Curious case of SEO fraud

We often hear people using Black Hat SEO techniques to get traffic. Today we are going to talk about one such fraudulent business that took it to next level and got arrested.

It is an interesting story and must know for everyone in SEO. This particular case tells us how people have been trying to manipulate SEO and rank high in Google.

Important thing to note is that the owner of the website did not get arrested for SEO fraud. He got arrested for other offences.

Read on to know how it all unfolded…

A website called decormyeyes . com was launched to sell luxury eye glasses.

The owner knew that Google Algorithm primarily uses the PageRank algorithm that focuses on how many pages on the internet link to the website. In essence, more the backlinks higher your Google search rank. Over time, this has changed. Google now has more sophisticated methods to find usefulness of a website.

The method employed was ingenious.

The owner Vitaly Borker decided to threaten and abuse his customers to make disgruntled customers link back to the site. On paper, this seems stupid. But the trick really worked.

Backlinking from negative reviews

The website abused and threatened their customers. This made them write negative reviews on different review sites. The reviews would obviously have links to website. This improved the number of links to the website and Google started ranking them higher in search results. This brought more revenue to the business. It went to an extent where the negative reviews took him to the top of Google Search results. He apparently made over $3.2 million in a year.

The downfall

The owner was later arrested on charges of mail fraud, wire fraud, making interstate threats and cyberstalking.

He kept doing these tactics to rank high and get more revenue. He was later arrested again in a similar case. Google was criticised for all such search result to rank high. Over time, Google has largely fixed these issues.


One important learning is that the Black Hat SEO technique of artificial link building still work. Although linking via negative reviews isn’t going to help as much as before, you can still rank high with a lot of paid backlinks.

Does this mean you should do it too? NO! NEVER!

Even if you manage to rank high initially, it is no guarantee of a long term success. Google is actively trying to remove and plug these loop holes in its algorithm. Not only that, Google also penalises domains that do any of these Black Hat SEO techniques.

And once you get penalised, it is very difficult to rank high again.

So do not fall for such practices.

Suggested readings

NYTimes article on Vitaly Borker’s bullying tactics

Wikipedia article on Vitaly Borker

NYPost on the scam

Google hates Link Building

– team

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