I am running a small website design and development company, We have done a project for one of the USA based client. Based on my experience, more than 95% of the clients are good, but at least you will get 1% or 2% of clients who comes to you to screw your happiness and your business. I have got one such a client about two years back.

The client paid X amount of money, but day by day, his expectation keeps increasing to X+X+X+X+X.... I tried my level best to accommodate his changes, but it seems like a never-ending story. He started abusing my staff and threatening us with blackmail and creating bad reputation online.

So, the client started a website with my company + "cheat", and started adding information to the website. Now, when I or anyone search online in Google for my "my company name" , his website "mycompanynamecheat" is coming in second place, which affects my business badly and I am losing all my clients.

I approached the client many times. I even offered a complete refund for whatever he has paid to me, but I am not getting any replies from him. I have only his Email ID, domain name and address. He lives in USA and I am from India.

As a small company, I don't have a budget to hire a lawyer in California and fight the case with him? I am planning to file a defamation case and sue him, asking for money as a compensation. Maybe I can spend up to $2,000 in this case. What is the best possible way for me to tackle this situation?

  • 2
    Did you ask Google to remove the damaging site as its purpose is only to harm you? How about contacting his hosting service? Is your company name well establish - can you change it?
    – Peter MV
    Feb 2, 2015 at 11:57
  • A good practice when being small and using the freelancing service is to have one business name for them, and another real one for yourself. I did it that way although I never had issues like you (thanks good), but if I had, I could easily change my virtual company name to something else.
    – Peter MV
    Feb 2, 2015 at 11:58
  • Fire with fire? How about you start "theircompanynamecheat.com", and post to it every day (SEO loves constant content updates)--maybe you'll overtake them as the #1 result! But if you go this route, resolve yourself to taking the site down when you get what you want (him taking the other site down). Feb 4, 2015 at 20:44
  • @Peter: it is very hard to get a search engine to remove a website from its indexes, and mostly that is a good thing.
    – halfer
    Jul 28, 2015 at 9:02
  • 1
    You'll get nowhere with $2000. If you are in web development then you must know a few things about SEO.... Sometimes, clients feel cheated because they get promised quality and coding that end up not being worth the cost and time; this client must really have felt cheated if he was willing to put so much efforts into this. I came across a website from Adodisfraud.com with similar issue than yours...! Best you can do is make sure you won't do the same mistakes you did with that one angry client, and make sure you deliver what you promised :(
    – go-junta
    Jul 30, 2015 at 7:53

2 Answers 2


This sound absolutely terrible Mani.

I regards to how to restore your reputation ie: via Google, you will need to hire an Online Reputation Management consultant or an agency who performs this service.

As you are located in India, there are plenty of SEO firms there that would take you as a client.

Basic goal of an online reputation management campaign is primarily to create content to rank for your business name and ensure these pieces of content dominate page one of Google SERPS. The other aspect is removal of the defaming content however you have obviously pursued this.

For suing for defamation, talking to a lawyer (in particular, a technology specialized one) would be the solution to see what your options are. Understanding what the original deliverables were in your contract, what the change request were and evidence of your efforts in trying to mediate conflict (i.e. you offering a refund) are crucial.

Realistically your solutions are to remove his website from the front page of your website, else change your business name if the damages to your reputation are too high to counter. I am not one to advocate Negtive SEO* however given this circumstance if it were to happen to me I would legitimately consider it.

* Negative SEO refers to the term of intentionally building spammy backlinks to a website in order for it to get penalised. It is absolutely unethical and only treat this as a 'nuclear' option, if at all.

  • SEO is a solution, but it may bring up the question of costs again.
    – Peter MV
    Feb 3, 2015 at 19:50

I guess for $2000 you can work on SEO. Also, you can get catchy article written and post it on high PR websites and ask them to point link to you company website, increasing your PR. Why to waste your time and energy for that purpose. Move on and use $2000 for either adWords/SEO or some other marketing strategy.

If you spend time on dominating your client, you will loose your energy, time, money and EOD business. Even others will stop believing you. I would suggest, act smartly. Concentrate more on getting more new clients and expanding team with money you are ready to spend.

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