Perhaps one of the most egregious link spammers and link farmers out there, PissedConsumer.com has been booted (erased, removed, deleted) from the Google index. Their link spamming tactics were well defined in a call-out post on SEOmoz‘ YOUmoz blog.
The news could not have come at a better time, considering many companies have been incorrectly labeled ripoff artists, scammers, and spammers. This is ironic, coming from PissedConsumer.com that was behind a HUGE link farm network of their own! I am not just happy about this as a former in-house SEO at a firm that was battling against trumped up and inaccurate reviews, but also as a concerned netizen that believes there are too many innocent people out there that can’t tell the difference between legitimate complaints and those being used for extortion purposes.
For companies that were featured on the site, it should serve as a notice to investigate the allegations and make the necessary changes within their organizations to minimize negative consumer experiences. Then, they should seek help with professional reputation management firms to engage and diffuse other negative reviews online.
It should be noted that legitimate consumer complaints sites have a place on the internet. In fact, I support honest, transparent consumer feedback and company responses. However, when a website pops up that uses these complaints as tools to solicit money from the companies in question in the form of “Reputation Management”, it crosses the line into extortion. There are many other offenders out there, most notably RipoffReports.com (and Ed’s networks of sites that cross-link profusely). Hopefully one day all of these sites will be brought to task and consumers and companies can engage in the open dialog that the internet enables without being pressured by a third party.
Thanks to @CarMaxChris for the heads up!