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    Running out of answers combating extortion website


    Hi all,

    I work in the marketing department for my company, Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy. Several months ago it was brought to my attention that one of our employees is appearing on a website called predatorswatch(dot)com. The website is a well-documented extortion website that lists innocent people mixed in with real predators and only removes them if a fee is paid.

    Unfortunately, if a user types in our employee’s name (both in regular search and image search), the link to their predatorswatch profile and picture are high on the results. Here are two examples:

    Web Search Example, Image Search Example

    Ever since we were brought aware of this we’ve been trying different avenues to get the listing taken down, but so far all of our efforts have led to dead ends. We’ve tried contacting Google and they recommended taking legal action. We tried going the legal route, but they cannot do anything because the server is outside the US.

    Here is a complete list of what we have tried:

    Attempt 1: Contacted predatorswatch[dot]com directly to remove false listing

    Response 1: predatorswatch[dot]com said it would cost $575 to remove

    -------------------

    Attempt 2: DMCA Infringement Claim (for image showing on Google Image Search)

    Response 2: Google claimed that we cannot file this claim because only the copyright owner, or an authorized representative can file a DMCA Infringement Notice. Since it was a third party that took the photo, they technically have the rights to the photo – not our company. Unfortunately, the image was taken a long time ago and contacting the photographer is not possible anymore.

    -------------------

    Attempt 3: Asked John Mueller during Google Office Hours if they blacklist known extortion websites from their SERP’s.

    Response 3: John said they do not remove listings except under specific circumstances, which this case does not meet. He recommended pursuing legal matters. Here is his full video response: https://youtu.be/EnR-41bGrfU?t=36m56s

    -------------------

    Attempt 4: Contacted Attorney General office in Oregon

    Response 4: They felt it was online fraud but cannot do anything because they believe it coming from a server outside the US.

    -------------------

    Attempt 5: Submitted complaint to the FBI online crime department

    Response 5: No response to date

    As you can probably imagine this has become quite the headache for our team and we’re at a point where it seems we’re running out of options. It’s kind of a bummer to see people are getting away with this type of activity. Google has made it clear that they’re not going to do anything, and it doesn’t look like we can really do anything legally as well.

    Does anyone in the community see any potential avenues that we haven’t tried yet? Any and all ideas are welcome and appreciated.

    Our next option that we’re considering is creating a PR campaign around the employee in hopes of pushing the extortion website down on the rankings list. Before we do this, I wanted to check with the community one last time to make sure there’s nothing we’ve missed.

    Thanks!

    PS. I actually posted an inquiry about this several months back, which can be found here. I also posted the above message to Google's Support Forum (here's the thread). My hope is between these two forums someone will be able to help.
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  3. the mango demon
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    Do it. Run a PR campaign. This will deliver. It will take some time but it will work.
    So if you do it.. Remember this case of mine.
    A concerned Dad in USA came referred to me through a mutual friend. He was a public figure and his reputation was at stake. His boy was involved in a drug use case at university and any search for his name brought the univ site and two or three local news site running the drug use story.
    We first realised that more people searched and opened those pages the better they started to rank. So our main goal was to provide alternative interesting stuff for people searching for that.
    We also realised social media profiles are very likely to rank for a name search.
    last we knew that this being news will at some point of time loose steam.

    1. We created two websites with exact match domain names.
    2. We took control of his social media profiles and promoted them big time. Like added hundreds of connections from another university he had joined. Created accounts on about 30 social media sites and kept it happening.
    3. We posted articles with the same name but on a technology and scientific domain.
    4. We launched a massive blog commenting campaign using the name and targeting above sites, profile pages, articles.
    5. We did a link building campaign similarly.
    6. We spiked social signals by getting retweets, likes, shares etc for related profiles.
    7. We posted news items on press release channels which included the name but referring to phoney characters.

    We we successfully pushed the news site to #4 and #5 the same month. But #1 res from university site refused to buzz. We continued the exercise.
    Next month emd site ranked no 2 followed by Twitter acc on 3 LinkedIn on 4 and news sites punched to no 10 and 11. Finally in the third month the top result yielded and it was down on no 3. After that improvement was swift. We closed campaign in 4th month. Mission was successful.

    Comments on this post

    • Doodled agrees : Pretty much what I have done in the past - if you can't delete it push it out
    SEO Professionals in NewDelhi It is different. Don't believe me? Go check yourself.
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  5. SEO Since 97
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    You might want to try getting an expired domain that was hit for spammy sex links that are coming from sex sites and redirect to that site, which might take it from a preditor site to a sex site.
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    It surprising, but as soon as I saw his name posted next to the predatorwatch website I immediately became suspicious.

    Anyone ever very thought that he might actually be a predator. I mean it seems like a clear cut case of fraud. Why would google not do anything. If I knew there was a site doing this I would blacklist them straight away. Why wouldn't John Meuller. Sometimes it can be quite difficult to name an abuser. Sometimes people want revenge.

    We don't live in a nice world.
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    Originally Posted by Test-ok
    You might want to try getting an expired domain that was hit for spammy sex links that are coming from sex sites and redirect to that site, which might take it from a preditor site to a sex site.


    You know that brings up another idea, there are still many back-link spamm building tools still out there. Why don't you just use those tools and create many back-links that will push the site down. Since the site
    does unscrupulous actions, I would not consider this to be an un-professional response to them.

    You could create literally 10's of thousands links in just a couple of days pointing to said site. I think that would then push them down in the serps. It would for sure create a back-link problem for them, especially since
    penguin is now part of the total algo. Since the process of cleaning up such a mess is time consuming, and would require many hours of time to correct, and the fact you could do this twice a week on a regular basis,
    you could conceivably get them de-indexed by targeting each and every page they have.


    This is just a suggestion, I normally don't recommend building links this way but in this case, this is black hat fighting black hat.


    After looking thru the forum, I ran across this thread....
    Home Page gone. Forums Top-Ranked

    A perfect example of what I have suggest you do to this extortion site...... you decide if it will be effective or not.....
    Last edited by KnowOneSpecial; Oct 16th, 2016 at 08:19 PM.
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  11. the mango demon
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    You know that brings up another idea, there are still many back-link spamm building tools still out there. Why don't you just use those tools and create many back-links that will push the site down.
    I built 180,000 junk links to a below average site. it did not do much. Just one position down and I doubt that was my doing.
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    did you do it overnight or drip feed to make it look more natural ???

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