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The Comp Pinkbook Launches to Excellent Buzz

By Byron Warnken, on October 21, 2012

This past week saw the debut of 27Legal’s first product, The Comp Pinkbook.  The book is 1.5 years worth of three different kinds of workers’ compensation awards in Maryland.  The awards are turned into statistics on lawyers, injuries, doctors, employers, and insurers.  It represents the most Maryland workers’ comp data published in one place.

The book is not perfect, but neither is democracy in America, our justice system, or capitalism.  The book, like those things, is simply the best alternative thus far.  Nowhere else publishes anywhere near as much data about Maryland workers’ comp.

The Comp Pinkbook was the talk of the conference.  The book lists lawyers by most number of claims handled.  From a buzz generation standpoint, we accomplished our goals.  However, I thought we would sell more copies.  Only about 35 copies were distributed.  If the conference had continued for another day, we might have sold out half of our stock of books.

We sold a number of copies to other vendors, who realize there is no other source like it for information on Maryland workers’ comp lawyers, employers, and insurers.

What lessons did I learn and where do I go from here?

  • People are resistant to change.  I would have thought everyone would love my product.  It’s just information.  Public data, aggregated.  What’s not to like?  Where else can you get perspective like that?  But it was new and different and people were unsure of other people’s reactions.  Therefore, many were frightened.
  • You can only introduce one new concept at a time.  I thought I’d be able to move on from the book quickly into the online reputation management aspects.  No.  The book was as new and different as I was going to get in a three-day period.
  • We all think messages spread like wildfire.  One tells four.  Four tell sixteen.  It’s not exactly true.  In the very beginning, messages spread slowly.  If the half-life is twelve hours, you can’t expect an entire community to know and care about something brand new in a few days.  You must have staying power.  You must keep at it.
  • Injury Lawyer Database will be a success.

My product was controversial.  The strong opinions one way or the other helped the message spread.  With the Comp Pinkbook, we sold a physical book.  The model on Injury Lawyer Database is simply to publish the statistics, then let the lawyer purchase control of the page in order to manage their online reputation.  That’s the better model.  But it will be even more controversial.

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