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Misconception #5: Cyrus Sullivan is an "Extortionist"

Cyrus Sullivan offers to block pages on some of his websites from search engines for a small fee. Usually his customers are people disputing the validity of user generated content (UGC) on a website he owns, but even before then people angry over UGC started posting false statements online accusing him of removing records for huge sums of money. Those accusations have nothing to do with his new repuation management system.

The way Cyrus’s reputation management service works is quite simple. He evaluates the harm done to your Google results and comes up with a recovery plan consisting of things clients should do to improve their reputations specific to their situation. As an experienced search engine optimization (SEO) professional and the victim of smear campaigns himself Cyrus knows better than most what lies can do to your reputation, how to repair some of the damage, and how to mitigate the rest. He also goes a step beyond other anonymous complaint site owners by offering to remove pages from search engines at a price that is far less than similar services that don’t remove search results.

On a legal level what Cyrus does is not extortion, but some people still consider it blackmail in their minds. The main difference between what Cyrus does and extortion is that extortion requires a threat of action if someone fails to do something, but Cyrus doesn’t threaten to do anything, he just does nothing by default and offers to do something if paid.

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