s basically what the sales person said It made me wonder if LinkedIn signed a deal with Martindale to provide them with the code to build it. Afterall, Martindale has a deal with LinkedIn for its integration into the Martindale directory.
As for its being a “vetted” network, when I saw the demo, they used a firm attorney who had left the firm many months before, suggesting that the “vetting” isn’t quite so great afterall.
Finally, in the demo I had them look at a top Fortune 100 company to see who was included. They tried to impress me with all the members from the legal department but I was looking at the number of connections these people had. Many of them had 1 connection and most had under 5. When I see a LinkedIn contact with less than 20 connections, I assume they rarely use the service. For “Connected” I wouldn’t be surprised if Martindale either added the General Counsel automatically from their Martindale legal directory and also gave them incentives to join. The result is that they joined but aren’t active.
Bottom-line: stick with LinkedIn