By Karen Axelton

Remember the Soup Nazi? Immortalized on the sitcom Seinfeld in the 1990s, the Soup Nazi was based on a real New York City restaurant that sold soup–and dispensed rage. Customers had to follow strict rules as to how they ordered and behaved in the shop, or the owner would bellow, “No soup for you!” and throw them out of the store.

In today’s online-centric world, the New York Times recently reported the fascinating story of one entrepreneur who’s taking the same tactic to the Web. The owner of DecorMyEyes, a website that sells eyeglasses frames, discovered quite by accident that negative publicity boosted his Google rank. To generate even more negative publicity, the article reports, he goes so far as to harass, physically threaten, and sue customers who complain.

The long but fascinating article paints an interesting picture of what can happen when customers are driven by search algorithms that don’t take every factor into account. In this day and age–when businesses are constantly working to keep their online reputations pristine–this tale of what happens when one entrepreneur takes the opposite road gives you lots to think about.

What’s your opinion? Is there no such thing as bad publicity? Has a negative review or article about your business ever worked in your favor? I’d love to hear.