Blogger gets request to de-Google

Suppose you're an online vendor who's displeased with the ranking of your business Web site on Google. Well, you could try tweaking your ad words. Perhaps you could consider better marketing. Heck, maybe you could contact Google for answers or guidance. You might get lucky.

Or you might conclude that the best approach is to ask that people with higher-ranked sites de-Google themselves immediately.

Astonishingly, an unnamed e-merchant out there in cyberspace has taken the latter approach, sending threatening letters to blogger Dean Hunt. (Hunt's blog, by the way, is called "Deano's World - Internet Marketing, Madrid, Life, SEO & More." It appears to cover all types of topics.)

Anyway, the first odd e-mail he received, sent Dec. 8, reads as follows:

"My name is [edited] and I run [edited].com"

"I have been running the site for over two years and we have been ranked very highly for the search term [edited]."

"On Thursday morning I checked our google positions and your site is now above us for this term. I haev checked your blog and it has nothing to do with [edited], so I think it would be best all round if you remove your blog from google for this search term."

I know what you're probably thinking: What's the search term? Well, Dean hasn't shared that bit of info in his posts, nor the name of his adversary's business. Maybe he doesn't want to give Mr. Whacky extra publicity -- or maybe he's just trying to further protect his Web ranking by shielding his super-secret search term.

Dean did reply to the letter, though, essentially telling the sender that: a) he never attempted to rank for the mystery term; b) the fact that he does may be more of a commentary about the quality of the complainer's site; c) there's nothing he can do to remove himself for Search Term X; and d) the angry Web vendor should probably spend more time tweaking his site than e-mailing ridiculous requests.

Lo, Dean received a reply from the mystery merchant -- one with a more threatening tone:

"You have to understand Dean that an online business should be higher in Google than a blog."

"Don't forget that Google is a business as well, they obviously make more money from other businesses than they do from blogs, so it is in their interest that I am higher than you for certain searches."

"I have also contacted my lawyer about this issue, so you should expect a letter in the post very soon."

While we wait to hear from Mr. Nutjob's attorney, how about we speculate on just what search term he wants to claim as his own? My co-worker Stephanie suggested it's SEO, which is in the title of Hunt's blog. SEO stands for search engine optimization, and apparently, Hunt knows a thing or two about that subject -- at least relative to others out there.

Also, have you ever received (or sent?) similarly odd requests to anyone?