CEO sentenced to prison for attempt to force Google to remove defamatory reviews


djbaxter

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Verdict is in for CEO involved in forging court order over reputation attack
by Chris Silver Smith, Search Engine Land
November 7, 2018

This case highlights the lack of protection and justice available for online defamation victims from Google and other tech companies.

One year ago, I reported on the sad case of a jewelry company CEO, Michael Arnstein, who was arrested for forging court orders to remove negative content about his company from Google’s search results. His case highlights the lack of protection and justice available for online defamation victims like him. He’s now been sentenced to prison in what is largely a hollow victory. ....

Michael Arnstein’s company, the Natural Sapphire Company, suffered truly egregious attacks over the course of many months from their former website development providers that were based overseas in India. The contractor sabotaged their ecommerce website, launched click-fraud attacks upon their PPC ad campaigns, and severely attacked their reputation through emails sent directly to their customers and posted numerous damaging lies about the company in online reviews and websites. ....

Michael Arnstein’s company, the Natural Sapphire Company, suffered truly egregious attacks over the course of many months from their former website development providers that were based overseas in India. The contractor sabotaged their ecommerce website, launched click-fraud attacks upon their PPC ad campaigns, and severely attacked their reputation through emails sent directly to their customers and posted numerous damaging lies about the company in online reviews and websites. ....

Arnstein apparently copied his original court order in order to add in these sorts of new URLs to petition Google to remove them from appearing in search results when people searched for “Natural Sapphire Company.” It’s not unusual to have to go back to Google multiple times for follow-up requests for removals because of the situations I outlined above – content moves to new pages due to pagination, Google ignores some content because they’re not careful enough about infinite-scrolling, and some of the worst sites out there are purposefully moving the content around to defy Google’s removal actions.

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Phil Rozek

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Poor guy.

Rarely do I think more laws are the answer, but this is an exception. The whac-a-mole aspect of these attacks is what really does business owners in.

This also shows one of many dangers of working with cheap, crappy SEO companies that have no reputation to uphold.

Long post by Chris, but well worth the read.
 

JoyHawkins

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There was another case in Denver that got on the news. This lady had emails as proof that her former marketing company was posting the negative reviews. I really want to see these people prosecuted but it's really difficult when half the time they are in other countries.
 

Tim Colling

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For what it's worth, it would be interesting to know why these victims chose the bad SEO companies in the first place. I wouldn't be surprised if they did so based on low prices or some other poorly-chosen selection criteria like that.
 

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