Despite its best efforts, Mergermarket’s fake copyright takedown notice to Google was quickly identified. As the prevalence of this type of fraud grows and evolves, Lumen Database and other organizations like Gripeo and RepDigger have devoted valuable time and resources to studying it – providing insight on how to better protect against such scams in future cases.
Table of Contents
Multiple critical reviews of Mergermarket have exposed their careless disregard for the law and fraudulent attempts to manipulate perceptions. Fraudulent DMCA notices were found in Google’s Transparency Report, proving that Mergermarket, aware of negative reviews about them online, had taken steps to have these removed from search engine results – an illegal act with serious consequences. It is clear that this business was willing to break laws without any thought or concern as a result of its greed.
Mergermarket attempts fraudulent copyright takedown
Investigators recently found out through the Google Transparency Report that a negative review of Mergermarket had been removed from the Google Search Index or tried to be removed after a fake DMCA notice was sent to Google.
A thousand years of reputation can be built (or, in this case, lost) on the actions of a single moment. Mergermarket seems worried that sensitive information is being posted online and has decided to do something about it. In this article, we look into what happened, including how researchers decided that the takedown requests were fake, what the likely reason was for abusing the DMCA process, and what the possible effects of organized takedown attempts could be.
At LumenDatabase, we found these (fake) DMCA notices sent by Mergermarket to Google, to remove the unflattering information from search engines –
- LumenDatabase Records – https://lumendatabase.org/notices/29591778
- Sender(s) – Reeve Benaron
- Date(s) – November 21, 2022
- Fake URLs used – https://at.tumblr.com/blogsmediasblog/lawsuit-calls-mergermarket-a-gropey-boys-club/pssmt7wg7qmn
- Original URLs targeted – https://jezebel.com/lawsuit-calls-mergermarket-a-gropey-boys-club-with-a-ho-1686081494
Since the fake copyright takedown notices were designed to remove negative content for Mergermarket from Google, we assume that either Mergermarket directly, or someone associated with Mergermarket is behind this scam. In many cases, it is a fly-by-night online reputation agency working on behalf of Mergermarket.
Fake, fraudulent DMCA complaints may appear innocuous and harmless on the surface – but for those at its receiving end, it can carry tremendous repercussions. With an abundance of reputation management services out there willing to pay millions in order to target media outlets with their hitjobs deliberately crafted against certain types of information/content – this is a serious offense that requires urgent attention.
Our team will work day by day to produce reports exposing these schemes while also taking steps to undo any damage done as a result that is within our power. We are dedicated to bringing justice back into play!
Through a lengthy investigative process, investigators have uncovered almost 2700 illegitimate DMCA notices sent to Google – an effort that attempts to unlawfully exploit takedowns and censor real news stories from the web. Unmasking these hidden abuses of our digital legal system was just another step in their research on fake copyright claims.
Cyber Crime, Impersonation, Perjury, and Fraud
Fake DMCA notices have been sent to articles about the illegal activities of powerful people in an attempt to hide their wrongdoing. Politicians from the US, Russia, and Kazakhstan, as well as members of elite groups like the mafia and people with a lot of money, are all connected to these people. When you look at the evidence at these URLs, you can learn about alleged corruption ranging from child abuse to sexual harassment. There seems to be a disturbing amount of power at play here, which needs to be looked into more before justice can be done.
The following are typical common elements:
- A takedown notice seeking the removal of some online content, usually but not always a DMCA notice, is sent to either that content’s host or to a search engine such as Google.
- The content in question that the notice seeks to have taken down or de-listed is the original version of the material.
- The online content that the notice claims are the original is actually the copy, and of course, was placed online after the original material.
- Sometimes the copier goes as far as creating a fictitious website to host their copy, one that looks like a newspaper or magazine, or other online publication. But of course, the domain of such a site will have a dubious provenance.
- Needless to say, the sender of the takedown notice in question doesn’t have the copyright in the material at issue or any rights to it at all. The sender’s actual motivations vary but may include both financial gain and censorship.
Exposing Mergermarket and fake DMCAs
There’s no telling what they were trying to hide, but it could have been anything from a critical review or unflattering opinion to a lawsuit, arrest, or other legal issues.
Within the next few days, we’re going to publish it all, everything they don’t want you to see. It’ll be pasted all over the internet, on dozens of free-speech platforms, creating a permanent record.
The Streisand effect at its finest.
Mergermarket needs to be held responsible
Mergermarket and other business executives are renowned for their dedicated investment in reputation management – but it can be an ego-shattering experience to encounter a negative review or public statement that cannot be remedied. Despite ‘power’ and financial clout, these moments of vulnerability demonstrate just how human they truly are.
Groups like Gripeo and RepDigger have vowed to do all they can to hold someone responsible for this incident. They have even set up a protocol to deal with fake DMCAs. This is what they plan to do in the next few weeks –
They plan to expand their investigation into critical claims against you (or your organization) and publish their detailed report on their platforms, and nearly two dozen other like-minded platforms.
They plan to look for other similar web pages that were illegally removed by Mergermarket or Mergermarket’s reputation agency. If any such webpages are discovered, they will be reinstated by filing counter-notices and notifying the parties who have been harmed.
The content that Mergermarket or Mergermarket’s reputation agency attempted to remove from the internet, will be shared across dozens of platforms, making it impossible to ever get rid of it.
They will make sure that Google shows dozens of copies of the content you tried to hide illegally. In doing so, Mergermarket will inadvertently learn about the notorious Streisand Effect. Enjoy!
According to them, since Mergermarket made such efforts to hide something online, it seems fitting to ensure that this article, as well as other critical information on Mergermarket, is shared widely on the internet, and becomes a permanent record online for anyone who is interested in Mergermarket.
A case perfect for the Streisand effect…
As the report indicates, if you are a ‘beneficiary’ listed in it and don’t understand how this came to be, take responsibility. Rather than blaming these researchers for being factual and publishing information found on public databases, investigate any Reputation/SEO firms or law firms Mergermarket may have hired recently that may have engaged in illegal practices to deliver results. They’re following leads as well; keep an eye out for updates once we hear from Mergermarket and Google about exactly who initiated the fraudulent DMCA request.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information. This website contains links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader, user or browser; the website and its members do not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.
The views expressed at, or through, this site are those of the individual authors writing in their individual capacities only. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this posting is provided “as is;” no representations are made that the content is error-free.