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Originally published Monday, November 1, 2010 at 5:01 AM

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Avvo to expand to include ranking physicians

Avvo, a Seattle startup that offers free online rankings of lawyers across the country, is announcing a big expansion.

Seattle Times senior technology reporter

Avvo, a Seattle startup that offers free online rankings of lawyers across the country, is announcing a big expansion.

Starting Monday, the company also is going to offer free rankings of doctors, drawing on public records and company research into doctors' backgrounds and experience. The service is debuting with listings for more than 800,000 doctors — 90 percent of the licensed doctors in the U.S. — along with health guides and medical question-and-answer forums.

"It's going to be massive," said founder Mark Britton, a former Expedia executive and general counsel.

The ad-funded business launched in 2007 and now has more than 2,000 advertisers and more than 2 million visitors a month. It generates 160,000 referrals to lawyers per month, Britton said.

Avvo has been developing the doctor service for about eight months with the help of an advisory board of doctors. The firm also drew on $10 million it raised from investors in March. Altogether, it has raised $23 million.

The 70-employee company will continue expanding its directory service to new categories. Britton wouldn't say what's next, but Yellow Pages ads may offer clues.

"We launched doctors after lawyers; they are the two biggest categories in Yellow Page and Internet spend," he said.

Brier Dudley: 206-515-5687 or bdudley@seattletimes.com

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