Can SEO Land You In Jail?
Recently Vitaly Borker, was arrested for his SEO tactics. Yep, that’s right. Arrested! What’s odd, he wasn’t even using what I would officially be considered black hat. I say that because his methods didn’t break Google’s rules. He wasn’t buying links or using keyword stuffing. While those things can get you black listed on Google they wont land you in jail.
This 34 year old man, he took SEO to a new and foolish level. He intentionally mistreated his customers so that they would post negative reviews about his website!
Borker has been charged with one count each of mail fraud, wire fraud, making interstate threats and cyberstalking. The mail and wire fraud charges carry possible prison terms of 20 years.
The New York Times is reporting that he threatened to assault one woman and sent her a picture of the front of her home. She had purchased designer sun glasses that she believed to be fake. She requested a refund.
Mr Borker explained to the paper that Google’s algorithm could not distinguish between a positive or negative review. Seems he believes any press is good press. It appears he admitted in the interview that scaring his customers enhanced his standing within the search engines.
It might have worked in the past but he doesn’t seem to be doing too well now. I went to his website. DécorMyEyes. It is still there and active. Taking a look at his keyword in his meta-tags, I searched for a few of them. He does not enjoy a front page listing at this time. Googling his site name though does still return his page in the number one position.
Google released a post on its blog in response to Borker’s methods. While Google doubts that his success in generating negative reviews where helpful to him, nonetheless, Google will now scour the web in search of negative information. Google indicated that websites with extremely poor customer support history will be penalized.
Google also said that Mr. Borker’s site had been using other black hat techniques. If that’s true and Google knows it, why is the site still listed at all? This is very puzzling to me. They have likely buried his site far enough to make it nearly impossible to find but it is still there. It does have interest at this point though, for those of us in the Internet marketing business. Still, if I were king of Google that site would not be in my search engine.
Now, some will probably go out and write bad reviews on review sites for their competitors. I have no doubt that some will do this. I will not be one of those. I’m sure Google is aware of this and has taken steps to reduce a competitor from being successful in their activities. I’m also sure that some will quietly claim that it works.
I will remain with the basics. Good titles, proper keyword research, proper backlink building and unique content that I write myself will be the SEO methods that I employ. While these methods usually take time, in the long run this is what works.
Filed under: Search Engine Optimazation
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