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Crowdhacking as one reason why collective online assessments of law firms won’t succeed

If many inside counsel could go to a web site and evaluate the performance of their outside counsel on matters, everyone in-house would benefit. Like Zagat ratings of restaurants, the collective experience of the crowd would boost everyone’s knowledge (See my post of July 21, 2005 for an early reference to this possibility.).

An article in Wired, March 2007 at 110, demolishes the idea, however, because so-called “crowdhackers” would game the system. It is almost certain that someone would figure out how to misleadingly pump up the evaluations of certain law firms. The analogies in the article come from fake reputations established on e-Bay, or artificial buzz created on such shared-rating sites as Digg and Reddit, or manipulated feedback scores on Netflix.

It would take too much monitoring of a law-firm evaluation site to make the effort worthwhile. Too much is at stake for law firms for them to remain pristinely uninvolved and not try to influence the ratings.