How does U.S. News make money from its annual rankings?

September 16, 2010 The U.S. News rankings of law firms have been released and are causing the storm in the blogosphere. But since the magazine is a for-profit enterprise it is worth examining how flows of money might influence the ranking process.

First, the magazine has offered a number of advertising options in connection with the release of the rankings. One of the most prominent is in the bottom right corner of the web page under the (somewhat ambiguous) heading 'Featured Firm'.

Tim Smart, the executive editor of U.S. News & World Report, has confirmed that firms do not need to buy advertising space in order to be ranked, and that buying an ad has no effect on the rankings. However, Smart has revealed that firms can opt to pay a fee for the opportunity to provide additional information in their firm profile.

In addition, prospective clients will need to pay extra to see all of the information it compiled for the ranked firms.

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