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I've been hired to create a website for a restaurant in my city, let's call it "Flying Dragon" Chinese restaurant. The restaurant has never had a website, though the business itself is about ten years old. However, if you Google the restaurant's name, the first site that comes up seems to be affiliated with the restaurant itself, even though it is not. This site - let's say, flyingdragonchinese.com - is also the one that Google has apparently selected, in its results, to be the official website of the restaurant - in essence, the first Google result is flyingdragonchinese.com, and directly beneath it, within the same entry, are the Google reviews and contact information.

Upon visiting flyingdragonchinese.com (again, not the actual name), I see that the website has taken the menu content from the restaurant, in the same manner that Yelp does, but it also seems (to the untrained eye) to be the restaurant's official site. Basically, someone has created a fake website for the business (I am not sure why) using its actual menu and contact information, and is hogging the search results. The concept is similar to a "scraping site" except that the information seems to have been stolen manually. The main problem is that visitors to this site will have an inaccurate impression of the restaurant.

I feel like the obvious solution is to register a new domain for my site, and simply beat out this competitor (or whatever it is) with smarter SEO and business verification with Google. However, the Conan-the-Barbarian-web-designer part of me wants to somehow bash this other site (deservedly?) into oblivion. But I don't know what I can really do, besides maybe issuing a cease-and-desist letter, or trying to contact the web host for the site, although there is no contact information available on this "fake" site for the site owner.

Has anyone ever experienced something like this? Is there any solution?

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If there is no contact information on the fake website then surely there is no custom being lost for your client. So subsequently not much of an issue? Or have I missed something. –  zigojacko Jun 13 at 14:23
    
Have you tried using NSLOOKUP? –  eyoung100 Jun 13 at 14:24
    
I can see how it might seem to not be much of an issue from that viewpoint, but really I think it comes down to marketing. This fake site is creating an impression of the business that doesn't match reality (and it doesn't help that visually, the site is terrible), and that could actually be bad for business. –  Murciano Jun 13 at 14:27
    
Thanks for NSLOOKUP (hadn't used that before). I've found a name and hosting company for the owner of the site, but no contact information. –  Murciano Jun 13 at 14:31
    
It is a crime to profit on another business or persons image, work, copyright, etc. Call a lawyer and file a cease and desist order. Then file a suit to regain any profit the company/individual has made on your image. You may be able to take control of the domain, it's content, and anything else as a result. –  closetnoc Jun 13 at 16:45

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Contact the hosting company using what contact information you can acquire from a whois search or other related lookups. File a DMCA takedown notice with Google to have the site removed from their search results, full instructions on this can be viewed here.

Acquire a new domain name for the business and set up in Google My Business, take control over any existing listings and complete all necessary verification. Then the new website will be officially linked to the business.

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This is very helpful. Many thanks for the response! –  Murciano Jun 13 at 15:14

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