Are you are an attorney? Have you wondered why online legal directory Avvo has published a listing about your practice and then made you pay to have it removed? That is, when you didn’t request the service and didn’t know it was there until it showed up on the first page of your Google search results? Look no further.
A class action suit filed in Chicago protesting the practice has been dismissed in Federal court. A September 14, 2016 ABA Journal article provides more insight into this issue. (Spoiler: Avvo’s business model is protected by the First Amendment.)
This is an excerpt from the ABA’s coverage:
In February, the plaintiff’s attorney Thomas Zimmerman, told the ABA Journal that Avvo sells advertising to competing lawyers utilizing the “likeness” of an attorney, with or without a photograph, that is established on an Avvo profile page. The profile lists the attorney’s name and professional credentials without the attorney’s permission, and then competitors pay to put their own ads on the attorney’s Avvo page, Zimmerman said. “In order to stop that, Avvo requires that you pay them a fee.”
Like so many lawsuits filed against similar Internet platforms, an earlier case filed against Avvo in federal court in San Francisco in 2015 was also dropped.