Seventeen months ago, I noted that the most expensive Google AdSearch term was “mesothelioma lawyers” topping the charts at C$54.33. I further noted that such rich referral costs suggested that lawyers were rent-seeking and unethically obtaining surplus from clients, and bidding it away to search for new clients instead of lowering their rates.
How have things changed since? Well, lawyers have gotten slightly more sophisticated: the most expensive Google AdSearch term as of July 9, 2007, is “mesothelioma treatment options“, and, aside from a couple of medical facilities, the vast majority of advertisers are for law firms or fronts for law firms. And the price for that search term is C$69.10, up about 27% in just over a year, demonstrating the rent-seeking involved. David Giacalone comments on the related issue of fixed contingency fees that take advantage of litigants.