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Virtual Relationships: How One Legal Blog Got Its Feed Back

My experience trying to rescue my own legal blog (Securities Docket) from a "hack" this weekend offers an interesting example of how virtual relationships and a virtual workforce are transforming business. 

I heard from several readers going into the weekend that they were no longer receiving daily email alerts from Securities Docket and, after some investigation, I was able to confirm that the RSS feed from Securities Docket had been hacked. Somehow, a robot hacker had injected spam links to dozens of web sites into the feed, causing the feed to become invalid and to shut down. After some more investigation, I realized on Sunday that I had no idea how to possibly fix this problem on my own. Now what?

I recalled that several months ago, I had asked Michelle Leder of about who assisted with web design on her hugely popular Web site about SEC filings. Note that I have never met Michelle. I "know" her through Twitter and simply by being one of many thousands of readers of her blog. But after connecting on Twitter, we eventually had a telephone conversation months ago in which we discussed common issues facing our securities-related blogs, and during which she provided me with the name of her Web designer.

On Sunday, I dug out the email address for that web designer and, based on Michelle's recommendation, shot off an email asking if the designer could possibly help me. As with Michelle, I have never met this designer and probably never will (she is in Texas, I am in the Washington, D.C., area). She promptly replied that she had some time available that afternoon. After the exchange of a couple of emails she got started on the fix and, two hours later, reported back that she had identified and solved the problem. 

I was delighted -- how can I pay you for this, I asked. She gave me a PayPal link where I could pay her electronically and, two minutes later, I had successfully transferred the funds directly to her account. Every bit of these interactions took place "virtually," with the result being a win-win situation for both of us. She had received new business and already been paid in full for work that was referred to her, ultimately, through a Twitter relationship. I had received a critical service in almost real-time from a person who I have never met, but trusted because of the reference from a person I originally met through Twitter.

Posted by Bruce Carton on December 21, 2009 at 01:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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