Is Nastiness Good Business in E-Commerce?


The customer isn’t always right, according to Web merchant Vitaly Borker. In fact, in his eyes, the customer is never right, and should be treated like the scum of the earth, cursed at, and even physically threatened.

Borker runs, a “designer” sunglasses and frames website now notorious for having pretty much the worst possible customer service– he has been known to threaten customers looking to return unwanted purchases, even emailing them photos of their apartment buildings to show he knows where they live.

Many claim that Borker is selling fake luxury goods, despite the high-end prices. And hundreds of angry consumers are slamming his business practices all over the Web, including on the boutique’s so-called “official” fan page.

But shoppers looking to ruin the site’s reputation should think twice before taking to the Web: All that racket on the Web about DecorMyEyes actually backfires, since it raises the site’s ranking on major sites like Google, thereby driving more traffic and pushing the site’s search engine ranking way up. (Even a Google search of the phrase “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” yields dozens of results pertaining to Borker and his e-boutique.)

As a result, DecorMyEyes is, somewhat incredibly, now one of the most popular e-commerce web sites on the Internet. “I actually outrank [a] designer’s own Web site,” said Borker.

The case of DecorMyEyes raises many troubling questions about the way e-commerce is organized and carried out. Should stores really be permitted to benefit by being evil to customers? If others follow Borker’s lead, we can only imagine how uncivil the online market could become.

Still, there is hope: Having notoriety and good SEO does not translate into sales. In fact, Borker currently has around $500,000 worth of returned, and now useless, product. And Amazon, MasterCard and eBay have all banned future business transactions with DecorMyEyes. Let’s hope it’s enough to put him out of business, and halt this mobile commerce “mean strategy” in its tracks.

UPDATE: Google has announced that it is changing the way it ranks search results, to keep unscrupulous merchants like Borker from appearing so highly-placed in searches. Niceness prevails!

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