Reputation Management, SEO

Several Complaint Websites Lose Rank In Google, including Ripoff Report

Article by Pierre Zarokian.

Last week I wrote an article for Search Engine Journal that Ripoff Report & More Complaint Websites See Huge Ranking Drops.

I wanted to provide a quick summary and in case you are interested to read the full article, then follow the above link.

It appears that on or around November 6th several complaint reporting websites including Ripoff Report, Pissed Consumer and Complaints Board got hit with some kind of Google penalty, either manually or as a result of an update that affected only these types of websites.

It would be hard to tell the exact cause, unless Google disclosed it, but more likely Google did a tweak to their algorithm to specifically target these types of sites.

It is likely that Google gets too many complaints from people listed on these sites or that also legally it costs Google so much money to try and fight lawsuits from people listed on these sites that want removal. Even though the law does not allow to sue these sites and Google for 3rd party posted content, people still sue these sites and Google.

In addition, sometimes the people that have been posted sue the poster and get court orders to get these removed. It still cost Google lot’s of money in attorney time to view these requests to approve or deny.

Many of these complaint websites also charge money for removals or for suppressing the info. For example, Ripoff Report has a non-removal policy but for a fee would let you to respond to the allegations and provide your side of the story.  They apparently would do some kind of investigation to make sure the post is false. In the past, I have had several client’s tell me that they would never pay for their program because they think is extortion. In addition, the fact that the post does not get removed and still ranks in Google is a major reason why many people decide not to pay these fees and instead hire reputation management companies.

I think that Google has looked at the big picture and decided it is enough and that sites like these are running for-profit businesses and profiting from many innocent people that have been accused falsely. Surely there are also many scammers listed on these types of sites, but because these sites allow anonymous posts and charge high fees for removal/suppression services, many consider them to be taking advantage of the system. Even though technically it is not extortion, it does seem like it is.

I, for one, am very glad that Google has done something about it and many of my clients were ecstatic to find out this news.

 

 

 

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Reputation Management

Revenge Porn Website MyEx.com Shuts Downs

myexArticle by Pierre Zarokian

The FTC and Nevada have charged the revenge porn site: MyEx.com, which urged users to “Add an Ex” and “Submit Pics and Stories of Your Ex” for ratings. The results of the lawsuits are finally in, and the site is now forced to shut down.

The site charged users anywhere from $500 to $2800 to remove their images and content from the website, which was open for public comment and scrutiny. The site often included full names, dates of birth, email addresses and other contact information for the victims.

MyEx.com used what are undoubtedly reprehensible tactics in order to cause real harm to individuals posted on it. Some of these people lost jobs, relationships and ended up with a ruined life because they couldn’t pay the fees or the content was reposted. These intimate images were never meant to be shared, and have made some people the victim of threats and harassment. Sometimes the site featured posts of cheaters, that maybe deserved to be outed, but including nude images was definitely not OK by laws in most US States. Some of these types of sites are actually known as “cheater websites.”

Many did pay the fee to get their content removed, and an FTC settlement prevents the site’s owner, Nei Infante, from ever posting intimate pics or personally identifiable information to the web again. The $205,000 judgment will award victims who paid into the site for takedown fees. Infante is also permanently banned from serving as an operating office for any company.

If you were one of the many affected by this horrible site, take proactive charge of your online profile. Get a full audit of your web presence and see what other harmful content exists and get it removed.