Choosing The Right SEO Expert Witness

In: Legal Expert Witness

11 Aug 2015
by Chris Silver Smith

People sometimes select expert witnesses for legal cases based merely on surface qualifications and comparative costs. But, you may get what you pay for — cheaper fees may give you someone who isn’t experienced enough to be thorough in their research on your issues, and that upfront savings may result in a costly loss in court.

Also, for some of us, the satisfaction of a job that’s well-done for a worthy client is more than merely a fee — we believe deeply in the SEO expert witness work that we do and aim to provide the highest quality possible to insure best chances of success.

This is why I was so very gratified to receive the following thank-you note this morning:

SEO Expert Witness - client testimonial note.

“I just wanted to let you know that we settled the ______ v. _______ matter at mediation. While the terms are confidential, our clients were pleased with the result and are happy to finally put the case behind them. I believe your great report played a significant role in getting the matter resolved.

Frankly, I believe the best strategy where lawsuits are concerned is to not go to court at all.

When two parties take a dispute to court, it can often be an example of lose-lose, because both sides will often end up paying a considerable amount to attorneys, court costs, and all the ancillary costs involved with lawsuits — including sapping the time of the two parties involved that might otherwise be able to invest their time into further building their successes. It’s easier in life to achieve destruction than it is to create and invent something.

In the case involved with the letter above, one party was suing the other, believing they could exact a stinging penalty and obtain a large monetary judgement in their favor. A lot of prideful egos were involved, and it’s not clear if they knew that their imagined potential judgement was largely dependent upon their expert’s report which very irresponsibly inflated some numbers by an outrageous level.

In this case, my report completely and utterly debunked the plaintiff’s expert report, exposing that it was built upon some very fly-by-night numbers. (The report, which was a laughable, two-page note, cited statistics from a website that is not widely considered reputable by internet marketers, and that site was created by a person based in Latvia, using software on his site produced by a person based out of Nepal. It was quite clear from context that it produced highly-inflated numbers about some material shared on Facebook, and while I was unable to get the website or software developers to respond to my inquiries, I was able to apparently duplicate the mistake their software made due to a server redirect, and a low-quality API that Facebook provides.)

My report utterly debunked the plaintiff’s expert, making it highly risky for them to even present it at court. While the particular facts that our reports addressed were not the sole legal issues at stake, it was a vital piece that would’ve affected any possible monetary relief the court might have granted the plaintiffs had they won their case. The report helped to motivate the parties to settle the issues without proceeding on to court.

In my report, I resisted the impulse to impugn the character of the opposition’s expert. I was very offended at the unsophisticated nature of his report, and his apparent acceptance of statistics from a highly unreliable source — those statistics never should have been cited in a court case. But, this “expert” was not experienced with court cases, and did not have background in search engine optimization (“SEO”), internet marketing, nor social media — he mentioned some things about domain names, SEO and social media that were outright misinformation and which implied greater degrees of malice (or effective SEO) on the part of the defendant than were justifiable.

I think the opposition’s expert is likely a very good networking engineer and computer security specialist, but was not qualified for the issues presented by the court case. This is what makes internet technology and marketing expertise into something that is not a simple commodity to be bought from anyone who has a passing experience with the web.

This is not the first time my reports have helped in achieving a settlement — one of my other cases just this year was settled to the satisfaction of my client as well.

If you’re considering possibly selecting us to represent you as an expert witness, keep in mind: it’s not all about price. It’s about getting yourself high-quality expertise so that your claims may be best-represented. You may pay a premium for such representation, but having a high-quality report upfront may actually save you the costs of proceeding on to time-consuming and costly depositions and court battles. And, even if it still cannot inspire the other party to settle, it may improve your chances of ultimately winning in court.

Comments are closed.

About [Ag] Search Blog

Research, thoughts, commentary about Internet Marketing, SEO, Social Media, Online Reputation Management, and SEO Expert Witness Service. Provided by Argent Media.


  • Chris Silver Smith: Good point about Gawker being a muckraking site in of itself. But there are a number of others who [...]
  • Rob M: Referencing Gawker for character assassination isn't so helpful since they were sued into oblivion b [...]
  • Chris Silver Smith: Don - it might be more motivating, sure, but my argument remains the same: someone shouldn't be vili [...]
  • Don: It would help your argument if you could say the Got News claims are totally false. [...]
  • 10 domain name secrets to repair your online reputation: […] Naturally, you could include all sorts of things — your street address, city, state, [...]

Chris Silver Smith at SMX West