By ALEXIA JAMES
Type the following individual search terms into Google: Nadine Dorries, @nadinedorriesmp, Dennis Rice, Dominic Wightman. You’ll notice certain websites and blogs crop up regularly.
These results have 3 things in common – they are created by trolls, portray a very negative message & they have been heavily search engine optimized so negatives always trump any positive results linked to those keywords.
Take the one example of @nadinedorriesmp. @nadinedorriesmp is the Twitter name of the British Member of Parliament for Mid-Bedfordshire, Nadine Dorries. The first two results that appear on Google are Twitter accounts in her name. But they are nothing to do with her. One is called “A massive T**T”. (Both accounts are what are known as sock-puppet accounts and were created and operated by trolls).
Search Engine Optimisation is the process of maximising the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine. In short, it’s manipulating a site so that search engine crawlers push it up rankings. This is achieved through various means – one of which is adding links from other sites, particularly powerful sites, known as link-building to keywords. In this case the SEO has added links to keywords which are the actual names of his victims.
The Search Engine Optimiser (SEO) behind the current high presence on search engines of these negative stories and fake social media accounts is notorious. We shall not name him here as the UK police have advised against naming him whilst he is the subject of ongoing investigations and legal actions.
Let’s just say he has become increasingly tarnished over the years as his victims let the world know what he was about.
Nadine Dorries MP revealed in the press that she has been the victim of this SEO/Stalker for several years and he has caused her life to be “a living hell”. The courageous actions of this MP have led to dozens more of the SEO’s victims coming forward. To read up more about what he has done to Nadine Dorries, see here & here & here & here.
The SEO in question has a blog he set up way back in 2001 (which he has cultivated to make it powerful on search engines) which he can use as his main source for power links to boost the position on search engines of all the negative stories. He then spreads those links – and borrows links from other websites – to the negative sites of his trolling crew so their negative stories also feature high on searches against the names of his victims.
The SEO is in question is an arch manipulator and serial bully – someone who is clearly obsessed and seriously disturbed – who manipulates his crew to seek to “destroy” the reputations of others.
The most cunning of his many manipulations has been the manipulation of search engines to achieve his goals.
How does his behaviour affect the lives of the victims he optimises his slander on?
In short, the SEO has almost achieved his aim of destroying the reputations he sought to annihilate by SEO.
We spoke to one of his victims, Dom Wightman, who is a businessman living in the UK. He claims that the SEO and his crew of trolls have cost him a fortune in terms of cash, wasted time and personal stress:
“I first came across this SEO in 2008 and he launched an attack on me in his blog in the same year. I am the only Dominic Wightman on the planet so it was pretty easy for the SEO to wreck my online reputation. Another attacking blog piece followed then another. Soon the first couple of pages of my Google and other search engine results were replete with his smears; some of which he passed to his associated cabal of trolls to post online.
The immediate effect of his posts was to anger me. I had to explain to colleagues – and worst of all, to my own family – that the slander posted about me online was not true. I had to go to the police who made me keep a log of all the slander but they were powerless to intervene as the slander that was being posted was cleverly written so as not to break the law. I was lucky in that my closest colleagues and my family knew of this man – he was already infamous locally as a stalker and a nutter and many good people had complained about him. The police just told me my best hope was to deal with the issue in a civil case.
There were two years that passed of regular slander posting. I tried rebuttal – which certainly annoyed him and his troll friends – but it just meant more slander. Soon the first 5 pages of a name search of me were full of his lies and smears. I tried setting up Linked In and other accounts and they did rank well for a week or two but then the negative stuff seemed to jump above it every time. I spent some time trying to outdo the negative stuff. So I called Google and Bing and they just came back with the freedom of speech line – I love freedom of speech and I love Google & Bing, so I decided to grin and bear this.
In 2011 I had a business deal collapse because one of my clients did a search of my name on the search engines. The deal was worth a considerable amount of money. I called to explain but by that time the client – who was very apologetic – had found another partner.
That same week a business competitor used the negative Google results to attack my business. Then, worse than that – I have friend who is mentally ill who depends on his seventy-year-old mum who is his carer. The SEO and a troll associated with him started peppering the friend’s mother with slanderous emails about me. They emailed fellow company directors with similar slander. They emailed a man in his 80’s who they knew had angina and posted a negative piece about me with him included. They basically contacted everyone I knew. One day I had had enough. The police were doing nothing. My friend’s mother called me in tears to say my mentally ill friend was scared about these stalkers. And I felt powerless.
That was when – under all that pressure – I made a mistake. I sent an article to the Westminster Journal going public about my tormentors. In the article I mentioned jokingly, “If I saw these (trolls) on my driveway I’d run them down in my Tory Blue Range Rover”. I sent off the first copy to the uploader abroad, who was based in the Far East. I then went about editing the article and actually added to that line the words “albeit a fantastical dream” as a kind of disclaimer. The uploader posted the first version and only changed it to the second version the next day when he woke up. Because of time difference the article was up in its first version without the edits for some hours.
Two weeks later I had a call from Surrey Police. I was asked to go down to the police station for an interview, which I happily did. I didn’t think I’d need a lawyer. I was always taught to be open and honest with the police, which I was. I admitted writing the article and I mentioned the disclaiming edit. I was offered the opportunity to take a caution for malicious communications, which I refused (in the UK accepting a caution gives you a criminal record). The policeman and I shook hands. I told him I’d be cleverer in future and somehow not react to my tormentors.
The next week a summons arrived from the local magistrate’s court. I had been summoned to defend the malicious communication. What I now know had happened is this – the SEO had written out a pathetic victim statement saying he feared for his life and thought I was genuine in my “threats” to run him down in my Tory Blue Range Rover. Some idiot at the CPS decided to take this to court. So, I instructed a lawyer, lost even more money and time – the stress was hardly negligible on me and my family – over six months preparing my defence. Then someone at the CPS saw sense and dropped the case.
In the meantime, I had got smart. I realised that the SEO and his troll friends were affecting me, my health, my work colleagues and – worse – my family. I sought the advice of lawyers, experts and other search engine optimisers. I even started a collaboration with a young search engine optimiser from Poland and introduced a load of clients to him – in return he focused on improving search results for my name. In short I learnt for myself how SEO works.
For a year – between 2012 and 2013 – the stalkers’ negative results were below positive articles / posts about me. Optimising positive results to beat his highly-linked negative results still cost me thousands of pounds in links. In late 2013 I had collected enough evidence about the links on the negative posts to show that the stalking SEO had been optimising his negative results of me. In other words, this man had been using SEO to stalk and terrorise me. It was then that I began to call him an SEO terrorist. That is what he is.
I stopped paying for my SEO – the people I work with all know me for who I am and not what he portrays me as – and I have been quietly making progress in life away from the SEO and his troll friends to the point where my lawyer in the US has got a civil case together which I am confident will force the SEO to stop hassling me.
I can only congratulate Nadine with her efforts in trying to stop this man. As an MP she is better placed than I am to have stalking laws changed. I admire anyone who stands up to this man – the SEO – as I have done since 2007 (sometimes in a less than intelligent way).
He has been like a dark cloud hovering over me since he came into my life. I asked the police to deal with him and his friends and they failed me – this is not their fault; they simply do not have the apparatus/legislation to nail these evil pests.
I admire how the likes of Paladin http://paladinservice.co.uk/ are forcing legislative changes to rid the UK and the web of these kind of sick, twisted individuals. The SEO in question I firmly believe thinks he is doing good. He is a fantasist with some mental issues. He calls himself a “caped crusader” on the one hand then Tweets about “shooting Nadine through the head” on the other. He is an arch manipulator and a particularly unpleasant guy. I wish he’d see a doctor. He has been advised medication already by a past doctor.
I really do not feel sorry for his Troll friends who publish as much crap as he does about me – they know exactly what they are doing. They have a good grip on optimisation also. I would like to see both them and the SEO have some time to think about their sad and evil ways in a jail.”
It would seem the pendulum is swinging against these online stalkers.Recent legislation has emerged in the UK to deal with them.
If you feel you are suffering at the hands of a stalker then you can contact the National Stalking Helpline in the UK at http://www.stalkinghelpline.org/ or if you feel you are a cyberstalking victim of the same perpetrators as Mr Wightman or Nadine Dorries then contact Nadine Dorries at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.
Nowadays Google and Bing are the go-to places to check on people. What is the difference between optimising slander on search engines about individuals and spraying negative graffiti all over their house?
Law needs to change so these vile people are classed as criminals and pay the price for their wrongdoing in the real world – offline.