Alphabet’s Google on Friday sued a Los Angeles man and his firms in San Jose, California federal courtroom, claiming he created lots of of faux enterprise listings on its platforms and bought them to actual companies to lure in unsuspecting clients.
Faux opinions have been a recurring downside on web commerce websites. Google mentioned in a press release that it filed the lawsuit towards Ethan QiQi Hu to “assist put an finish to most of these malicious schemes.”
Hu didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Google’s lawsuit mentioned Hu creates sham companies that seem in its search engine and Google Maps, utilizing an “elaborate set of props” to confirm them on video calls with the tech large’s brokers.
The lawsuit mentioned Hu retains a instrument bench as a prop to confirm fraudulent listings for storage restore, tree chopping and plumbing, and important oils for verifying faux aromatherapy and reiki remedy companies.
Google mentioned Hu buys 1000’s of faux optimistic opinions to make the companies seem official. He then allegedly sells the profiles as “leads” to actual companies in the identical fields, who obtain contacts from potential clients who attain out to the faux companies.
Google mentioned Hu created greater than 350 false profiles bolstered by over 14,000 illegitimate opinions.
The lawsuit accused Hu of false promoting, unlawful enterprise practices and violating Google’s phrases of service. Google requested the courtroom for an unspecified sum of money damages and an order to dam Hu’s alleged misconduct.
The case is Google LLC v. Hu, US District Court docket of the Northern District of California, No. 5:23-cv-02964.
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