Google sued over PageRank

Filed as General on March 19, 2006 10:23 am

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Reuters reports that KinderStart has sued Google for their drop in search engine relevancy in the Google index:

KinderStart charges that Google without warning in March 2005 penalized the site in its search rankings, sparking a “cataclysmic” 70 percent fall in its audience — and a resulting 80 percent decline in revenue.

At its height, KinderStart counted 10 million page views per month, the lawsuit said. Web site page views are a basic way of measuring audience and are used to set advertising rates.

“Google does not generally inform Web sites that they have been penalized nor does it explain in detail why the Web site was penalized,” the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit goes on to claim that KinderStart’s constitutional right to free speech has been violated because they’ve lost relevancy and/or were removed from Google’s search index.

I may be taking an overly simple look at this lawsuit, but in my mind, it’s Google’s index and they can do with it what they want – including dropping you completely if they choose to do so.

I look at our own Blog Network List the same way – today we generally cover all sorts of blog networks, but in the future we may categorize those networks or drop some types all together. Are we to be held up in court from running our business as we see fit?

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  1. By Brian Clark posted on March 19, 2006 at 10:47 am
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    This is the stupidest lawsuit I’ve seen in awhile. And I’m a lawyer.

    The sense of entitlement these days is ridiculous, and there’s always a shyster just waiting to take the case. What are the arguing, that Google is now a public utility instead of a private company?

    God forbid KinderStart simply learn a valuable lesson — don’t put all your eggs in the search engine basket. But in truth, this isn’t about winning a lawsuit.

    The reality is, this is a publicity stunt to try to build back the traffic that they lost. I hope it backfires on them.

  2. By Matt posted on March 19, 2006 at 11:08 am
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    I agree, it’s one of the dumber lawsuits that I’ve ever seen.

    It’ll get them some traffic, but not the traffic that I think they’ll be wanting.. or that they can monetize.

    ~Matt

  3. SeoRom Blog » Google dat in judecataMarch 19, 2006 at 11:51 am
  4. Un blog con floggera » Blog Archive » Demandan a Google por caida en pagerankMarch 19, 2006 at 12:52 pm
  5. By Jill Murray posted on March 19, 2006 at 2:05 pm
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    Agreed. They’re essentially admitting they’ve based their entire revenue model around Google traffic– which means they’re also dependant on Google’s general success and popularity, regardless of page rank. Even if we toss the whole lawsuit issue out entirely, that should be enough to cause them embarassment. “I didn’t market my service, and now I’m doing poorly.” I wouldn’t be broadcasting that to the world if I ever made such a rookie mistake.

  6. By John Evans (SYNTAGMA) posted on March 19, 2006 at 2:13 pm
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    I agree with your logic, Matt, with one proviso: a company that sets out “to organize the world’s information” is setting itself up as an authority. It should behave with exemplary fairness to all who use its system. Although, as Matt Cutts demonstrates time and again, sites that are thrown off Google usually have hundreds of hidden keywords buried in the code.

  7. By Darnell posted on March 19, 2006 at 8:24 pm
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    Wow. Another dumb lawsuit against Google. Why am I not surprised?

  8. Problogging » Blog Archive » Diversify your incomeMarch 21, 2006 at 12:04 am
  9. By Teresa Valdez Klein posted on March 21, 2006 at 7:13 pm
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    Brian: I agree with you that this lawsuit seems awfully frivolous, but don’t dismiss the sense of entitlement that many people feel when it comes to Google so hastily.

    Google may have become a bit too successful for its own good, because people are beginning to rely on it almost as they would a utility. It’s possible that in the future, search engines will be regulated much as telecommunications companies and power companies are.

  10. By Terry Cutting posted on March 22, 2006 at 4:02 am
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    It sure seems that putting all your “BASKS” in one “EXIT” is the keyword here. Google should be only a small part of website promotion. TRUE that Google think they are All you need but the fact is that a much broarder promotion base is an ongoing requirement. This is something that requires regular attention and monitoring. Without preaching to thr converted there are many other engines out there and Google for one uses them as reference, a well built site no matter what the experience of the administrator will usually get a look in.

    bye tez.

  11. By Brian Clark posted on March 22, 2006 at 5:47 am
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    Teresa, in the future, that may be a definite possibility. Today, KinderStart’s attorneys know they have no viable claims, so I’ll stick by my call of PR manipulation. :)

  12. Individual business blog » Blog Archive » Conversation about Google LawsuitMay 21, 2007 at 6:24 am