Let’s say that you want to order some flowers for your aunt in Omaha. You remember the frequent warnings on this site to go directly to a local florist, so that’s what you do. You type “florist omaha” into Google, scroll past the paid listings and the ones Google has plotted on a map, and choose a shop with a nice-looking website. Perfect! Only this “local” florist isn’t so local. You tried to make the right choice, but are hurting the very neighborhood flower shop you were trying to patronize when you typed those words in Google. [More]
Threatening to stalk, rape, mutilate, and kill your customers over a $150 chargeback is not a sustainable business model. We could have told you that, but it took a New York Times investigation, a Google algorithm change, and federal prosecution to stop the Brooklyn entrepreneur who built his eyewear business on the idea that online, there is no such thing as bad publicity. He allegedly sent out counterfeit designer eyewear, or no merchandise at all, then harassed and threatened customers who wanted their money back. When customers complained online, it boosted the profile of his brand. Now a federal judge has revoked the man’s bail ahead of sentencing after listening to testimony from some of those customers.
Google says it has updated its algorithm so that making your customers hate you so they complain about you on other sites and boost your SEO no longer works. The move to soak up the “black Google juice” comes after a big NYT profile/investigation of the owner of an online store that was stoking customers to hate him because the inbound links from their complaints on other sites boosted his rankings in Google Search Results.
One site has figured out a way to turn antagonizing customers into a profitable business model.