Local search is probably more visible than since the advent of Google Maps. Yet, paradoxically, there is almost no innovation for consumers. Google, Yelp, Facebook (a bit) and a whole range of apps and specialized verticals, some of which have just survived but are not thriving.
Little or no "horizontal" innovation. Part of the lack of "horizontal" innovation at the local level is probably due to the fact that venture capital does not want to finance anything that goes directly against Google. The company can now appear to many investors as an unbearable heavyweight in local / mobile search.
All new local consumer startups are therefore likely to appear in specific sectors or otherwise offer specialized use cases. This is the case of Hotspot Law, a new legal research site that hopes to benefit lawyers from scheduling ZocDoc-type appointments. It also aims to provide client lawyers with a more reliable and cost-effective stream of leads.
There are many competitors in the legal branch, including Avvo (Internet Brands), LegalZoom, FindLaw and many others. Despite this, Felix Shipkevich, founder of Hotspot Law, thinks to solve two unresolved issues in the legal field.
"The legal market is badly in need of modernization," says Shipkevich.
Establish direct links with lawyers. "Once you have completed your research online, you have to start calling," he said. "We do not talk directly to lawyers, we usually talk to a guardian". He points out that the process of consulting a lawyer takes a lot of time to people who need legal assistance. "None of these platforms [completing] puts the consumer in direct contact with a lawyer." between doctors and patients. Similarly, he wanted to remove the frictions in the lawyer-consumer match. Shipkevich explained that the hot spot law was also seen as a way to make "justice" more accessible to consumers.
Why bother? Legal lead is expensive. Shipkevich believes that existing legal websites and advertising solutions do not serve lawyers well either. "Advertising to CPP can be extremely expensive. in New York this can cost between $ 60 and $ 80 per click. He adds that "Yelp is expensive. Sometimes it takes between $ 2,000 and $ 4,000 to initiate proceedings.
He wants to solve this problem by offering simplified and reasonable pricing to lawyers who may have trouble finding clients. But he is also seeing Hotspot Law evolve into a platform for lawyers to manage their existing clients. Currently, the site is only operational in New York and plans to expand geographic coverage in the coming months.
For the moment, Shipkevich will have to rely on SEO for discovery, but he hopes to create a branded destination for the consumer. . This will be very difficult given the current structure of local SERPs. We must admire the ambition and the chutzpah.
About the Author
Greg Sterling is a collaborative editor at Search Engine Land. He researches and writes on the links between digital commerce and offline commerce. He is also Vice President of Strategy and Knowledge for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him on Google +.