The Wrong Way To Do Customer Service — Or Is It?

DecorMyEyes uses negative publicity to build brandI read an article in The New York Times online recently (you can read it here) about a company called DecorMyEyes.  This company basically takes orders for high end, brand name glasses on their website, then finds them on EBay and buys them to fill their customers’ orders.  While this company has very few SEO efforts in place to promote their site online, you’ll find it very near the top of the organic search results when you go hunting high end eyeglasses.  Go ahead, try it.  Type “Christian Audigier” and “glasses” into Google and see what you come up with.  DecorMyEyes.com is the #5 result.

So, with very little SEO in place, what marketing strategy gives the company such fantastic results?  Apparently, the answer is negative marketing.  Vitaly Borker, owner of DecorMyEyes, offers exceptionally poor customer service, often involving threats of litigation and bodily harm.  Often, his customers seek resolution in online forums, such as GetSatisfaction.com.  And because there are so many irate people talking about his company online, his search results improve.  Yes — to the point of being on the top of the first page in Google’s organic search results.

It’s a really unbelievable story, and absolutely worth reading the NYT article — all eight pages of it — but it also raises some questions.  Is this a viable marketing strategy?  Is it sustainable?  In what ways can Google, Ebay, credit card companies, and others involved in this situation improve their services to better safeguard their customers?

UPDATE:  As of Wednesday afternoon (December 1st), Google has announced changes to its search algorithm, such that it will now take into account negative online merchant reviews in its ranking system.  What do you think of that?

I want to know what you think — sound off in the comments!

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