This is a continuation from that very strange e-mail request I posted last time in regards to a request I received to close down my blog for competitive commercial reasons. I have a clear idea of what went on after doing some research and thought it would be an interesting thing to blog about from a business perspective.
Earlier this month a person contacted me through this blog with the following message:
I need some small help from you regarding your blog. Please reply if you have received this message.
As always, I like to help people whenever I can and sure enough I replied with a simple acknowledgment saying
What type of help do you need?
The person then responds with something that just left me dumbfounded which said the following:
Hi, Thanks for replying.
This is regarding al6400.com/blog/2008/01/28/princeton-premier/
This page comes up in top results when we search “princeton premier” in google.
Now, the princetonpremier.com guys posted an online project and I am working on that to do SEO and remove this type of results from google search. After so much of effort, I am still clueless. And they are not making the payment unless they see some result.
My request to you is please disable this blog of yours for 15 days or so. This will have some effect on the search results and I may receive my fees. You may re-enable this after that period.
Please let me know either-way. I am solely dependent on freelance projects like this and can not afford to lose payments.
Shocked, I responded by saying
This has got to be some kind of joke correct? I am having a very hard time believing what I am reading here without some kind of authenticity verification about what you have written.
Just some quick background information for those who donâ€™t know, I made a post about a questionable e-mail offer I received from that company which has garnered a lot of attention and considering people from that organization had a perfect opportunity to make their voices heard without bias, as it appeared that a representative of the company did make a reply initially, it just made this whole situation even more unbelievable.
I was thinking too on how even from a business perspective who goes up and asks say a competitor to shutdown for a few days? Thatâ€™s like two stores competing with each other during the Christmas shopping season and asking if the owner could close his store down for awhile as they are getting too much exposure.
The guy was dead serious though and understandably he didnâ€™t want to give out details. However, that didnâ€™t stop me from getting to the bottom of this. After putting all the pieces together, everything pointed to the fact that the company was using some kind of outsourcing service to perform the service in question. It just so happens that I am very knowledgeable about that particular field/industry and it didnâ€™t take me very long to find this request:
It appeared as if the company was actively seeking to hire people to push down sites such as my blog from showing up for certain keywords to avoid negative exposure of their business/product. This made me really wonder on why the organization didnâ€™t simply reply to the concerns expressed by all those people that commented on that post instead as Iâ€™m sure this doesnâ€™t exactly help their cause.
This incident in particular sure demonstrates the importance of making sure that you can do the job before making promises to do something huh? In this case too, it looked the buyer and the service provider didnâ€™t do a thorough enough job in interviewing each other beforehand. So what would you do if you were running that business now?
I guess the traditional method would be that the company would come out and apologize to anyone who feels they were mislead in any way while offering people a refund if they wish to accept full responsibility of the negative publicity that has been generated. At the same time, they would then somehow publicly announce their efforts to correct things if warranted. Of course, this is assuming that they want to continue its operations.
Another thing that this incident made me think about is the power of social media nowadays where a simple opinion or perspective about an issue can manifest into something enormous. This was definitely one of those seeing something new everyday moments for me.