150,000 Facebook Fans Can't Be Wrong!

This morning Cruise Law News hit a milestone when the 150,000th person "liked" our Facebook page.

The motto of this blog is "everything the cruise lines don't want you to know." Our main goal is to educate the public about dangers on cruise ships and in ports of call that the cruise industry would like to keep secret. It's exciting to see that many people become a fan of our Facebook page.

Our Facebook page is primarily non-U.S. readers.

Who are the top readers outside of the U.S.? In order they are from India, Philippines, Mexico, Peru, Elvis 50000000 Fans Can't Be WrongIndonesia, Venezuela, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Myanmar, Romania, Turkey, Italy, Croatia, Macedonia, and many other countries. 

Lots of crew members send us information, video and photos of what really happens on cruise ships. (We keep the identity of the crew confidential). We have learned that "ship life" is a lot different from what the cruise lines and travel agents represent. 

The readership of this blog has taken off this year. So far, we have had over 1,000,000 different people who have read over 3,500,000 pages of Cruise Law News, We are on schedule to have over 7,000,000 pages read by over different 2,000,000 people this year.

Why the reference to "150,000 fans can't be wrong?" It's a take-off on the famous 1959 Elvis Presley album "50,000,000 Elvis fans can't be wrong." (Yes, I'm one of those fans).

Thanks to everyone who like our Facebook page, read my articles, and leave comments! I'm always pleased to answer any questions from crew members free of charge and without obligation.

Cruise Law's Six Year Anniversary on Twitter

Cruise Law TwitterIt's been six years since I joined Twitter. Long ago, I wrote an article about how it came to be that I joined what at the time seemed like little more than a fad. Cruise Law Meets Twitter.

Twitter is now clearly a monster in the world of social media with a value in the billions of dollars. My partner mentioned that she is about to buy Twitter stock. There are rumors that Google may buy it.

I learned that if you are looking for breaking news, Twitter will beat the cable news every time. Regarding cruise news, I will often first hear about a ship fire or an overboard passenger on Twitter, often while the cruise ship is still at sea.

In June 2009, shortly after I joined Twitter, I learned how valuable Twitter is to reporting cruise ships news that the cruise lines try and keep secret. The engine room of Princess Cruises' Royal Princess caught fire during a Mediterranean cruise near Egypt. Princess initially didn't release any information to the public. But a passenger, a Pastor from South Carolina, Greg Surratt, tweeted on his Cruise Law TwitterTwitter account @GregSurratt about the fire from his iPhone on the cruise ship. 

Reverend Surratt tweeted that the fire had disabled the cruise ship and a tug had to tow the ship back to port. Frantic families in the U.S. had to rely on Pastor Surratt for information about their loved ones. He even tweeted photos of the fire and the passengers sprawling out on the deck in the dark (left).

When Princess finally posted its typical less-than-forthcoming corporate press statement, no one was paying attention to the cruise line. Everyone was listening to Pastor Surratt tweeting away on the cruise ship in the Mediterranean. 

I first learned of other cruise disasters (Costa Concordia, Carnival Triumph, etc.) on Twitter. 

I have over 12,000 Twitter followers. I tweeted over 15,000 times over the course of 6 years. That's an average of over 2,500 a year.

What was my first tweet?  I forgot. So I looked it up on an App which tells you. Mine was on March 12, 2009: Princess Crew Member Sexually Assaults Passenger

Are you on Twitter? You should be. Follow the #cruise hashtag. And don't forget to follow me at @CruiseLaw.    

 

Cruise Law News' Four Year Anniversary: Have You Read Our Stories?

This week marks the 4th year anniversary of starting my blog Cruise Law News (CLN). 

I've written 1,585 articles, which averages out to be over one per day. We have received over 4,700 comments to our articles, mostly from U.S. readers. Google Analytics tell us over 1,000,000 different people have read over 3,500,000 pages of our blog in the last 12 months. The blog has come a long way since September 2009 when barely 5,000 people read CLN.

According to the AVVO ranking system, CLN is currently ranked the 10th most popular law blog in the U.S. Of the nine blogs more popular than ours, five are written by law professors and four are for-profit, monetized blogs which accept advertising which you will never see here. So you can make the Cruise Law News - Jim Walker Miamiargument that CLN is the most popular law blog written by one lawyer who actually practices law.

CLN reached an international audience when I started my Cruise Law News Facebook page last year and began posting the CLN articles on Facebook. The result has been fantastic. Around 70,000 fans follow us on Facebook. We are growing exponentially. We have more readers whose languages are primarily non-English than English readers.

The top countries where our CLN Facebook followers are from are India, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and then the U.S. The next five most popular countries are Turkey, Romania, Croatia, Italy and Chile.    

The stories we cover here on CLN are genuine, dramatic and often disturbing. They are not fiction.

Several years ago, Kevin O'Keefe, the founder and CEO of Seattle-based LexBlog, which designed and hosts our blog, came to Miami to meet some of the Miami bloggers who are part of his network. During dinner, O'Keefe asked me why I liked to blog. Instantly I told him that a half-dozen of my clients have testified before Congressional committees in Washington D.C. about being victimized on cruise ships. Their stories, about ship fires, loved ones lost at sea, and cruise crime, are riveting. Their causes deserved a larger audience. And I wanted to tell their compelling stories and promote their causes on a national and international basis.

CLN permits me to do that. Our firm and our blog have been mentioned in over one-hundred newspapers, cable news stations, radio shows, television programs and documentaries this year alone. CLN has taken my client's causes around the world to places I have never been to before, like India, Serbia, Croatia, Peru and Venezuela.     

So why has Cruise Law News been so successful you may ask?

In Jonas Sachs' book Winning the Story Wars, the author explains that those who tell the best stories will be successful. Sachs defines "best" as those authentic stories which inspire compassion and hope and bring about positive social change.

Our stories are about the little man taking on the big corporation, such as $500-a-month cruise employees from India working over 360 hours a month standing up to the abuses of multi-national companies based here in Miami. We write about grass roots victims' groups enacting legislation over the fierce opposition and dirty tricks of huge, billion-dollar tax-avoiding cruise corporations.  Many of our stories are about women, both passengers and crew, taking on the male-dominated cruise industry.

There are many social media experts who say that the key to a successful blog is to consistently and genuinely demonstrate passion about an issue. That's true. But it's not enough. Whether your blog sells a product or promotes a cause, an author needs a compelling story to tell.

That's where I have a distinct advantage over other lawyers and bloggers. I realize that the stories here on CLN are not mine. I am just a storyteller. The stories are the only reason my articles are widely read and CLN is closely followed. The stories are of our clients and friends who have endured unimaginable events while cruising, of all things. Stories like being sexually assaulted during cruise vacations, or losing a parent or a spouse or a child on the high seas.  And in a time of despair and desperation, many of these nice people face corporate deceit or heartless indifference of the worst kind. These stories must be told.

Cruise Law News Celebrates Two Year Anniversary

This month marks the two year anniversary of the first publication of Cruise Law News ("CLN").

My first blog was back on September 7, 2009.  Since then I have written around 700 blogs about all types of disturbing and weird things that happen on cruise ships.

As I predicted two years ago, cruise lines and travel agents cringe daily at the articles.  But hopefully, you have learned about issues that the cruise industry PR machine and the happy-go-lucky cruise fanatics don’t want you to know.  And hopefully you are safer in the process. 

In the past two years, the public has read over 1,300,000 pages of CLN.  My little blog is currently ranked as the 13th most popular law blog per the AVVO / Alexa ranking system, for what that's worth.  1,630 people have taken the time to leave a comment, some negative and some pro. 

I hope that you have enjoyed reading the blog as much as I have enjoyed writing it.  Here are some of my favorite articles over the last two years:

Most read article: Passenger Busted for Selling Drugs on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas  The public can't resist a story about a drug dealer busted on a gay cruise aboard the world's largest cruise ship, National Inquirer anyone?

Most popular article: The Splendor Cruise Ship Fire - Three Reasons Why You Will Lose If You Sue Carnival  The blog was picked up by the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, the ABA Journal, South Business Law Journal, Gadling, Slate, the U.K.'s Guardian and others.  Everyone loves it when a Sex Machine - Adam Goldsteinpersonal injury lawyer tells the public not to sue following a cruise disaster . . .    

Most ironic articles:  Former Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Captain Dies of Legionnaire's Disease After Sailing on Liberty of the Seas and Cruise Passengers Attacked & Robbed in Antigua While Cruise and Tourism Officials Meet

Best article with the word "sex" in the title: Marketing "Sex at Sea" on Cruise Ships (includes my favorite photo of a cruise line executive, in bed with booze surrounded by women with the Royal Caribbean logo across their bikini tops??)

Most comments to an article:  Crew Member Overboard from Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas 

Second most comments to an article:  Another Overboard From A Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship? - Oasis of the Seas  

Most positive reaction to an article:  Royal Caribbean "Returns" to its Trademarked, Private Fantasy Island of Labadee® - While Haiti Suffers

Most negative reaction to an article:  Royal Caribbean "Returns" to its Trademarked, Private Fantasy Island of Labadee® - While Haiti Suffers

Splendor - carnival Cruise Fire Happiest article:  Three Happy Cruise Stories - Salvation, Generosity & Rebirth

Most inspiring article:  The Compelling Story of Jamie Barnett - Living Through the Loss

Saddest article:  More Caribbean Crime - Carnival Passenger Killed In St. Thomas

Most disturbing article: Neither Dead Nor Alive - The Faliva Family Remains In Limbo

Most bitter article: What Does BP, Al Qaeda and a Cruise Line Have In Common?  Unfortunately you have to lose a loved one before you can figure the answer out.

Scariest articles:  Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise ShipCarnival Cruise Ship Bartender Arrested On Charges Of Raping 14 Year Old Passenger and Most Wanted Rape Suspect Arrested On Carnival Cruise Ship - Worked As Manager Of Onboard Hair Salon

Best social media articles: The Cruise Industry's Reputation - A Sinking Image and Travel Writers and the Ethics of Reporting Cruise News

Best series of articles:  Top 10 Reasons Not To Cruise  

Clelia II - Video - StormBest article the cruise lines don't want you to read:  "Cruise Ship Sickness" - Is Norovirus In The Food and Water? 

Most terrifying cruise video (over 326,000 views and counting!): The Clelia II Skirts Disaster Again in Antarctica

Best sports article:  Oysters, Dixie Beer & My New Orleans Saints

Best personal article:  Switching Sides And Finding Your Soul

Best article not read by the cruise industry: Ten Years of Cruise Ship Fires - Has the Cruise Industry Learned Anything? 

Thanks to my readers, friends, supporters, detractors and enemies for making Cruise Law News a success.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and my Cruise Law News facebook page

 

Bottom photo credit: Clelia II   Fiona Stewart/Garett McIntosh (via jonbowermaster.com)

Cruise Law News Goes Mobile

Yesterday I bought a Blackberry PlayBook.  Small and compact and new to the market, the PlayBook is supposed to compete with the iPad 2.  Its screen is only 3 and 1/2 by 6 inches.  It has everything on it.  I can blog, prepare legal pleadings, and email outside of the office.  The PlayBook also has a camera which takes crystal clear photos and video. 

This is the first blog I have written away from my office or home office.

I will be traveling on vacation with my family for the next three weeks and I wanted to be sure to have a notebook that was tethered to my Blackberry handheld and the office computers.  The PlayBook seems to be the right choice.  I tried the iPad 2 but it would not support my blogging platform.  The PlayBook works great.  I can use the touchscreen keypad or a larger wireless keypad. 

Even though I will be on the road for the next three weeks, there will be no interruption of Cruise Law News articles.  So please stay in touch.  If you know about an interesting issue involving the cruise industry, please contact me.  Let me turn your tip into a story that a hundred thousand people will read.

Cruise Law News - Blackberry PlayBook

Cruise Law News Featured in Attorney at Law Magazine

Cruise Law News was featured today in Attorney at Law Magazine in an article by legal marketing expert Paula Black. 

In her article "The Right Results," Paula writes:

"Jim Walker of Miami firm Walker & O'Neill P.A. runs the popular Cruise Law News, a blog focused solely on "breaking news and legal commentary regarding cruise ship passengers and crew members around the world."  A niche practice?  Yes.  A smart blog?  Also yes.  As a result of being one of the only attorneys blogging about the topic - and the only one providing actual daily commentary - he has seen his visibility skyrocket.  Jim has been featured over one hundred times on television, cable news and radio shows, as well as in documentaries, newspapers and magazine articles."  

In the short time our law blog has been on line, we climbed to the number 10 most popular law blog in the U.S.! 

Paula is a real pro when it comes to assisting law firms in developing business.  Check out her highly regarded blog: "In Black and White."

Thanks Paula!

Paula Black - Legal Marketing - In Black and White

Cruise Law News - One Year Anniversary!

On September 7, 2009, I launched my blog, Cruise Law News (CLN).  My goal was to be a leading source of news and legal commentary regarding the cruise industry.

Well, here we are, September 7, 2010, one year later.  What a year! 

My little blog is far more successful than I ever thought.  Yes, it has taken a lot of work - this is my 356th article in the last 365 days!  I have written about cruise ship rapes, sexual assaults of Cruise Law News - Jim Walker Law Blogchildren, arrest of peophiles, passenger disappearances, and cruise ship fires, groundings and sinkings.  Everything the cruise lines like to keep secret. 

From a quantitative perspective (per Alexa rankings), CLN is now ranked as the no. 1 maritime law blog in the U.S., the no. 2 law blog in Florida, the no. 2 personal injury blog in the U.S., and the 50th most popular law blog over-all in the U.S.  My websitegrader score is 99 (a grade I never received in school); there are 902 indexed pages of CLN on Google; and there are 48,230 inbound links.  I am averaging over 25,000 unique visitors a month, and my traffic is in the top 1.53% of all websites. 

And to add some icing to the cake, Cruise Law News is several times more popular that the official blog of the President of one of the major cruise line (Royal Caribbean) who writes from the "Nation Of Why Not?"  If you want transparent news, people know to come here to CLN rather than wade through the gobbledygook at the cruise line's corporate blog.  

Cruise Law News has been cited in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Bahamas Journal, Italy's "Chi l'ha Visto?" television show, Germany's Wunderwelt Wisen magazine, the popular on line cruise community CruiseCritic, South Florida Business Journal, Baltimore Sun, Bahamas Tribune, Sun Sentinel, Washington Post, and MSNBC. 

Cruise Law News - Maritime Law Blog Our real success comes from our everyday readers - crew members, passengers, travel agents, cruise haters and cruise lovers.  We have heard from people in Great Britain, France, Mauritania, India, Venezuela, Brazil, Italy, Croatia, Serbia, Canada and countries throughout the Caribbean islands.  Thanks for your questions and the valuable information you provided us!    

One big thank you is in order.  Kevin O'Keefe and his team at LexBlog created my site a year ago.  They are the best in the law blog business.  Lexblog designed a nice looking, functional blog. 

They provided concise recommendations to me, and encouraged me to blog.  Thanks Kevin for creating LexBlog and pointing me in the right direction! 

 

Here are some highlights of the fun we have had over the last year:             

Most popular article:  Travel Writers and the Ethics of Reporting Cruise News

Most ironic article:  Former Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship Captain Dies of Legionnaire's Disease After Sailing on Liberty of the Seas

Why-won't-the-Miami-Herald-cover-cruise-crimes article:  18 Passengers From Royal Caribbean & Disney Cruise Ships Robbed By Shotgun in the Bahamas

Royal Caribbean - Selling Sex at Sea Best article with the word "sex" in the title: Marketing "Sex at Sea" on Cruise Ships

Most comments to an article:  Crew Member Overboard from Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas 

Second most comments to an article:  Another Overboard From A Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship? - Oasis of the Seas  

Most positive reaction to an article:  Royal Caribbean "Returns" to its Trademarked, Private Fantasy Island of Labadee® - While Haiti Suffers

Most negative reaction to an article:  Royal Caribbean "Returns" to its Trademarked, Private Fantasy Island of Labadee® - While Haiti Suffers

Happiest article:  Three Happy Cruise Stories - Salvation, Generosity & Rebirth

Most inspiring article:  The Compelling Story of Jamie Barnett - Living Through the Loss

Saddest article:  More Caribbean Crime - Carnival Passenger Killed In St. Thomas

Most disturbing article: Neither Dead Nor Alive - The Faliva Family Remains In Limbo

Most bitter article: What Does BP, Al Qaeda and a Cruise Line Have In Common?  

Scariest articles:  Passenger Indicted for Sexual Abuse of 13 Year Old Girl on Disney Wonder Cruise Ship and Carnival Cruise Ship Bartender Arrested On Charges Of Raping 14 Year Old Passenger

Best social media article: Cruise Lines and Social Media - P & O Cruises Hits A Home Run

Best series of articles:  Top 10 Reasons Not To Cruise  

Best sports article:  Oysters, Dixie Beer & My New Orleans Saints

Best personal article:  Switching Sides And Finding Your Soul

 

Do you have suggestions on topics to cover for the next year?   Please let us hear from you in the comments below. 

Cruise Law News Celebrates Its Six Month Anniversary

Six months ago, I launched Cruise Law News. My goal was to be the go-to source for breaking "cruise law" news with articles filled with with my own unabashed opinion regarding the cruise industry. 

The first month I had 964 people stumble upon the blog.  I was ecstatic!  Thirty people a day actually looked at my blog and took the time to read a few pages!

Since then, I have written feverishly - averaging over a blog a day - for six months.  My subscriptions have exploded and the number of people reading the blog has increased exponentially. 

Cruise Law - Cruise Law News - Jim Walker BlogOver 51,000 readers visited Cruise Law News last month alone.  We have been contacted by reporters from the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Canada, and the Caribbean islands - as well as local and national newspapers and television networks in the U.S. 

One of the most rewarding things about the blog is that cruise passengers are now contacting us before they cruise - to inquire about the safety and security of their family on cruises, which cruise lines are safe and which cruise ships to avoid - rather than after they have been victimized.  Our blog is helping get the word out there about the issue of cruise crimes which most Americans know nothing about.  

I would like to think that the success of this blog is due to my hard work, getting up at 5:00 a.m. every morning to write, as well as my keen insight and biting commentary.  But, no.  That would not be true at all.  Its the cruise industry's incredible shenanigans which drive readers to Cruise Law News.

Just today, I commented on the unexpected and completely unjust end of an seven year ordeal involving the date-rape-drug-induced death of cruise passenger Dianne Brimble on a P & O cruise ship - juxtaposed against the revelation that Carnival teamed up with a corrupt brokerage firm which hired strippers for a swinger's cruise.

It's impossible to make this stuff up. 

So thanks to the cruise industry, with all of its shameless tax-avoiding executives, high paid lobbyists and deceptive PR firms, and its consistently ambiguous moral compass - for making my little blog a huge success.      

Stay tuned, the fun has just begun.  

 

 

Special thanks and credit:

Kevin O'Keefe and the pros at Lexblog - who created the blog and pointed me in the right direction.

Laurie Dishman - who fights the cruise industry every day with dignity, integrity, and relentless ferocity.  

Ken Carver - who started the fight for justice, led the way, and has never given up.