Remember all the commotion about the owner of the DecorMyEyes website back in November? The man, Vitaly Borker, had built his business on negative reviews, mistreating customers and, to his ultimate demise, threatening to kill them if they didn’t stop complaining because he knew where they lived.
Sick stuff for sure but the New York Times’ exposed this character for what he is (which shows how incredibly stupid he is vs. being crafty like he thought he was, since he told the NYT how he operated and how he was using the negativity to gain favor in Google’s rankings).
Well, yesterday Vitaly was found guilty on several charges and now faces up to six and a half years in jail for his antics. We’ll give the New York Times the honors since they brought this creep to the light of day.
The online eyeglasses seller who terrified customers in the hopes of creating buzz about his Web site, and raising its profile in Google searches, pleaded guilty on Thursday to two counts of sending threatening communications, one count of mail fraud and one count of wire fraud.
Mr. Borker achieved something close to instant notoriety in late November after The New York Times published an article in which he discussed his habit of menacing customers who had complained to him about products bought through DecorMyEyes. Using several aliases, he threatened to kill or sexually assault customers, going so far in one instance that he e-mailed an image of the customer’s home, which had been obtained from Google maps. In addition, he sent warnings like, “P.S. don’t forget that I know where you live.”
The original NYT article from November of 2010 caused quite a stir in search circles and led to Google addressing the concern directly.
A few days after the article was published, Google announced that it had convened a team to look at this issue and had already changed its search algorithm so that no company could use negative feedback to positive effect. The company declined to disclose details but wrote on its official blog, “We can say with reasonable confidence that being bad to customers is bad for business on Google.”
Basically, this story is about a sick human being who was simply not concerned about anything other than maintaining his cash flow at all costs. But as any good criminal will eventually get to, he had his reasons and excuses.
Borker admitted in court that he had lied to and frightened his customers, suggesting that business pressures explained his behavior.
“I was answering personally about 100 e-mails a day and lost control of what I was saying at times,” he said, reading a prepared statement before Judge Richard J. Sullivan in Federal District Court in Manhattan. He closed by saying, “I want to apologize to everyone I hurt in connection with my actions, especially those people I threatened.”
While Borker’s lawyer is expecting his client to do more like 18 months of time (he is to be sentenced September 16th) this is the right ending for a person like this. There is plenty of attention being given these days to bullying and, in the end, that’s all Borker was doing. He was bullying unhappy customers into walking away from their complaints. Not exactly Better Business Bureau tactics.
So here’s to Vitaly Borker who may need more than his share of his own sunglasses to cover up what prison time bullying can do to a person.