Every online business knows the importance of page ranking. SEO has become a viable tool, and most merchants use it to their advantage. Unlike most merchants, though, who strive for good customer service and positive feedback, the owner of DecorMyEyes.com sought negative feedback from his customers in order to boost his Google PageRank.
Vitaly Borker pled guilty to two counts of sending threatening communications, one count of wire fraud, and one count of mail fraud in Federal District Court. He faces up to six and a half years in prison for his unbecoming conduct. His sentencing is scheduled for September 16th.
When Borker found that Google’s PageRank system didn’t make a discernment between good reviews and bad reviews and that links from high-ranking consumer advocacy sites were valuable, he began bullying his customers in hopes that they would post bad reviews. The owner of DecorMyEyes.com even threatened death and sexual assault on some customers.
His tactics were so off the wall that they caught the attention of the New York Times, which published a story about his practices. Merely days after the story ran in the New York Times, Google changed its search algorithm to reduce the rankings of “bad” businesses and increase the rankings of “good” ones.
Until his sentencing, Borker is confined to his home, banned from the internet, and his phone use is restricted by court order. The court also required him to hire a security guard to make sure he complies.