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Do you remember the story of Vitaly Borker? He owns an eyeglasses online store called DecorMyEyes, but he doesn’t actually have any inventory. Instead, he infamously took orders and then turned to eBay to buy the product, with no regard for if the glasses were used, broken, or counterfeit. Then, if a customer complained, he would harass them — stalk them, curse at them, and threaten their lives — hoping, daring them to run online and write negative reviews of his business on consumer advocacy websites. Because, see, that was part of Borker’s plan all along: The more people that linked to his website, even if it was to tell people never to buy from him, the higher his Google ranking got. But the wacky scam may have come to an end; yesterday, Borker pleaded guilty to sending threats, mail fraud, and wire fraud.
“Hello, My name is Stanley with DecorMyEyes.com,” the post began. “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.”
“I never had the amount of traffic I have now since my 1st complaint. I am in heaven.”
The worst (and best) part was that it totally worked:
“Look,” he says, grabbing an iPad off a small table. He types “Christian Audigier,” the name of a French designer, and “glasses” into Google. DecorMyEyes pops up high on the first page.
“Why am I there?” he asks, sounding both peeved and amazed. “I don’t belong there. I actually outrank the designer’s own Web site.”
Today, the Times follows up and reports that Borker has lost all of his swagger in the face of a judge:
“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.”
Based on the severity of the threats he made to customers — he told one woman, “P.S. don’t forget that I know where you live” — a judge held Borker without bail from December until April, when he was released on $1 million bond and put on a strict no-Internet security watch.
Borker will be sentenced in September and could face up to 6 and a half years in prison.