I get inspiration from many places for customer service and web app ideas. It’s cool to observe how to make customers feel good about themselves and you.
I love gaming. So I subscribe to Big Fish Games for $6.99/month. For that I get one game per month, and a discount on extra ones I buy. Yesterday I checked up on my account and what I saw made me love Big Fish.
I hadn’t logged in for six months, and so hadn’t taken advantage of my monthly game download. But it turned out that I hadn’t wasted my money: I had six months’ credit waiting for me to use. Plus, for getting six games (even though included in the subscription price), they gave me credit for a free seventh. Plus, as thanks for being a member for a year, they’re sending me a plushie. They are awesome; I’ll probably never cancel my service.
Big Fish is doing it right: rewarding customers for their loyalty and giving them the feeling that they’re getting something for their money. I want our customers to feel like they’re getting an incredible value too.
The webserver’s been getting pretty busy lately, and we wondered if traffic had rebounded so soon from the yearly Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year’s lull. We jumped over to our Quantcast page, and — wow.
One year ago, we were serving around 75,000 page-views per month. We’re now doing 200,000. Looks like it’s time to upgrade our server plan and do some “scalability” and throughput testing to see how the current architecture is holding up.
We’re pleased to introduce our second sponsor for OregonLaws.org, John Gear, of the John Gear Law Office, LLC. John practices in Salem, where he specializes in consumer law, elder law, and nonprofit law. He’s flexible in accommodating clients’ needs: “On a typical day without appointments in court or at a client’s house, I arrive at the office late in the morning and stay into the evening. I am happy to modify my schedule to accommodate working families who need to see me in the evening or even on the weekend.”
John was awarded the Lawyer of the Year award for his pro bono work with Marion-Polk Legal Aid Services elder law clinic known as ELVIS (Elder Law Volunteers In Service).
If you’re interested in joining our sponsors, you can get started here.
A new feature we’re working on:
We just finished a great new feature: Notices about amended and repealed statutes.
Every year, the Oregon legislature meets and passes new laws. Many of these update the ORS in various ways. However, the ORS is published only every two years. Therefore, to know whether a statute is really the latest version, getting the latest ORS (currently 2009) is just the first step. One needs to then find out if the section has been amended or repealed. The legislature makes all this information available online: here are the laws passed in the 2010 special session, and here’s the main page for bills and laws.
Luckily, the legislature’s documents allowed us to parse their documents and integrate the information into the web site. This is because of their very clear structure and concise style. After parsing the data and adding it to the database, we inserted icons and notifications everywhere that made sense. Besides the amended/repealed status, we display the effective date, bill number, session name, hyperlink to the original document, and a summary of the changes. We aimed to make the icons show a little splash of color without distracting much from the content. Personally, I like the way the Chapter pages look now; giving an overview of amended and repealed sections all on one screen. We have some good ideas for taking this further. Examples: viewing the list of amendments, sending e-mail notifications for changes in particular areas of law, and viewing the changes to the ORS in a time line. As always, feedback is welcome.
ORS 659A.033 — Violation of ORS 659A.030 by denying religious leave or prohibiting certain religious observances or practices, amended, effective July 1, 2011. ORS 166.274 — Relief from prohibition against possessing or purchasing firearm, amended, effective 3/18/2010; ORS 348.117 — Repayment of loans for nursing program, amended, effective 3/10/2010.
Chapter screen providing an overview of amended and repealed sections
“Open Legal Research
Proposed Q&A site for lawyers, law librarians, law students, and others to share information about finding and using primary sources.”
At Stack Exchange.
We’re pleased to extend a warm welcome to our first sponsor, Castleberry & Elison, PC. I’ve personally known Emily and Pete for several years; they are extremely bright, capable, and dedicated professionals. Their firm handles civil and criminal matters, including family law, personal injury, and employment cases. We’re very grateful for their support.
It’s exciting to see the speed of our project picking up and the website getting closer to covering its regular operating expenses. Corporate sponsorship is a way for organizations to support our programs and reach a select audience of people searching for legal information. Contact us to learn more.
Similar to TinyThom.as, which provides permanent links to THOMAS documents, the new weblaws.org/tm creates permalinks to USPTO trademark registrations.
Here’s the backstory on how it came to be.
The story’s gotten a little more complicated: In the past day or so, I discovered that it’s possible that my work is superfluous: The “TARR” USPTO web app provides single-document retrieval via URLs that don’t time out. Many (most?) practitioners seem to only know about the TESS service, though, which *does* time out. Also, the TARR data seems to come from a different source, and is definitely a different format. For example, the IBM registration I use as an example:
…can be linked to directly on TARR:
However, like I mentioned above, TARR only seems to give single-document retrieval. TESS will return the results of a query like “All TMs owned by so-and-so.” I’ve been planning to expand my service to create PURLs for these kinds of TESS look-ups as well. (This was the motivation for me to make the service in the first place: I had run a query finding six TMs that I wanted to share with a colleague. But the URL of the search results timed out before he saw my email.)
Robb, the creator of OregonLaws.org, was honored by the City of Portland for his Civic App idea:
“The end result is that the city would focus on what only it can do best: providing raw data about itself, and, similar to the Secretary of State’s business registry, acting as a means of identification and authentication.”
“Law.Gov is a national conversation about broader access to primary legal materials in the United States across all three branches of government and across the federal, state, and local governments. . . .
“The workshops have examined copyright restrictions, privacy implications, and the technical underpinnings necessary to provide authenticated access to bulk legal materials.
“This workshop will be streamed live on the Internet, and video will be posted after the workshop on YouTube and the Internet Archive.