Lexis-Nexis gave a sneak peak of some upcoming changes to their Martindale- Hubbell Connected social network site for lawyers.
They cleaned up the user interface, with new colors, improved navigation and improved searching.
The current Connected site has been a disappointment. I have a lot of hope for the site because it has the financial backing of Lexis-Nexis and the ginormous content repository of Lexis-Nexis.
They are trying to better combine the public lawyer directory from Martindale.com to the Connected social network. That means they are also redesigning Martindale.com
One surprise was the inclusion of third party advertising. There was an ad for the Cadillc SRX prominently on the page during part of the demonstration. (I wonder what Paul Lippe would think about placing advertisements in Legal OnRamp.)
They are also creating a subscription model so that you need to pay for access to the full features of the site. It sounds like you get full access to Connected if you have a subscription to Martindale. They were dodgy on the details during the demo. You need to be a premium member to create a group and to send messages to people that you are “connected” to.
The site will try to push content to you based on you interests. Supposedly the more complete your profile, the better focused the information that will be pushed to you.
They added a “Diversity Information” section, sponsored by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. (Unfortunately, there is not much there for a white guy like me.)
The Martindale Peer Review gets a prominent display and lots of detail on how the rating was compiled. That may resuscitate lawyers’ interest in paying for that AV or BV rating.
They are continuing the emphasis on groups within the community. They went a step further and allowed for subgroups within groups. Personally, I think the use of groups is over-emphasized, merely leading to fragmented content. Groups are great for focusing an filtering information. You only need to filter when there is a big flow of information. Connected has too little information flowing to need many filters. LinkedIn had groups for a long time that merely acted as profile badges. Even now that LinkedIn groups can have substantive discussions, most are filled with self-promotion and spam.
They are also changing the privacy, allowing non-members to see the content in public groups and allowing Google to index the public groups. (I’m not sure there is much content to index.)
The redesign is scheduled to be deployed on June 2.