Reputation Management Bro Destroys His, And His Client's, Reputation With Threatening Phone Calls To Defense Lawyers

from the 'I'll-kill-us-both-or-die-trying!' dept

I have to assume the so-called "reputation management" business is working for someone, but so far all we have to go on are the spectacular flaming wreckage left behind by fools who insist on punching above their weight.

Late in 2012, Florida attorney Gary Ostrow ostentatiously announced he was now willing to represent as many criminally-charged celebrities as would have him. Shortly thereafter, he was mocked by other attorneys who were far less narcissistic or needy.

Months passed and Ostrow was forgotten, as the world does not suffer from a lack of litigation-related stupidity. Unfortunately, it appears Ostrow refused to quit picking at the scab covering his self-inflicted Google wound. Unless Patrick Zarrelli is performing some pro bono work, Ostrow hired this motormouth to clean up his search results. (From Zarrelli's Twitter profile.)


What persuaded Ostrow to hire Zarrelli cannot easily be determined by examining his reputation management "firm's" website. Despite claiming to be for businesses which "only accept the best," the company claims to offer "management plans... renowned for their well roundness, effectiveness, and tech savvy," custom-fit rep management solutions for "just about any budget even for charity’s and start-ups," and -- to ensure it's not duped by botnets -- a free quote with a captcha that requires potential customers to prove "Your a human."

(Zarrelli -- despite his extensive, unproven background in web design, SEO wizardry and reputation management -- still seems to find the subtle differences between "your" and "you're" have eluded his otherwise pristine business acumen. [Also "to/too," "hear/here" and pretty much every other homonym he banged out on his keyboard during his Facebook ranting/Twitter self-emasculation.)

On top of that, his rep management skills skillz seem to include the creation of fake positive reviews.
Combative management takes steps to fight back against poor reviews by flooding the internet with positive reviews of your company. Even though negative statements cannot be erased, we can make them almost impossible to find, buried under glowing positivity and reviews that will bring customers flocking to you. We’ll push those negative results straight from the first page of search results into places that no one will ever look.
This is Gary Ostrow's savior.

YOU'LL FULLY BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

Apparently believing himself to be the first person to walk the internet, Zarrelli began calling up lawyers who had written pieces critical of Ostrow's celebrity legal services and making a bunch of vague, but completely stupid threats. The first person he called was New York defense attorney Scott Greenfield, who -- like everyone else he contacted -- knows his way around the First Amendment and bogus threats.
When Zarrelli called and launched into his pitch of his mad internet skillz and how I would have to take down posts about Ostrow or face his wrath, a bar discipline complaint, I told him to “go for it, asswipe.” My tolerance for stupid is limited these days.
Zarrelli is nothing if not persistent. Unwilling to take "go for it, asswipe" for an answer, he called up other lawyers who had written about Ostrow -- again, lawyers who also had limited tolerance for idiots and idiotic threats.
Apparently, after I hung up on him, he called Dan Hull (who called to share his fun trolling this kid, who informed Hull that he was going to destroy his firm) and Mark Bennett, threatening him as well with a grievance if he didn’t succumb to Zarrelli’s overwhelming power.
Greenfield has the recording of Zarrelli's long-winded threats posted to his site. It's definitely worth a listen, especially as he claims his websites have "25 million views" and name-drops relatives like anyone cares. (Also, "my family is riddled with high-end lawyers." [?])

Bennett, however, was First to Post.

Well, actually second. In a breather between threatening phone calls, Zarrelli took to Facebook to air his complaints to a more receptive audience. The full thing is worth a read, but here are some of the better bits.
Never encountered such a rude, unethical shady bunch of attorneys in my life. These guys literally wrote a negative article about a colleagues press release, just so they could tag in an arrest from his past to it, in an attempt to enter his search results and steal his business.

[...]

The thing that's interesting about attorneys like this, is that they think they understand the internet and its laws, even though what they actually know about the internet could fit into a thimble. The truth is they were out of law school before the internet was even invented!

[...]

[I[n the real world they have a better understand of our complex laws and can use that to their advantage to bully people.

However on the internet, this means absolutely nothing, since the internet essentially is governed by no one. Moreover the internet is one of the most well documented places on the planet, and if you know how to read the code you can track and map out anything.
The internet's innate ability to thoroughly document stuff is coming back to bite Zarrelli. He's nuked his Facebook post, but it has been archived and screenshotted. His threatening phone calls have been posted to a blog with a high page rank, as well as Soundcloud. Everything is indeed well-documented -- something Zarrelli clearly overlooked when "engaging" others on behalf of his client.

Anyway, Mark Bennett took to his blog to detail his "discussion" with Zarrelli. His words were no kinder than Greenfield's.
I don't play well with extortionists, so I told Zarrelli to go ahead and file his grievance. I may have dropped an f-bomb or two—Gary, don't you hate it when people threaten to do stupid things instead of just doing them? I know I do.

Anyway, Gary, I thought you'd like to know that some stupid asshole calling himself Patrick Zarrelli is going around trying to fuck up your reputation while claiming to be your agent. Despite the judgment errors in your past (which are legion—we all make mistakes), I doubt that you are dumb enough to hire this Zarrelli character to try to push me around.
Zarrelli also called attorney Brian Tannebaum, offering up the same litany of vague threats and stupidity. Then, he briefly engaged with his critics on Twitter, offering more threats, some half-hearted braggadocio and -- finally -- something that sounded like a playground bully suddenly realizing his supposed victims aren't actually scared of him.
to late millions have seen it im suing you tomorrow. your a bad lawyer and person. leave me alone!!!!
Bennett has also published a follow-up post that's going to do little to change Bennett's reputation as a "bad person" who should just leave the person who picked the fight "alone."
You are not a "professional." You are a born loser trying to muddle by, a socially retarded 36-year-old man-child with a string of failures who is still trying to figure out why the world has stopped handing things to him on a silver platter.
A professional in the reputation management business might have performed a little due diligence before threatening lawyers who a) know the law and b) are used to being threatened by stupid people. Someone who claims to know the SEO world inside and out might have realized attacking influential blogs and websites is about the worst thing you can do for a client's "reputation."
Greenfield wrote a blog post about you this morning. One post. The only time he has mentioned your name. He published two hours ago. When I google your name—just "Patrick Zarrelli" —Greenfield's posts comes up in the #5 slot, after your carefully cultivated social-media pages. When I google "Patrick Zarrelli reputation management" it's the first hit. Nobody had to do any SEO to make that happen; I hadn’t linked to it until just now.

It's just Scott's blog, which Google absolutely loves.

Scott's blog has Google Pagerank 6. You do not have anything that compares. His post about you will be at the top of Google search results by the end of the day, and it will stay there for as long as you want to keep playing.
Zarrelli is finished in the reputation management business. I wouldn't shed any tears, though. He clearly didn't belong in it. Ostrow's reputation has also taken another hit, despite (presumably) paying Zarrelli to patch it up. Instead of helping his client, Zarrelli burned both of their reputations to the ground with a few short phone calls and utilized the power of social media to salt the earth. Well done, Mr. Zarrelli. Time to switch to Career Path B.


Reader Comments

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  • identicon
    Ryan Jones, 30 Oct 2015 @ 12:11pm

    pagerank

    Hilarious example of not NOT to do ORM - but we need to stop talking about pagerank. It's a dead metric. hasn't been updated in a long time and won't ever be updated again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MikeVx (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 12:14pm

    Typo patrol

    Given that one listed homonym is actually not really one (hear/hear), it sounds like someone applauding a point. Perhaps (hear/here) would work better.

    Even accidental approval should be avoided hear. :-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 12:35pm

    No, the reputation management industry can keep him. We don't need him screwing up another industry by switching to his plan B.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 12:36pm

    *cough cough*

    Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn son.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 12:52pm

    "Even though negative statements cannot be erased..."

    Don't worry. If the European Union has anything to say about it, this sort of "reputation management" will soon become as easy as sending a notice.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 12:54pm

    Reputation management is someone who wants to lie to the world hiring someone to lie on their behalf, which is a great basis for a working relationship as neither can trust the other.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 12:56pm

    Er... how about an edit to the article title?

    > Reputation Management Bro Destroys He And His Client's Reputation With Threatening Phone Calls To Defense Lawyers

    Perhaps instead...

    Reputation Management Bro Destroys His, And His Client's, Reputation With Threatening Phone Calls To Defense Lawyers

    .... unless you really mean "... Destroys HE and His Client's...", that is, "High Explosive".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 1:01pm

    Flooding the net with positive reviews

    Even though negative statements cannot be erased, we can make them almost impossible to find, buried under glowing positivity and reviews that will bring customers flocking to you. We’ll push those negative results straight from the first page of search results into places that no one will ever look.

    It seems that about a decade ago this was similar to what "SEO" companies were promising. To game Google's algorithm to make your web site go to the top of the search results.

    Naturally Google altered their algorithms to compensate for this nonsense and make such gaming go to the very bottom of their search results.

    SEO companies sued Google. "How dare Google make its search engine return useful results, instead of my client's site!"

    Similarly, how dare Google return negative posts instead of the positive posts this clown is flooding the net with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Just Wondering, 30 Oct 2015 @ 1:06pm

    Is "screenshotted" a real word? :-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 1:10pm

    On its way up...

    > Scott's blog has Google Pagerank 6. You do not have anything that compares. His post about you will be at the top of Google search results by the end of the day, and it will stay there for as long as you want to keep playing.

    The Simple Justice blog post was #5. Now is #3, above even the Zarrelli LinkedIn profile. #4 if you count "Images for Patrick Zarrelli".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 1:36pm

    Google and most tech news sites' refusal to question anything they do is a good example of reputation management "working".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 1:38pm

    Sooo much popcorn...

    I was only seeing part of this (I don't follow all of the lawyers, but saw enough) and my absolutely favorite moment was when the clue lightbulb over seobro's head slowly started lighting up.
    That moment when he understood that he had shot past fucked at ludicrous speed & was actively making it worse with every passing tweet. STAAAAHP cried seobro as he took a breath to notice that he'd managed screw his client(s), his company, himself and perhaps digging to find the bottom of the quicksand wasn't a good play. Seeing the realization that he'd screwed up dawn on him was a wonderful moment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 1:50pm

    Just goes to show, (not so) great minds think alike.

    Apparently Career Path B is news headline parrot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2015 @ 2:55pm

    My tolerance for stupid is limited these days.

    Correction: My tolerance for stupid from people who are not fellow lawyers is limited these days.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), 30 Oct 2015 @ 3:08pm

    SEO is the homeopathy of the digital world

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    nEEt, 30 Oct 2015 @ 3:46pm

    An article like this on an Internet tough guy deserves a Navy Seal copypasta:


    What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little shit? Ill have you know I graduated top of my class in the Navy Seals, and Ive been involved in numerous secret raids on Al-Quaeda, and I have over 300 confirmed kills. I am trained in gorilla warfare and Im the top sniper in the entire US armed forces. You are nothing to me but just another target. I will wipe you the fuck out with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of spies across the USA and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. Youre fucking dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can kill you in over seven hundred ways, and thats just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in unarmed combat, but I have access to the entire arsenal of the United States Marine Corps and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little clever comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldnt, you didnt, and now youre paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it. Youre fucking dead, kiddo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 30 Oct 2015 @ 4:09pm

    "SEO": the Internet's own version of snake oil

    Let's face it, SEO is snake oil. Pure and simple.

    Effectiveness can't be measured. There are so many other factors that affect ranking.

    Any possible bump in ranking will be short term. Google employs lots of smart people to ensure that page ranking is accurate and fair. As soon as someone releases an SEO plugin for Wordpress/Joomla/etc., I expect that Google has people download it, analyse it and neutralize any rank inflation that it might provide.

    As soon as I see anyone offering SEO as a primary product, I immediately view them as snake-oil salesmen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      madasahatter (profile), 31 Oct 2015 @ 4:52pm

      Re: "SEO": the Internet's own version of snake oil

      There are a few aspects to SEO as a webmaster for a couple of small sites. First, use accurate terms to describe your site. Second, make sure the outside links make sense for your site and its content. Third, ignore all the SEO companies.

      I have been told by others that search engines bots flag sites with inaccurate terms relative to its content.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 30 Oct 2015 @ 6:29pm

    According to "Oh, Snap: The Flowchart" he got served.

    As far as SEO being snake oil, I mostly agree. There is some good SEO, but it's mostly just called good content. And there's definitely a such thing as negative SEO. And it could even involve lots of reputation management as google's analytics get smarter. And Google is pretty up front about the big picture level things it looks for.

    Having someone try to game your search rankings usually doesn't help, and it can also come back to bite you on the ass, though usually in a less spectacular fashion than this.

    But if you managed to game it for now, congrats; you better look over your shoulder for those evolving analytics that can see through your facade and fuck you just as fast as they up ranked you.

    There are a few geniune SEO "tricks". For example, I've learned that Google really likes high resolution photos. You can almost say "blah blah blah [topic]" and it will be kind to you for that topic if you have lots of photos, using its juju to determine if you are an authority on [topic]. That is one trick I will give up.

    Honestly, I think if you focus on being awesome, then everything else like SEO will click into place. And if you suck, then no amount of SEO will make you not suck--get a day job.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Andrew Lee, 31 Oct 2015 @ 12:01am

    Your a bad lawyer and person. leave me alone!!!!

    Yeah well, you're shirt are stupid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Woadan (profile), 31 Oct 2015 @ 12:03pm

    Looks like somebody let his alligator mouth overload his hummingbird ass!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    parkrrrr, 31 Oct 2015 @ 3:13pm

    Homophones, not homonyms

    Homonyms are words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently, like lead. Homophones are words that are spelled differently but pronounced the same.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 1 Nov 2015 @ 1:04am

    Wow! He seems to have found a really good Streisand effect-enabler.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TomG (profile), 2 Nov 2015 @ 6:25am

    Reputation Management gone to the dogs

    This is pretty typical as I know more than a few people in the reputation management game.. most of them go at it completely wrong and their clients never come out for the better.

    It does unfortunately ruin it for the rest of the industry that have a more honest and proactive approach over trying to game Google. Threatening lawyers to take down content is never a good idea, lawyers love stuff like this and will always take you up once you've fired off that email.

    I wish more stories like this would come out, lots of lessons and best practices for everyone involved.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 2 Nov 2015 @ 6:32am

    "my family is riddled with high-end lawyers."

    That's the problem! ;P

    Someone who claims to know the SEO world inside and out might have realized attacking influential blogs and websites is about the worst thing you can do for a client's "reputation."

    Anyone who knows the SEO world inside and out would have been careful to cultivate friendly relationships with those influential blogs and websites. It'd also help to behave in a way that reflects the image you desire to project.

    Ultimately, the best reputation management thing you can do is conduct yourself in a manner befitting the status you wish to attain. If you behave like an idiot, people will believe you are one no matter how hard you try to game the search results. That Google "loves" Mr. Greenfield's blog is down to the fact that he's often quoted by other influential blogs and websites as an authority on freedom of speech, etc. Mind you, Mr. Greenfield presents himself as a knowledgeable lawyer who won't stand for shenanigans and that's how we see him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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