Ryan Abood says he worked 100-hour weeks to make sure GourmetGiftBaskets.com was a top player in the field -- and a top result in Google searches. But in November 2008, the company suddenly disappeared from Google altogether. Coming just before the holidays, Abood says, it was "devastating" to learn that Google had dropped his company because a contractor was violating its terms of service. He estimates the mistake cost $4 million in sales, but it forced Abood to get serious about social marketing, which helped to take up the slack in search marketing. "You can roll over and die, or you can grow beyond it," he says.

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