Extortion SEO – Take 2

Do a search for cydcor.  This is a company that employs a large face-to-face sales force so it naturally gets a high profile in the public because of contact with potential customers and employees alike so sure enough there are complaints.  But look closely.  They are from 2002 and 2004!

And yet, these old, unverifiable complaints from a site with no discernible editorial policy outranks:

A Cydcor Client Story at Reuters
Cydcor Opportunity Page at Monster
Cydcor Company Overview at Hoover’s
Cydcor’s LinkedIn Profile
Cydcor News at eMediaWire
More Cydcor News at PRWeb
Cydcor Investment Overview at BusinessWeek

How?  A variation of the Google Bomb!  But instead of the company website, it is the search result page itself that gets hijacked.  With just 25,000 results for Cydcor, it takes only a very few negative comments in these large complaint sites to rank right along side the company name for these navigational queries.

Welcome to the tyranny that is lawless democracy.

Comments

  1. Heh, this one hits a little close to home.  I worked for a company under the Cydcor umbrella for about a week back in early ’07, and my experience resonates with those reviews/complaints.

    In fact, the name "Cydcor" was hidden from us (new recruits) for the first 4 days until the official "business opportunity" was presented, and it was then that I went home, Googled the name, saw those same complaints and how they mirrored my situation and then I got the heck out.

    So I suppose depending on your perspective, having those pages ranked highly may be a good thing.  I’m certainly glad I found them.

  2. I’m not a lawyer, but I wonder if a person wanted to push this issue, if the site that posted the info could be liable in some way.  I’m sure the fact that the content was user generated would provide a good defense, but I don’t see how this provides a complete safety net.

    I started my internet business selling dvds about 8 years ago.  I now offer a dvd wholesale list at Jillian Entertainment DOT com.  I experienced the problem of unverified reviews a few years ago.

    Luckily, the person that filed the review couldn’t spell very well and didn’t spell my company name right.  So when someone searches for "Jillian Entertainment" the review doesn’t show in the results.

    However, they did spell my name correctly, so when someone searches for Brent Crouch, well, there it is.

    Where’s that hacker that hacked Brad out of the SERPS a few year ago.  Does that hack still work?   🙂

  3. so… regardless of weather or not the bad press is deserved you seem to be saying that by not having a robust enough web presence a company is running the risk of negative SEO?

    am I reading this correctly?

    let’s say cydcor had a huge SEO visibility… would that not negate the effectiveness of the complaint websites?

    if so… now I have an additional tool to market my wares to corporate web sites…

    “you’d better be well positioned or you leave yourself open to…”

  4. Depends on what "presence" means.  In Cydcor’s case, they rank 1 and 2 for their name — not hard since it is essentially a navigational query — but that leaves 8 more slots open on page 1.

    If presence means many other positive sites beyond just the corporate domain, then yes, that is precisely the issue.  To really "control brand" you need to own at least 10 spots, maybe more.

    Why is this required?  Because (1) bad news sells and (2) there is now no recourse for "user generated" bad news.

    I’m all for posting differing views, even really negative ones, but the lack of recourse is just a license to lie, cheat and steal.

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