Reporter submits self to online slander sites to see how the scam works

I missed this fantastic article about the slander-removal complex—web sites that host slanderous issues about individuals and advertisements to take away the identical content material at exorbitant value. The New York Times’ Aaron Krolik sacrificed his google outcomes, submitting himself to certainly one of them to see the lie unfold by way of the advanced. Then he and colleague Kashmir Hill hunted down the ne’er-do-wells concerned. It being the Times and the scammers being dumb as bricks, a number of have been keen to be made examples of by the Old Gray Lady.

When I reached out to RepZe through a kind on its web site to ask about eradicating certainly one of the posts about me, Sofia known as me. She stated that for $1,500 the submit can be eliminated inside 24 hours. The removing would include a “lifetime assure,” she stated. She inspired me to act rapidly. “I do not need to scare you, however these posts can unfold,” she warned. At this level, we figured that when somebody paid an organization like RepZe to get a submit eliminated, RepZe then paid the grievance web site to delete it. But our understanding turned out to be incomplete at finest.

Do learn it in full! It’s great how the characters concerned all prove to be linked, like cockney troublemakers in a caper movie. The Times additionally makes use of the Frauenfeldian “Gentleman”.

The grim kicker: in case you pay these “repute managers” off, the lies disappear however the blackmailing begins.

Left till the finish are search engines like google’ position in facilitating the downside, doing little to restrict the prominence of those conspiciously persistent scam sites and even providing slanderous autocompleted phrases after victims’ names. Though there is a complaint form you may submit to Google, the Times studies that it solely delists one URL at a time and is not very helpful.

That stated, the fireplace burns wherever the wind blows: Google advertisements and different rigging have been how the Times mapped the gripe web site community and recognized a key participant, who had in any other case tried to keep away from tells similar to DNS data and shared internet hosting.

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