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Google Bomb: The Untold Story of the $11.3M Verdict That Changed the Way We Use the Internet Paperback – August 3, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John W. Dozier, Jr. began practicing law in 1981 and is recognized, through peer review, for his high level of skill and integrity.   His firm, Dozier Internet Law protects the reputations and intellectual property of businesses by handling legal matters involving online defamation, copyright and trademark infringement, and hacking. John is the author and publisher of the Dozier Internet Law Federal Court Report and is a leading pro-business commentator on Internet law. He lives in Virginia. For more information, visit www.cybertriallawyer.com.

Sue Scheff, founder of Parents' Universal Resources Experts, Inc. (P.U.R.E.), a child and parenting advocacy organization, is a noted expert on Internet Defamation by countless mediums after winning $11.3M in a 2006 lawsuit against a woman who posted viral defamatory statements about Scheff and P.U.R.E. She has appeared on The Rachel Ray Show, ABC News, CNN Headline News, Fox News, CBS News: Sunday Morning, and NPR, to name a few. Visit the author at www.suescheff.com.

Michael Fertik,  is a repeat Internet entrepreneur and CEO with experience in technology and law. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. In his capacity as CEO of ReputationDefender, Michael serves on the advisory board of The Internet Keep Safe Coalition (iKeepSafe), a non-profit that works for the health and safety of youth online.  Michael Fertik has been featured on ABC News, 20/20, Good Morning America, NBC News, The Today Show, CBS News, The Early Show, Fox and Friends, Fox News, NPR, CNN,  Forbes, Newsweek, Washington Post and many more media outlets for his expertise in online reputation management. For more information, visit www.reputationdefender.com.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

All Rise

The day is September 19th, 2006, a Tuesday. It's a little before 2:30 in the afternoon and the weather is sunny, breezy, and beautiful in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The surf is up just down the street and my stomach is riding a wild wave as the jury of six somberly files into the nearly empty courtroom.

I have no idea what to expect. My lawyer, David Pollack, leans a little closer and whispers, 'Well, this is it. . . . ' I wish there was something I could hold onto besides his words since my legs aren't feeling very steady as the bailiff, a very kindly looking older man, intones, 'All rise.'

This is a landmark case for Internet defamation, as no precedent has ever been set. My organization has been all but destroyed. My personal reputation dragged through such muck it makes a pig sty seem clean by comparison. David has prepared me as best he can for what the verdict might be. I'm already out over $100,000 with a second mortgage on my house to get this far, but if the jury finds in my favor and grants us even a tenth of that I'll feel vindicated.

The Honorable Judge John Luzzo, in flowing black robe and wearing his duties with appropriate dignity, takes his elevated seat on the bench and asks the foreman, 'Has the jury reached a verdict?'

'We have, Your Honor.' Perhaps in her midthirties, dark haired and pretty, she hands their verdict to the bailiff, who hands it to the judge―he nods in seeming approval―then back it goes from the judge to the bailiff to the foreman. The air is trapped in my lungs. I can't breathe. And then she begins to read, line by line, the jury's unanimous decision:
'For Parents' Universal Resource Experts . . .' (PURE, that's the organization I set up to help parents of troubled teens) '. . . we award $1,170,000 in compensatory damages as well as punitive damages of $2,000,000.' Punitive, meaning to punish the defendant for what they've done, am I hearing this right? 'And for Sue Scheff we award . . .'
Tears are streaming down my face while I watch David scribbling the numbers as the foreman keeps reading . . . and reading. David circles the final rough math and mutters in disbelief: 'What? Over ten ­million!'

'Court is adjourned!' The loud thud of wood on wood as Judge Luzzo slams down his gavel reverberates in my ears. Nothing seems real. Even the jurors asking the judge for permission to personally speak with me, then approaching with open arms, seem like a waking dream. My unflappable attorney, so steady in court, is giddy as a kid with a mile-high cone of cotton candy on his first carousel ride once we're outside, fist punching the air and whooping, 'I don't believe it! I don't believe it! This could be the biggest Internet defamation jury award in history!'

Being awarded a staggering amount of money for standing your ground when you've been deeply wronged is a wonderful thing. Having one's faith restored in the goodness of humanity after witnessing the underbelly of it is even more priceless.

I've been a victim of Internet defamation. I understand too well the sense of powerlessness, isolation, and unadulterated fear that if you tell someone your name and they decide to Google search you (it happens), you've suddenly gone from acquaintance to some Fatal Attraction monster who makes Hitler seem like a saint―a pariah to be avoided at all costs. It's a fate much worse than getting dissed by someone you thought was a friend only for another to clue you in on the latest mean gossip making the rounds. Internet defamation is another animal entirely―a cruel and vicious animal that often lacks a face and hides behind the computer screen in cowardly anonymity. Or so the 'anonymous' think.

It is my sincere hope that by exposing my own ordeal, as well as the mistakes I made when trying to confront unfounded attacks on my character and business practices, that you might benefit from them both.

My name is Sue Scheff. This is my story.

Unfortunately, there are too many Sue Scheffs out there. The victim of an online defamation attack can be a Fortune 500 company, a soccer coach, a Girl Scout leader, the singer in a boy band, your local dentist, a world famous plastic surgeon, a professional athlete, a college professor, that ex-lover, a government official, your minister, your spouse, or your children. I'm John W. Dozier Jr., founder of the Dozier Internet Law firm . . . and I fix problems. One such problem? Not content to sucker punch the elderly lady on a street corner and snatch her purse, miscreants have taken their activities indoors. Understandable, I guess. Winters can get a bit nippy and with global warming and all, summers are way too hot. So they now ply their trade on the Internet, ­carefully searching out 'marks' in air-conditioned comfort while reclining in an overstuffed lounger swigging microbrews. But they aren't the only ­problems. The defamation predators of the web look like that friendly paperboy, the church choir director, your child's best friend, or the guy or gal next door because, well, how should I say this . . . they are.

Sue has a great story to tell, but I have others to draw from as well. This is a very different kind of book, one that I hope you'll find both fascinating and enlightening as Sue speaks from her personal experience and I offer my professional expertise. At the beginning of each chapter, you will meet Sue and read in her words the intricate and intimate details of her landmark $11.3 million court victory and the malicious deeds that led up to it. Following Sue's personal accounts, I will interject my sections (which are prompted by a change in typeface as has occurred here), and take you on a guided tour of the underworld of the web, show you the inside tricks of the trade, tell you how to know when you are a defamation target, walk you through the early warning signs, and train you on how to deal with the attack while maintaining your sanity and recovering your good name. From passive defense to high-powered offense, from rallying the troops to counterinsurgent maneuvers, you'll learn how to fight back and win. Of course, we'll cover what to do, and what not to do, when under attack. And you'll learn ready-made steps you can take immediately to turn back attacks on your name before they even start.

The cyberdefamation scourge sweeping the web today is destroying lives, careers, and businesses with no advance warning. The devastation is shocking and immediate. The risk is too high for you to ignore this new form of online personal terrorism. But you have to help yourself. There are no white knights and no one is going to come to your rescue. So take our stories, advice, and guidance as a wake-up call. You have the power to gain control of your good name and reputation before the nice boy who lives next door, who seems to always be sitting in his overstuffed recliner drinking a beer, decides to pay you and yours a little cybervisit. Strange things can happen on the web. Those under attack will at times feel out of touch with reality. Sue will tell you that she was no exception.


©2009. Sue Scheff, John W. Dozier, Jr. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Google™ Bomb. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442


Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: HCI; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0757314155
  • ISBN-13: 978-0757314155
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,643,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen Northcutt on September 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A novel approach to a book. Sue Scheff tells her story of a victim of someone using blogs and other internet sites to attack her character and her life's work. John Dozier, a famous cyber lawyer picks up from time to time and does the background and explanations. They even use a different font treatment for the two authors. Sue's story is compelling and it is clear as day this could happen to anyone and that it would be horrible. John does a great job with the facts outside of the story. I really enjoyed reading it. This is a light read, more like a two -three hour plane ride than a five hour. If there was one area I wish they would beef up, it would be the Michael Fertik, Reputation Defender part of this, but I guess that world keeps some of their secret sauce tips and tricks to themselves and that is certainly fair. If you Google "Sue Scheff", it is clear that she is in control of her brand at this point. Glad I read the book, plan to encourage others from my organization to take a look and give it a thought.
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Sue and John's book is fantastic! Real, heart-felt triumphant AND incredibly sad. It's amazing to see that finally the malicious attempts to destroy Sue's good name and business were quashed and punished. Vindication is key!

It is horribly sad that these individuals would take so much time and energy in an attempt to destroy another person's existence. They most certainly fall in the category of sociopathic and serial cyber bullies. A new internet phenomenon.

Sociopath/Serial Bullies (as you will learn) are manipulative and chronic liars! They continuously lie about what they are thinking or have done. Because they are shallow and pathetic, and they lack emotions, they don't feel bad on being rejected by others. They work hard to master their approach and diabolical plans.

Sociopath/Serial Bullies are NOT successful in life and do not have the capacity to accomplish anything great. They think they are, but they aren't. WHY? They are LAZY and don't feel they have to put in hard work and hours required for success. They also ARE NOT ACCOUNTABLE for their mistakes. It's easier to steal from others and claim it as their own. They actually blaim those they lie about and steal from. Imagine that?

Sociopath/Serial Bullies are ATTENTION-SEEKERS. Instead of productive career paths, they instead, carry out campaigns of hate and aggression to get the attention they so badly want. It doesn't matter what type of attention they get, positive or negative, as long as they can provoke someone into paying them attention. The LAW, LAWYERS and POLICE doesn't phase them.

Hats off to Sue and John for educating us and bringing the internet and the law up to speed!
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Sue Scheff's tale begins with the not uncommon story of a concerned parent whose tragic experience leads her to become a well-known and respected expert and spokesperson in a niche field. Specifically, she rescues her at-risk child from a dangerous and unhealthy rehab facility, and in the process she quickly finds herself a self-taught expert on these situations with a popular website and organization to support this cause.

This is when her personal success story takes a very dark turn. When she refuses to divulge to a parent some private and protected information about someone else's underage child at a particular rehab facility, she quickly develops the enmity of the spurned parent. This enmity almost immediately becomes an obsession that takes the form of an incessant cyber attack of the most vitriolic nature that questions her integrity in a very tight knit community where reputation is essential. In very short order Scheff becomes personally and professionally isolated.

The rest of the story revolves around how she ultimately finds John Dozier, a legal expert in internet law, who wins a large but apparently uncollected judgment against her assailant. In the process she also retains the assistance of an expert who helps her belatedly ward off the "Google Bomb" attack on her person. The Google Bomb in this case was a successful attempt by Scheff's enemy to raise to the highest rankings - Sue Scheff and her organization in a Google search - to those of the most profane attacks upon her.

Although the tale of Sue Scheff is an intriguing one, there are some items that the reader should be aware.
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As someone who is in the throes of a civil case with a cyberstalker I found this book as a beacon of light in what's often depressing and overwhelming to me.

There were parts of Sue's story which were incredibly difficult for me to read because I could feel her horror and disbelief on what was happening to her.

I'd recommend this book to those who want to be proactive in protecting their name (or business) as well as those who may be in the various stages of cyberstalking or cyber defamation attacks.
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Highly recommended read - this well documented and necessary report is about pioneering internet thugs who were harbingers of how the internet is used to spread invidious allegations weighing on the idea that the more people who spread the lies/conspiracy theories of the mentally ill, somehow truth results.This story reports on "the swarm" as I have dubbed them. Whenever detractors speak out on any internet forum or after a news broadcast on aspects of a related story, which story links to an online comment page, the swarm attacks backed by internet hackers and thieves invade the detractors' privacy. However, their actions are not limited to the internet. They weave allegations and co-sign one another's stories to vilify anyone who may want to shed some light and truth. The swarm are like screaming and stomping little children in the grocery store. So called investigative journalists who have previously been referred to as "parasitic sensationalists" have taken up a tangential stream of the swarm's agenda. Fueled by these same journalists' own hubris, ideological bias (and/or just plain incompetence or laziness) a s**** sandwich of craziness results. Unfortunately, the problem of epistemology is why we will never know exactly how many people have been or will be harmed by the actions of journalists and others who fight to have the swarm's agenda promoted. There is a SEQUEL to this book that needs to be written. Right now, that story is still ongoing.
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