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

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

A web site named 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, 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. 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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