Justinian Lane

Why aren’t Walter Olson and Ted Frank Properly Linking to the TortDeform Posts They Discuss?

I would again like to thank Professor Childs for the work he did to investigate who is running  His work didn’t go unnoticed by Walter at Overlawyered, who posted about it:

An earlier entry in the legal-matchmaking field,, has come in for a fair bit of criticism in and out of the profession (”hairball generator“, “incredibly stupid” idea, “like a carpool for ambulance chasers“, etc.).

Reactions: Bill Childs does some legwork on the site’s sponsorship, throwing cold water on hasty, sloppy, or gullible speculation in some circles that the site might be a false-flag operation. Eric Turkewitz and Carolyn Elefant aren’t any more impressed this time around than they were with 


If you look at the above links, you’ll notice that two sites got a TinyURL:, and  (Elsewhere in the post, Walter also used TinyURL to link to  People generally use TinyURL when they want a convenient way to link to a very lengthy URL.  I don’t think that’s the reason why Walter chose to use TinyURL's to link to SueEasy, WhoCanISue, or Tortdeform.  Look at the length of what he did directly link to...

"does some legwork" goes to (69 Characters, direct link.)

"Carolyn Elefant" goes to: (78 Characters, direct link.)

"Eric Turkewitz" goes to: (95 Characters, direct link.)

compared to what he didn't link to:

"hasty, sloppy, or gullible" is a TinyURL to TortDeform, even though the direct link is shorter than two out of the above three links: (71 Characters, TinyURL.)

Oh - the TinyURL’s to SueEasy and WhoCanISue are longer than direct links to either site.  So why would Walter go through the extra work on his part to generate TinyURL’s?  I can think of only one reason – Google rankings.

A big part of how Google ranks your site is by looking at the number and type of incoming links that you have.  By choosing to use TinyURL to “link” to TortDeform, he’s making sure we don’t reap the benefits of an incoming link from his site.

Ted Frank has chosen a different tactic to net the same result.  Look at this post he made earlier:

Justinian Lane crows: Pfizer fined by an Australian trade group! Indeed it was; drug reps went off the reservation of what they were supposed to talk about without telling managers, and exaggerated the health effects of a competing drugs for personal profit.

The link after my name has nothing to do with me.  It's a thread at Pharmalot that doesn't mention my name even once.  A reader following that link looking for me "crowing" would be very confused.  Ted apparently puts his own bias against me ahead of his readers.

He’s criticized my posts on other occasions without linking to them, as well.  For Example, in another recent post, Ted wrote: “Justinian Lane, who knows or should know that the latter statistic isn’t true, because his blog posted about the original statistic…" No link, and no mention of the blog's name.  

Maybe they think if they link to TortDeform three times, I'll appear in their mirrors to serve them with a frivolous lawsuit.

Justinian Lane: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 5:50 PM, Aug 07, 2008 in Ted Frank | Walter Olson
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Your complaint would have a shred of credibility if there was a single link to any of the three Overlawyered posts you discuss. So either you think the Olson/Frank practice is acceptable, or you're a hypocrite.

Meanwhile, I haven't seen a single Overlawyered reader complain that he or she was confused by the linking practices in my post. Indeed, the readership has repeatedly asked that we not link to your site, because by doing so we're just feeding the trolls. The fact that you still haven't corrected or updated your original "hasty, sloppy, or gullible" post, which was 100% wrong, but instead posted this rant, is certainly further evidence of your trolling intent.

Posted by: Ted | August 7, 2008 6:30 PM

Repeatedly. (This was originally in the comment above, but your spam filter won't let me include more than one hyperlink in a post.

Posted by: Ted | August 7, 2008 6:36 PM

Why should Justinian link to overlawyered if it won't do him, Corpreform or TortDeform the same credit? And at least he mentions the name of the website! Overlawyered frequently replaces TortDeform's actual name with quippy little pet names instead. That's corny.

Posted by: Kia | August 7, 2008 6:42 PM

Kia agrees that there's nothing wrong with not linking to a site one talks about. So why a post complaining about something that Justinian does and that Kia thinks is ok?

Posted by: Ted | August 7, 2008 7:11 PM

Justinian and I don't have to agree on everything and I can't speak for him, but I can sympathize with feeling less inclined to link to those who consistently don't link to me.

Posted by: Kia | August 7, 2008 7:46 PM

Here you go Ted, from the post you so conveniently link:

"Query: Why no link to the item you’re commenting on, or the “positively deranged” blogger?"

There is a reader who at least is wondering why you choose to comment on something without linking to it. For the record Justinian not doing it is wrong, but that doesn't excuse you doing it. Why won't you actually link to what your talking about? If you truly didn't want to "feed the troll," you'd stop mentioning Justinian and stop talking about Tort Deform.

Posted by: Nate | August 7, 2008 8:49 PM

I am with Nate. I am grateful to Ted for finding this fun site. However, I still wonder why he bothers to elevate its status by his attention to it. I assume, he finds it a proxy for its owners, a set of plaintiff lawyers that is powerful and very heinous.

Since the owners have a lot of time on their hands now, I suggest they start posting. Stop hiding behind the skirt of a victim of low self-esteem that does not know her worth, and behind a 2L of at best average intellect. If the owners can start posting, then Ted has good justification for his attention. He would be the Lilliputian. They would be Gulliver, the demento, land pirate version.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | August 8, 2008 7:23 AM

Me? I like Sarah. I would like to hear more from that cutie. She is still a regular person. She has not undergone criminal cult indoctrination. However we disagree, I would respect her views, as sincere and not just self-dealing, robotic regurgitation.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | August 8, 2008 7:31 AM

"Your complaint would have a shred of credibility if there was a single link to any of the three Overlawyered posts you discuss."

Are you blind or just trolling, Ted? I linked to the very first post I quoted. Next time try reading before you post and you won't look so foolish.

You also failed to read the post about WhoCanISue: Did you not notice the new title of the post begins with the word UPDATE in all capital letters? Sloppy, Ted. Very sloppy.

I love your solipsistic world view in that you think linking to us is somehow feeding the trolls, but that coming over here and polluting our threads with irrelevant commentary and personal attacks is A-OK. Or how you've thought it proper to censor me on your site, but you howled like a scalded dog when a couple of your comments here didn't show up.

In essence, you're just "free riding" off of my work by using it to generate content and traffic for your blog but refusing to "pay" for my content by linking back to it. You might think that's an ethically sound practice, but I don't. When I discuss your posts in the future, I'll do the right thing and link to them. Perhaps someday you'll do the same.

Posted by: Justinian Lane | August 8, 2008 10:50 AM

Kia and Justinian: Speaking of attributions. I have been a guest contributor to this blog. I would appreciate being listed under Stephanie's name in the Guest Contributor column.

For your reference:

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | August 9, 2008 6:34 PM