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Does negative publicity make Google work positively for companies?

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Most businesses aim to please & increase their client base as much as possible to get favourable numbers. They put the customers (prospective/existing) first and do whatever it takes to make them happy.

But there are a few who prefer to defer, this school of thought believes that being unethical and treating customers like garbage is actually better for business because this contributes to enhance their Google ranking & give them more business.

Google-Search

Here is the full story that happened recently ; Clarabelle Rodriguez typed the name of her favourite eyeglass brand into Google’s search bar. In moments, she found the perfect frames made by a French company called Lafont — on a Web site that stood at the top of the search results on Google’s version of the gold-medal podium, where the most relevant and popular sites are displayed.

Ms. Rodriguez placed an order for Lafont glasses along with a set of doctor-prescribed Ciba Vision contact lenses on that site, DecorMyEyes.com (I am not increasing his ranking by giving a linkback). The total cost was $361.97.

The very next day, a man named Tony Russo called to say (in an abrupt tone) that DecorMyEyes had run out of the Ciba Vision.

As any other loyal customer for the brand Ms. Rodriguez denied to accept any other brand and demanded refund. The company person got rude & he compelled her to choose another brand!

With the contacts issue unresolved, her eyeglasses arrived two days later which appeared counterfeits, moreover DecorMyEyes had charged her $487 — or an extra $125. When she called back the company

These were the company’s person words:

“Listen, bitch, I know your address. I’m one bridge over”.

Ms. Rodriguez decided to resolve the dispute & get justice. She contacted her bank (Citibank) and after submitting some paperwork, she won a provisional victory. She was supposed to be refunded in 60 days as the bank looked into the charge and discussed it with the owner of DecorMyEyes.

As that two-month deadline approached, Mr. Russo had dropped his claim for the contact lenses he’d never sent & began an increasingly nasty campaign to persuade her to contact Citibank and withdraw her dispute. Within few days Mr. Russo sent details of what appeared to be a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn. It included a hearing date and time, the address of the court, a docket number and a demand for $1,500.

Ms. Rodriguez still paid no heed to the company’s activities. A few hours later, Mr. Russo raised the stakes sharply by sending another e-mail, this one with a photograph of the front of the apartment building where she and her fiancé lived.

Then her cell phone started ringing. Ms. Rodriguez and her fiancé went to the police station at 1 a.m. to file a complaint. This was followed by another e-mail from Mr. Russo. “Close the dispute with the credit card company if you know what’s good for you, I AM WATCHING YOU!”

I wonder how a company can go to such an extent to harass the customer.

decor-my-eyes

While most business owners would be horrified, the DecorMyEyes founder, Stanley Borker, is thrilled. He is reported to have mentioned that:

“Hello, My name is Stanley with DecorMyEyes.com," the founder writes to all the negative commenters on an open forum.  I just wanted to let you guys know that the more replies you people post, the more business and the more hits and sales I get. My goal is NEGATIVE advertisement.

Negative actions should have negative consequences, but this founder made lots of money thanks to high Google rankings. Here is how it worked…

Every time a customer would write a scathing review, DecorMyEyes’ Google Ranking would increase due to link backs to the site given in the review. Eventually, the site was listed as one of the top hits for eye wear online, thereby increasing traffic and subsequently his business.

Well Borker is trying to create disruption by defying the age old & proven belief that customer is always right as he exclaims that “I hate that phrase — the customer is always right. Why is the merchant always wrong? Can the customer ever be wrong? Is that not possible?”

But it looks like his strategy is not here to stay for long. And he can’t right a wrong by constantly repeating it.

Surely the world’s most powerful search engine, Google, has some solution to this issue (after all it has to be in favor of genuine businesses). It immediately convened a team that looked carefully at the issue. That team developed an initial algorithmic solution, implemented it, and the solution is already live.

His strategy was slightly brilliant but short-lived (has to be after all its unethical).

Although effective, abusing customers isn’t a strategy that’s likely to catch on.  Constantly fending off unhappy customers is gruelling and at the very least, it must weigh on your conscience.

Business environment is surely getting competitive each day but that does not imply that companies have to resort to unscrupulous ways to do business (though there only objective might be minting profits at any cost). There are end number of discussions about efficient service & delighting customer with the experience to build on reputation & word of mouth publicity but making customers victim like this is shocking.

Though I’m sure all of us sometime or other has played victim to the insensibility of some company people, so all trak.in readers are welcome to share their dreadful yet memorable experiences.

  1. Suchi Goyal says

    Yes, i agree with the author negative publicity is short lived. I too had bad experience with idee eyewear. The sun glasses broke in 1 week only (its 1 stem broke) and their warranty period was till 1 year. Mailed them and thru’ the dealer some how sent the glasses to the company. Also told them you please service/repair them and i am ready to pay for it but after 1 month they called and said this damage is not included in warranty. I have been seeing lot of negative review about IDEE eyewear on net specially on their FB page. http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=214052&id=135059241058&saved#!/pages/IDEE-Eyewear/71662169267

  2. pranjal says

    its pretty easy to say that the customer is no more than a puppet, but we forget, a twirl of the merchant’s finger will, no doubt, shake him a bit but the twitch dies out as soon as it comes. similarly, we can take advantage of the vulnerability of his(here in the form of his inquisitiveness), but ultimately he chooses to be smart enough.

  3. Pradeep says

    Although negative Coverage specifically on Web help get a brand recognized.. and come up on search and all those specific organic search links/ranks etc but the company is loosing customers as well..

    may be in short term they got some visibility, but people who will check those reviews will think 100 time before placing an order

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