Get Out Of Google Jail For $50, Web Site Captures Mug Shots

Oct 15, 2009 • 9:07 am | comments (8) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

A web site named ClarksburgLeak.com makes their money documenting inmates who have their mug shots taken at the local police station there and posting it on their web site. The way they make their money is a bit controversial, to say the least.

If you go to jail in Clarksburg, ClarksburgLeak.com will find out, post your name, along with your picture, height, weight, date of birth and the felony type on their web site. Then Google will come along, index it and rank your mug shot pretty well in the Google search results. ClarksburgLeak.com takes a nominal fee of $49.95 plus tax to remove your listing from their web site.

A woman named Lily was really upset about this 'ransom' fee and complained in a clearly has guidelines around removing this type of content and I assume this web site owner knows that.

Google's JohnMu said "what that site is doing is not nice at all and I would personally not pay for this kind of "removal service". In my opinion, it's unfortunate and it makes me sad that some sites will resort to this kind of scheme to try to make money." But John added that this person can use other means to push down the results (yes, online reputation management). John said:

Instead of fighting with things like that I would take the time to be proactive and to build your own presence on the web. Do you have a MySpace page? perhaps a blog? a Twitter account? a Flickr account? All of these sites can help you create pages about yourself, pages that are much more relevant than ... those other ones. In the end, the energy that you put into work on pages for yourself will continue working for you, while energy that you put into fighting things like the site that you mention will at best result in "nothing". So instead of just posting here, make something fun & useful that can be shown in the search results for your name!

In the long run, Lily paid the $50 fee to have her name removed from the web site and she no longer comes up in a Google search for her name. I think most people would pay the fee, but is this ethical?

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

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Comments:

Michael Martinez

10/15/2009 07:15 pm

It might actually be regarded as a form of extortion under some state laws, all of which (I believe) classify extortion as a felony. People should look into their respective state laws to see if they have the basis for making a criminal complaint against the site.

Nick

10/15/2009 07:48 pm

Reminds me of Henry Earl, who has been arrested over 1300 times for Alcohol Intoxication since 1992. Over 100 mug shots are available online on the city's website: http://jail.lfucg.com/services/offenders/offenderdetails/default.asp?inmateid=337&inmateimage=E253242.JPG

Bill Kruse

10/16/2009 08:51 am

You'll get people lining up locally to get their pix there once the idea becomes popular. It'll be like ASBOS are here, merit badges for the unlawful. They'll be compting to see how many times they can get on the site. The whole naming and shaming thing only works with the kind of law-abiding folk who probably won't be getting into trouble anyway. BB

No Name

10/16/2009 07:57 pm

We have shifted our focus from Clarksburgleak (NCRJ area). We are now databasing ALL of the West Virginia regional jails inmates, mugshots, and information @ wvjails.info

budz

10/17/2009 06:04 am

why u hatin on my anchor text :( lol @ name changing to No Name O.o

fionnd

11/04/2009 01:13 am

Ewww...no worse than what the rip off report has been getting away with for years but they make heaps more money and Google still loves them.

WV Jails

05/09/2010 02:13 am

Still going strong.. after a few consumer complaints from the Attorney Generals office.

Fecal

10/13/2013 10:08 pm

Years ahead of the NYTimes ;)

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