Last week the legal marketing world was all aflutter about a new complaint filed against a high profile marketing firm--the Rainmaker Institute. The lawsuit made headlines not only in the legal world, but the entire SEO community. That is because it is one of the only actual lawsuits filed against a search engine performance company rooted in bad results.
From what we can gather, the basic argument is that the plaintiff-firm spent $49,000 for SEO services that were intended to improve their search ranking. The company claims that not only did their rankings not improve, but they got worse. Uh Oh.
More specifically, the law firm filed a RICO lawsuit, claiming that the Rainmaker Institute engaged in practices that violated Google's Terms of Service. As many know, Google has specific rules in place to prevent "cheating" to bump up in the rankings. Interpreting those "rules" is essentially what the entire SEO community claims to do--they are anything but straightforward.
What can other firms take away from this?
Who knows how the actual RICO lawsuit will play out. Just as likely as the law firm winning is the case being tossed and the Rainmaker Institute filing back with a frivolous lawsuit claim.
At the very least, however, this is a reminder for all firms to be very clear about the services being provided by any "support" company. As legal content writers we have worked with many SEO companies--some good, some mediocre, and some downright terrible. Whatever you decide to do when working with these sorts of companies it is essentially NOT to simply write a check and assume that the team is working some magic behind the scenes. You should understand the specific goals and the work-product being created. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.