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Jacob Gottlieb was thinking of raising money for a hedge fund. One problem: His last was worn in a scandal.

While Mr Gottlieb was not accused of wrongdoing, he placed his heavily surfaced news articles describing the deterioration in Visium Asset Management, which once managed $ 8 billion. The results also included articles under their top portfolio manager, who died through suicide days after being disappointed in insider trading in 2016, and former legal brother of Mr Gottlieb, an employee of Visium who was convicted of security fraud. Searchers also received coverage of Mr Gottlieb's foul divorce in dabloids of New York.

Jacob Gottlieb, who was thinking of raising money for a hedge fund, had employed Status Labs, a company that focuses on so-called reputation management.


News Jacob Kepler / Bloomberg

So Mr Gottlieb hired last year Stbs Labs, a Texas-based Austin company, which focuses on so-called reputation management. A tactic: a favorable news blitz to express the negative stories.

Subsequently, articles began on websites designed to look like independent news outlets but not. Most of them were providing information about Mr Gottlieb, praising his investment and philanthropy, and he emerged in a recent Google search. Google was part of Google on Google News.

Its online makeover shows the measures being taken by some executives and public figures to influence what emerges on top of the world's search engine. It also indicates that, despite Google's commitment to inaccurate information by the police, sites can exchange as news outlets and avoid detection.

Google received five websites from Google News after they were investigated by the Wall Street Journal. Google, owned by the parent company

Alphabet Inc.,

said that the sites violated its policies on deceiving practices. Google's news feature prevents “concealing material or misrepresented secured content as independent editorial material.”

Mr Gottlieb said in an interview with the Journal that he felt the press coverage was unfair and he wanted to fight back.

“I worked with this company to help me launch my new venture,” he said.

Status Labs interviewed Mr Gottlieb on his interests and plans, and told him that he would give him positive press coverage, according to someone who is familiar with the subject. He paid between $ 4,000 and $ 5,000 a month for the services.

Subsequently, an article on a site called Medical Daily Times was published, stating that Mr Gottlieb gave a donation to an initiative in New York University medical school.

Call the phone number for Medical Daily Times on its website at pizzeria in Toronto. Until recently, the author of the article was listed as BJ Hetherington. The author could not be found to comment on it.

BJ Hetherington's author's page on Medical Daily Times was accompanied by a black-and-white photograph. The photograph is Canadian theater actor Randy Hughson. Publicity for Mr Hughson said he did not know that his photograph was being used with BJ Hetherington's name until he was contacted by the Journal.

The information on Mr Gottlieb's subscription is also inaccurate: NYU's spokesman said Mr Gottlieb was not giving that particular initiative, although he had presented NYU with other events. The Daily Times Medical did not check the information with Mr Gottlieb, who said he was familiar with it.

Could not find Medical Daily Times for comment.

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The Labs Status client list included scanned rock companies, billions and public officials, who told former employees. Status Labs provided services to the Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, according to former employees of Status Labs.

Status Labs services can be expensive in thousands of dollars a month, people who are familiar with the subject said.

Ryan Stonerock, a lawyer for Status Laboratories at the law firm Harder LLP, said the company would not be dealing with its clients. A spokesman for Ms. DeVos at the Department of Education stated that “it is not like a relationship by the department or the secretary” with Status Labs and they did not answer other questions that the Journal gave.

Employees of former status stakes, as well as assisting clients with negative information results in Google's search results by gaming on technical farmer algorithms, have edited Wikipedia pages without revealing their role. which prevents Wikipedia.

Academics said that these actions can get information from the community that could help them make more informed decisions.

Mr Stonerock said that Labs Status was established to correct what he regards as a power imbalance between his clients and the information available online about them.

“Fictitious individual charges can cause permanent damage to a person or a hard earned reputation of a company,” said Mr Stonerock. “This power imbalance is the first page of Google's first impression, and the last time, the last impression for individuals and companies.”

Fifty-five employees are associated with “various vested, constantly evolving methods” to help clients “disseminate positive and genuine information about themselves,” he said. “Internal ethics committee at Status Labs checks the prospective client and determines whether Status Laboratories can help the client in an honest and truthful way.”

Darius Fisher and Jesse Boskoff, Status Labs, performed an interview at his Austin headquarters, Texas, but canceled the meeting because of what Mr said.

Status Labs refused to respond to most of the Journal's queries. Mr Stonerock said the company would not comment on "its proprietary business methods and / or trade secrets."

Google controls Google more. The Senators recently recommended that there would be bipartisan legislation which would require Google to disclose its algorithms. A recent investigation by the Journal found that the search giant had interfered with its algorithms and changed the results. The conclusions of the Journal were disputed by a Google spokesperson.

Google said it tries to monitor deceptive behavior. However, some of the outlets containing articles under Mr Gottlieb and other clients of Status Labs were found in Google News, a Google search engine unit that highlights news articles.

“Any efforts to improve a person's online presence should not be tactical, aimed at influencing the Google Search ranking,” Google said, the sites removed from Google News because they did not comply transparency standards. t Google News says that it does not allow "sites or accounts … that misrepresent or conceal their ownership or primary purpose."

Mr Gottlieb said that his knowledge of the Status of Laboratories did not affect his reputation with investors.

“It is clear that no one invests in a hedge fund … based on an article in an anonymous blog online,” said Mr Gottlieb, in a statement, although he added that “my reception of Tinder has improved”. ”


American Bank Corp.


Omeed Malik

Also, he received services from Status Labs, according to people who were familiar with the subject.

Omeed Malik, a former executive of Bank of America, received services from Status Labs of the body's reputation management, according to people who are unfamiliar with the subject.


Patrick McMullan

The Chronicle of Week website, which used the tagline “Independent News,” published information on Mr Malik after he became a subject of last year's articles involving his shot from the bank. Mr Malik denied allegations of sexual misconduct, filed a complaint against a Bank of America later and found an eight figure settlement, The Journal which previously reported.

In October, Mr Malik's Chronicle of Week article appeared on the first page of a Google search on his name. The article, dated July 23, 2019, stated its “vast expansive experiences within numerous leadership roles” and stated that it is “an industry leader.” There was no mention of the allegations or settlement.

The names “Chronicle of the Week” and “Chronicle Week” have also gone on the website containing this article. ”Chronicle Week described an“ online digital newspaper ”and an editorial team enlisted in February 2019. By October, following Institute queries, language and staff names had been removed, a sentence was awarded that some of the information on the site was paid for as a sponsor material.

The result of a Wikipedia page about Mr Malik was the first result of Google's search for his name, exporting a news article.

Following a Journal question, Wikipedia removed Mr. Malik's page. Anne Clin, the Wikipedia editor involved in the decision, said that Mr Malik should never have his own page because it is not significant enough. Mr Malik's lawyer, Tom Clare, did not comment on the achievement and said Mr Malik had a dispute about the reasons for his departure from the American Bank.

Mr. Clare questions about Status Laboratories. In a short phone call in October, Mr Malik said, “we think this is attractive.” T

Labs Status provided services to Mr DeVos before becoming US education secretary to remove Google search hits with her brother, founder of Blackwater.

Erik Prince,

someone who knows the subject said. Blackwater was a State Department contractor who banned Iraq after a significant Iraqi civilian shot in 2007. Mr Prince could not be found for comment.

Betsy Devos is the Education Secretary. The title was “Betsy DeVos Positive News Article.


PRESS Alex Edelman / ZUMA

One article that contributed her accomplishments was completed as a “reformer” on, a site that used the same IP address briefly as a company that was affiliated with executives of Status Laboratories called Land Partners Blue, according to Journal analysis of data from Farsight Security Inc.

There was another article about their similarity entitled “Betsy DeVos Positive News Article.” An August 2017 section was on a website called “Enable Diversity,” which included Mr Gottlieb. Since then the website has been removed.

Beginning of degraded blood test Theranos Inc. Services from Status Labs also, according to former employees. Jppcap was called an editorial account to use the Status Labs, according to people who were familiar with the topic. This account made some favorable changes on the Wikipedia page of Theranos. One editing referred to a comment in the Journal reporting Theranos devices often failed to meet the needs of accuracy. Theranos dissolved last year. Lawyer for the founder of Theranos

Elizabeth Holmes

and it was not possible to find lawyers for Theranos when he was in business.

Co-founders of Status Labs, Mr. Fisher and Jordan French, a Wiki-PR company, edited Wikipedia pages for clients, according to a former employee. Mr French left Labs Status in 2015 after a dispute, according to the former employee and a press statement from Mr. French. Status Labs was established in 2012.

Wiki-PR edited the pages of clients in Wikipedia without disclosure, according to a letter of cessation and understanding which a lawyer sent to the Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees Wikipedia.

“When external advertising firms and their agents hide their identity or misrepresentation by creating or approving false, unauthorized or misleading user accounts, Wikipedia's reputation is damaged,” said the letter. He also said that the practice "expressly prohibited by the Wikipedia Terms of Use."

Wikimedia Foundation banned Wiki-PR and its “employees, contractors, owners and anyone benefiting financially from Wikipedia English on behalf of or its founders,” said the letter.

Status Labs continued changing pages of clients carefully, said former employees.

The billionaire hedge fund

Ken Griffin,

Citadel LLC, Status Labs employed to edit information on Wikipedia in 2015 about the fund's investments and the collection of Mr Griffin's art, according to someone who is familiar with the subject. A Citadel spokesman said “The changes made to the Wikipedia pages in 2015 were to correct factual errors.”

The billionaire hedge fund hired Ken Griffin, Citadel LLC, Sabs Status to edit information on Wikipedia in 2015 about the fund's investments and the collection of Mr Griffin's art, according to someone who is familiar with the subject . A Citadel spokesman said “The changes made to the Wikipedia pages in 2015 were to correct factual errors.”


Patrick T. Fallon News / Bloomberg

The Wikipedia account used, Jppcap, was the same account that worked on the Theranos page, according to a review of Wikipedia editing, which is public. The account did not reveal that he was working on behalf of the Status Labs or a paid client, who would be in breach of Wikipedia's terms, said Ms. Clin, the Wikipedia editor.

Mr Gottlieb was not starting a new fund, but is now managing his own money. Its Google results are not yet in priority order for certain items. In August, his former firm filed a procedure against Mr Gottlieb's portfolio manager widow, looking for more than $ 100 million for a refund of money he said he paid the money manager.

The Journal published an article about the practice and stated the full name of Mr Gottlieb once and the last name twice towards the end of the article. Many factors, such as the keywords used, help to decide what Google comes up in search results.

In October, Google's search for Mr Gottlieb's name returned 19 pages of results. The Journal article was not included.

Rob Barry, Jim Oberman and Russell Gold added this article.

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