A Bully Finds a Pulpit on the Web
Posted in: Legal & Security at 29/11/2010 17:53
Shopping online in late July, Clarabelle Rodriguez typed the name of her favorite eyeglass brand into Google's search bar.
In moments, she found the perfect frames -- made by a French company called Lafont -- on a Web site that looked snazzy and stood at the top of the search results. Not the tippy-top, where the paid ads are found, but under those, on Google's version of the gold-medal podium, where the most relevant and popular site is displayed.
Ms. Rodriguez placed an order for both the Lafonts and a set of doctor-prescribed Ciba Vision contact lenses on that site, DecorMyEyes.com. The total cost was $361.97.
It was the start of what Ms. Rodriguez would later describe as one of the most maddening and miserable experiences of her life.
The story of DecorMyEyes suggests that 15 years after the birth of online commerce, the Internet is still strewn with trap doors, and that when consumers take a tumble, they are pretty much on their own. Mr. Borker is skilled at tunneling under the few obstacles in his way, but he has hardly been hiding. With a few tweaks and added vigilance from an array of companies and public institutions that are supposed to monitor e-commerce thuggery, Mr. Borker's approach to retail might be impossible to sustain.