Just over a week ago, the New York Times introduced the world to Vitaly Borker, who boasted of being abusive to customers and claimed, inaccurately, that such behavior had a side benefit of producing good rankings in Google. Now another side benefit: Borker’s arrest.
Arrest On Federal Charges
From an CNBC article on the arrest:
Vitaly Borker, an alleged cyber-bully and fraudster, cheated his customers, and when they complained, tried to intimidate them with obscenity and threats of serious violence,” said Manhattan US Attorney Pheet Bharara in a press release. “Especially during this holiday shopping season, today’s arrest should send a message that we will protect online consumers and that victims of people like Borker are not alone.”
There’s also a short video of him being taken from a federal courthouse (the screenshot above is from that video):
The full press release hasn’t yet been posted on Bharara’s web site — it may appear here later. CNBC says he was arrested on charges of cyber-stalking, making interstate threats, mail and wire fraud.
Borker’s eyeglasses site, Decor My Eyes, and his tactics, were given a huge spread in the New York Times business section two Sundays ago.
Google’s Ranking Arrest: Mostly Successful Against One Site…
In reaction to the piece, Google quickly introduced a change so that merchants with bad reputations would lose rankings in its system. It also debunked the notion that bad reviews somehow managed to help him gain prominence in its search engine. A similar piece from us did the same.
Despite Google’s change, I can still find Borker’s site ranking for one model of sunglasses:
I pointed out that the site was ranking for this search back when Google announced that it had a fix to prevent this type of thing. Five days later, the site is still there. It doesn’t appear for a variety of other terms, however. Before the change, I could find it ranking for a variety of specific terms. Now, its visibility seems greatly reduced.
But Other Sites Still Visible
However, Borker appears to run or be closely associated with at least two other sites — eyeweartown.com and eyewearus.com. Both of those sites often seem to appear in test queries that I run, such as here:
Here’s another example:
Background & More Information
The articles below from us have more background on the case:
- Google’s “Gold Standard” Search Results Take Big Hit In New York Times Story
- No, You Can’t Rank Well Just By Cultivating Terrible Reviews
- The Decor My Eyes Fiasco & Local Reviews Tactics
- Google: Now Likely Using Online Merchant Reviews As Ranking Signal