Tuesday, April 29, 2008

UGC for Lawyers
The New York Times ran an article on Sunday in the Novelties section entitled Lawyers Open Their File Cabinets for a Web Resource. The company that was profiled is called JD Supra.com and they have built a service that "offers free access to a constantly expanding database of legal documents". Contributions include filings, decisions, forms and articles that are contributed by groups as varied as the Electronic Frontier Foundation to Morrison & Foerster.

This site assists researchers, members of the press and lawyers from smaller firms by providing a source for quality legal product. And, as with many user generated content schemes, offers the authors a wider audience to share their knowledge and grow their business and reputation. JD Supra also benefits by charging contributors $240 per year if they want to add links in their profiles to their e-mail addresses, Web sites and blogs. The site will also carry advertisements according to the article.

I've been of the opinion that user generated content in the B2B arena has been limited to markets where there is a high level of collaboration among community members -- like HR professionals or research librarians who share to help each other. Markets that have high degrees of competition are not as well suited for UGC because of issues like trade secrets, client confidentiality and the like. However, it appears that community members can self monitor what to share so that they can reap the "thought leader" benefits without enabling competitors.

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