Vitaly Borker, the New York business owner who became notorious last year when he claimed that outrageous behavior toward customers was helping his website rank higher in Google, faces up to six-and-a-half years in jail after pleading guilty Thursday to several counts against him.
According to the New York Times, Borker — owner of DecorMyEyes.com — pleaded guilty in Federal District Court to two counts of sending threatening communications, one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud. He’s scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 16. Prosecutors say he should spend between five and six-and-a-half years in jail, but Borker’s lawyer expects the sentence to be 12-18 months.
Borker gained notoriety in late November when the New York Times exposed his online business practices, which included threatening customers and inciting them to talk negatively about his business because he believed it helped his website rank higher in Google’s search results.
Days later, Google announced an “algorithmic solution” that targeted DecorMyEyes.com and “other merchants that, in our opinion, provide a extremely poor user experience.”
Borker was arrested about two weeks after the original New York Times article exposed his abusive treatment of customers.
In court Thursday, Borker said that he “lost control of what I was saying at times,” and apologized “to everyone I hurt in connection with my actions, especially those people I threatened.”
Vitaly Borker image via US Dept. of Justice, in public domain.