LexisNexis has opened the doors to Martindale-Hubbell Connected, their professional networking site for lawyers. The site has been in beta for many months and still has the beta label. If you are a lawyer you can now register and join the online community: http://www.martindale.com/connected. If you are not a lawyer, you are not invited yet.
I manage to sneak into the site several months ago and finally posted Martindale-Hubbell Connected – My Thoughts last weekend. Several other commenters have offered some harsh opinions about the site for locking them out or for the problems with registration process.
Connected has been a lonely place while I have been a member. Perhaps that will change now that they are opening the community to a larger audience.
The lure of Connected is the idea of combining an online networking community, the Martindale-Hubbell lawyer listings, and the enormous pool of data in the Lexis databases. Theoretically, your lawyer listing, articles, cases, news, and people connections would be all linked together in one place. None of that seems to be in place yet on the launch.
One problem is that Connected is targeting the majority of lawyers instead of a crowd of early adopters. They want to be the largest online community. That is a different strategy than Legal OnRamp, another professional networking site for lawyers. Legal OnRamp is focusing on people who will contribute to that community. There is a barrier to entry and you may get kicked out if you don’t contribute.
Are online communities so mainstream that you can get lots of lawyers onboard and can skip targeting early adopters? I am skeptical. I predict that there will be many lawyers who register (or try to register), see the lack of content, and never come back. Early adopters will see that Connected is merely a mediocre social network platform lacking many of the robust features of Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Or maybe I am wrong. Register for Connected and try it out for yourself. Then come back here and leave a comment, letting us know what you thought.