December 10, 2009
Questionable Employment and SEO Practices at Phone to Phone Inc.?
In response to my blogging about Phone to Phone Inc. (1, 2, 3, 4), which operates newlawyer.com, laws.com, attorney.org, science.org and other websites, I recently received the following self-explanatory email from a Phone to Phone Inc. employee raising some issues about Phone to Phone Inc.'s employment and SEO practices. For obvious reasons, I've redacted information that would be likely to identify the author. I have not been able to verify the accuracy of this email, but it is consistent with a telephone conversation I had with someone else who was recruited for a Phone to Phone Inc. position.
[begin third party email]
"They hired me as an article writer for their "websites". Which if you haven't seen... compare the following two of their big ones
And click a few links. They had me write 15 500 word articles based on keywords. I spent the day writing 500 word articles with the keyword [redacted]. Where there must be 30 total instances of the keywords in each article and they do zero fact checking.
In order to hopefully gain full employment I would have to show up at their office each day, write 15 of these a day. On the third day, they could let me go, and keep all 45 of the articles I wrote. They bring in about 20 new people a day, having them do something similar. Though most people are hired to make calls, and they have them make at least 150 calls each day for three days before informing them if they've been accepted for employment.
They bring in about 20 "prospectives" a day, and hire very very few. This gets them a lot of "free" work.
You will notice that the articles on their websites are not, in fact, articles based on the content, but based on keywords. Try a few of the links and you'll notice on science.org in one 500 word article the word science appears approx 25 times.
All attempts to get their site to be the number one hit on key terms without having any actual content to speak of."
[end third party email]
This email prompted me to poke around both science.org and attorney.org. I was completely unimpressed by the quality of content I saw. I thought this junk article (I nofollowed the link--no link juice from me!) on "Patent Laws for Inventors" was a fine exemplar of the (low) article quality on science.org. Check it out and evaluate it for yourself. I don't mean to be snarky, but I would expect most seventh graders to do a better writing job than the writing in this article. A few representative quotes:
* "Inventors may come up with ideas that are in regard to machines or processes."
* Referring to design patents, "A design is the face of the product or the company and should be protected. Designs distinguish and separate one company from the next and it is because of this that this type of patent is required for businesses and manufacturers alike." [this was not about trade dress or trademarks; it was about design patents]
* "A patent should not be confuse [sic] with a copyright. A copyright will provide inventors with the rights to prevent any other inventors from producing material in the same way or with the same expression."
* "Keep in mind that not everything can be patented and some things are already, so make sure you have a solid and original idea before you even apply for one."
* "It should be also noted that the process may be lengthy and is not conducted over night."
A sterling contribution to the literature. Anyone who knows IP law can immediately spot ambiguities or outright flaws in the above quotes. Frankly, if it weren't so spammy (out of 516 words, I count 18 references to "patent" and 15 to "inventor"), I'd actually wonder if this was intended to be a spoof or satire about how seriously people take patents. Even if that wasn't the intent, the article has far more value as a satire than it does as an educative piece.
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