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This 108 message thread spans 4 pages: < < 108 ( 1 [2] 3 4 > >     
Google Responds to SearchKing Complaint

 7:19 pm on Jan 6, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi ,

I just noticed, that Searcjking has received an answer from Google and now there are selling password to see the documents for $20 each. Are they crazy?
What do you think about that?



 10:43 pm on Jan 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

I picked up on that too, grnidone. Since when are the results of an computer algorithm considered subjective opinion and protected under the free speech guarantee of the First Amendment?

I guess in a country where money is considered political speech, anything is possible!


 12:35 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

There is no denial of a hand edit. Their argument is simply that PR scores are editorial opinions. SK did something Google didn't like, so Google changed their opinion of SK.


 2:24 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hmm. I'm cheap, so I like to get my information for free. :) That's why Google sent our filing to LawMeme at Yale, so that anyone can read our filings for free. Slashdot has the story, with commentary:

Hope this helps,


 2:47 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

.... and it makes the most fun reading for a long time!

This has to be one of the most ridiculous lawsuits of ALL TIME!

The whole point of pagerank is to determine the relevence of a site by allowing voting in the form of links. If a company can increase their PR simply by paying $200/month it completely defeats the object!

Why on earth should google be bound by law to even list the company. Personally, if I were in google's position I would remove SK and all related sites!

Just my opinion, of course!


 1:14 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hi everyone,

Found this topic on slashdot. I certainly need to continue reading to know the merits of the arguments, but this is interesting reading none the less. it goes into detail about what Google feels the role of pagerank is, which is very cool by itself.


If this in innapropriate for the forum, please feel free to smack me down with a stick.

(for the record, i like google :) )

Mod note: Link to Yale HTML page added for those who dislike PDF files:



 1:24 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

The LawMeme walkthrough of Google's response is at:

In non-legal terms it explains what Google has said and not said.

Visit Thailand

 1:26 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

I know it says that it is a .pdf at the end of the url but I always think it should be made clearer when linking to a PDF.

I almost crashed my comp.


 1:32 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'd say you should also look at a link before clicking on it.

it could just have a .exe or .vbs extension as well.

would you like to install gators 'cursor magic' file now?" :)


 1:41 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

deft_spyder, thanks for the link. And people have been paying $20.00 to view a copy of that! ;)

Before I provide any of my comments, which I've been biting my tongue on ever since this all started, I'll let others chime in...


 1:49 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

theres a link (to a htm style page) on slashdot. as people weigh in, some gems might arise (and some idiots have risen already too!).

one funny comment was "Who goes to a search engine to search for other search engines anyway? That's like me training a dog to find other dogs that are trained to find dogs. I don't see how search king could possibly even claim to have a case here."



 1:58 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)


Thanks to the pointer to the much more readable (and non-PDF!) file.


 3:11 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Wow. Remind me not to ever sue Google.


 4:35 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

And people have been paying $20.00 to view a copy of that!

yup and they are probably still paying if they haven't seen it posted here.


 5:19 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Smooth move on Googles part to publish them via LawMem. I figured they'd have to show up soon.


 5:59 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

I can't imagine what posessed Massa to think he was the owner of these documents when in fact any papers filed through the court are a matter of public property unless made otherwise by the court.

I bet his lawyers are sorry they have such a pain in the you know what for a client.


 6:02 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hmmm, SearchKing must not know that they are now freely available. Still charging $20.00 USD. ;)


 6:37 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

SK is still in Google with PR4. I'm surprised that Google hasn't booted them out altogether. Or maybe that would just complicate matters in court. ;)

Robert Charlton

 7:00 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

>>Hmmm, SearchKing must not know that they are now freely available. Still charging $20.00 USD.<<

Maybe he does know.... ;)


 7:16 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

It was PR 2 after the mighty fall. Back to PR 4 now, but still is not much for a site with 1,880 PR 4+ backlinks :)

Thing that I still don't understand is why he published his promotional methods on his web site? There are thousand (may tens of thousands) of sites effectively selling their PR via advertising links. They just don't run their mouths off about it.

I also don't understand why he didn't include that fact in his suit and throw out half the other stuff. I would have thought tort should have been the main play. If they didn't penalize all others selling PR (just because they didn't openly state it) but penalized his site because he did, then Tort backed up with the 1st amendment surely would have made a much better impression.

I still don't see how he could ever win, even if he had a good legal team, but at least making a better effort would have been more fun :)


 8:14 am on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is no joke, before the last update the site had a PR0 penalty since about 14 months, and now it has PR4 - djgreg

That is a funny note in your profile. Either Googlebot took special mercy on you because of your note or they changed their policy on guesbook entries. I couldn't help but check out your backlinks:)


 1:23 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Hehe ... they must have had a few chuckles at the Googleplex when they saw Mr. Massa was trying to collect a $20.00 fee to view the docs! Took the wind out of his sails right quick by posting at LawMem. Checkmate!

Do you play chess GoogleGuy? I'd love to play you one day! ;)


 1:31 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

What I don't understand is this. Has SearchKing or ANY of us paid Google a penny to be listed in their SERP's? Google doesn't owe us anything. Sure it's nice to be treated the same as everyone else, but honestly, some people just get picked on more than others. Where does it say in Googles TOS that every site is entitled to a good PR value. They have every right to do whatever they want to. And if anyones business of making money is mostly based on the premise that they are getting something for free, then that is just hokey also.


 1:53 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Some one on slashdot had posted this which made some real sense, so i post it here :

This SK guy should be punished for mis-representation, b'cos the $20 which he is charging to access the docs...he says will go towards the "Legal Defense Fund" ...

Buy in reality it should have been "Legal Attack Fund" .. since he is the one suing Google and not the other way round!



 2:50 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

In my opinion things are absolutely clear.
PR is a opinion of Google about the relevance of a site.
I could also rate sites and name my rating for example GregRank. How silly must someone be to sue me because I have rated the site not that good as he thinks it has to be?

crunchy cajun

 5:55 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

As a longtime ODP editor who has seen oodles of SK submissions that disregarded submission policies, I have little sympathy. This appears to be one who believes that rules are meant for others and screams bloody murder when he suffers as a result of his own actions. A real business is not based solely upon Google PR, only an idiot would build a biz on this and then feel entitled enough to sue when the plan backfires. I applaud Google for protecting it's algo from manipulation.


 7:09 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is starting to sound like a typical Slashdot thread - lots of opinion and name calling based on too few facts.

The interesting parts: Google does not deny, hand adjusting the PR. There used to be a lot of debate about that.

The interesting opinion: even the obviously anti-SK, Yale law reporter, is questioning how Google uses it's power! :) Even he is asking about regulating Google.


 8:08 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am suprised google admitted to adjusting the PR.

Other than that - the document is standard legal talk - and poorly written in that respect.

They could have said what they wanted to say in much less space.

While I understand what they are saying about opinion, google has tried to impart a feeling of non human intervention to PR.

"Google's complex, automated methods make human tampering with our results extremely difficult."
This isn't automated if someone from google says "Oh - here is a spammer - lets change him from 8 to 2 or 4 or whatever....

I still don't get what someone else said - why leave him in at all. I will bow to google's better judgement on this matter. It just seems suprising to me that they would allow him in at all.

While google penalties have been known for some time - and many have suspected a PR penalty - this is the first time they have admitted to it as far as I know.

I don't see anything wrong with this - as long as they are up front with it. This makes it an easier way for google to penalize some pages that their algo THINKS might be "cheating", but why use it when a HUMAN decides there is cheating?


 8:13 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

As far as paying to view legal documents....

You should see the fees westlaw and others charge for PUBLIC DOCUMENTS.

$20 is a bargin compared to them.

Free is better....


 9:37 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

New to this world, about a month ago, I found a site that was selling links to high pagerank sites and I wound up calling them and talking to none other than Bob himself...
He was very vague and actually told me he couldnt disclose the site I would be getting linked to...

Nevertheless, I did after some research on the subject and decided against it.


 9:51 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

told me he couldnt disclose the site

So, he's scared of google finding out what sites he is selling links on?

It's a good thing Googleplex is full of stupid people that would never be able to figure out a way to start picking off those sites one at a time for only $299 each.

Then what would happen to the rest of those high PR pages that have agreed to play his little game?

Give just about anyone a PR9 page, and they should be able to figure out a way to make money off it, without pissing off Google. Why risk a page that is that valuable.


 10:31 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Let me say to those of that are not aware of the facts in this case and those that have focused on the aspect of flaming Bob Massa and SearchKing.

SearchKing.com Inc. did not sell text links based on PR or anything else - SearchKing did not sell links at all - A completely different company called praddnetwork.com brokered links between two sites for a fee, that fee was based on the PR of the site where the advertising (text link) would be placed.

The only thing these two companies had in common was Bob Massa.

Google penalized SearchKing and all the thousands of sites hosted by SearchKing because of what praddnetwork did (a separate company).

Let me stress this SearchKing in no way shape or form broke Google’s ToS/ToU. And I dare GoogleGuy to show where they did.

So what Google did was in effect exact petty vengeance on Bob Massa. <added> For doing in the open what a lot of others had been doing behind closed doors.</added>

And now Google tries to say this attempting to destroy a lot of innocent business's was OK because it was their right to Free Speech. I say Bull....

This 108 message thread spans 4 pages: < < 108 ( 1 [2] 3 4 > >
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