Evil SEO Business Models: Hate Site Networks & Mafia Styled Ranking Manipulation

So like Google's motto, usually I try not to be evil. Sometimes I think of random evil thoughts though. I can't help it, sometimes I forget to wear the tinfoil hat... ;)

I have been contacted by an increasing number of corporations who want me to bury negative websites. Some general feedback sites with good root authority have inner pages which are ranking for a wide variety of business names.

What would happen if a person set up a network of sites to collect feedback about various companies, knowing that they would get mostly negative responses? Throw in a dash of promotion and a link to us reminders and you are ranking for many business names.

Have someone else inform people of the hate sites and maybe there is a subscription SEO business model burying the bad news. If they stop paying for your services you go about removing links for some sites and build a few for the negative site.

Of course if the businesses are too well connected and some stuff is sold in the wrong way I think it could be extortion or something, so I am not trying to promote that.

There has to be a way to make money leveraging the ability to bury bad news. Then again, depending on what bad news you were trying to bury that could be evil too.

Published: July 4, 2005 by Aaron Wall in marketing


July 5, 2005 - 6:07am

Nearly all new campaigns I'm taking now are corporate referrals...or at least mid-cap niche players. This comes up in every single initial meeting..."Our competitors or complainers are publishing negative information about us or buying our brand keywords on PPC. How do we combat that?"

I have yet to incorporate any efforts into the service menu, but you're right, there's substantial interest (and we see the same feedback over with the guys on Threadwatch) that when I get a free weekend, I plan on incorporating these initiatives into my offerings.

I do like your nefarious "solicit negativity and then sell a solution to combat it" plan! I couldn't operate like that because my clientele do some pretty stringent due diligence on their own, but I have some friends who might be willing to entertain the notion.

July 5, 2005 - 9:33am

Hi Aaron,

Already happening - theripoffreport.com

I would not suggest for one minute that this is anything but a legitimate business but they do not remove consumer reports from their highly optimised pages. The company concerned can comment on the report.

They have certainly caught onto the power of negative web PR.

July 5, 2005 - 3:56pm

Hi Nick
congrats on your recent wedding :)

I love how self promoting the Rip Off Report is...

the text on their Don Lapre page (http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff32230.htm):

If the bank is says that you have waited too long, explain to them how you called their 800 number as soon as the charges were found, and were told by the bank that nothing could be done. Remind the bank that they failed to assist you properly at the 800 #, and instead, provided you with an inadequate explanation of your right to dispute. Tell the bank that it's their fault time has expired, and since they gave you the wrong info to begin with, they will just have to deal with it, take the loss and reverse the charges.

Tell them the truth; this was unauthorized and your account was NOT to be charged! Keep emphasizing how you never authorized anything! Direct them to the hundreds of victims reports that were filed on Rip-off Report.com. And if you're at the bank, walk them over to their computer and make them go to this site! If you are on the phone with them, tell them you will wait while they access this site! Either way, be persistent!

So in one paragraph he tells you to lie to your bank, and in the next one he tells you to tell the truth & have the bank read the instructions to lie to your bank. WTF is that?

July 5, 2005 - 5:09pm

Interesting idea but I reckon it would be cheaper and more reliable to just bribe those people making negative comments to take their comments down than it would to hire an SEO to push them down in the results.

July 6, 2005 - 4:09pm

Thanks Aaron - it was a great wedding. We're both coming down to earth now with project deadlines in the office but we head off to the South of Russia for our honeymoon in a month!

Yes Jimbo, would that not be part of the PR-SEO's job though, to make that call? ;)

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