Over at the Google Webmaster Help forum we get an unsubstantiated claim that an ex-Google employee has turned evil:
Around May I discovered another competitors site recent appearance that looked very similar to mine, in fact even the sentences on my homepage were copied directly to his. Then by reading the press release for the company I found out it was started by a high up google employee who quit his job with google to form the company. Shorty after contacting the owner politely introducing myself, I received a threat letter back through email. I don’t know if I can publish the email on this site so I will hesitate for now. Basically the owner said he was going to crush me with his skills he had received from google…
…So at the end of all of this my page rank dropped from a two to a zero. And now my site has started showing up on malicious porn sites on the internet and in bad forums, and some seem to be in the form of hidden links that appear to be bought by someone else.
OK, so we have two reasons to doubt this is true.
- How do we know this poster is telling the truth?
- How do we know that the attacker ever was a Google employee?
The answers are, we don’t. However, this is an example of how rumors and speculation can inflict as much damage on a company’s reputation as the truth. Now that both Barry Schwartz and I have reported on this, it risks becoming an urban legend. (Yes, I’m aware that I’m helping to spread this “rumor”, but that’s like saying the cancer wouldn’t spread, if only the doctor hadn’t told the patient).
What Google should do is try and get to the bottom of this and, quickly, prove that this thread is a figment of someone’s over-active imagination. Unless, of course, ex-Google employees are venting after many years of not being able to do any evil.