Monday, 8 February 2010

How Google Helped me Get My Rental Deposit Back.

This Christmas, my wife and I decided to go to the Russian River with our family. I'd get to go fly fishing for steelhead, she'd get to drink tea and rub her giant, pregnant belly, and everybody else would get to go wine tasting. It was a genius plan.

Riverside Dacha was advertised as...

"... a tastefully decorated three-bedroom home with a large wrap-around deck nestled in a grove of majestic redwood trees. Dacha is the Russian word for a house in the countryside, a peaceful retreat where you can relax and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds you."

What the site failed to mention was that visitors can also enjoy matted dog fur in the carpets, thin blankets, mildewed tubs, cracked mirrors, open wall sockets and a generally low standard of upkeep and cleanliness. But it was Christmas, and we were together, and the wine flowed freely. So we spent an hour cleaning up, another hour at Wal-Mart getting blankets and we just got on with things. And no, I didn't catch any steelhead.

Imagine our feelings, then, when we received the following email:

Correct. We were pissed. They wanted to keep 200 dollars of our filthy lucre for their filthy house. I turned to Tripadvisor and Yelp to vent my spleen. But no dice. The house isn't listed. Those who know me won't be surprise what happened next.

First I set up a quick and nasty website at the excellent tumblr. Then I uploaded a bunch of pictures of the house to my Picasaweb gallery.

I embedded said gallery to the tumblr page, using the not-entirely-flattering Streetview image of the house as the title image.

View Larger Map

Next I took started a Google Adwords campaign (targeted exclusively at the bay area)

Then I sent a two-word email to the management of Riverside Dacha:

"Google yourself."

When they did, they would have seen my adwords next to Google's search results and my tumblog as the third result in organic search. Very soon after they came to see how reasonable it would be to return my deposit. And offer a refund. The check arrived in the mail and the Tumblog and Adwords campaign came down. Oh, and the whole thing took 15 minutes and cost 5 bucks.

Thanks Google.


Bolshevik said...

Wow. That's borderline psychotic of you. I love it!

Damiano said...

You're going to start a trend now. Genius. Only you Nick.

simonbriscoe said...

Why take the details off google search results? Surely others deserve to know!