An online retailer who threatened his customers as a method of raising his profile in the Google rankings has been jailed pending a trial.
Vitaly Borker, 34, who operates a Web site called decormyeyes.com hit the news when he terrorised customers in the hope of increasing his ranking on Google.
As far as Google was concerned, being talked about is much better than not being talked about. However Borker not only managed to boost his profile, he also forced Google to change its algorithm to put off people who try a similar trick.
Now it seems that things are going to get worse for Borker. The Postie Police have charged him with mail fraud, wire fraud, making interstate threats and cyberstalking. The mail fraud and wire fraud charges each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The stalking and interstate threats charges carry a maximum sentence of five years.
Judge Michael Dolinger denied Borker's request for bail saying he was "verging on psychotic" or had "an explosive personality."
It all went pearshaped for Borker when The New York Times told the story of his campaign of intimidation against a woman named Clarabelle Rodriguez.
She made the mistake of buying a pair of glasses from DecorMyEyes. They turned out to be fakes and when she tried to return them Borker he threatened to sexually assault her. Later he snapped a shot of the front of her apartment building. He also sent menacing e-mails, one of which stated that she had put her "hand in fire. Now it's time to get burned."
When a hack popped around for a quiet word, Borker maintained that scaring Rodriguez, and other customers in the last three years enhanced the standing of DecorMyEyes in searches on Google.
Google's algorithm, he claimed, was unable to distinguish between praise and complaints and the negative postings translated into buzz, he said, which helped push DecorMyEyes higher in search results and increased his sales.
For months the coppers ignored Rodriguez's complaints - now every legal outfit in the land wants a piece of him.
Local coppers have charged him with aggravated harassment and stalking. The state attorney general's office is conducting its own investigation and could bring additional state charges.
The Untouchables also want a crack at him. Preet Bharara, United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, said, "Vitaly Borker, an alleged cyberbully and fraudster, cheated his customers, and when they complained, tried to intimidate them with obscenity and threats of serious violence."
Borker was described as being unstable and yet for some reason all those authorities felt that it was a good idea to allow him a handful of guns, including a semiautomatic machine gun.
Borker's lawyer, Bruce Kaye, said the weapons were stage props capable of firing only blanks, not live ammunition.