The Underbelly

The New York Times has an excellent expose in its Sunday business section about a Russian-emigre scamster who has turned Google’s algorithms to his benefit as he rips off customers with counterfeit designer eyeglass frames; proving in essence that bad publicity is better than no publicity at all, the scheme uses well intentioned customer advocacy sites like GetSatisfaction and RipoffReport to build Google juice through mentions and backlinks — things Google likes in its opaque rankings.

After years of flogging the theme that Google defines brand more than anything, and pushing a “customer is always right” posture on customer service relations as the best way to influence a brand online, I found the Times piece frighteningly propheti about how the underbelly of the Internet, primarily the dim world of domain squatters, virus writers, search engine optimization consultants, affiliate marketing weasels and pay-per-post bloggers, has come to insidiously eat away at good intentioned promises of sentiment and influence to make negative commentary a good thing thanks to robotic search results.

Staggering but true and hence I won’t fall into the scamster’s trap of goading outraged handwringers like myself to mention his site or name.